Unusual track at Bryden Canyon a joy to play
Okay, there are some quirky holes on this 6,359-yard, par-71 course that is owned by the Lewiston airport and leased to the city.
The 270-yard par-4 first, which plays downhill to a plateau green and leaves anyone unable to reach it off the tee with a completely blind second shot, and the nasty par-4 third, with its aiming bullseye that is rumored to be somewhere near the middle of the fairway, are the first to come to mind.
But if you loosen the reins on your imagination just a bit – and rent a cart to ease the pain of the many uphill treks from green to next tee – Bryden Canyon can be a blast. The greens, when we played, were small, fast and smooth. And the assortment of holes, which includes the 215-yard, par-2 17th that plays up a steep incline to a wide, narrow green, is both interesting and entertaining.
With three sets of tees on each hole, golfers can dial up the severity of their challenge, but none will be torturously long.
From the back tees, only two of the par-4s play longer that 400 yards, and all three of the par-5s are reachable in two – especially for the long hitters. That makes the strength of the course its four par-3s, which all stretch more than 180 yards from the tips and demand mid- to long-iron accuracy off the tee.
Located in the Lewis and Clark Valley, which receives an average of only nine inches of rain per year, Bryden Canyon is open year-round and serves as a natural early season destination for snowbound Spokane-area golfers.
Steve Milholland, who directs Bryden’s golf operations, admits, however, that winter and early spring traffic from Spokane course has been negatively impacted by the growth of the Tri-Cities and the improvements to the highways leading there.
“With the four-lane road they have now, it takes almost the same time for Spokane people living on the South Hill to get to there as it does for them to get here,” Milholland explained. “But relative to the rest of the country, we still offer a pretty affordable golf course.
“And I guess the other feedback I get is that Bryden Canyon is just a fun course with some nice views that is a little more difficult than it looks for a public course of its length because of the greens, elevation changes and unlevel lies.”
Among Bryden Canyon’s best holes are the 534-yard, par-5 second that plays south to north to a green that affords majestic views of the Lewiston Grade and confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers in the valley below.
Milholland said he also gets plenty of favorable comments about the 184-yard third hole, the shortest of the par-3s, which plays along a ridge at the lowest part of the course.