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Best of the West

Appeared in Spring 2014 LINKS

Whitetail Club

Any time of year is perfect for a trip to this quintessential Idaho mountain retreat in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains where there is always a wealth of things to do. From skiing and snowmobiling to hiking and kayaking, Whitetail Club has all four seasons covered. But when the snow has melted and the skies are blue, the golf at this mountain-lake community is as spectacular as the surrounding natural beauty.

Designed by Roger Packard and two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North, Whitetail Club’s links has been ranked by Golfweek as a “Best Course You Can Play” and one of America’s 100 Greatest Courses by Golf Digest. With sweeping meadows and Central Idaho’s rolling mountains as a backdrop, the course has quietly become one of the top-rated golf destinations in America.  

An important link in the Idaho Golf Trail, this 18-hole, par-72 course extends 7,200 yards and will challenge you each round with shimmering trout ponds, towering pines, and imposing boulders. Among the amenities you will enjoy are a driving range, putting practice greens, and chipping greens, as well as a 3,500-square-foot full-service clubhouse complete with pro shop, restaurant, lounge, outdoor patio, locker rooms, swing-training equipment and analysis tools, bag storage, and panoramic views.

Just two hours north of Boise, Idaho, near beautiful Payette Lake, the course is located within the private, 1,300-acre residential community of Whitetail Club, which offers lake, mountain and, golf-course-view home- sites, contemporary mountain cabins, and an array of amenities including a Fish & Swim Club, golf shop & grill restaurant, indoor tennis and fitness facility, plus a play park and day camp for kids.

You can play Whitetail Club as a guest of Shore Lodge, the premier resort in Central Idaho. And there is no better time than right now. The historic Shore Lodge has been a Pacific Northwest vacation hub for generations of families since opening in 1948 and is starting 2014 with luxurious, stylish upgrades. The 77-room hotel has undergone a full-property room renovation, adding even more comfort and style to the iconic mountain-lake retreat. Wine enthusiasts take note: The Narrows, the acclaimed fine dining restaurant at Shore Lodge, has earned three consecutive Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.

Whitetail Club
McCall, Idaho
877-634-1725, WhitetailClub.com

The Powder Horn Golf Community

Beautiful views, fresh air, low taxes, and Wyoming’s best golf club. What’s not to love? Nestled at the base of the Big Horn Mountains in Sheridan, Wyoming, The Powder Horn is a top-rated, master-planned residential community where open space is plentiful, skies are brilliant blue, western hospitality abounds, and the living is easy. Set at 3,800 feet, you’ll find excellent fishing and outdoor sports, incredible scenery, and 27 holes of award-winning golf. In 2013 Golfweek named The Powder Horn the No. 1 Wyoming course. The Mountain Nine gives a nod to St. Andrews with large greens, huge bunkers, and links-style play. The Stag Nine features woods and wetlands surrounding an Old Red Barn. Finishing up the 27 holes is the Eagle Nine offering a mix of meadow and creek-side terrain. The full-service clubhouse is complete with dining rooms, pro shop, fitness center, pool facility, and tennis courts. The golf course and dining facilities are open to the public. Wyoming’s excellent tax-haven status makes having a home in this remarkable place even better. Real estate opportunities include homesites from the low $40,000s and homes from $350,000.

The Powder Horn Golf Community
Sheridan, Wyoming
800-329-0598, ThePowderHorn.com

Balck Butte Ranch

Sweeping views of the towering Cascade Mountain range, endless acres of wilderness, an unhurried lifestyle that invites you to unwind, and some of the best golf to be found anywhere. This is what you come to Central Oregon for. No place serves all that up more beautifully than Black Butte Ranch. Located just outside Sisters, Oregon (about 40 minutes from Bend), on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountain range, the resort’s unparalleled natural setting on 1,800 acres is famous for its golf, but offers so much more, including restaurants, spa, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and fishing.

With breathtaking views of the peaks, the two spectacular mountain courses are pure joy to play. Glaze Meadow, which reopened in 2012 after an extensive $3.75 million renovation, is one of the most iconic courses in the region. The stunning Big Meadow was honored by GolfWeek in 2013 as one of the “Best Courses You can Play” in Oregon.

This is the place to bring the family, settle in and unwind. You can choose from 120 vacation rentals, ranging from private lodge rooms to luxurious six-bedroom residences, and great group packages. Stay-and-play unlimited golf starts at just $109/night per person.

Black Butte Ranch
Black Butte Ranch, Oregon
866-901-2961, BlackButteRanch.com


Central Oregon Golf Trail

High desert golf, craft brewed beer, deep snow skiing. Those enjoyable activities have all the makings of a memorable vacation or two. Or, if you like, you can experience them all in one day in Central Oregon. Through the end of May, the climate is just right to hit the slopes in the morning, play 18 in the afternoon, and choose between 26 breweries for your evening out. You just might sneak a little fly-fishing into the mix, too. That is the uniqueness of this compact, golf-rich region on the east side of the Cascades that sees much more sunshine and enjoys much drier conditions than the wild Oregonian coast.

Central Oregon is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream (Outdoor Magazine recently rated Bend No. 1 among “America’s Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen.”), and Bend is its hub. From there you will be within easy reach of world-class golf courses and the region’s celebrated outdoor pursuits. You will also be right in the epicenter of a burgeoning craft beer industry.

At the core of the golf experience in Central Oregon, you’ll find five unforgettable courses set on some of the most beautiful and diverse landscape anywhere. All created by names like David McLay Kidd, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Jack Nicklaus. And all regularly ranked among the greatest courses in the country.

You can play links-style at Tetherow or a Jack Nicklaus Signature at Pronghorn; wind through high desert canyons at Brasada Ranch or take in the spectacular mountain views at Black Butte Ranch. Your trip won’t be complete, though, without a round at Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Club, a magnificent heathland-style course that is No. 28 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s Top 100 Greatest Courses.

With the economy on the upswing, capital improvements are underway all around the region that will add to the pleasure of your visit. The 50-room Tetherow Lodge opens in April and ground has been broken on a new hotel for Pronghorn, now owned by Auberge Resorts.

Your guide to all the fun is the Central Oregon Visitors Association. They have access to more than two-dozen of the area’s golf courses and a golf concierge (888-280-3336) who will customize a package for you or your group.

While peak season is Memorial Day through Labor Day, most courses are already open. If you have skiing on your mind, as well as golf, the next few months are the time to be here. 

Central Oregon Golf Trail
888-280-3336, GolfCentralOregon.com

Pronghorn

Looking for a sure bet for your next golf adventure? Start with one of the most scenic locations in the country set amidst one of the oldest juniper forests in the world. Add in side-by-side Jack Nicklaus Signature and Tom Fazio Championship Courses, a region that serves up some of the world’s greatest craft beers, and world-class outdoor activities. Welcome to Pronghorn, an Auberge Resort, a destination golf club and resort just outside Bend in Central Oregon. While the Fazio is reserved for members, resort guests can play the Nicklaus Course. Ranked No. 28 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses, the layout is a high-desert gem boasting magnificent views of nine snow-capped Cascade Mountain peaks. Those panoramic views can be enjoyed from the luxury accommodations along the 18th hole. The 48 residences, in one- and four-bedroom configurations, are perfect for buddy trips or couples. Ryan Dunning, who came here from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort last year, focuses on golf groups and providing a world-class experience for golfers. During the shoulder season, May to June, you will find tremendous value packages including Stay and Play or extended Unlimited Play options on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Unbelievably, the experience is about to get even better. They break ground next month on the first phase of the 105-room Huntington Lodge and expanded Spa at Pronghorn, to be completed in the spring of 2015.

Pronghorn
Bend, Oregon
866-320-5024, PronghornClub.com

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