Bear Lake Idaho vs Bear Lake Utah

Article by: Billy Satterfield

Bear Lake is one of the most beautiful natural freshwater lakes you'll ever come across. Known as the "Caribbean of the Rockies" due to its intense turquoise-blue color, Bear Lake is a major attraction for outdoor enthusiasts around the region. Whether you like to water ski, bicycle, or just eat raspberry milkshakes, Bear Lake is the place for you. But the real question is, "How is the golf?" The Bear Lake area features two nine hole facilities; one in Idaho and one in Utah. So which one is better? A good ol' fashion five-category golf throwdown will determine the winner.

AESTHETICS: Who doesn't love a beautiful course? Golf courses represent some of the best "eye candy" you'll ever enjoy. If you go to the coast, you want views of the ocean. If you go to the Rockies, you want views of the mountains. If you go to Bear Lake, you want a full dose of the 100+ square mile sparkling turquoise lake as a back drop as much as possible. For this category it isn't even close, Bear Lake Idaho dominates with aesthetics. Stunning views are found from virtually every spot on the course and it never gets old . . . Never!

5th Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (178 Yard Par 3)
5th Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (178 Yard Par 3)

CHALLENGE: In general, players don't like shooting bad scores. Penciling in the proverbial "snowman" on the scorecard is about as exciting as a kick to the groin. However, the challenge that golf delivers seems to be what brings us back for more. Carding a birdie on the 18th hole, chipping in to save par, or busting a huge drive down the middle of the fairway brings a level of satisfaction that is difficult to describe. When these invigorating events occur on challenging holes/courses then it is all the more rewarding. Bear Lake Utah stretches out to 3376 yards at a par 36 while the Bear Lake West (Idaho) comes in at 2715 yards and a par 33. With a more traditional routing and challenge, Utah ties the throwdown up at 1-1 by claiming the challenge category.

6th Hole at Bear Lake (Utah) (453 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Bear Lake (Utah) (453 Yard Par 4)

CONDITIONING: Everyone loves a well conditioned course . . . Everyone! Whether you are a scratch golfer or just picking up the game, every player enjoys hitting balls from flat tee boxes, well manicured fairways, and greens that roll pure. In my experience, the level of enjoyment players feel at a course are more highly related to the conditioning of the course and how they played that day than any other factor. Idaho comfortably reclaims the lead 2-1 with their superior turf management.

3rd Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (147 Yard Par 3)
3rd Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (147 Yard Par 3)

VARIETY: Variety is the spice of life, and golf is no different. Nothing is more boring than playing a golf course that goes back and forth same directions and distances over and over. Changes in terrain, hazards, and challenges brings added interest to your round which has players begging for more. While both courses are built on hills with engaging terrain to enjoy, Utah edges out Idaho to bring the throwdown back to neck-and-neck with its skillful use of bunkers, water hazards, and green complexes.

4th Hole at Bear Lake (Utah) (467 Yard Par 5)
4th Hole at Bear Lake (Utah) (467 Yard Par 5)

FUN: Honestly, what good is golf if it isn't fun? I don't know about you, but Tiger didn't look like he was enjoying himself a lot at the U.S. Open as he failed to break par in any of his four rounds. The result? He sits out the AT&T National at Congressional; a tournament that he is the host for. OK, so sitting out may have more to do with injury than a damaged ego, but his poor showing at the Open certainly didn't help. Let's face it, when golfers play well they can hardly wait to get back out and when they play lousy they start working on their "Honey-Do List." When it comes to flat out fun, Idaho surpasses Utah and claims the throwdown title as Bear Lake's best golf experience. With four par 3s, four par 4s, and an awesome downhill opening par five that tumbles towards the lake, Bear Lake West in Fish Haven, ID offers a ton of fun for the family and serious golfers alike. So next time you are vacationing to beautiful Bear Lake, call Head Professional Ted Slivinski at 208-945-2744 to setup your tee time and don't forget to bring your camera!

1st Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (510 Yard Par 5)
1st Hole at Bear Lake West (Idaho) (510 Yard Par 5)