The resort golf course at the Coeur D’Alene Resort is a bucket list destination for golfers seeking to play its unique floating green.

The engineering marvel on Lake Coeur D’Alene can play any distance from 100 yards to 270 yards depending on where the superintendent anchors it. The course opened in 1991 and was built on the site of a former lumber mill.

Impeccable service and stunning views are the key at the course designed by Scott Miller under the extremely watchful eye of owner Duane Hagadone. The Hagadone family is well known for its success in newspaper publishing and is a major real estate investor in the Coeur D’Alene area.

The floating green on Nov. 14

The floating green on Nov. 14

Hagadone conceived the idea of the floating green that could play at varying distances when he was looking to add some “sizzle” to the course. He describes the floating green, No. 14, as a “home run” in terms of his goals.

The reputation of that green and the course as a whole has been built by pages of awards from both golf and travel publications. The course is kept in impeccable condition.

The emphasis on service shows, whether you are a guest arriving from the resort via water taxi or you drive into the resort (you must check-in at the gatehouse before proceeding onto the grounds). Your clubs are whisked away and you can enjoy a bite to eat in the grill or check-in and head for the driving range.

That’s a different spin at the range as well, where you must ignore the visual of hitting balls into the water. The range is cordoned off on the lake and uses floating golf balls.  A complimentary chair massage to loosen up those back and shoulder muscles is offered. The day we played, after a night of heavy rain that resulted in bracingly cool temperatures and a soggy course, the chair massage was confined to the pro shop.

Once you embark on your round, enjoy the views. Hagadone wanted you to see nothing but nature. Tee markers and flag sticks are the only man-made things you can see on the course. The two bathrooms are underground. Rakes around bunkers are stored vertically in the ground and there are no ball washers or garbage cans on the course.

The custom-made luxury carts with chrome wheels, walnut dashboards, and steering wheels that tilt have built-in containers for trash, storage and beverages. The heated seats are a bonus on cool mornings.

Lake views from holes 3-5

Lake views from holes 3-5

Designer Miller took full advantage of the lake—In addition to the floating green that plays over it, two other holes play along it and there are wonderful views for several other holes. The most striking views come from the combination of three par-3s and a short par 4 on holes 3-6. No. 5 is a short par 3 that plays along the top of the ridge resulting in exceptional views of the lake. The next hole is a sharply downhill par 3 that takes the golfer back down toward the lake.

The course itself, on most holes, is forgiving off the tee and allows for misses into the fairly benevolent rough. Of course, there are holes where a miss to one side puts your ball in junk with little chance of finding it—holes 3-6 being prime examples. From the tips, the course plays 6,803 yards with a 71.8 rating and a slope of 127. From the tan tees (white at other courses), its 68.2 and 116.

Hole No. 11 mimics the famed 13th at Augusta National with a creek running down all the way down the left side of the fairway that then crosses in front of the green just as Rae’s Creek does in Georgia.

For the first time in 2015, the course managers decided that golfers can drive their GPS-equipped carts onto the fairways. That will satisfy the golfers who objected to the cart-path only rule. Given that a fore caddy is required with each foursome and they all have laser range finders, you will always know the right distance. If you happen to get Kenny Shelton, a burly 20-year veteran caddy, be grateful—and tip well. He is worth it.

The other big change is the bent grass on all greens which took place over last two years. The course now features bent grass throughout its fairways, tees and greens.

When you are finished with golf, the perfect next steps are a water taxi ride back to the resort and a stop at the spa for a post-round massage. I took too many really quick and poor swings on that blustery day, but an hour on the massage table left me refreshed and surprisingly limber the next morning.

If you have the opportunity, finishing your day at Beverly’s is ideal. The signature restaurant is located on the 7th floor of the resort with stunning views of the lake and the 300-boat marina that surrounds the hotel. The resort is located lakeside in downtown Coeur D’Alene.

Beverlys restaurant features a huge wine cellar

Beverlys restaurant features a huge wine cellar

What sets Beverly’s apart is its huge wine cellar– $2 million of inventory with more than 14,000 bottles representing 2,100 selections. For instance, there are more than 50 French champagnes on the list.

The night our party ate there, Tyler Schwenk, the chef de cuisine and his team prepared a special menu (they offer specials daily). The appetizers included Pacific Northwest crab cakes, Bison Carpaccio, heirloom tomato Caprese and a stunning lobster bisque with small claws of Maine Lobster immersed in truffle oil and Cognac foam. It was the best dish of a meal filled with memorable courses. It invited mopping up the bowl with bread it was so good.

I opted for the New York striploin instead of a filet mignon, wild king salmon or Alaskan halibut with lobster orzo pasta. There were raves all around the table regardless of the entrée. I savored a glass of Walla Walla Vintners “Washington State Cuvée” 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, Horse Heaven Hills that was offered on the by-the-glass list.

Specials are offered daily

Specials are offered daily

Beverly’s menu includes a range of steaks, chops and fresh seafood—fish from the Pacific Northwest and lobster and scallops from Maine.  The web site describes it as a “special occasion restaurant.” It was all of that for our group.

For information on the resort and golf, please see

 

www.cdaresort.com.

By Tim Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

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