Thursday, July 06, 2006

Golf in Tator Country: Bring Balls and A Weed-eater

Now I have to say I am not an expert on golf in Boise, Idaho by any means and to add, the only view of that state I got was through the windshield on the drive back and forth to the course and back.  Oh, yes, I did get to drive out to find a Target store, or two, so that did provide me with some opportunity to mix and mingle with the yokels. 

But, back to what I want to talk about…Golf in Boise.  I played five and two-thirds rounds of golf and never say one tator patch.  Plenty of Alfalfa that, being a former member of the Texas Quarter Horse Association I can say, every Texas Horseman would die to get a few thousands bails of this stuff. 

But back to golf… the message to you folks that was the same for all but one of the courses played was ‘if you can’t play out of the rough stay at home’.

Here is the set up for my review of the six courses I played in the Boise area.   Friends are always asking where I am going on vacation to play golf.  And the usually reply is someplace like the Hills Country Club near Austin, or making a jump out to Scottsdale to GrayHawk and Gainie Ranch.  Or even an unusual trip out to the West Coast to play Coto-de-casa and the Palm Springs courses.  But this year I got a lot of squinting eyes and ‘Yaw, Right!’ remarks along with a few ‘Why?’ questions when I told them where my wife and I were going to vacation this year.  Boise, Idaho! Tator Country as it is known here.  Not really on the Golf Travel Guide when you look up Golf travel on Google or even comes up in anyone’s mind when you think travel and golf.  But, yes, we spend a complete week in Boise.  Of course the main mission was not the golf, it was to meet up with the in-laws who we very seldom get to see and there were a lot of them to see…but it was fun.

So, what about the golf?  OK, let me start off where we started and that was Ridgecrest Golf Club in Nampa, ID…smack-dab in the middle of...well, I am not sure where, but it had a Ft Worth smell about it though.  Ridgecrest was a good little warm-up course with what seem to be what all of the courses had…brutal rough.  What we call winter grass here they fertilize, trim, mown and water the heck out of it up there, making the rough so tough to hit out of you would be better off trying to hit out of freezer bag than the rough.

There was nothing real spectacular on the front nine, but there was a different story on the back nine… Some really great looking and playing holes on the back starting off with number 12 where from the back tees it was a 227yd poke with an at least 150yd drop down to the par three green that had water in the front… Of Course I didn’t play back there, but was high enough to still have to spank a 190yd shot for a forty yard drop…  And from there the next holes got even more interesting.   You actually finished on number 17 the 398yd par four straight up the same hill as number 12.  I say finished on 17 because by the time you got up the side of the hill where the elevated green was sitting you where completely out of wind or strength for 18 making that short par 5 18th a ‘slap-fest’

Next on the list was the famous BanBury Golf Course in Eagle.  This was the site of the 2005 US Girls Junior Championship.  It was kinda nice to walk in and see a picture of Morgan Pressel.  Of course she played this course better than I did.  BanBury has an almost country club feel with the drive up appeal and the service you get when you get to the parking lot.  The course…well it had that dad-burn rough that only a weed-eater could cut through.  The presence of lateral water was on eleven of the 18 holes and the pin placements the day we played would have made Fred Couples back off a few shots to the pin.   The greens rolled pretty slow for the condition they were in and the front nine greens were really bumpy compared to the back, which by then our scores was just a little lower than our blood pressure from hitting out of the rough.

The next morning we made a little trek out to Falcon Crest Golf Club.  The word is that they are starting another 18 hole course for the facility.  I question why they didn’t build a clubhouse first before cultivating another 18 holes to increase the already crowds of people in the temporary trailer for a Pro-Shop.  What a monster…  7046 yds of hell from the back, 6512 of which I played from the Championship tees…  The course was put together in a helter-skelter manor with cart path intersections that kept you guessing if you were on the correct hole or not.  …A course only an Iron-Man would walk.  Some of the drives we made in our carts from green to tee box covered nearly the time it took to drink an entire beer, which you needed to kill the pain in your forearms from hitting out of that dam rough.  The rough was so thick the farmers here would be bailing it from the second cut of fairway. Nothing really spectacular with this course with the exception of the now obligatory shot from the top of the mountain to a green and the pre-warned 18th hole, where from this par 4 TeeBox it looks like nothing but water for 445yds.  A crushed tee shot straight off the tee would place you with a 235 yd, all carry over water, shot to the green.  Of course, those who have played it know to take it left to a ribbon of fairway you can’t see from the tee that puts you about a buck fifty from the pin.  Did I say monster?  Well this was the hole that would test what strength you have left…

Next on the tour was Quail Hollow Golf Club in the Boise foothills.  They call it a target golf course but I know marine snipers who couldn’t hit these fairways.  But, it is a FUN course to play.  Every hole, and I mean every hole, you needed to be able to play a shot.  There was no ‘hail Mary’, JD spank the ball and then go see where it went’, type of shots out there.  With the many blind shots you needed Tanto for a scout on this course. There were some real tempting par fours, like number 3, a 339 yd all down hill par four where a well aired out drive with a good bounce off the side of the mountain would put you on the green and the  11th a 334yd par four that played more like 240 if you cut the corner.  There are some pretty great views from everywhere on the course.  Of course, we had the mandatory par four up straight the hill and the 18th finishing hole where a drive from the top of a 200yd high tee box over a lake would place you with a wedge shot into a green a 747 could have landed on.. Other than the ball eating rough, this course was a lot of fun.

Then can Shadow Valley Golf Course.  Another Foothill golf course that was more foot than hill as far as I am concerned.   I was told to be kind with what I had to say about this course so I will just say… great front nine.  That is about all I can say other than the back none sucked.  Here you have a great starting hole an outstanding second hole and from there a real enjoyable round of golf for nine complete holes.  Then you make the turn and all humanity and half the population of Boise is playing in every fairway but their own.  The side-by-side fairways were separated with a very thin band of tall trees that was more of a slicers paradise than a hindrance to keeping your shot in your fairway.  They should have had someone handing out hardhats when you made the turn… The only positive was there was a guy mowing that @#$%^& rough.

Then the Yang of the Yeng was experience when the next day we were treated to SpurWing Country Club in Eagle.  What a literal breath of fresh air.  Bermuda three cut fairways, Bermuda tee boxes, Bermuda greens, Bermuda in the parking lot, along the sideways, in people’s yards.  They even had Bermuda growing in pots along the steps up to the clubhouse and YES, the rough was freshly mowed Bermuda.  AAAWWWW! Feels like home…   What a pleasurable round of golf.  Now this puppy had some teeth.  The par fours were not gimmies and the lateral hazards where deep ball eating HAY, but you got to stand in Bermuda as you were looking for your ball.  The 11th hole was another shot from an elevation where you needed an oxygen tank.  Followed by a series of holes where hazards were on both sides of the fairway and creeks running through just at the shot area.  Everything was great and I was looking so much to seeing what everyone was talking about with the NEW four holes on the back nine.  When I stepped up on number 14, the first of the new holes, I was hit in the face with a 50MPH wind of hot air from a thunderstorm.  Of course, I had a wonderful round going and did not want to stop and went ahead and played a tee shot that came up way short.  Laid up to 80yds and had to punch a 7 iron into the teeth of the wind to get to the center of the green.  Then a clap of lighting sealed the round and I got to see the rest of the course as we scrambled through the light rain to get to the clubhouse… I will be looking forward to when I can get back to play this course again. OH, did I tell you that SpurWing had Bermuda grass?

So, there you have it, my diary of my golf vacation in Boise.  There are a bunch more courses up there and if I get back that way I want to check a few more out.  Sorry to my Martini fans.  There was not a martini to be seen anywhere on this trip.  Not sure when I would have had time to have one with the packed schedule we had.  If you are in the Boise area, check out some of these courses.



Scot Duke


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

 ‘My Blog’ 


Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

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