Grade “A” Architecture

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Circling Raven Golf Club
Posted on
April 21, 2020
M. James Ward in , ,
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Architecture - Circling Raven GC, Idaho

4th Hole / 406 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Gene Bates (2003)
Worley, Idaho

One of the most unique elements in golf course architecture is the usage of split fairways. This concept provides golfers with clear choices -- a safer route and one quite risky. The issue for the player is determining which route works best for the level of ability they possess. Split fairway holes require a weighing of the risk/reward dynamics and mandate the player determine what type of execution strategy to pursue.

David Christenson, PGA Director of Golf outlines the key considerations when stepping onto the tee.

"The strategy of the hole forces you to make a decision off the tee with a split fairway and bunkers lining the middle section of the hole. Generally plays into the wind, making the hole longer than the stated yardage. The smart play is to hit onto the high right side of the fairway. This route allows for more forgiveness if the ball is mishit. Conversely, playing down the left side leaves you a shorter distance for the approach shot, but the view of the green becomes diminished, as the left side of the fairway is below the green. Going left off the tee also brings wetlands into play, as they loom along that side of the fairway.

Architecture - Circling Raven GC, Idaho

With a well struck drive, right center, golfers are well positioned to attack the hole, with a pin location located middle to right. Don’t be tempted to take it at the flag with a left hole position as the swirling winds may pull the ball in to the wetlands from the elevated approach. Leaving this hole with par is a worthy accomplishment. In addition to the savvy strategic nuances, the hole is also compelling for its aesthetic, with bunkers bisecting the landing areas. The wetlands provides a natural “border,” and the expansive views of the Palouse Region terrain beyond the green." 

Superior holes, like the 4th, leave an indelible memorable experience and engage golfers for a return encounter.

Circling Raven is located in the panhandle of Idaho -- roughly 50 minutes east of Spokane, Washington and is an amenity of Coeur-d'Alene Casino Resort and Hotel. The facility is owned and operated by the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe. Located in Worley, Idaho -- the tribal reservation land spans 345,000 acres.


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Photo courtesy of Brian Oar

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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