Land of Plenty

Land of Plenty

More golf than you can shake a stick at!

10 min read

More golf than you can shake a stick at

If you were to circle McCall in a plane, you’d see an overwhelming abundance of natural beauty—lakes, rivers, and mountains shimmering in the morning sun. But, if you’re a golfer, you’d be forgiven if you overlooked this natural beauty and, instead, focused on the achingly green golf courses dotting the landscape below.

From Tamarack’s Osprey Point in Donnelley, traveling north on Highway 55 passing Jug Mountain Ranch, the McCall Golf Club, the Whitetail Club, and eventually ending at Meadow Creek in New Meadows—there’s a total of five different courses featuring five distinct personalities spread out over more than 100 unique holes. It’s an embarrassment of riches for a town already brimming with natural wonders. 


The Heart of It All

For over 90 years, the McCall Golf Club has featured affordable, abundant, inviting golf opportunities for visitors and locals who just want to get in a quick nine or grab a round with their buddies. The club doesn’t put on airs—heeding to its roots as a municipal golf course—but it also doesn’t use the “municipal” tag to cheapen its golf experience. Quite the contrary. 

“We’re proud of the product we offer,” says David DiMartino, PGA, Head Golf Professional for McCall Golf Club. “We had 28,000 rounds of golf played on our course last year. We worked hard to provide an exceptional experience to each person who made up those rounds.”

The McCall Golf Club experience starts the minute a guest arrives at the course.

“We pride ourselves in our customer service approach,” says DiMartino. “We take pains to answer questions before they’re asked. It might be someone’s first time golfing or their first time at our club. When they pay for their round, we go through what’s going to happen during their round—where they get their cart, where they tee off, how the course is laid out, and so on. We try to answer questions they really want to ask.”

When the guest gets to the first tee, the process starts over. The starter is trained to go over all these things again, in a friendly way, answer any questions the guest might still have and, in general, put them at ease.

The goal is to ensure regulars and newbies have fun and come back for more.

Photo courtesy of Erin Greaves, Communication Manager, City of McCall

“One of the hardest things we navigate,” says DiMartino, “is our tournament schedule. We have some tournaments that have a waiting list of over three years. When I came here and saw that, I knew we had to make a change. We had to make it more equitable for folks to get a chance to play. So, we instituted a lottery system.” 

Not everybody likes the new system—especially the folks who’ve played for years and didn’t win a spot this year—but the ability to provide better access to tournaments for everyone was deemed successful.

And speaking of access, DiMartino and his team take the same approach to tee times. Slots are available for rounds on any of the three courses, first come, first served. Golfers can reserve a tee time two weeks in advance.

“The absolute best way to book a time is to use our mobile app,” says DiMartino. “It’s quick. It’s easy. And it’s available wherever you happen to be, whenever you happen to want to book a tee time.” 

McCall Golf Club offers affordable golf for all. It uses a tiered pricing structure where golf is less expensive after 2 p.m. and on family nights. 

“It’s really a great deal,” DiMartino says. “And, when you factor in our restaurant, Banyons, you quickly see that McCall Golf Club is a great place to play and a great post-round ‘hang.’” 

In skiing, we call that après.

Whatever the terminology, you can book your tee and hang time online at www.mccallgolfclub.com or download the app by searching “McCall Golf Club” in your favorite app store.

Robert Trent Jones-Designed Course Reopens

Tamarack’s beloved Osprey Meadows Golf Course—all 19 holes—is back for the 2024 season. The new ownership group, fresh from its completion of the Village and improvements to its marina, has finished rebuilding the Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course. The updated track features 19 holes, the last being the Gamblers hole (for those folks who couldn’t finish the game in 18 holes). 

“It’s really an amazing track. We made some dramatic changes to the layout—original hole number six and original 18 were affected the most,” says Dustin Simons, PGA, Head Golf Professional. 

According to Simons, the original 18 was at the top of the group’s list when it came to making the course more playable and more enjoyable.

“Original 18 was by far the most complained-about hole,” says Simons. “When you get guests off the course, how was your round today? 17 great holes, 18 sucks.”

To increase the playability and fun quotient, the folks at Robert Trent Jones decided to shorten the 70-to-90-yard carry uphill over the wetland. 

“It’s still plenty long, still plenty challenging” says Simons, “but a lot less carry.”

Photo: Sherri Harkin/Tamarack Resort

And a lot less mid-front green bunker.

“Take new 16, which was old 18,” says Simons. “It’s still a Par-5, but we were able to move tee boxes way back. We put the green where the island was, so it's only one carry now instead of two.” 

And then there’s new number 19—the Gamblers hole. It’s right after the original number three; golfers play it after current number 18 to finish off bets or just for fun.

“You don’t have to play it,” says Simons, “but it’s included in your green fee, so why not?” 


The bottom line? Tamarack’s updated and improved Osprey Meadows Golf Course is ready for primetime. Starting this summer, homeowners will be able to join the club, choosing between one of three tiers: Social (social membership with access to the gym and fun events), Sports (everything in social plus some discounted golf), and Full Golf (full golf privileges, a season pass for the resort, and more). 

In addition, Osprey Meadows will be offering Stay-and-Play Packages for guests at the resort as well as offering three tee times per hour to the public. 

Simons suggests visitors stop by in June for some early rounds to check out the new track. Also, don’t miss the Grand Opening, targeted for late July, likely the 26th or 27th.

You can schedule a round or learn more here: https://tamarackidaho.com/golf-osprey-meadows.    

Celebrating 20 Years Of Golf

The idea for Jug Mountain Ranch percolated in John Carey’s head starting in the early 1990s. According to his son, David, the idea came to fruition in the summer of 2004, when the first homes were completed and the first rounds of golf were played. 

“The 2024 season will be our twentieth year of golf at Jug,” says Carey, “and the course is playing better than it ever has. Very exciting to think it's been open for that long.”

The ranch, as Carey calls it, covers nearly 2,000 acres, which gave the course designers a lot of options for a great layout.

Carey says, “They were spoiled for choice and did an amazing job of playing with views, native creeks, large, established reservoirs, dry sagebrush pasture, and heavily treed areas. It is a very natural course that reflects some of the best landscapes in Valley County.”

Both Carey’s and the course designers’ overarching goals were to maintain golf at the ranch as a very tranquil experience, prioritizing views and vistas over development. 

Photo: Jon Conti Visuals

“Many of the holes at Jug have no homesites on them,” says Carey. “Some have homesites on only one side and only one hole has them on both sides.”

In addition to views, course designers decided to make the course malleable and changeable to provide a different playing experience often. 

“Most holes have five tee boxes, which gives the superintendent daily options for how the course plays and for our guests to choose the type of round they want to play that day,” says Carey. 

The big news for summer 2024—in addition to the course’s 20th anniversary—is the introduction of Jug Junior, a new Par-3 course.

“The new course will offer a unique experience for golfers in Valley County,” says Carey. “Price, time/speed, low-key, less intimidating, and most importantly, fun. Young or old, pro or newbie, Par-3 courses should be fun. Paired with the already excellent practice facility of a large driving range, putting green, chipping green, and a spectacular location on a large reservoir with big vistas, the setting is unique to Idaho and the Northwest.”

It's no secret, Par-3 courses are a great way to introduce beginners to the sport or help folks get their golf fix in for the day when they’re pressed for time.

“Not everyone has time for 18 holes or even 9 holes,” says Carey, “but more important, golf is an amazing generational activity that fits well here in McCall. You really can play with an 80-year-old, 50-year-old, 20 and even younger. Everyone will have a ball.” 

If you’re looking to have a ball or try the new Par-3 course, Carey says the best place to start is online at https://jugmountainranch.com/golf/

Stay & Play

McCall’s not-so-hidden gem is in the heart of Whitetail Club, a private housing development and golf club nestled in the hills above Payette Lake.

As Joey Snyder, former PGA Tour golfer and current real estate agent, says, “If someone is coming to McCall and is not a member of the private Whitetail Club but wants to play golf there, the Shore Lodge has a nice stay-and-play package.”

Snyder, who won a National Golf Championship at Arizona State University and competed against the likes of Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Notah Begay, says, “I always say to potential clients or potential members, I've played a lot of golf in my time. And I think Whitetail is just a great everyday play. It's not too hard, but it's not too easy either. There are some holes out there that are challenging, but for a mountain golf course, I feel like we have enough length, and our greens are second to none.” 

That’s strong praise from a former professional.

According to Snyder, the crew at Whitetail makes all the difference.

Photo courtesy of Joey Snyder, Whitetail Club Real Estate Sales Executive

“For coming out of six months of snow,” says Snyder, “our superintendent and green crew kills it—Adam and Nick, and, of course, Rick Mooney. They kick ass. They give our community a fun, everyday play.”

Part of the joy of playing regularly at Whitetail is how the course changes each day.

According to Snyder, the fourth hole can play either as a Par-4 or as a Par-5.

“There's two sets of tees (on number five), one behind the Par-5 green and one behind the Par-4 green” says Snyder, “So, one day you'll play it as a Par-5, next day you'll play it as a long Par-4 that has a big, old duck hook.”

The difference between the two layouts is significant. According to Snyder, when it plays as a Par-5, golfers must hit it over water on the second shot—so it’s a good risk/reward decision. When it plays as a Par-4, golfers must hit a nice, little high draw—which is difficult for most right-handed golfers—to avoid what Snyder calls their Dikembe Mutombo tree.

“You have to go around our Dikembe Mutombo tree,” says Snyder, laughing, “because he's got this big arm out there that's ready to smack your ball down.”

The result is it makes the hole a lot longer and harder. 

To play at Whitetail, you either need to know a member or use the stay-and-play package at Shore Lodge. You can learn more here: https://shorelodge.com/packages/

Just Down The Hill

Meadow Creek Golf Resort, just down the road in New Meadows, is situated at 3,868 feet above sea level in the pine-forested Meadows Valley, West Central Idaho, with the alpine peaks of Granite Mountain and Brundage Mountain Ski Resort reaching skyward more than 7,000 feet in the distance.

“Meadow Creek is tucked away a little bit, just outside McCall,” says Alex Degenstein, Head Golf Professional. “It’s in this quiet little community and has just a ton of character.”

The golf course weaves in and out of the pine trees and across the verdant meadows, offering changing scenery and stimulating golf at every turn.

According to Degenstein, “Meadow Creek becomes a favorite as soon as people play it. It’s just a little hidden gem. Not a lot of folks know about it, but when they do, they come back for more.”

Photos courtesy of Alex Degenstein, PGA, TPi Certified, Head Golf Professional, MeadowCreek Golf Resort

Meadow Creek Golf Course opened in 1983, making it the second oldest course in the area. The club is fully open to the public, including access to the pool, café, exercise room, tennis and pickleball courts, and, of course, golf.

Because it’s at a lower elevation, Meadow Creek offers warmer temperatures and, normally, earlier season opening and later closing dates than the courses in McCall. It also offers very competitive pricing and an abundance of non-golf activities, making it perfect for families and groups that include golfers and non-golfers.

“All our pickleball courts just got resurfaced,” says Degenstein. “They’re brand new and super popular. So is the pool. One of the unique things about Meadow Creek is a family can come on down, some can play golf, some can play pickleball, and all can end the day in the pool and at the café. That’s unique in our area.”

To schedule tee times, rent a room, or plan a day away, visit https://meadowcreekgolfresort.com/.