Circling Raven Golf Club: The reason you need to visit Idaho just as much as Bandon Dunes
Idaho is one of few states I’d never set foot in until this week. It doesn’t carry a lot of destination mystique and you won’t see a ton of glossy magazine stories written about it.
But if you’re a golfer, it turns out you need to visit northern Idaho. Consider it a necessary pilgrimage, right along with the one everyone and his brother will tell you that you must make to the superhyped Bandon Dunes.
That’s because Circling Raven Golf Club is in Idaho and it’s one of the most unique golf courses in the world, a place where nature’s been given free reign. Circling Raven’s cart path stretches out 8 and a 1/2 miles long and many of the holes deserve their own zip code. The result is a course where all you see stretching before you is scenery and more scenery as you shoot at targets that seem supersized with all the extra room.
This is especially true on the 11 through 18th stretch, which Circling Raven director of golf Tom Davidson calls “our 360-degree holes.” It’s 360 degrees because every possible way you look, you see nothing but tall grasses swaying in the breeze, trees and blue sky - and perhaps a wandering elk. And yes, while many courses have a few holes to remember, Circling Raven boasts an eight-hole run that never lets down.
This after a front nine filled with holes that would be the best hole at many other good golf courses.
Over a year ago, I argued that Native American tribes have done more for golf in this country than any other group in the last decade. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe certainly lived up to that new tradition (and beyond) with this course that’s at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort & Hotel, about an hour’s drive from Spokane (Washington) airport.
It also shows how you shouldn’t always favor traditional golf hot spots like Myrtle Beach and Scottsdale over spots like northern Idaho. Circling Raven marks the second time in a few months that I’ve played one of the best courses I’ve ever played in a place that’s not one of the old, customary golf retreats, joining Kiva Dunes, a seaside wonder on the Alabama Gulf Shores.
Like Kiva Dunes, Circling Raven has been highly rated in several publications. Still, also like Kiva Dunes, it’s still extremely underrated. That’s how good it is.
For full stories on Circling Raven and golf in northern Idaho, stayed tuned to TravelGolf.com and WorldGolf.com in the coming weeks. And forget about ignoring Idaho anymore.
|« Chambers Bay blows away Torrey Pines in aesthetics, golf experience: Take that, Tiger!||Storey Creek's Rob Watson shows why superintendents are often more important than celebrity golf architects »|
But Circling Raven actually is one the cheapest great golf courses you'll ever find. It's never more than $95 - and that's on weekends in the heart of summer high season.
Most of the time you can get on for $65 and under. For this course in this setting it's the bargain of bargains.
Comments are closed for this post.