Dateline: Sun Valley, Idaho. Saturday afternoon, 4 p.m.
Challenge: Kids ‘bored’. Hours until dinner.
If you ever find yourself in a situation like the one above or something similar (you want a fresh idea for a date, the in-laws are visiting and no one is hiking-ready, or even if you just really want to practice your putting to improve your short game) make your way to the Sawtooth Putting Course at the Sun Valley Club.
Located just beyond the terrace of this wonderful Lodge are a full 18 putting holes that provide surprisingly pretty views of the Trail Creek Golf Course, burbling Trail Creek, Baldy and Dollar Mountain and beyond.
We took to the green with three complete golfing novices, one seasoned player and quite a bit of resistance (“we don’t like golf!”). After Tate fixed us in the Golf Pro Shop with putters, balls and the all-important score card (no golfing shoes or attire required), we made our way to the first hole.
The Sawtooth Putting Course consists of par three holes with varying elevations, curvature and difficulty. (I am definitely one of the novice golfers listed above, so if the nomenclature isn’t correct, please forgive me!). On the first hole, we all did pretty poorly, with everyone but the golfer among us taking about six strokes to find the hole if we found it at all. But even with those first putts, the mood of the group began to shift.
Soon, no one was ‘bored.’ As we progressed through the course, everyone was laughing and cheering each other on. When one of us made the occasional good shot, it was cause for celebration. My daughter ran ‘color commentary’ in the background as we each stepped up to the tee. All in all, it was great fun.
An hour spent on the Sawtooth Putting Course is an affordable, accessible and truly enjoyable way to enjoy time with family or friends. The full service bar at the Sun Valley Club is available if a libation is needed to improve your game or if the kids are thirsty and want a lemonade. The atmosphere on the course is light and I’d put pressure to perform at about a rating of zero.
Our group that Saturday consisted of two adults, a nine-year-old and a 13-year-old, which were great ages for the game. There is certainly no reason younger children can’t putt the afternoon away, though, as the holes are short, the flags easy to spot and even when you take a terrible shot (which we did many times), you can totally get it back together.
I see many more afternoons at the Sawtooth Putting Course in my family’s future this summer. When you have an empty hour (which is hard in Sun Valley, but it does happen), or you are heading for a wonderful dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, the Ram, Gretchen’s, Bald Mountain Pizza or other Resort restaurants, it’s a great pre-dinner experience. Enjoying lunch at the Sun Valley Club and then going out for a round works, too.
According to my son, the whole experience would have been perfect if we had been allowed to take a golf cart as part of the package. Maybe we have a golfer in the family after all!
See you on the green!