Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices.
NO. 1 COURSE: WINE VALLEY
LOCATION: Walla Walla
DIRECTIONS FROM WALLA WALLA: Drive seven miles west of downtown on Hwy 12. Turn right on Frenchtown Rd. and go ¾ miles then left on Wine Valley Rd.
OPENED: 2009. (Architect: Dan Hixson)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: winevalleygolfclub.com
LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,360 yards (four tee positions).
LOWDOWN: Tucked into the wine making and tasting region of southeastern Washington, this new layout features wide open and hard fairways with ample-size greens. Its length can be intimidating but you get extra rolls.
The course has been ranked as the second best you can play in the state by GolfWeek and golfers can easily link with wine tours/hotels in the region for a zin experience.
SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 7, par-5, 625 yards. One of longest holes in the state (back tees), it takes good positioning to avoid the fairway bunkers and three around the green. Once you get in a trap, the steep banks in places can make it a bogie-plus experience.
NO. 2 COURSE: PALOUSE RIDGE
DIRECTIONS FROM SPOKANE:. Once you reach Pullman, take Main St., Hwy 270 toward Moscow, Id. Take a left on Airport Rd. Drive two miles. The road turns into Terre View. The course is on the left.
OPENED: 2008 (Architect: John Harbottle III)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: palouseridge.wsu.edu
LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,308 yards (three tee positions).
LOWDOWN: When this course opened in 2008, this region finally got a enviable golf facility. It is a challenging layout, with elevation changes, hidden obstacles, some fairly long carries and plenty of risk-reward shots.
The links-style course was selected as the top new golf course in America by GolfWeek in 2008.
SIGNATURE HOLE:No. 17, par-5, 527 yards. The long hitters have to prevent a roll into the downhill waste area in the 240-yard range. The shorter hitters need to negotiate the waste area and find a place to land to the left of the green. There is a lake protecting the right side of the green and a troubling and deep pot bunker on the back left side.
NO. 3 COURSE: CANYON LAKES
DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN KENNEWICK: Travel south on Hwy 82 and turn left on W. 27th Ave. Then take a right on Olson St. The course is straight ahead.
OPENED: 1981(Architect: John Steidel)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: canyonlakesgolfcourse.com
LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,026 yards (five tee positions).
LOWDOWN: Golf Digest gave Canyon Lakes a 4 1/2-star rating (out of five) and listed it among top course to play in Washington.
The course is wide open, like the Eastern Washington terrain. There are fewer trees but more ankle-length fescue where the ball can disappear.
The No. 12 green is the largest surface in the Pacific Northwest at 12,000 square feet.
SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 9, par-5, 527 yards. Selected at on the Northwest’s ‘Dream Holes’ in the state, it’s a challenging par-5. Most of the difficulty is your approach shot to the green. There is a large pond just in front of the green and most times the pin placement is just on the other side. It’s take a delicate shot to get over and keep it on the surface.
NO. 4 COURSE: HORN RAPIDS
DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN RICHLAND:From Hwy 182, take Hwy 240 north to Kingsgate Way. Take a left then a right on River Park Dr. Drive around until you see the course on the left.
OPENED: 1994 (Architect: Keith Foster)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: hornrapidsgolf.com
LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,060 yards (six tee positions).
LOWDOWN: If you like an open range, this one is for you. There are few trees on the course but plenty of sagebrush and the brownish colors of the plains.
It’s a relatively long course but you do get the benefit of the roll on the hard surface. There is also more than expected elevation changes, many all-carry shots up sleep fairways.
SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 12, par-5, 579. This is a long distance with the first half uphill around a dogleg left. There is a hidden bunker on the left within range of a long hitter’s tee shot. Take it to the right and you are in thick fescue. Your approach to the green is tough with a deep bunker along the left side of the green.
NO. 5 COURSE: SUN WILLOWS
DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN PASCO: Get off Hwy 182 at the 20th Ave exit and head north. Take a right on Sun Willows Blvd. The course is on the left.
OPENED: 1960 (Architect: Robert Muir Graves)
GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: playsunwillows.com
LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,715 (three tee positions).
LOWDOWN: This is a throwback course, back to the classic designs. It was designed in 1960 by noted course architect, Robert Muir Graves, who did Quail Lodge in Carmel, Ca., Lake Merced CC in Daly City, Ca., and Big Meadows at Black Butte Ranch in Oregon, among others.
It was redesigned in 1980 and has 32 bunkers and five lakes. It was ranked the 10th best course in Washington by Western Golf Alliance.
SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 9, par-4, 420 yards. It’s a long, wide open route to a smallish green, protected by bunkers. This is the tough section of the course as this is the No. 1 handicap hole followed by the No. 4 handicap hole, the par-4, 410-yard tenth.
– Bob Sherwin
TOMORROW: Washington/Seattle area