If you’ve never ventured to the great state of Idaho, you’re missing out. The state is full of wonder and beauty. Much of it has yet to be discovered and overrun by out of state migrants.
I’ve been fortunate to spend a good deal of time in Idaho and so has one of our writers who lives in neighboring Oregon. We both agree that this state is rich with all sorts of hidden outdoor gems. Whether you’re looking to hunt and fish, hike, ski, kayak, or simply explore, there are no shortage of opportunities.
What a lot of people don’t realize though, is that there’s some great golf to be found too. Sure, some of it might be a little out of the way, but that’s what makes it an adventure, right?
Along with the help of our loyal readers, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best courses anyone can play.
Jug Mountain Ranch
McCall is one of those spots we were talking about in the opening. Located in the center of the state, this remote community is paradise for anyone that loves the outdoors.
For golfers, that means Jug Mountain Ranch.
When this track opened for play in 2008, Golf Digest called it the “Second Best New Public Golf Course under $75.”
Designed by Donald Knott, this is a big golf course with some of the most spectacular views to be found anywhere in North America.
The course meanders through mature old growth forests and natural wetlands.
Having played here myself, I can attest that the conditions and shot values are second to none.
If you happen to be in the McCall area, I can’t recommend this course enough.
Priest Lake Golf Course
If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Idaho’s panhandle, you’ll find it at Priest Lake Golf Club.
This is mountain golf at it’s finest. Elevation change is persistent throughout and lakes come into play on a number of holes.
Even though Priest Lake is at elevation, the course is relatively short. Narrow fairways and small greens dictate that accuracy is more important than length.
Don’t forget your camera either. The views of the surrounding fir forests and mountain peaks are splendid.
Even though this track is out of the way, it’s more than worth the trip.
The Idaho Club
I’m back at it with another cool track that bears the name of the state in which it resides.
The Idaho Club is located in the town of Sandpoint. As the only course designed by Jack Nicklaus in the entire state, this is one of the most prized rounds you can find.
Shaped in concert with Moose Mountain and the Lower Pack River, this course is classic mountain target golf. While the landing areas and features are well-defined, missing it in the wrong spot is penal.
It’s certainly one of the tougher courses I’ve played in Idaho.
If you happen to be in the area with a family of non-golfers, don’t worry. There’s plenty of other activities to enjoy like fishing, hiking, and boating.
Purple Sage Golf Course
One of the finest munis in the southwest part of the state is Purple Sage Golf Course.
Located in the town of Caldwell just off Interstate 84, Purple Sage has played host to the Idaho Open and Idaho Amateur on numerous occasions.
The layout is fairly straightforward and most of the holes run parallel to each other. With that being said, the fairways are lined by pesky pine trees that seem to eat golf balls for lunch. Best keep it down the middle if you’re going to score.
The greens are small too. In the summer, they get firm and fast so staying below the hole is a must.
One of the best values in Treasure Valley, I highly recommend Purple Sage.
The Links at Teton Peaks
Located in the quaint community of Driggs, the Links at Teton Peaks is a unique golf experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.
There are virtually no trees on this course and the layout is a classic links style that allows you to play shots along the ground.
If you play here in the afternoon, chances are the wind is going to blow. As a result, club selection can be tricky.
While the layout is great, it’s hard to top the views of the Grand Tetons Mountains in the background. They’re awe-inspiring to say the least.
Prairie Falls Golf Club
If you happen to find yourself in the town of Post Falls, make time for a round at Prairie Falls Golf Club.
The tale of two nines, this track has both parkland and links characteristics. Built on 199 acres, Prairie Falls will test every facet of your game.
Some holes are wide open and allow you to swing for the fences. Other holes are tight and demand precision and strategy.
During your round, don’t be surprised to encounter moose, elk, eagles, or turtles.
One of the more underrated rounds in Idaho, I’m a fan of Prairie Falls
Indian Lakes Golf Club
One of the most fun and user-friendly rounds of golf in the Boise area is Indian Lakes.
Even though you might call this course’s design parkland, the reality is that it’s pretty open. Sure, if you miss a fairway by a mile, you’re going to find some trouble. But getting the ball in play isn’t all that difficult.
Indian Lakes isn’t long either. Measuring just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, you’re left with a lot of scoring clubs for your approach shots.
What people like most about this place though, is the laid back atmosphere and the staff that makes everyone feel welcome.
A most pleasant round at a reasonable price, give Indian Lakes a try.
University of Idaho Golf Course
Our writer who I mentioned earlier was recruited to play golf at the University of Idaho and has played this track.
Located just eight miles from the Washington border in the town of Moscow, this course is full of character. Elevation change can be found throughout, and narrow fairways mean you have to keep it in play.
Because you’re in the middle of the Palouse region, the wind can blow at any time. That makes club selection difficult and par a great score.
Well worth the trip, don’t miss a chance to play the University of Idaho Golf Course.
Shoshone Golf Club
Shoshone Golf Club dates all the way back to the 1920’s when a rough and tumble miner decided the Silver Valley needed a golf course.
Today, this track remains of the “One of America’s Top-Ranked 9-Hole Golf Courses”.
Large trees line verdant fairways and call for accuracy from the tee.
The small greens are difficult to hit and quite slick.
Known for being a challenging track for even the most discerning of players, don’t underestimate Shoshone Golf Club.
Twin Lakes Village Golf Course
You’ll find Twin Lakes Village Golf Course in the town of Rathdrum.
As its name would suggest, the 18 emerald fairways at Twin Lakes are surrounded by their namesake bodies of water.
One of North Idaho’s top-rated facilities, Twin Lakes is in pristine condition at all times during the season. Golfers rave about perfect lies in the fairways and greens that putt like pool tables.
Keeping the ball in play is important as large fir trees line the fairway on nearly every hole.
If you’re looking to get away from it all for a couple days, be sure to check out the stay and play packages.
If you plan on seeing and doing everything in the state of Idaho, you’ll need more than one trip. That’s for certain.
As much time as I’ve spent in this state, I’ve only scratched the surface, even when it comes to golf.
Do you have additional helpful thoughts to share about public golf in Idaho? If so, let us know in the comments below.