The River course at the 36-hole Keystone Ranch golf facility is a new millennium offering from Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry. The front nine is routed around the Snake River, with the back nine carved through a dense pine forest.
The River course at Keystone Ranch has a little bit of everything. It is at 9k feet elevation. I did walk it, but for most I would suggest thinking twice. The first hole is a welcoming reachable par five from an elevated tee. There are fairway bunkers right and left, favor the right side off the tee. There is also a greenside bunker right, definite birdie hole. The 2nd hole leans right with fairway bunkers on the right side. Favor left of center off the tee. There appear to be two greenside bunkers, but there is about 30 yards behind the left bunker. The third is the number one handicap hole, a 222 yard par three. Right is death and there are greenside bunkers left and right. Tough hole, I do not think it is worthy of the number one handicap hole designation. The 4th looks a lot more wide open than it is. This is due to fewer fairway adjacent trees on both sides of the fairway. It leans left with hourglass fairway bunkers. The green has bunkers front right left and rear. The fifth is the longest par five nd trundles right. There is a fairway bunker right and the river cuts across the hole. Play it as a three shotter. For your second shot aim at the left fairway bunkers. This side should give you the best angle to attack this green with a false front. The 6th is a sucker hole and I fell for it. Hooks don’t fare very well with water left. The shortest par four on the front with a water carry that extends down the left side. The fairway narrows significantly as you approach the green. Consider laying up to your preferred yardage. The mid-yardage par three 7th looks tougher than it is. Yes, you must fly the river, but it is well short of this green with bunkers left and right. The 8th is the longest par four on the front with fairway bunkers right and left exactly where they should be. Large two-tiered green with bunker left rear and dropoff right. I chuckled when we got to the 9th tee box. The pin was back left and the tee boxes stagger left to right with trees on the left side. Long and downhill, but this one set up lovely for my draw. Nothing like dogleg left par threes!
The back starts with a straightaway par four. This ridged green has bunkers front right and left. The 11th is a dogleg right with bunkers on the inside and outside elbow. You can challenge the dogleg but the fairway narrows and I do not think the benefit outweighs the risk. This hole also contours left to right with greenside bunkers front left and right. The 12th is a fairly benign par three. The 13th is not a long par five, nor particularly strategic, but it is uphill the entire way. The 14th is the longest par four and leans left. Favor the left side, it has a split fairway and balls too far right of center will roll down the slope and increase the difficulty of the hole. The 15th is the shortest and allegedly the easiest par three. Not true if you hook it into the left bunker. The 16th is the shortest par five that leans left and can be reached. However, the fairway runs out. Pay attention to the yardages off the tee. The 17th is a fun short par four. It is downhill and you do have to carry a waste area. Even mediocre drives will have an attack wedge, but be wary of the two pot bunkers in the front. The short straightaway from an elevated tee box par five 18th is considered the easiest hole on the course. Favor right of center off the tee, there is a collection of bunkers inside the midpoint, don’t let those dissuade you from going for it.
I would pay to play it again. My only knock would be the ending is somewhat anti-climactic.