The Takeaway: Grade C-
Designer: George Von Elm in 1962
Phone Number: 208-237-9922
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Highland Golf Course's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 201 Von Elm Ln, Pocatello, ID
Accolades: Ranked 40th in Idaho on Golf Course Gurus Best in State list.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 165 Yard Par 3 – The signature hole at Highland is also it's easiest par three. Playing anywhere from 130 - 170 yards, a pond with fountain is featured off the front of the tee box but is hardly in play since the far edge of the pond is still 100 yards from the green. The walk up to the green builds with anticipation since very little of the putting surface is visible from tee box. A new tree was planted in 2007 short and left of the green and will become more menacing as it matures. The semi-bowled green is docile by Highland's standard and thus good scores are recorded here often. If you score a bogey here in a match you will almost assuredly lose that hole and have just two holes left to make it up.
Best Par 3: 8th Hole – 215 Yards – With a mere 400 yards separating the longest tees from the shortest tees at Highland, it should be obvious that most of the tee boxes are shared at the municipal course. The par three 8th hole however offers two distinct tee boxes and the shot from the upper box is the most exhilarating and memorable of the course. Playing about 200 yards, the tee box is well elevated and offers a wonderful view of the green below. A collection of pine trees are located on the hill right of the green and seem to have a magnetic pull-effect on golf balls since it seems half the tee shots on this hole fly toward those trees as golfers call for a good kick off the hill. The left side of the green is raised which makes attacking a flag in this portion of the shallow putting surface a difficult task. A front right pin location will yield some birdies since that section of the green is generally a bit softer, is receptive to kicks off the hill, and handles run-up shots well. Getting up and down to a front right pin location is much easier as well.
Best Par 4: 15th Hole – 375 Yards – The 15th hole is the start of a solid finishing stretch where matches can get real interesting real fast. Rated as the most difficult hole on the back nine, this sub-400 yard hole features o.b. left, trees up the right, and a slightly sloped fairway. The second shot to this elevated green is the most difficult approach shot on the course since the putting surface isn't visible from the fairway and the green is angled 45 degrees away from the player (front left to back right). If your ball finds the bunker short right you will face an extremely difficult sand shot from 10 feet below the green and little depth on the green to work with (bunker was removed in 2017). Little forgiveness is offered on or around the green as approach shots are often tossed left or right of the putting surface which sets up a difficult up and down effort. Be thrilled with par here because birdies are a rare find.
Best Par 5: 1st Hole – 520 Yards – The course opens with a dogleg right par five, the only three-shoter found on the front nine. With the 520 yard hole sloping left to right and it is imperative to land your tee shot on the left half of the fairway to avoid having your ball kick and roll into the tree line up the right side. The approach shot is to a green that slopes left to right and back to front. The pin is rarely found in the middle third of the green due to the severity of the slope through that portion of the putting surface. The easiest pin location to score on is in the front left that offers some relatively easy up and downs while a back right pin location can get you into trouble fast.
Birdie Time: 3rd Hole – 305 Yard Par 4 – This is the one hole on the course that seems to yield a birdie and a double bogey to each foursome that rolls through during the day. An uphill par four of about 300 yards, the hole is driveable for long hitters and a tail wind is often blowing to help the cause. A lone pine tree rests on the left side of the fairway in the driving zone of most golfers and often knocks down tee shots and creates some interesting lies in the long grass surrounding the area. The real challenge is at the green where the putting surface is the most severe on the front nine and arguably the entire course. If your approach is long and you are faced with a chip then there is virtually no chance at getting up and down since the green will zip the ball right off the front edge. If you are 15 feet or more above the hole but still have a putt then there is a chance of keeping the ball on the green, but in firm and fast conditions it is about the same chance Jim Carrey had of winning over Lauren Holly in "Dumb and Dumber." The best pin location to score on is back middle while the most difficult pin is front right. As a side note, I aced this hole in 2015 with one of the best 3 woods I've hit in my life which was pretty dang fun.
Bogey Beware: 7th Hole – 470 Yard Par 4 – Rated as the #1 handicap hole on the course, the 470 yard par four seventh is demanding from tee to green. The hole doglegs left to right with the hole starting to turn the corner around 235 yards. Players that can drive the ball high and long can attempt to cut the corner of the dogleg and leave themselves with a 150-190 yard approach. Players who hang their tee shot outside the right side tree line will be faced with a difficult shot over the trees from the longest rough on the course. From the fairway par is still no easy task. The left side of the green falls off 15 feet to some long grass while the right side of the green falls off over 40 feet through a thick waste area to the 8th fairway. Missing to either spot leaves little chance to save par. The only reprieve on the hole is the green where it is one of the largest and least undulating on the course. There aren't many terrible pin position on this green, but back right can entice players into a dangerous approach while anything right in the middle will yield some one-putts.