Coeur d’Alene Resort Floating Green

Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf: Yep, the Floating Green is Really Cool

It’s only natural that the more you fall in love with golf, the more you begin to begin to get curious about what it would be like to play at some of the sport’s most iconic venues.

Pebble Beach, Winged Foot, TPC Sawgrass – just to name a few of the most visible courses out there.

But tucked away in a beautiful little corner of the Pacific Northwest resides a course not known for its PGA Tour pedigree, or for its impenetrability to the average golfer, but rather for one unique trait: the floating green.

Even those who aren’t diehard golfers have usually heard of, or seen a photo of the iconic 14th hole at Coeur d’Alene resort.

It’s the world’s first and only movable island green (not to be confused with the natural island green at Punta Mita). Its distance can be adjusted to anywhere from a short wedge, to a brutal long iron. To get there, you take a short cruise on a boat known as the “Putter”.

Combine this all together and you have an experience, that truly is unlike any I’ve had in my golf travels.

Teeing off at the Floating Green.

Teeing off at the Floating Green.

And while it might be the admittedly-gimmicky 14th hole that draws you out to Idaho to play it, once you’re there, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the Coeur d’Alene has a lot more to offer in terms of memorability than a single par 3.

What exactly? And is it worth taking a trip out to visit yourself? Read on to find out.

Check out my Instagram Story from Coeur d’Alene Resort.

First Impressions of Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course

My first trip to Coeur d’Alene was way back in 2013 when this blog was still in it’s infancy. The Resort course became one of the very first top 100 public courses I played, and Black Rock was the first truly world class private course I tee’d it up at.

We booked that round on the Floating Green six weeks before playing, and unfortunately were met with a torrential downpour for the duration of the round. You can read about it here.

So I was excited to get back out to see it again with 7 extra years of golf travel under my belt.

We were staying at the CDA Casino which features Circling Raven, and it was an easy 30 minute drive over to the CDA Resort (similar names, different resorts).

Aside from it’s famous green, there are a few other features that make Coeur d’Alene unique and you feel it as soon as you show up at the course.

First off, the carts are embellished with some extra nautical touches that give them a unique look. (In the past they even had heated seats, although ours wasn’t equipped with one this go around.)

The course also features one of the only ranges I’ve seen where you hit balls into the water. It was surprisingly enjoyable, and each splash was a nice visual representation signaling where the ball landed.

Another unique feature is the complimentary 10 minute pre-round massage with each tee time. 

If only every morning started with a chair massage on a sunny day while overlooking a beautiful lake…

These are small things, but they had up to one of the most fun and memorable resort experiences I’ve had in golf.

A “Friendly” Experience

When you think about many of the highly ranked resort courses out there like TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, Pinehurst #2 – they’re well, not exactly easy.

Coeur d’Alene is the opposite. 

On my previous visit I said:

For once in my life I felt like the golf course was trying to help me play better.  The fairways and greens often seemed to funnel inward, giving me more lucky bounces than I’m typically accustomed to.

Years later, this is just as true as ever.

The course isn’t overly long, the greens are forgiving, and you can tell the course wants you to shoot your best round ever.

Much to the chagrin of my friend and opponent for the day Jeff, they also have some of the most friendly local rules imaginable.

Like what? Like one of the only places I can remember that provides free drops if you hit it in certain areas of foliage.

Coeur d'Alene Hole 6

Any shot in the bushes on the right hand side is a free drop. I could get used to this…

I’m going to maintain that this had nothing to do with the fact that this day is the only time I’ve ever beaten Jeff in a round…

The course is in impeccable condition, so when you factor all of these things together – you’re treated to something truly special.

For once in my life I felt like the golf course was trying to help me play better.  The fairways and greens often seemed to funnel inward, giving me more lucky bounces than I’m typically accustomed to.

Is the CDA Resort Golf Course Actually Good?

I’ve been asked by a lot of people around the country if playing Coeur d’Alene is actually worth it.

Sure they’ve got a floating green, but at just over $200 the round isn’t exactly cheap – especially when you factor in getting to Coeur d’Alene.

Short answer? Yes, the course is very good – as long as you know what to expect.

First off, I think Coeur d’Alene Resort has one of the most fun sets of par 3s in golf.

I might like the par 3, 5th even more than the Floating Green!

Coeur d Alene Resort Hole 3

The par 3, 3rd hole along the water is great.

It’s unique in that there are 3 par 3s within the first 6 holes, but they’re each different and fun to play. On any other course any one of them would be the signature hole.

The course can be pretty tight at times, in stark contrast to the other top public course down the street Circling Raven, which feels very big.

Sometimes this lends itself to some very fun shots. The tee shots on the dogleg lefts 4 and 7 are examples of this.

Coeur d'Alene Hole 7

The tee shot on 7.

The course also provides great scoring opportunities. I actually drove my tee shot over the green on the short par 4 17th hole, and Jeff had a short pitch for a double eagle on the par 5, 15th.

I made the most of one of these chances with a birdie on the opening hole.

Coeur d Alene Resort Hole 2

The second is a good example of how tight some of the holes can get.

There are a handful of pedestrian holes on the course, but overall I was really pleased to see how much I enjoyed Coeur d’Alene the second time around. 

I was curious if my thoughts of the place would be lessened since I’ve been so many other places – but fortunately I was pleased to find the course just as enjoyable, if not more so than my round all those years ago,

The Floating Green Experience

Everything leading up to the 14th hole at Coeur d’Alene Resort is filled with hints of anticipation. And when you get there, it definitely boils over.

The green is bigger and easier to hit than you think. However if you add some wind and put it at its max distance, it can certainly present a challenge.

After hitting your shot, you board the “Putter” for a one minute ride out to the green.

The “Putter” Boat.

It’s quirky, but one of the only places in golf where you get to take a boat out to the green.

Again, I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed the hole thing. Gimmicky? Yes. Memorable? Absolutely.

After holing out, the Skipper will ask you what you shot, and prepare you a Certificate of Completion for your round.

This along with the personalized bag tag you get for the round are more examples of small touches that make this such a great resort experience.

You might expect the boat ride to slow the round down significantly, but it really doesn’t add much time. Being a Resort course, you can probably expect to be playing in 4.5 to 5 hours most rounds, but we were on the low end of that on a crowded Friday morning and the 14th really didn’t play a whole lot longer than your typical par 3.

Coeur d'Alene Resort Floating Green

Should You Visit Coeur d’Alene Resort?

Overall, I was very impressed with the Resort course. If you’ve read my previous reviews or have seen my top 100 list, you know I value fun golf. 

The 13th at Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course.

The 13th at Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.

This is the epitome of that. Sure it’s not the most architecturally impressive course, but it makes up for this in memorable holes and experiences – which is far more important to most golfers.

I didn’t stay at the CDA Resort this go around, but its proximity to the town and the lake make it a wonderful home base if you’re willing to spend a few bucks to do it. If not, the Casino Resort has very nice rooms in the Spa Tower, and if you do make the trek to Idaho then you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice to not go play Circling Raven while you’re there.

I was bummed our Eighty Club event here was canceled due to COVID, but I’m excited to make it happen at some point in the future. It truly is a special place, and one of the most underrated golf destinations in the country.

Questions about visiting? Drop them in the comments!

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