A look at courses in and around Spokane

Updated: August 3, 2020

Golfers from around the Northwest have long known about the high quality golf in and around Spokane. Not only are the courses superb but the prices are also below any of the other metropolitan areas in the northwest region. 

With the addition of nearby Idaho courses like Circling Raven, StoneRidge and Priest Lake, the reputation is growing in national awareness of the Spokane area. 

The City of Spokane owns four popular courses in Indian Canyon, The Creek at Qualchan, Downriver and Esmeralda. They are all popular and all are affordable. These are places that are good on your wallet and fun every time you tee it up.

Spokane County, the other municipal course owner, has Hangman Valley, MeadowWood and Liberty Lake, all are excellent courses that can be played for around $35.  Liberty Lake underwent a year and a half re-model and looks new with a re-designed front nine and new tees, greens bunkers and a new irrigation system.

Here’s a quick look at the Spokane courses and what you face when you tee it up in the Inland Empire:

• Indian Canyon: At 6,255 yards might appear, on paper at least, to be a short course, but with tight fairways, major elevation changes and bunker-guarded greens, it’s anything but easy. Indian Canyon continues to be one of the top courses in the Northwest. The course also hosts the annual Rosauers Invitational.

• The Creek at Qualchan: This course gets your attention right out of the gate with it’s elevation changes, tight dog-legs and greens that can be protected by water. Numerous bunkers are sculpted into the sides of steep hills. 

• Esmeralda: A popular course for the locals, it plays to 6,250 yards. Over 65,000 rounds are played each year at the course they call “Essie.”

• Downriver: One of the most popular in-town courses. Downriver’s fairways are dwarfed by century-old pine trees that makes playing amongst them seem almost surreal.

• Hangman Valley: Course got its name from the infamous 1858 Battle of Steptoe when U.S. Soldiers captured Native Americans and hanged 13 chiefs. The course opened in 1969 and features some great par-5 holes. Like so many of the other courses in the area, elevation changes and tall trees play a significant part in this challenging course.

• MeadowWood: Designed by the legendary golf architect Robert Muir Graves, who made his mark in golf course design by producing difficult, but fair, courses. This is one of the top challenges in the area and was awarded four stars by Golf Digest magazine. It sits across the street from Liberty Lake Golf Course.

• Liberty Lake: The course underwent a major rebuild in 2008 and 2009 and reopened in 2010. The course was closed for more than a year and a major redesign produced a different look for the course, including new ponds, bunkers, tees and more. A new set of tees was added to virtually every hole and new trees were brought in. Fescue was planted on the front side. A new irrigation system was also added and keeps the course in terrific shape year round.

• Wandermere: The course opened the first 9 holes in 1931 and boasts one of the largest memberships in the region. While the overall design is dated some holes have been updated.

• Fairways at West Terrace: Located in Cheney, winds are usually the biggest challenge at this course, which measures 6,390 yards. A goal post is located in the middle of the driving range, providing an interesting target when practicing or warming up.

• Trail Head at Liberty Lake: Executive-length golf course near MeadowWood and Liberty Lake Golf Course. A relatively flat course, it measures just over 2,500 yards with multiple tees.

• Painted Hills: Bought by the McElhinny family in 2006, the Painted Hills Golf Course was built in 1989 originally as a nine-hole championship golf course. Since then Chester Creek Par 3 has been added to the property.

• Pineacres: One of the most popular places for golfers in the Spokane area to practice. The course is short, at 970 yards and is a par 27 but still gives you the chance for some solid practice.

• Manito Country Club: Manito is one of the oldest courses in the Pacific Northwest, having opened for play in 1917. The course has hosted some of the biggest events in the Northwest and hosted the 1945 PGA Championship.

• Kalispel Golf and Country Club: Opened in 1911, the course is the third oldest in the Pacific Northwest after Tacoma Country and Golf Club and Waverly Country Club. The course hosted the first-ever United States Women’s Open in 1946. The course underwent a bankruptcy sale when it was known as the Spokane Golf and Country Club. The Kalispel Indian Tribe stepped into to buy the club, changed the name and offers some public tee times. Other changes have happened on and off the course as an ongoing effort to upgrade the facility. The Kalispel Indian Tribe also owns the Northern Quest Casino in Spokane which also has a hotel and more.