Only two percent of universities in the United States have a golf course and the University of Idaho is proud to be in that select group.
Most universities, including Idaho, offer a football stadium, a rec center and several other sports facilities, But UI is one of the few that also offers an 18-hole PGA Certified golf course.
Since it is owned by the university, students are given discounted prices which make this course rather affordable as well.
Students can golf nine holes for $12 or 18 holes for $17. Cart rentals are only $9 a seat for 9 holes and $13 a seat for 18. Tee times aren’t hard to come by, especially if you call ahead of time.
Students also have the option to take the golf physical education course, which carries a $250 class fee and provides you two to four hours a week of instruction from advanced golfers, in addition to unlimited free golf for nine weeks. Students can purchase a semester pass for 220 without the class but it is only good for weekdays.
Doug Tyler, course professional and director of golf at UI, suggests the course and said participation is on the rise. The number of classes offered recently jumped from two to four.
“Three or four years ago it was more just juniors and seniors that took the course, but lately it’s been freshmen and sophomores too,” Tyler said. “This is the place to be if you have never hit a golf ball, and if you are a pretty good stick, then we can help you get even better.”
Tyler has been in Moscow since 2000 and said the course is somewhat challenging because it presents a variety of shots.
“You always have to be creative and use your imagination here to shape shots and deal with different contours and things like that,” Tyler said.
Assistant Golf Professional John McAleer grew up playing the course and has worked there for four years. He said the course is in great condition considering the area, and he agrees with Tyler that it’s challenging.
“There’s not a lot of flat — it’s pretty hilly out there — so it’s tough to get a flat lie, which makes it a tougher course,” McAleer said. “And we’re up on top of the hill so this is probably the windiest place in town, especially in the spring.”
Course regular Doug Johnson said he plays there every day when he is in town.
“I would say this is one of my favorite courses to play on and I play quite a few courses. It’s windy but I play courses that are way worse,” Johnson said.
The golf course is undergoing renovations intended to make it more user-friendly.
A fourth tee on each hole will make the course more suitable for players ranging from beginner to advanced. The fourth tee will shorten the play from the forward tees by 600 yards.
“Helps us move some of the people forward that don’t want to be caught playing off the ladies tee but they will play from them as long as there is something in front of it,” Tyler said.
New York Johnny’s has moved into the old Bogey’s location with an expanded menu that includes hamburgers every day and a meatball sandwich called the “Gumba” on Wednesdays.
The restaurant is open every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for breakfast at 7 a.m. on the weekends to serve breakfast burritos.
Regardless of which tee you play from, there are a few things Tyler said all golfers should remember about this course: wear a collared shirt or at least one with sleeves, leave metal spikes at home, take good care of the course, and practice good golf etiquette.
“The main thing is to have fun but don’t get too boisterous and disturb the other players and just maintain a good pace of play, and then everybody’s happy,” Tyler said.
Charles Crowley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org