Golf in and around Spokane

Updated: August 1, 2011

PDF Golf Map – Spokane Area

Golfers from around the Northwest have long known about the high quality of golf in and around Spokane. Not only are the courses superb but also the prices are below any of the other metropolitan areas in the region.
With the addition of courses like Circling Raven, StoneRidge and Priest Lake, the reputation is growing in national awareness in 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 for less than $30, all are affordable. Any place else, those courses would be over $50 or even higher in some cases.
Spokane County, the other municipal course owner, has Hangman Valley, MeadowWood and Liberty Lake, that are excellent courses that can be played for under $35. In fact, 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 an easy 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 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: After a year and half of being shut down, Liberty Lake Golf Course just outside of Spokane is open for business. And what a transformation the course has undergone. You might not even recognize the place, especially the front nine.

The front nine was altered dramatically during the $6 million renovation, which the design team of Rick Phelps and Kevin Atkinson so imaginatively mapped out prior to the closing of the course and the start of construction work in September 2008.

There were changes to the back nine, but nothing like the front nine. As part of the makeover, the once relatively flat terrain on which the course sits was mounded to create a more modern and refined look. All of the old greens were leveled to make room for 18 new bent-grass putting surfaces that average nearly 7,000 square feet in area – almost 2,000 more than the ones they replaced.

The new greens are huge and also feature an assortment of humps, bumps and other contours that will challenge the short games of golfers at all levels.

And then there’s the water – lots of water – that was added, along with 28 sand traps and about 30 new trees. The new water can be found on the front nine.

The course features at least four sets of tee boxes on each hole and stretches to a formidable 6,607 yards from the tips, which is 234 yards longer that the old layout. The driving range was re-landscaped to mirror the mounded terrain of the course, and the inside of the clubhouse was also remodeled.
About the only thing the folks from Phelps/ Atkinson didn’t alter was par, which remains at an old-school 70.

For information call 509.255.6233.

• 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.

• Sundance: Located away from the downtown Spokane area, Sundance is a perfect place for beginners. It measures 5,900 yards and presents a flat terrain.

• 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.

• Trail Head at Liberty Lake: Executive-length golf course near MeadowWood and Liberty Lake golf course. A relatively flat course that measures just over 2,000 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.

• 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 Pacific Northwest and hosted the 1945 PGA Championship.

• Spokane 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. Course hosted the first-ever U.S. Women’s Open in 1946.

• Deer Park: When the Deer Park Golf Course went on the auction block, head professional Craig Schuh wasn’t sure about job security. But when the city of Deer Park bought the course with the only bid, Schuh did the only things he could think of to do: He offered to run the course with a lease through the city.

The 51-year-old Schuh, who hired on as the PGA head professional at Deer Park Golf Club when it first opened in 1996, remains in that position after agreeing to a 10-year lease of the course. His duties, however, have changed.

“I’m doing pretty much the same thing I’ve been doing for the last 15 years,” said Schuh. “I’m just doing it, now, with my own money – and that can be pretty stressful, not just for me but for the other 30 or so people who were working here when the course was sold.”
When Deer Park Golf Club’s former ownership group, Warren Development, announced it was putting the golf course, adjoining RV park and housing development up for auction, Schuh figured his life might change. But he was hoping to stay on as the head professional under the new owner or owners so he wouldn’t have to uproot his family.

It turned out he got the chance to do just that.

The RV park and housing development were both grabbed up by local investors, and the golf course was purchased by the city of Deer Park, which then went to work arranging a suitable lease with Schuh, who ended up buying all of the course’s existing maintenance equipment and golf carts.
Under his lease agreement, Schuh is responsible for all aspects of the golf course – including its rate structures and the hiring and supervision of the maintenance and pro shop crews. He also oversees the operation of Divots Grill & Sports Bar in the clubhouse, which is still owned by the city, but from which Schuh receives all revenues.

In putting together his staff, which could grow to more than 30 during the peak summer season, Schuh was quick to hire back course superintendent Jim Jensen, who has been at Deer Park since it first opened.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Schuh said of Jensen, “so the condition of the course shouldn’t change at all. And we’re hoping to make it even better.”