The northern most state of the beautiful Pacific Northwest region of the country, Washington has all the trappings of a state primed for fantastic golf. Pine forests, lush grasses, and plenty of rain to keep everything green, you can bet your bottom dollar you will encounter some amazing tracks when you are in the Evergreen State. With hundreds of courses and a strong golfing tradition, the game is in good shape in the great state of Washington.
To point you in the right direction as you begin to consider which courses you will want to play, here are five Washington golf courses you need to play.
Best Public Course: Chambers Bay (University Place)
Located in University Place and with breathtaking views of both Puget Sound and Mount Olympia, Chambers Bay is a stunning golf course and the best public track in the state. Chambers Bay has hosted some very prominent golf tournaments including the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship and 2015 U.S. Open since its recent opening and is widely acclaimed as one of the best courses in the region.
The fairways are seemingly carved in between large mounds of thick rough and fescue and play parallel and lead to the sound. This links course also features mammoth sand dunes and bunkers and a layout that is as punishing as it is mesmerizing.
The front nine begins with a gorgeous par 5 and is a great opportunity to score well and get your round started off on the right foot. From there the courses twists and turns and is punctuated by another spectacular par 5 18th hole that is a great finisher.
Overall, Chambers Bay measures just over 7100 yards from the tips and is a par 72.
For non-residents the price to play Chambers Bay starts at $275 for 18 walking, though the course utilizes dynamic pricing, so that could go up if demand is high. However, the twilight, or sunset rate, is more affordable and starts at $125.
Best Private Course: Aldarra Golf Course (Sammamish)
Built on the old Boeing family farm and located just outside of Seattle, Aldarra Golf Course offers a pristine golf experience replete with natural landscaping and striking views of the Cascade Mountains. This Tom Fazio-designed course is the only of its kind in the state.
The first hole features a generous fairway and water to the left. The green is tucked in behind the hazard and makes for a dicey approach. However, what the course dubs “The Gauntlet” doesn’t begin until fifteen and features a challenging four hole finish that might leave you scrambling.
From the tips, Aldarra measures just under 6900 yards and is a par 71.
Unfortunately for most, Aldarra is a private course and only open to members and their guests.
Most Scenic: Gamble Sands Golf Course (Brewster)
Considered by some to be a contender for best overall course in the state, Gamble Sands Golf Course is an absolutely gorgeous track. This elevated course boasts crisp fairways that are essential to find as bushes and thick grasses make up the terrain just off to the left or right.
The first hole is a medium range par 4 that moves from left to right and dips to a large, undulating green. Water and mountains off in the distance on the par 4 2nd make hole 2 one of the most sensational in the entire state. Beware going past the green as the hole drops off almost immediately after the putting surface.
On the back nine, things get started with a short par 3 and continues on to the par 4 11th hole which features a fairway bunker strategically located in a logical landing area.
Gamble Sands measures just under 7200 yards and is a regulation par 72.
If your not staying at the resort, a round of 18 walking costs $99 Monday-Thursday and $130 Friday-Sunday.
Most Challenging: Wine Valley Golf Course (Walla Walla)
With their affinity for demeaning links layouts, many of the courses on this list are challenging enough, and another course to add to that list is Wine Valley Golf Course. With tall fescue and massive bunkers, Wine Valley is a course that punishes those who can’t hit the ball straight.
The first hole kicks off with a slight dogleg right that showcases just how serious the bunkers will be throughout the round. The 2nd hole moves to the right and uphill with tall grass and sand on the right if you miss that direction.
On the back nine, the par 5 10th hole is fairly straight forward though it does feature a deep green side bunker that is a magnet for weak approaches to the green.
The round finishes perfectly with a long, downhill par 5 that will tease you, making you think it is easy. An army of bunkers awaits you at the green and any thing but straight will find menacing fescue.
Wine Valley is also one of the deeper courses in the state, measuring 7600 yards from the tips and is a par 72.
The standard rate for 18 walking at Wine Valley is $155, but the early bird special and twilight rate (starting at 1 pm) dip to $135. The super twilight rate starts at 3 pm and costs $100.
Best Value on a Budget: Indian Canyon Golf Course (Spokane)
Owned and operated by the city of Spokane, Indian Canyon is a premium course you can play at municipal prices. Bright, lush fairways weave their way in and out of tall, stately pines on this outstanding course. The course is well maintained and a true delight to play.
From the tips it is not a long course, measuring on only 6255 yards and is a par 71.
You can play Indian Canyon for $45.
With some of the best modern courses in the country, Washington has turned into a golfing powerhouse. With everything from links layouts to mountain views, the courses in Washington have something for everyone. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your Washington golf experiences in the comments section below.