10 Best Public Golf Courses – Washington State

By | Golf News, Uncategorized | No Comments

With the start of a new year comes resolutions. New goals to set forth and conquer. One of my resolutions for 2017 (and hopefully a few of yours too) is to play more golf. We are so lucky to live in a state that boasts so many world class golf courses, most of which are open to the public. With copious options to choose from, where does one start? I’ve combed through the most unique, highest awarded, best value, and overall playability of all public courses in Washington to help you decide. Here is my list for the 10 best public golf courses in Washington State. Get out there and try these gems!

apple-tree-golf-course-yakima

10. Apple Tree (Yakima, WA)

Well known for its apple shaped island green, Apple Tree Golf Course is fun yet challenging. The course layout weaves thru acres of apple trees. Once secluded, the course’s charming appeal brought with it increased development. Regardless of recent growth, it’s still a must try Washington course! Apple Tree offers discounts for local Yakima residents as well as discounts for senior and junior golfers. Apple Tree also offers the option of renting a GolfBoard. Speaking from personal experience, these things are a ton of fun if you haven’t tried them yet.

Standard Rates

  • Primetime (Mon-Thurs): $43 Resident / $58 Non-Resident
  • Primetime (Fri-Sun): $58 Resident / $73 Non-Resident
  • Twilight (Mon-Thurs): $29
  • Twilight (Fri-Sun): $35

 

bear-mountain-ranch-golf-course

9. Bear Mountain Ranch (Chelan, WA)

A beautiful scenic course located in Chelan, WA boasts stunning views of Lake Chelan, surrounding vineyards, and rugged canyons. Expect to find elevated tee boxes, blind shots, and maybe an eagle opportunity. Golf carts come with built-in GPS systems and are included in the price. Spring season rates run from April 15th thru May 12th and can save you $20-$30 off your round.

Spring Rates (4/15 – 5/12)

  • Public (Mon-Thurs): $59
  • Public (Fri-Sun): $69
  • Public (Twilight): $49

Standard Rates (5/13 – 10/15)

  • Public (Mon-Thurs): $79
  • Public (Fri-Sun): $99
  • Public (Twilight): $49
  • Public (Twilight Weekend): $59

 

palouse-ridge-golf-course

8. Palouse Ridge (Pullman, WA)

Nestled into the gentle rolling hills of the Washington State University campus in Pullman you’ll find the 7,308-yard links style Palouse Ridge Golf Club. This track was inspired by the classic designs of Scotland courses where the game of golf was born in the 15th century. Thick fescue frames the well maintained, clean cut fairways. Miss the fairway here and the fescue will make you pay! A challenging track with stunning views to boot. The practice facilities were well maintained; a grass range is always appreciated.

Standard Rates

  • Non-Resident: $99
  • Resident: $55
  • Twilight: $45
  • Senior: $45
  • Student: $40 Junior: $20

 

home-course-dupont-wa

7. The Home Course (Dupont, WA)

Owned and operated by the Washington State Golf Association and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, The Home Course in Dupont is both affordable and beautiful. It boasts panoramic views of the Olympics, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound. A flat layout makes this course a great choice for those who like walking 18-holes. Expect a few blind tee shots and quick greens. Golfers who are WSGA members and have an active GHIN are eligible for reduced rates. Students and seniors also qualify for reduced rates.

Standard Rates

  • Non-Associate (Mon-Thurs): $35
  • Non-Associate (Fri-Sun): $45
  • Non-Associate Twilight (Mon-Thurs): $27
  • Non-Associate Twilight (Fri-Sun): $30

 

druids-glen-golf-course

6. Druids Glen (Covington, WA)

Surrounded by 230-acres of second growth forest with spectacular views of Mount Rainier as a backdrop, Druids Glen is a golfer’s paradise. This 7,146-yard course features nine lakes and over 60 well placed bunkers. The course can be quite challenging from the back tees, don’t bite off more than you can chew. You won’t find any short scoreable par-3s here, I found them to play quite long. Overall, Druids Glen presents a challenging but fair test for the average golfer. It’s one of the best values you’ll find for a public course in the state.

Standard Rates

  • Public (Mon-Fri): $34
  • Public (Sat-Sun): $43
  • Twilight (Mon-Fri): $21
  • Twilight (Sat-Sun): $26
  • Senior/Ladies (Mon-Fri): $28

 

white-horse-golf-course

5. White Horse (Kingston, WA)

For those golfers who reside in Kitsap County and its surrounding area, you may want to give White Horse a visit. Seattle golfers can also take advantage of their free shuttle that runs from the Kingston Ferry Dock directly to the course. A quiet peaceful setting, the course is encompassed by an old growth wooded forest of Fir, Cedar, and Pine trees. Keep your eye out for Bald Eagles overhead and other PNW wildlife. Since being purchased by the Suquamish Tribe in 2010, improvements were made to help make the course more enjoyable for players of all skill levels. The greens roll pure and the fairways are well maintained. Be mindful of the sneaky trouble that may lurk around the greens. White Horse offers by far the best rates we found for junior golfers. GolfBoards are also available here to rent.

Standard Rates

  • Regular (Mon-Thurs): $45
  • Regular (Sat-Sun-Holidays): $50-$60 depending on time of day
  • Twilight (Mon-Fri): $25
  • Twilight (Sat-Sun): $29
  • Senior (Mon-Thurs): $45
  • Junior: $10

 

salish-cliffs-golf-course

4. Salish Cliffs (Shelton, WA)

This secluded course in Shelton surrounded by dense forestry with over 600 feet of elevation changes, offers stunning views of Kamilche Valley as well as world class golf. The course is very well maintained and their facilities are top notch. Expect to find Titleist NXT Tour range balls available for your practice sessions. Their rental clubs are also top of the line. Titleist 716 irons, 915 metal woods, Vokey wedges, scotty Cameron putter, and half dozen Pro V1 custom logo golf balls are available to rent for $60. The course layout is challenging and requires decent ball striking skills. If you miss the fairway, hope that you’ll find it. Thick tree lines, dense shrubbery, and thick rough will make you pay if you struggle with your driver. The greens are well groomed, incredibly smooth, and speedy. It’s extremely important to land on the same level as the flag, the undulating greens can be quite tricky to judge. One of the best courses to play in Washington, but it’s also one of the more expensive courses on this list.

Rates

  • Demand Based Pricing: Prices will vary by season, day of the week, time of day, and days in advance booked

 

wine-valley-golf-course

3. Wine Valley (Walla Walla, WA)

This links style course in Walla Walla fits in beautifully with its surroundings. Thick fescue frames the wide, firm fairways. The bunkers can easily turn a good hole bad and are not to be messed with. The course plays hard and fast, be sure to factor in the roll into all of your shots. Play it safe when hitting your approach shots. Missing to the wrong side of the green or finding a deep bunker could be detrimental to your score. A fun course that plays to the strengths of those with strong course management skills.

Standard Rates

  • Standard (Mon-Thurs): $85
  • Standard (Fri-Sun): $100
  • Twilight (Mon-Thurs): $65
  • Twilight (Fri-Sun): $80
  • Local Rate (Tues/Sat or Sun): $55/$65

 

gamble-sands-golf-course

2. Gamble Sands (Brewster, WA)

Stunning views of the Columbia River at every turn combined with world class golf places Gamble Sands near the top of our list. Without a doubt, Gamble Sands is one of the most scenic courses in Washington. Caddies are available here and you’ll need them for your many blind shots. In the traditional links style, the course plays firm with wide open fairways and oversized greens. Sandy terrain of the high desert and fine fescue can be found with an errant shot. Gamble Sands isn’t excessively punishing, it’s built for the average golfer whose there to have a good time. Take advantage of those reduced rates in the spring and make a day trip out of it.

Rates

  • Spring (Mon-Thurs): $100
  • Spring (Fri-Sat): $110
  • Spring Twilight (Mon-Thurs): $85
  • Spring Twilight (Fri-Sat): $95
  • Regular Rates (Mon-Thurs): $125
  • Regular Rates (Fri-Sat): $150
  • Regular Rates Twilight (Mon-Thurs): $100
  • Regular Rates Twilight (Fri-Sat): $125

 

chambers-bay-golf-course

1. Chambers Bay (University Place, WA)

Home of the 2015 US Open, built upon a sand and gravel mine, Chambers Bay is rich in history. Chambers offers sweeping views of the Puget Sound and surrounding islands. Considered by many to be the best and most challenging links style course in the state. Vast changes in elevation make this course a tough one to walk. Caddies are available upon request and provide excellent knowledge of the course. There are several different tee options available for all skill levels. Don’t let your ego dictate your tee choice or you may be struggling to reach the green in regulation. Ball striking and course management skills are key factors to scoring well here. Rates vary by season here so take advantage of those nice days before peak season for a great deal.

Current Rates

  • Pierce County Resident/Military (Jan-Feb): $69
  • Pierce County Resident/Military (March): $75-$89
  • WA Resident (Jan-Feb): $89
  • WA Resident (March): $95-$109
  • Juniors under 14 free with paying adult

Product Spotlight: Srixon

By | Equipment Reviews, Golf News | No Comments

Srixon has developed very tidy, yet efficient lineup of drivers, fairways, irons, and hybrids. The new Z 355 series of drivers, fairways, hybrids and irons are geared mainly towards Game Improvement players. However, they still offer some other great options that cover players of all abilities. The Z 945 Irons and the Z 745 Driver tend to be a bit more Tour driven, while I found that their fairways and hybrids will cover players all abilities. Srixon chose a high gloss black colorway as the theme which give these clubs a clean and rich look. It is worth giving a try to the High Balanced Shaft Technology.

Srixon Z 745 Driver


Z 745 Driver Address
Z 745 Driver
Z 745 Driver Face
Z 745 Driver Toe

Club Tested: Z 745 Driver Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage HBP Black 60; Flex: Stiff; Loft: 9.5°

The Takeaway

The Z 745 Driver is a compact 430cc head. It features Dual Speed Technology which maximizes a player’s rotational efficiency while delivering more kinetic energy at impact. The advanced construction of the titanium face creates a larger sweet spot, increased COR and maximizes ball speeds. The larger sweet spot is due in part to the thinner heel and toe sections in all the Srixon Z series Woods. Srixon says the sweet spots are up to 35% larger than the previous generation. A 12-way hosel and an adjustable sole weight give players the ability to tune this driver to your optimal launch and spin.

Who’s It For?

This compact driver is for skilled players who like a penetrating launch and to work the ball with maximum distance.

Final Take

The Z 745 Driver is definitely more of a player’s club. The ball flight is very penetrating with a mid-launch angle. The gloss black head sports a slightly deeper face giving this club head a compact look. The feel was not quite as good as the shots were. Meaning, the ball went much better than the feedback to my hands felt. The ability to change the weight will help stronger players dial in their spin and launch angle numbers.

Srixon Z 545 Driver


Z 545 Driver Address
Z 545 Driver
Z 545 Driver Face
Z 545 Driver Toe

Club Tested: Z 545 Driver Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage HBP Black 60; Flex: Stiff; Loft: 9.5°

The Takeaway

The Z 545 Driver has a 460cc head featuring Dual Speed Technology which maximizes a player’s rotational efficiency while also delivering more kinetic energy at impact. The advanced construction of the titanium face creates a larger sweet spot, increased COR and maximizes ball speeds. The larger sweet spot is due in part to the thinner heel and toe sections in all the Srixon Z series Woods. Srixon says the sweet spots are up to 35% larger than the previous generation. A 12-way hosel and an adjustable sole weight give players the ability to tune this driver to your optimal launch and spin.

Who’s It For?

The Z 545 is for the “all-ability” players that demand maximum distance in a mid-high launch driver from a full size, more forgiving shape.

Final Take

I prefer the 460cc head shape over the 430cc because it provided me a lot more confidence at address. I also enjoyed the more low-back CG on the Z 545 compared to the low-forward CG on the Z 745. The CG of the Z 545 increased the launch angle and provided me with more forgiveness on mishits. However, the feedback off the strike did not confirm what I saw with my eyes, which was excellent distance from a mid-high penetrating launch.

Srixon Z F45 Fairway Wood


Z F45 Fairway Wood Address
Z F45 Fairway Wood
Z F45 Fairway Wood Face
Z F45 Fairway Wood Toe

Club Tested: Z F45 3 Wood Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black HBP 60; Flex: Stiff; Loft: 15°

The Takeaway

Like the drivers the fairway woods offer Dual Speed Technology. This maximizes the player’s rotational efficiency while also delivering more kinetic energy at impact. Steel Cup Face made of an ultra-hot HT1770 maraging steel raised the C.O.R. by 15 points maximizing ball speeds. The larger sweet spot is due in part to the thinner heel and toe sections in all the Srixon Z series Woods. Srixon says the sweet spots are up to 35% larger than the previous generation.

Who’s It For?

The Z F45 fairway wood will fit the needs of a very large range of players, but it is more on the players side than higher handicapper.

Final Take

The Z F45 head shape is on the smaller more rounded side, but with a larger face area from heel to toe has that same rich look. With the more forward CG, the 15 degree head produced shots that looked more like 13 degrees of launch and with stunning distance. Those that have any issues getting the ball up might opt for a higher loft and play that as your 3 wood. I definitely found myself surprised by the demo with this club. Might be one of the lowest launch, and longest 3 woods that I have ever tested!

Srixon Z H45 Hybrid


Z H45 Hybrid Address
Z H45 Hybrid
Z H45 Hybrid Face
Z H45 Hybrid Toe

Club Tested: Z H45 Hybrid Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black 70; Flex: Stiff; Loft: 19°

The Takeaway

Similar to the drivers and fairways, the hybrids incorporate much of the same technology. Dual Speed, Variable Face Thickness, Maraging Steel Face, along with a lower CG to promote a higher, more penetrating launch. Srixon redesigned the hybrid club head shapes for smoother turf interaction and a more confident look at address.

Who’s It For?

Like the Z F45 fairway wood, this hybrid is for all abilities of players, but it falls more on the players side of the spectrum than the higher handicap side.

Final Take

This nonadjustable hybrid presents a very nice shape and size. At address I could see a slight offset which gave me the typical impression of a slightly closed face angle as most nonadjustable hybrids do. The ball flight was more on the mid to mid-high trajectory with a very solid feel. I really like when hybrids are simple and easy to swing. The Z H45 is all of that.

Srixon Z 945 Irons


Z 945 Irons
Z 945 Irons Address
Z 945 Irons Face
Z 945 Irons Toe

Club Tested: 6 Iron Shaft: KBS Tour 120; Flex: Stiff; Loft: 29°

The Takeaway

Forged from 1020 Carbon Steel (with a lower Carbon Content compared to many key competitors) the Z series irons are high–strength while also exceptionally responsive and smooth at impact. Tour V.T. sole enhances turf interaction and trajectory control by increasing leading bounce and decreasing trailing bounce. A “V” is created in the sole profile that has been proven to reduce the turf resistance and tighten shot dispersion. The tungsten weight in the toe moves the CG to a more centeral location. Laser milling on the face ads surface roughness for additional spin and trajectory control in all conditions.

Who’s It For?

The traditional muscle back design, thin top line and more compact shape is for the most demanding and high level players who want control and workability.

Final Take

This classic players club was a bit demanding for me even though I did find the sweet spot often. When looking for a players iron, the Z 945 Irons have the looks (compact, thin top line) and a soft feel that I found very workable. As with most players clubs, I saw increased launch angles due to a higher degrees of loft compared to the larger cavity back clubs. The Tungsten weight insert is becoming more common in these types of irons and has given engineers the ability to move weight to a more central CG location.


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