Swing into Spring

Spring is in the air and it’s time to grab your golf bag and hit the links! The early season is underway with Sun Valley’s scenic, challenging courses now awaiting your tee. On Friday, golfers made for the greens taking their first swings of the year under sunny spring skies on the back nine of the Trail Creek Course, as well as on the chipping green and putting green. The back nine on the Elkhorn course, which is semi-private, also opened Friday.

Find out why Golf Digest called Sun Valley "one of the top 75 resort courses in North America." The season has begun!

Find out why Golf Digest called Sun Valley "one of the top 75 resort courses in North America." The season has begun!

Exciting things are underway on the fairways under the leadership of new Director of Golf Operations Tyler Jones who plans to make this the best season yet on Sun Valley’s courses. He brings with him more than 15 years of experience managing successful golf operations in California and Washington. Most recently, he was General Manager at the Olympia Country & Golf Club in Olympia, Washington. He has also acted as General Manager for the prestigious Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Washington, and brings to the job experience as interim CEO for the Northern California Golf Association, the largest regional golf association in the U.S.

Meet Tyler Jones, Sun Valley's new Director of Golf Operations

Meet Tyler Jones, Sun Valley's new Director of Golf Operations

But Tyler loves Sun Valley. As a child, he spent many seasons in Sun Valley with his grandparents and learned to ski on Dollar Mountain when he was six years old. As a hospitality graduate from Washington State, he first worked in the Resort’s Food & Beverage division starting in 1992. But golf called to him and from 1994 to 1996, he worked as First Assistant Professional under the legendary Rick Hickman who only recently retired. Tyler said he is absolutely delighted to be back. He and his family are excited to relocate to the valley and Tyler has a lot of great ideas to make one of Sun Valley’s best recreational options, even better.

“Sun Valley has been a very special place for my family for over 50 years and we are thrilled to be joining the Sun Valley team. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity of carrying on the tradition of offering the highest levels of hospitality and world class amenities that Sun Valley Resort is known for,” Tyler said. “The season is starting on a great note. Conditions are very encouraging, the greens are in good condition and golfers are excited.”

On the White Clouds course, golf is played at the top of the world

On the White Clouds course, golf is played at the top of the world

This PGA professional has assumed responsibility for full operation of Sun Valley’s 45 holes of golf: the 18-hold Trail Creek Golf Course, the 9-hole White Clouds Golf Course and the 18-hole Elkhorn Golf Course. The Trail Creek Championship Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., boasts 6,968 yards, surrounded by jaw dropping views. The White Clouds Course provides a perfect complement with 3,600 yards available for play and 360-degree views of the entire Wood River Valley. Golfing at Elkhorn provides 7,214 yards of beautiful undulating greens, more than 100 sand traps and bunkers.

After a day on the links, the Sun Valley Club provides a gracious gathering place for golfers as well as the public, offering a full-service restaurant, bar, locker rooms, club storage, club rental and a well-stocked pro shop. There is no better place to enjoy an afternoon libation and snack than on the restaurant’s terrace.

The Sawtooth Putting Course provides fun for the entire family

The Sawtooth Putting Course provides fun for the entire family

Both group and private lessons are available by calling 208-622-2251 and don’t forget the popular Sawtooth Putting Course and virtual golf facility. Both can enhance your game or just provide a few hours of fun.  

For extra incentive, book the Early Birdie Resort special from Friday, April 18 through June 8, 2014.This special deal offers one night’s lodging and one round of golf (including cart) for only $124 per person, double occupancy. Please call 800-786-8259 for reservations. And don’t forget to ski and tee through Bald Mountain’s closing day, Sunday, April 20.

Be sure to stop at the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club to stock up on the latest golf fashions and gear. Then head across the hall to enjoy a wonderful meal or post-game cocktail.

Be sure to stop at the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club to stock up on the latest golf fashions and gear. Then head across the hall to enjoy a wonderful meal or post-game cocktail.

Golf Digest called Sun Valley “One of the top 75 resort golf courses in North America.” Come find out why.



A Day for Dad

Enjoy the food, the putt-putt golf and the view this Father's Day at the Sun Valley Club

Enjoy the food, the putt-putt golf and the views this Father's Day at the Sun Valley Club

Scenario No. 1
On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, your father, who works so hard and does so much for your family, opens his well-intentioned gift. Imagine his delight at receiving (a) a new set of drill bits (b) a tie (very useful for Idaho) (c) a new electronic gadget that his children will proceed to take away from him, ‘just to help set it up!’ Proceed to the backyard and put him to work over the grill, preparing a festive meal for the gang. Watch the joy on mom’s face as she realizes she gets to clean up!

Scenario No. 2
Hear the sound of laughter ricochet off the manicured greens as dad and the family enjoy a rousing round of putt-putt at the Sun Valley Club. Everyone’s short game skills are put to the test. Victory is celebrated, defeat quickly forgotten. The 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course offers 52,000 square feet of fun for every age and skill level. And the best part? On June 16, putt-putt is complimentary!

Try your skill, or just have fun, on the Sawtooths Putting Course
Try your skill, or just have fun, on the Sawtooths Putting Course

Next, your group, comprised perhaps of dads, grandfathers, friends, children and spouses then walks a few short feet to the Clubhouse for a fabulous feast that dad doesn’t have to cook and mom doesn’t need to clean up.

Tuck into a special menu. Choices include a rack of baby back ribs or chicken with baked beans, corn on the cob, potato, corn bread and honey butter or an old fashioned western bacon cheeseburger and, of course, beer. If dad prefers to celebrate his big day with a gin and tonic, there is also a full bar. The restaurant’s regular lunch menu, including fresh and healthy salads, sandwiches and other favorites will also be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A special late afternoon menu will be available until 5 p.m.

The Clubhouse is casual, but elegant, with spacious tables conducive to conversation. Dine on the deck or inside. Both spots offer stunning views of Baldy, Dollar and the rolling, expansive greens of the Trail Creek Golf Course. In fact, if dad was inspired by the putt-putt, he may end up playing the front nine.

The Sun Valley Club provides the perfect backdrop for Father's Day

The Sun Valley Club provides the perfect backdrop for Father's Day

Sun Valley was recently recognized by Golf Digest as one of the top 75 resort courses in North America. The signature Trail Creek course challenges golfers of any ability. The legendary Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed this traditional alpine course in 1980 with a full compliment of stream carries and ominous bunkers well positioned to catch the errant shot. Just across the street, dad may also choose to tackle the White Clouds course. Encircled by some of the most sublime scenery in the Lower 48, dad will enjoy these nine holes, situated on cloud nine. This course complements the Trail Creek Course by presenting contrasting play with more sand trap shots, side-hill lies, risk-reward and blind shots.

The Clubhouse is consistently my father’s favorite spot to have lunch, so our family will certainly be stopping in on the 16th for a memorable meal and to swing at some golf balls. Treat your dad, and the entire gang, to a wonderful, relaxing and delicious Father’s Day in Sun Valley. Just come on in. No reservations are needed. The memories will last forever and he will certainly appreciate it more than another necktie.


Happy Father's Day to my dad who always has my back and who is my favorite fishing buddy

Happy Father's Day to my dad who always has my back and who is my favorite fishing buddy

Fun Facts:
Father’s Day has the highest percentage of collect calls of any day during the year.

Father’s Day has been celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June since 1972.

Knott Your Average Golf Course Designer

Sun Valley’s courses designed by one of the sport’s best

By Mike McKenna

Trail Creek, Hole #18

When you get right down to it, it’s actually easier to make it as a professional golfer than it is as a professional golf course architect.

Don Knott is one of those lucky few people with the talent and tenacity to make the cut as a professional golf course architect. But he hasn’t simply made the cut.

Don has become one of the most highly respected golf course architects of all time. If there were a Master’s Tournament for golf course designers, Don–-who designed Sun Valley’s White Clouds course and redesigned Trail Creek–would get a lifetime exemption.


Don Knott designs his golf courses to fit within the natural landscape

"Golf is still golf"

Don didn’t always have a love affair with golf. A collegiate All-American swimmer at UC Berkeley, the Northern California native didn’t pick up the game until graduate school.

He started playing Berkeley’s course simply because he loved the outdoors and had a passion for landscape design. Don quickly got hooked on the game and could often be seen riding his motorcycle to the local college course, carrying his clubs on his back.

Knott landed an internship with the legendary Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ2)  in Palo Alto, California. He quickly made his mark in the company and was hired on, eventually becoming RTJ2′s Lead Project Architect and Senior Vice President of Design, spending the next 26 years helping the firm to construct golf courses all over the world.

"The game is pretty traditional. It’s been 18 holes for a long time," Don explains. "Golf is still golf. People still hit the ball the same way as they always have. The key to all great courses isn’t how much money they cost to build, it’s that they fit into the natural landscape. A good golf course design makes it look like you haven’t moved any dirt to make it, at least that’s the goal."

"There has to be magic"

Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach,  The National Golf Club of Australia, The Prince Course in Hawaii, and Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall are some of Don’s most celebrated designs.

"It’s hard to build a bad course on a great location," Don explains. "But there has to be magic to the location if it’s going to be a truly special course. There’s a reason Pebble Beach is so famous.

"Of course, you have to have nice views. But there should also be a wee bit of mystery and intrigue," Don explains. "The origins of the game are not based on scoring. The origins of golf are that it’s an obstacle course through nature. You hit the ball and then you go see what your fate is."

"Idaho is just spectacular"

"I still love the game and play when I can," says Don, who left RTJ2 in 1999 to found the Knott & Linn Golf Design Group with fellow golf course designer, Gary Linn.

The breathtaking view from the White Clouds course, Hole #4

Based in Mountain View, California, they are busy building courses across the globe, but one of Don’s favorite places to swing the sticks is still Idaho.

"Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall is one of my favorite spots, and the 360 view you get at the courses in Sun Valley makes it a really special place," says Knott, who travels to the Wood River Valley each Summer to play in the Danny Thompson Memorial.

"The whole mountain scene in Idaho is just spectacular," Don declares, professing the type of admiration for the Gem State that golfers all over the world have for his work.

There may be more than 28 million golfers in America alone, but there’s only one Don Knott, and players all over the country–and especially in Idaho–are certainly happy he made the cut as a golf course architect.









Swinging the Sticks in Sun Valley

The golf season is about to get underway

By Mike McKenna

Now that the slopes have closed for the season it’s time to turn our attention towards the links. This season Sun Valley will be offering 45 holes of world class golfing at three course: the longtime favorite of Trail Creek, the breathtaking track at the White Clouds and now entering it’s second season under Sun Valley’s management, the Trent Jones designed course at Elkhorn.

Trail Creek will be fully open this weekend (April 28th), with Elkhorn opening to walking only on the front night on Monday (April 30th) and White Clouds expected to start teeing off around May 4th.

To get you fired up for another great season of swinging the stick in Sun Valley, here’s my write up on the White Clouds’ signature hole from Idaho Golf Magazine.


The spectacualr 8th hole at the White Clouds.

White Clouds Golf Course

Signature Hole: #8

Yardage: 523

Par: 4

Offering some of the most stunning views found on any course on the planet, the White Clouds Golf Course in Sun Valley is known for its striking topography. The ridge-lined course overlooks the picturesque Wood River Valley, the White Cloud Mountains and the Ernest Hemingway Memorial.

Opened in 2008, the long, links-style course was designed by Don Knott and is considered challenging by any standard, with several long Par 5s and undulating fairways that yield few, if any, flat stances.

The signature hole at White Clouds is the 8th. Standing on the tee-box nearly 300 feet above the fairway below, take note of the wind before teeing off. It’s important to hit a solid drive on this long, downhill par 4. Anything hit too far left makes it a near impossible up-and-down.

Advice: Jeff Peterson is White Clouds’ Director of Golf: "The ball will stay in the air forever, but will need to favor the right side of the fairway due to a severely sloped fairway and bunkers on the left. The long second shot plays downhill and should also favor the right side of this large undulating green.  Misses need to be short and right."

For more information, check out www.sunvalley.com/golf/whiteclouds/ or call 208.622.2251.   

 [To read about other Signature Holes in the Gem State, check out the entire article.]