“This is not all about golf,” is inscribed in a stone marker at the 5th tee box of Sun Valley Resort’s White Clouds golf course, words spoken by the Resort’s owner to commemorate his vision when he dedicated the parcel of land for the golf course. While the Sun Valley area is certainly not all about golf, it’s certainly holding its own in the department with three Sun Valley golf courses—Trail Creek, White Clouds, and Elkhorn—as well as Bigwood and The Valley Club courses. Read on to learn about which style of course will suit your fancy and which clubs have the best afternoon drinks and bites to soak up rays after hitting the links.
Sun Valley Resort
The Sun Valley Resort is home to three golf courses, each with their own terrain and appeal. Combined, these three courses offer up a total of 45 holes with two driving ranges and putting practice putting opportunities. Sun Valley golf was most recently recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Best Courses in the PNW.
The Trail Creek golf course is located at the Sun Valley Club House and is the resort’s signature course. The 18-hole course was designed by Robert Trend Jones, Jr. in 1980 and features a complement of stream carries and bunkers. Covering a span of 6,968 yards, players will cross Trail Creek seven times on the front nine alone and gorgeous views of the mountains can be seen from anywhere on the course. After a game, head to the Clubhouse wraparound terrace for some sun for some cocktails or lunch. The clubhouse is open until 5pm and also includes a pro shop, locker rooms, club storage and club rental as well as an 18-hole putting course.
The newest addition to Sun Valley Resort’s golf courses, this 9-hole, 3,605-yard course gives 360-degree wrap-around views of some of the best sites in the Valley including Bald Mountain, Dollar Mountain, the Pioneer Mountains, Angel’s Perch, Devil’s Bedstead and the home of Ernest Hemingway. Par is 36 for the White Clouds alpine links-style course located on a 135-acre parcel full of sand trap shots, side-hill lies, risk reward and blind shots.
The oldest of Sun Valley Resort’s golf courses was opened in 1974 and created by father/son team Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. who tailored their portion of the course to their liking: Jones Senior designed the front nine which is quite hilly while Jones Junior designed the back nine which follows a creek and has a water hazard on every hole but one. The 7,214-yard, 18-hole course received an extensive renovation in 2004 with the club reopening in 2005 and being acquired by Sun Valley in July 2011. The club has memberships but resort guests also have access to a course with over 100 sand traps and bunkers, sure to test any golfer. Elkhorn Golf Club offers après-golf amenities including restaurant, bar and patio in its 16,000 square foot clubhouse.
The Bigwood Golf Course was built in 1971 by Robert Muir Graves, ASGCA and has provided visitors with a fabulous 9-hole course, driving range, and attached bar & grill ever since. At 3,415 yards, beginners and experts alike will find something to enjoy. And for adults or juniors looking to improve their abilities, private lessons and clinics are available, taught by Elyse Smidinger, LPGA teaching and club professional. Students will use the driving range, practice greens, playing lessons and a virtual golf simulator to up their game. Carts and clubs are available for rent and season passes are available for individuals, couples, juniors, and carts.
After playing a game, head to the adjacent Bigwood Grill, an outdoor restaurant with views of Baldy, Warm Springs, Adam’s Gulch, the Boulders and Boulder Peak. Open for lunch and dinner from June through late September, the Grill features a full service bar with daily Happy Hour drink and food specials from 3-5pm.
(photo via Keller Williams)
The Valley Club
If you’re lucky enough to know a member of the Valley Club, use the chance to experience the 27 holes of exceptional golf at the only private golf club in the greater Sun Valley area. When the Valley Club opened in 1996, it included 18 holes of golf designed by Hale Irwin and the West Nine were added in 2007, designed by renowned golf course architect, Tom Fazio. Valley Club access also includes use of the state-of-the-art clubhouse and recreation center amenities including swimming pools and six tennis courts. Dress codes for golfing are strictly enforced so check out the Valley Club’s website for more details.
We hope to see you out there creating your own “Cinderella Story.” 😉