TravelJune 9, 2010

My Town: Troy Merritt

Idaho offers some of the most scenic golf destinations in the country, starting right in the state capital

Trail Creek Course at Sun Valley Resort has some great views of the mountains.

Trail Creek Course at Sun Valley Resort has some great views of the mountains.

Before you ask PGA Tour rookie and 2009 Q-school medalist Troy Merritt the obvious question, the answer is, no, they don't have blue grass on the fairways in Boise. The city known for the blue artificial turf at Boise State's Bronco Stadium also is home to one of the state's most accomplished golfers.

After spending his first two years playing golf at Division II Winona (Minn.) State, Merritt moved to Boise to work at a local course, eventually joining the Broncos golf team. He won nine times in his final two seasons, including five straight victories as a senior.

Since then, he's felt right at home in Idaho, coming back to Boise when he can to enjoy the city he calls a "hidden gem."

COURSES

One of the best courses in Idaho happens to be in the Boise area. BanBury GC is about 20 minutes outside downtown and is a must-play public course. It's a little more than 6,800 yards from the championship tees and requires you to keep it in the fairway to score well. Water comes into play on several holes down the stretch.

SpurWing CC was the course I played most when I was going to school. It's a shotmaker's course that puts a premium on getting the ball in the right place on the green. The par-3 sixth hole is a great test when the wind is blowing. The carry is 195 yards over water to a small green.

Playing golf in Sun Valley is another option. It's about a three-hour drive from Boise along scenic US-20. It's worth making the trip to play the *Trail Creek Course at Sun Valley Resort *. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. course has some great views of the mountains. Elkhorn GC is also one of the best courses in the state. Like most of the courses in Sun Valley, the views are unbelievable.

LODGING

The Modern Hotel is a place to check out. They have some really unique rooms and a courtyard with a couple of fire pits. I wouldn't consider it your typical hotel. It also happens to be right downtown on West Grove Street, so you don't need to worry about driving to the nightlife.

DON'T MISS

The place to be on fall Saturdays is Bronco Stadium watching Boise State football. While the Broncos used to be known for the blue turf, they've gone undefeated two of the past four years.

There are also a number of rodeos in the summer. One of the better ones is Caldwell Night Rodeo (Aug. 17-21).

Camel's Back Park is a fantastic park in town if you enjoy the outdoors. You can do everything from hiking to mountain bike riding.

kindred

The Modern Hotel (left) features unique rooms and a courtyard (courtesy of the Modern Hotel). Bronco Stadium is home to the Boise State football team and the famous blue turf (Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images).

More from The Loop