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The Top 15 Public Courses

Following is a list of The Spokesman-Review’s Top 15 golf courses within a 200-mile radius of Spokane that the general public can play. The list, which is cost exclusive, was compiled by staff writers, with input from several area golf professionals. (Green fees guide: $= $25 and under, $$ = $26-$50, $$$ $51-$100, $$$$ = $101 and up):

1. Coeur d’Alene Resort GC, Coeur d’Alene Par: 71 Yardage: 6,309 Green fees: $$$$

Comments: Spectacular scenery, impeccable grooming, world-class amenities and a fair test of golf. Not particularly difficult, but this is the course one needs to play to experience the game at its finest. You pay for the pleasure, however.

2. Desert Canyon Golf Resort, Orondo, Wash. Par: 72 Yardage: 7,293 Green fees: $$

Comments: Long, demanding target-golf layout that closely resembles desert courses of the Southwest. Variety of tee boxes offers challenges for players of all skill levels. Twi-light rates can help frugal golfer hold line on price.

3. Indian Canyon Golf Course, Spokane Par: 72 Yardage: 6,255 Green fees: $

Comments: Still the crown jewel of public municipal courses in the Pacific Northwest. Tight, tree-lined fairways, tricky greens and dramatic changes in terrain compensate for lack of length and reward the true shotmakers.

4. Predator Ridge Golf Resort, Vernon, British Columbia Par: 73 Yardage: 7,156 Green fees: $$

Comments: Unique combination of mountain and desert terrain add to allure of a long, testy layout offering gorgeous scenery, serene atmosphere and a variety of holes. There’s an opportunity to use every club in your bag.

5. MeadowWood Golf Course, Liberty Lake Par: 72 Yardage: 6,846 Green fees: $

Comments: Wide expanses of beautifully manicured green grass, rolling mounds, water and large, inviting greens give this relatively new municipal course a resort-like atmosphere. Finishing holes are fantastic.

6. Trickle Creek Golf Resort, Kimberley, B.C. Par: 72 Yardage: 6,896 Green fees: $$

Comments: Opened in 1993, this long, demanding mountain layout ranks as one of the best bargains in western Canada and has plenty of potential to mature into a Top-5 course. Play for position off the tee - and hope.

7. Eagle Bend Golf Course, Bigfork, Mont. Par: 72 Yardage: 6,639 Green fees: $$

Comments: Scenery so splendid it tends to overshadow a championship layout that offers an interesting variety of holes, plenty of trees, water and sand and excellent conditioning. Course rewards accuracy off the tee.

8. Apple Tree Golf Course, Yakima Par: 72 Yardage: 6,892 Green fees: $$

Comments: Another relatively new course traditionally designed with great promise of improving with age. Five sets of tees add to variety of holes, several of which are cut through apple orchards. Scenery, grooming are splendid.

9. The Creek at Qualchan, Spokane Par: 72 Yardage: 6,577 Green fees: $ Comments: So many new courses, so few places in the Top Ten. But Qualchan, despite early problems with greens, sneaks in as one of the most interesting and diverse municipal courses in the state. Great holes, lurking disasters abound.

10. Canyon Lakes, Kennewick Par: 72 Yardage: 6,973 Green fees: $

Comments: Bring every club you can carry and plan to use them all on this long, tournament-tough course that boasts large, tricky greens, hazards galore and a diversity of holes that combine to offer a superb test of golf at a decent price.

11. Hidden Lakes, Sandpoint Par: 71 Yardage: 6,655 Green fees: $$

Comments: Water comes into play on a host of holes on this exacting 10-year-old layout that puts a premium on shot placement. Setting is idyllic and rapidly maturing course seems to blend perfectly with natural surroundings.

12. Hangman Valley, Spokane Par: 72 Yardage: 6,904 Green fees: $

Comments: Recovery from recent flood damage has been remarkable on this long, tough layout that features demanding par-3s and a couple of torturously long par-5s. Exhausting uphill walks to several tee boxes.

13. Whitefish Lake (North) Golf Club, Whitefish, Mont. Par: 72 Yardage: 6,556 Green fees: $+

Comments: Extremely picturesque, this recently renovated traditional layout features tree-line fairways, plenty of bunkers and Big Mountain ski hill as a backdrop. South course is less mature, but also offers great challenge.

14. Shoshone Golf Course, Osburn, Idaho Par: 36 Yardage: 3, 135 Green fees: $

Comments: The only 9-hole course to make the list, this undiscovered gem offers an unhurried, resort-like atmosphere and a fair but surprisingly tough challenge - all enhanced by a beautiful mountain setting.

15. Stoneridge Golf Club, Blanchard, Idaho Par: 72 Yardage: 6,522 Green fees: $

Comments: Enjoyable resort course that features slick greens, sand, water, trees and rough that eats up golf balls and good scores when its allowed to grow teeth. Uncrowded with several tough, imaginative holes.

, DataTimes

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