best golf course

Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

In Sun Valley,
a golfer's paradise

Resort's links boast views and top-notch facilities.
Jeff Cordes

The jewel of Sun Valley Resort's summer offerings is a golf course that dates back 76 years and has expanded in recent years to include 45 holes. It has the magnificent backdrop of Bald Mountain as a constant beacon sharing the celebration of well-executed golf shots. Baldy also provides a soothing sight for shots that don't go as well.

Thirty years ago, USA Today newspaper took a poll of national golf course architects and found that Sun Valley Golf Course was ranked among America's finest, due to its "natural beauty, design aesthetics, drama and subtlety, fairness and how well it plays." And, if anything, the course has improved. Last fall, Golf Digest ranked Sun Valley among the top 75 resort golf courses in all of North America.

Valley residents apparently agree—Sun Valley's golf facilities have been voted the best in the region in 2014.

Most importantly, Sun Valley Golf Course welcomes visitors and locals alike. Whether you're a beginner golfer or low-handicapper, you are welcome at the public golf course. The addition of the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course has been extremely popular with families. You can play Virtual Golf indoors all year long.

"Our motto is, 'Service, service, service,'" said Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Resort director of marketing and public relations. "We treat all our guests the same. We have a variety of golf passes available at a variety of prices, and the variety of products we offer gives us a chance to speak to many parts of the public."

Director of Golf Jeffrey Peterson, left, and golf pro Dominick Conti prepare to welcome guests to the Sun Valley Resort golf clubhouse.
Photo by Roland Lane

First designed by William Bell as a nine-hole course in 1938, the Sun Valley Golf Course was expanded to 18 holes in the early 1960s. New Sun Valley Resort owner Earl Holding loved the sound of the Trail Creek water and the sight of existing trees, so he immediately beautified the Sun Valley Golf Course by planting thousands of trees in the late 1970s—just adding to breathtaking views of Baldy.

Noted course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. re-designed the 18-hole Sun Valley Golf Course in 1980. That course is now called the Trail Creek Championship Course, 6,968 yards of challenge that perfectly complements the nine-hole, 3,605-yard White Clouds ridge course that debuted in 2009. The courses emanate from a 58,000-square-foot clubhouse that welcomes the public with terraces, dining areas and locker rooms. There is a 25-acre practice facility with a driving range that hits toward Baldy.

Elkhorn Golf Club, originally opened in 1974 as a 7,200-yard test of your golfing skills, was acquired by Sun Valley Resort in July 2011. Elkhorn Golf Club retains its memberships, but Sun Valley Resort guests have access to the course and its new 16,000-square-foot clubhouse. It has given Sun Valley its current tally of 45 holes.

Group outings and conventions are very popular at Sun Valley Golf Course—and it's been that way for nearly three-quarters of a century. Foursomes from all over southern Idaho and the Intermountain region make their way to Sun Valley for annual golfing trips. They are known and welcomed by the front-line staff. They enjoy the views, the dry weather, the altitude that boosts their shot distance and the hospitality of the valley.

"We're proud of all our return guests, local, regionally or nationally," said Sibbach.

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