Road Holes — 13 January 2013 by Bob Sherwin
Top Five: Eastern Washington

Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices.

Golferswest.com continues its annual assessment of the Top Five courses to play within 12 West Coast states and British Columbia. Today, the 25-part series focuses on: Eastern Washington.

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.

PHONE: 509-525-4653

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.

 

Palouse Ridge in Pullman

NO. 2 COURSE: PALOUSE RIDGE

LOCATION: Pullman

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.

PHONE: 509-332-1827

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.

 

Canyon Lakes

NO. 3 COURSE: CANYON LAKES

LOCATION: Kennewick 

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.

PHONE: 509-582-3736

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

LOCATION: Richland

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.

PHONE: 509-375-4714

OPENED: 1994 (Architect: Keith Foster)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: hornrapidsgolf.com

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,060 yards (six tee positions).

 

Horn Rapids

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

LOCATION: Pasco

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.

PHONE: 509-545-3440

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 

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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