Fantasy Golf in Coeur d’Alene

20 05 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Woke up to an absolutely beautiful day here – not a cloud in the sky.  When we looked at the weather report several days ago it said that today would be 73 and sunny.  We were originally scheduled to play CDA Golf on Monday and Circling Raven today.  I called and switched them hoping the forecast was correct.  I wanted our day at Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort to be as good as possible.  Turned out to be a great move.

We drug up my 10lb weights from the car last night so I was forced into using them for my workout this morning.  Tough one. I am happy to be sticking with it, though.  I plan on EATING on the Alaska cruise…

We are going to be fixing our bison/elk steaks tonight and need some fixin’s to go with so we make a stop at the grocery to pick up spinach, mushrooms and couscous.  One more stop at ‘Bucks and we are on our way to the course. Our GPS (Lexi) desperately wants us to get on the interstate, but we  ignore her and wind our way through the center of town.  It is very nice and there are glimpses of the lake along the way.  Finally, we reach our destination.

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The guard at the gate is a friendly, talkative sort.  If he is any indication of the personnel we will encounter, then we are in for a great day.  Oh yes.  As we make our way up the winding road to the clubhouse there is a girl with a huge smile on her face beckoning us to drive towards her.  Turns out she is the Valet!  I like this already.  She greets us by name and then introduces us to our Forecaddie – Peter.

Meeting Peter

Meeting Peter

The carts are also “souped up.”  They have heated seats (not needed today), tilt steering wheels and several hidden storage compartments.  High style.

A word about using the forecaddie.  You don’t have a choice here and really for good reason.  They want to have a smooth pace of play without players looking for balls all over.  They want you to have a positive experience and the caddie helps by filling divots, cleaning clubs, giving yardages, suggesting how to play each hole, raking bunkers, reading greens and in general being your cheering section.  We have both played with a forecaddie just a few times and it can be intimidating unless you relax and realize that he/she is on your side. We are really lucky today because we are a twosome and do not have to share Peter with two others.

Whenever you read or hear about The Coeur d’Alene Golf Course the first thing that comes to mind is the famous Floating Green.  It is the highly anticipated and much feared 14th hole par 3.  We see it immediately upon exiting the pro shop. It sends shivers up my spine.

The Famous Floating Green

The Famous Floating Green

I try to put it out of my mind as Peter leads us to the “driving range.”

Peter packing our bags to the range.

Peter packing our bags to the range.

This has got to be the most unusual and fun range I have ever seen:

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Yes.  You hit range balls (floating balls!) out into the lake! So cool. I usually don’t even like to go to the range, but this was fun. (Yes, Lesia – I am wearing the shirt you made me buy and I LOVE it!)

We made sure to get here in plenty of time to soak up the ambience.  After chipping and putting I indulge in the complimentary sports massage!  The masseuse is set up with a massage chair outside under an umbrella.  We should have this service at Painted Mountain.  Great way to relax before hitting the links.

Peter keeps tabs on the time and gently lets us know when we need to move to the first tee.  He tells us he is a student at Arizona State University (!) and caddies at TPC Scottsdale during the winter.  We hit it off immediately.  He is easygoing and very positive. The intimidation factor is nil with him.

Discussing strategy

Discussing strategy

The course is cart path only so that the fairways stay pristine.  They are beautifully maintained and the surroundings are spectacular on every hole. The routine soon becomes clear.  We drive to a tee box.  Peter jumps off and explains the layout of the hole.  He suggests to Rich where to hit his tee shot.  Rich does what Peter says (mostly).  Peter and I walk to my tee box and he suggests where to hit my tee shot.  I do what Peter says (mostly).  Sometimes he literally runs down the fairway so that he can retrieve any lost balls (we each only lost one all day).

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After just a few holes, Peter has figured out pretty much how we hit our clubs (big draw for Rich, baby draw for me) and our yardages.  He then begins to suggest which club for us to use depending on yardage, wind and the slope of the green.  It is awesome.

One we are on the green he reads marks and cleans our balls, tends the flag and reads greens for us if we want (we want). He is so encouraging with every shot – even the bad ones.  We are relaxed and loving it.

"What do you think this putt is going to do?"

“What do you think this putt is going to do?”

The holes are absolutely beautiful.  Each one is a treat.  Most of them have some kind of view of Lake Coeur d’Alene.  It is such a pleasure to discover what is around every corner.

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Wow.  An awesome par 3.

Wow. An awesome par 3.

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I got very used to playing a club and then turning around and handing it to Peter.  Do you think I can get someone to do that for me at home?  Rich says he wants to bring a personal caddie to Painted Mountain…

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We finally come to the 14th Floating Green par 3.  Rich’s yardage was 147 into the wind and mine was 117.  The green looks postage stamp size when you are on the tee box.  Rich goes first and nails his shot.  Bingo!  Just barely off the green in the fringe.

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

What in the heck am I going to do with this?

What in the heck am I going to do with this?

The club choice is made

The club choice is made

The pressure is on.  Peter suggests I use a 120 club, but I told him I feel more comfortable with my 105 (Beastie) club.  He says to go for it.  I do and barely clear the water rolling up to pin high! We are both on the green and are stoked.

Yay!  We did it!

Yay! We did it!

All we wanted to do was to be on dry land.  NOW all we want to do is par the hole… A little boat is waiting to take us to the island.  The captain of The Putter is waiting with a smile.

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We are giddy heading over to the green. This is too sweet.

Now the real work begins.  We both have tough shots to get to the pin.  All we have to do is get it close with our 2nd shot and then tap it in for par. Rich is off the green and chips it very close.

Fantastic chip

Fantastic chip

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“Just get it close” You can see how close Rich’s ball is.

I tighten up on my first putt and leave it too long with my par putt. I have left myself a knee-knocker.  I can feel the tension from Peter as I attempt my putt.

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Ball is tracking right to the hole!

Yes!  I made it!  No the pressure is on Rich.  He steps up to his ball and sinks it like a pro.  We BOTH parred the Floating Green and are thrilled. Back on the boat we both get great certificates stating that we parred the 14th hole! Peter is genuinely happy for us.  He says that about 60% of players hit the water on their first ball.

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The rest of the round is great and we are truly sad when it is over.  Rich was so into it that he didn’t even realize when we were at 18.

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After the round we have drinks at the Floating Green restaurant and watch all the other “Goobs” shooting for the 14th green.  Such a fantastic spot – we could stay here the rest of the afternoon.

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I am not leaving here without shopping in their Pro Shop.  They have the most incredible collection of women’s golfwear I have ever seen.  Other pro shops should take note.  We both purchase a couple of items before heading home.

We have our elk/bison steaks waiting for us tonight.  I fix the sides (spinach with mushrooms/couscous) and Rich prepares the steaks.  He sprinkles Magic Dust (from home) on them, pan sears them and finishes them in the oven.

Rich is slaving away while Linda relaxes

Rich is slaving away while Linda relaxes

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While the steaks are sitting, we enjoy the weather by having Happy Hour on our patio.

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Someone has to get back to work on dinner:

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What a fantastic plate:

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The Voice finals are on tv, we are having an awesome dinner, the view is incredible, we are together and we just had what is probably my favorite round of golf ever – does it really ever get any better?

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7 responses

22 05 2014
Janet

Wow! Congrats on parting the floating green. That looked like fun … After you get over the terror! What’s the verdict on the bison vs elk?

22 05 2014
Janel

I have exactly the same question: bison or elk?

22 05 2014
Linda

ELK. Bison was delicious, but a lot tougher than the elk. So glad we tried them both.

23 05 2014
Rich

I concur. Bison more robust beefy flavor. The elk just sublime, more tender and the perfect touch of gameyness.

22 05 2014
Trish

Ok Questions first Tom wants to know if the 4 Caddie fishes for the balls if you don’t make 14? I want to know….is there a drop on 14? Last….did you get a hat? I will be so jealous when I see that hat….miss you….

22 05 2014
Linda

Haha. They told us they hire a diver to retrieve all the balls. Last year they retrieved 30,000!! Glad we didn’t add to that total. Not sure if there is a drop. He told us they let you play 2 balls (probably only 2 or some would be there all day).
Of course I got a hat (and a jacket). Girl’s trip to Idaho?
Miss you.

10 09 2014
Pefect Day in Palm Beach | The Right Road

[…] The driving range is cool – you hit your balls into the water just like we had at Coeur d’Alene in May. (Read about it HERE). […]

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