Environment a priority at Circling Raven - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Environment a priority at Circling Raven

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John Fritz
SWX Anchor, Reporter

WORLEY, Idaho - Most of us have heard it by now: name a list of accolades and the relatively new Circling Raven Golf Course has likely been on it.

  • Best New Courses (Golf Magazine)
  • Top 100 Public Courses (Golf Digest)
  • Best Casino Courses (Golf for Women Magazine)
  • Top 100 Courses (Golfweek)
  • #1 Tribal Course (Native American Casino Magazine)       

And the list goes on and on. And on.

In a little over six years, Circling Raven has made as much noise as any course in this part of the country. It funny, though, that its signature is still the warble of a bird, the sound of the breeze through the grass and the vista that takes your breathe away.

"It's a celebration of that - that they can come out and be isolated and feel that isolation, that connection with nature," said Tom Davidson, the Director of Golf at the course near Worley, Idaho.

Davidson calls the course, complete with wide open fairways and spectacular mountain views, his office.

"It's not a cubicle by any means," he said, while leaning on his club during a breezy round of golf. "I'll take this any day."

His charge is to manage the massive span of more than 600 acres.

"This is a course you can go through, even on the first time, and you'll remember specific holes, specific places because of that vastness and big scale of the place," he said.

It's one third golf and two-thirds nature. And caring for the latter makes the former so formidable.

"There's a powerful appreciation from tribal leadership for the earth, for the beauty of this land, for the blessings that we have," said Davidson. "We're by-golly going to take care of it."

The commitment to tradition comes this year from with something that sounds straight out of the future: the membrane bioreactor - a state-of-the-art filtration system that re-purposes the resort's wastewater for irrigation.

"The membrane bioreactor will save us 35 million gallons of well water annually," explained Davidson.

About Circling Raven

Course: 18-holes, public
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,189
Course Rating: 74.5

Notes: This course near Worley, Idaho opened in 2003. Rates range from $75 to $95 per round.

Website: Circling Raven Golf Course


Even now, it's pumping 80,000 gallons per day. The hum heard in the equipment room comes to the tune of nearly $4 million, an investment that's helped the course receive consideration for Golf Digest's Green Star Award - maybe the most coveted of all the accolades Circling Raven could ever land.

"The Green Star Award is something that demonstrates our commitment to environmentally-friendly practices and having very little impact on the environment as we possibly can, and still be able to get people out to enjoy it. That's really our primary goal here," said Davidson.

It's a sentiment so strong it's literally etched in stone at a course where history is always top of the list.

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