Am now on a week-long roadtrip up north and stopped over at Seattle WA.
Playing this course at the high recommendation of many golfers and friends here. We drove up from Portland, Oregon in the morning and arrived 2 1/2hr later.
The course is situated in Tacoma, WA. A little south of Seattle. It is sitting alongside the beautiful Puget Sound which is a link of waterways that leads to the Pacific Ocean. It was built over an old granite quarry but the course has developed into one of Washington's finest thanks to Robert Trent Jones II.
We arrived to the spectacular view of this:
A very barren piece of land. Superb views of Puget Sound and a very linksy feel to it. The only other place in USA that I think can replicate this feel will be Bandon Dunes in Oregon just a little south but that place has the green fees twice of what it is here.
Walked into the pro shop:
Guys at the counter were pretty friendly. FYI This place is a WALKING ONLY course. You have the option of hiring a personal caddie, a forecaddie or a pull cart but no buggies. We thought it was refreshing.
We were whisked off to the driving range that requires the shuttle bus for the 3min ride down the hill. The course has tee times pretty booked on a Monday but you will never guess given the empty spaces at the driving range:
Also, the range balls were included in the green fee and its hit-all-u-want-as-long-as-u-dun-bust-ur-teetime. We were there about 1 1/2 hr earlier.
After we were satis w the warmup, we were again whisked by the same transport to the 1st tee and short game practice area
Free balls to pitch, chip and blast anywhere from off the green to 45yds away. Bunker practice included.
The greens were not the typical bentgrass and poa annua that I was accustomed to back in San Diego and SoCal golf courses. They were creeping fescue that were mowed very short and rolled. The speed is averaging about 8-9.5 depending on the time of the day and week. We thought it was slow but the starter informed us that because of the nature of the course greens, having them anything close to 10-13 will present a nightmare to the golfers because of the slopes and undulations.
I picked up the scorecare and is alittle surprised by it:
#1 - 498yd Par 4
#2 - 404yd Par 4
#3 - 165yd Par 3
#4 - 568yd Par 5
#5 - 490yd Par 4
#6 - 447yd Par 4
#7 - 482yd Par 4
#8 - 602yd Par 5
#9 - 227yd Par 3
#10 - 398yd Par 4
#11 - 500yd Par 4
#12 - 304yd Par 4
#13 - 534yd Par 5
#14 - 521yd Par 4
#15 - 172yd Par 3
#16 - 425yd Par 4
#17 - 206yd Par 3
#18 - 604yd Par 5
Total - 7547yds. One word : BRUTAL!
5 sets of tees to choose from:
The above ydages were for Teal and I decided to try out what the top amateurs and pros will be facing come those 2 national tournaments.
We set off to the 1st tee. 498yds for your 1st hole of the day wasn't very encouraging esp when its a par 4.
The ladies tees consistently played anywhere from 80-150yds shorter per hole. Thats good news for the gals.
The whole course was creeping fescue all round from tee-fairways-greens. They were just cut at different heights and lengths. Shades of Pebble Beaches' poa annua invading the greens were quite apparent on some of them but not to Pebble's extent yet.
At 1st glance, they looked like the typical m'sian type of green but they really roll quite true and because its hard, the greens dun hold shots without much spin.
This is the only tree on the golf course. Its a lone pine but the staff here said that it is 1 tree-too-many for this course. It will come into view for about 3-5 holes of the course.
The downhill 9th. I was ready to pass out from all the heat and climbing...compiled by the fact that I was too 'ge kiang' to hire a caddie. This hole was playing only 210yds today but slightly into the wind. It looked like 5-6 storeys high from the tee:
The Par 4 12th at 304yds was short for a reason. Its also called 'The Narrows'
Can you see the hole? Me neither for about 1min after a decent tee shot on #13. It actually plays shorter than it looks but you have to pray for the right bounce
This 534yd Par 4 is lethal. Although it plays downhill, you will need a 280yd carry just to the left of the bunker in the middle to get a good kick off the slope to leave yourself <200yds for your 2nd shot
A closer view from the middle tees. It is still punishingly long.
Looking back to the fairway from the green, you can see that it blends into the fairway seamlessly. You can literally putt from 40yds off the green if you can muscle it.
The elevation on some of the holes remind me of an SAF route march - lugging your bag and clmbing up the elevation. This is the 4th looking back towards the tee. The fairway bunker starts from the tee all the way to the front bottom of the green. This green is about 30yds wide.
The picturesque 15th
The 16th where the busy railroad runs parallel to it and the next hole. There will be joggers, people walking their dogs and non-golfers just walking around as you play, very reminiscent of St Andrews
The 18th, all 604yds uphill of it. The old railroad bay, now partially torn down is known as the 'sitting bins' sits to the right of the tee box and fairway.
Recommended? Not if you are not fit enuff to walk 18 holes. This isn't an easy course and after playing it, I can see why the site was chosen for a US Open. If you thought Sembwawang or keppel was a 'commando' course, you should try this. The walk is definitely no pushover and coupled with the heat today, I was a little shell-shocked from the front nine before recovering on the back.
Overall, a very very memorable course and 1 where links style is replicated and enhanced in every way: