A Moveable Feast
The famed Floating Green at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho is truly one of a kind
Is the 17th at TPC Sawgrass not enough of a challenge for you? If that’s the case, you may want to head to northern Idaho and try your luck at Coeur a’Alene Resort’s 14th hole, which features the world’s only moveable floating green.
This aquatic highlight of the par-71, 6,803-yard layout—built in 1991 on the site of a former sawmill—was the brainchild of resort owner Duane Hagadone. A 2,500-square-foot, 22,000-ton design, the putting surface sits atop an intricate barge-like structure. Underwater steel cables, seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, keep the green firmly in place and can be retracted or played out from a subterranean control room. With the click of a button, the hole’s distance can be adjusted anywhere from 100 yards to 270 yards (the norm is 140 to 170). Resort guests playing multiple rounds can’t rest on their laurels: The length of the hole is changed daily.
The backdrop for this extra-buoyant tee shot is equally impressive. The green (plus its two bunkers and three pine trees) floats atop beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, the second-largest lake in northern Idaho, at over 26 miles long. In the winter, bald eagles migrate to the lake to feed on spawning salmon, an event that attracts hordes of tourists.
Visitors can also spot the occasional eagle in the warmer months. Since the course’s opening in 1991, there have been 63 holes-in-one on the 14th. Many more folks, however, experience failure than success on the hole, as between 20,000 and 30,000 golf balls are fished from the lake every year. Regardless of where your ball ends up, you are assured of leaving with a memento: Every golfer who completes the 14th hole receives a signed certificate of achievement.
Merely arriving at the green feels like a small achievement in its itself. Unlike at TPC Sawgrass, Coeur d’Alene golfers cannot simply walk to the putting surface. Instead, a Coast Guard-certified captain ferries players across on a six-passenger boat, optimistically named “Putter.” (Crossing times range from one to three minutes, depending on green location.)
Rounds at Coeur d’Alene Resort start at $75. Visitors can get a taste of what’s to come at the driving range, where floating balls are hit out onto the lake. Extra-nervous golfers can ease their minds with complimentary pre-round massages. The resort, which features a 338-room hotel, also has kayaking, jet skiing, and paddle boarding on offer après golf.
But the one-of-a-kind 14th hole is what the Coeur d’Alene Resort is best known for. It’s an incredible golf bucket list item—and an ideal way for landlubber golfers to get their sea legs.
Photo credits: Courtesy Couer d'Alene Resort