The Coeur d’Alene

6,803 yards, 119 from the Back Tees

Course:  The Coeur d’Alene is named after a lake in Northern Idaho.  I was driving from Jackson Hole to out west and one of my college buddies in JH caddied at this course, highly recommending it.  The drive alone was spectacular.  After climbing over the Jackson pass, I went through the nice flat plains of Idaho before starting to climb up and down the majestic mountains of Montana, where I ended up in a valley along a river for hundreds of miles while the walls of the mountains on each side of me got higher and narrower, until it got so narrow I was right next to the river and started going downhill and finally at the end of the downhill I saw an enormous lake, that happened to be Coeur d’Alene.

The hotel and resort area are gorgeous.  There are views of the lake and surrounding mountains and trees every where you look.  The resort boasts the longest floating boardwalk in the world, which is roughly a little less than 2 miles.  After a dinner overlooking the water while the sun set, I went to my room in time to see Tiger clinch the AT&T National and set my alarm for an early tee time.

The trip to the course was probably one of the better I’ve experienced.  You go to the dock and board a boat, which gets you to the course on the other side of the lake in about ten minutes.  I spoke with two older gentlemen, one of whom nabbed a hole in one the day before on the course.  It was his third and he didn’t seem all that excited about it.  Must be nice.  The boat ride over was fraught with scenery, and you start going rather fast.  The course comes up in the distance and as I got there early in the morning, was peaceful and just waiting for it to be enjoyed by others.

On the boat that takes you to the course.

The boat and pier in the distance as I walk to the clubhouse

The course itself is famous for its floating green.  That’s right, it’s an island green, but actually floats, so the distance to it varies each day.  You take a boat to the green and even get a certificate if you par.  Yeah it’s kitchy and resorty, but you’re on a resort, so go with the flow.

The floating green in all its glory

The course also uses forecaddies.  There is one for every group and they meet you at the dock once your boat reaches the pier.  Your clubs are already at the course and on a cart, so you simply follow the forecaddie up to the clubhouse, get anything you need, and go to the range to warm up.  The range is actually set on the water, so you hit balls into the lake itself.

Driving range

The “Coor” is an exquisitely maintained, fun course to play.  It’s cart path only, so the fairways and greens are lush while the holes swivel through the trees and water that make up the area.  The first nine holes are tight while the back 9 widens and features more carries over water.  There are a few tough holes, but overall this is a scenic relaxing course that you can score on.  The forecaddies are great, as they’re running around to give you and your group distances, clubs and will read your putt if you ask them to.  As a nice personal touch, our forecaddie would clap when we hit good shots.  I thought I was one step away from teeing it up next year at Merion.  The resort, lake, and course made me keep thinking of one word that made me feel good:  Summertime.

My distances will be from the Blues.  The first hole is a par 5 that dog legs slight right and goes gradually down hill.  There’s a few baby trees on the left of the tee area and pretty good sized bunkers on the right of the green, but it’s nice enough hole to start you off.

First hole looking at the green

The Second hole tightens up with trees and is a par 4 about 440 yards.  It’s straight, yet very narrow.  To make matters a little more interesting, there are slopes on the side of the fairway, so you could end up with some side hill lies if your shots go left or right.

Tee shot at the Second

The Third hole gives you the first par 3, at about 128 yards.  The hole parallels the lake and the green is on the smaller side.  Yes the green slopes towards the water.

The Third.  No where to hide on this shot.

The Fourth continues its python like grip in terms of tightness and is a 300 yard-ish par 4 that snakes left after the tee shot.  You must maneuver through a slew of trees to get to the raised green.  Driver on this hole is too much.  In fact, a 175 yard club on this hole off the tee is too much.  The green is deep, but there’s no room for error either left or right.

Tee shot at the Fourth

The Fifth and Sixth gives you interesting back to back par 3’s.  The Fifth is a shorter par 3 at about 120 yards, but the green is almost an island surrounded by bunkers and is pretty much blind from the tee area.  It almost felt like a Golden Tee shot to me.  The view was great though.

The Fifth

A closer look at the green

The Sixth is about 160 yards and is a downhill shot to an angled green.  Again, great view and you need to place the ball or will be in a lot of trouble.

The Sixth

The Seventh is a par 4 about 400 yards where your tee shot needs to get through trees on both sides and dog legs left.  The fairway and green then open up for a fairly easy approach.  The Eighth is narrow and proceeds downhill to an amphitheater green.  It’s a 420 yard par 4 and is a well done hole.

Tee shot at the Eighth

Approach shot at the Eighth

The Ninth is a 560 yard par 5.  It’s long and bottle necks at the tee shot landing area and there are a ton of bunkers around the green, making an interesting tee shot.  The hole leads you back to the clubhouse.

So for the front 9, I would rank the holes as 5, 8, 9, 4, 3, 6, 1, 2, 7.  I really liked all of the holes, although you could probably find 1, 2, and 7 at a lot of other courses.  The conditions and beauty of the course still made them worthy though.

On the back 9, you start out with another narrow par 4 that’s about 440 yards.  There are a lot of trees surround the green, so beware.

The green at the Tenth.  The flowers behind the green are a nice touch.

At the Eleventh, the course starts to open up and water comes into play a lot more often.  That starts with a 520 yard par 5.  The tee shot and fairway are narrow, but the approach shot is wide open and you must carry water to hit the green.  I really liked the approach shot here and the green was one of the more trickier on the course.

The fairway at the Eleventh.  Starts to open up here.

Another look at the Eleventh, further back

The Twelfth is the longest par 3 on the course.  It’s about 200 out.  There’s water going up the left, so don’t go there.  Pretty straight forward though.

The Thirteenth is a shorter par 4 at about 340 yards.  You must carry water on your tee shot, then again on the approach, to a green surrounded by bunkers.  It’s a target hole for sure, but is a fun one, as driver off the tee is too much, so you really try to figure out what two clubs can get you there the safest.

The Thirteenth, looking back from the green.  There’s the forecaddie running around.

Then you finally get to the Fourteenth, the floating green in all its glory.  It comes at the right time of the round, as you have no excuses because you’re warmed up as you can get and shouldn’t be tired out from the round just yet.  The yardage varies day to day, as they can move it around.  For us it was about 160.  The course rule is that if you hit your first shot in the water, you get another crack at it.  If you hit that one in the water, you lie 4 from the drop area on the green.  My first shot landed on the front of the green, then jumped in the water.  I got my second shot on the back of the green though, so it was kind of bittersweet so to speak.  The green itself is quite big, so it’s not a tough shot.  I just got a little cute with my first shot, trying to cozy up to the pin.

The floating green Fourteenth

A closer look

After getting the famous hole out of the way, I went on a tear on the rest of the holes.  The Fifteenth is a 480 yard par 4 that starts to narrow as you get to the green.  The green is also hidden in a knoll, so the approach is tight.  The Sixteenth is a 400 yard par 4 where you must carry a cluster of bunkers to the green.  The Seventeenth is a fun short par 4 at about 250 yards.  You can drive the green, or over it, so it should be an easy hole so long as you play your tee shot right.  The Eighteenth gives you the toughest tee shot on the course.  There are bunkers about 230 yards out in this 450 yard par 4, baiting you to carry them on your tee shot.  The smart play is to hedge right, but I was feeling it and even though I belted my tee shot, the bunkers span quite a distance down the fairway and I just caught the lip.  The bunkers on the right side of the green are deep, so stay left and you should be fine.

I’d rank the back 9 as 11, 18, 13, 10, 15, 14, 17, 16, 12.  The Twelfth was really the only hole I wasn’t plussed on though.

After your round, they make sure your clubs get to the valet across the lake, who then get them in your car all by the time you take the boat back over to the hotel.  This was exactly what I was hoping for to break up the long drive I had; a relaxing resort, an immaculate course that was more fun than punishing and some good shots and laughs along the way.  I got all of that here.  I’m 2 for 2 on my little tour here, as I would recommend this place for a nice vacation spot that has something for everyone.  During the relaxing boat ride back to the hotel, the captain pointed out the resort owner’s 50,000 square foot home.  I think they’re doing ok.  After the boat ride, my car was waiting for me and with that, I continued my tour of the Great West.

Gripes:  Not many.  They have the service here wired and all the kinks worked out.  The forecaddie was nice and helped me with some par/birdie putts, but I’m used to my GPS that gives me every distance I need, not just what’s to the pin.  This is splitting hairs though.  Maybe cost, but my round came with my room and seemed like a steal considering what I would pay for a Holiday Inn and no golf.  My biggest complaint is I wish I could have played another 18 here and hung out for a few days.  The people were nice, the cart girl came around a lot and the lake was serene.

Clubhouse:  Probably one of the biggest I’ve seen.  Stocked with everything.  Some might say it was a little overkill; how may shirts do you need to display at one time?

Nearby:  I heard there are a few other nice courses around, a casino and of course, the lake.  The streets around the resort seemed to have a lot of nice little restaurants and shops, so that’s a selling point if you’re trying to get out there for vacation with the family.

Nearby:  There’s got to be a better way than driving from Jackson Hole.  Maybe flying in to Spokane, then you’re looking at a 30 minute ride.