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Hidden Gems In The PNW


asofine

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1 hour ago, erichake said:

The front 9 of Elkhorn Valley east of Salem, Or.  It was originally a 9-hole course, but they added a second 9, which is inferior to the original 9.

 

 

 

Last summer's forest fires severely hit Elkhorn Valley.  They lost the clubhouse, maintenance buildings, irrigation system, and most of their greens keeping equipment. Hand watering greens trying to keep them alive. I believe they've sorta patched things together to keep the front 9 open at the moment, but it's a far cry from what it once was.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been a few years but I have played Elkhorn a couple of times and the course was always in great shape. The wild fires last year were horrible and so much was lost. Sorry to see the fires had such an impact on the course.

Edited by pdxhak

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  • 11 months later...

Using this thread as a guide, I recently played a number of rounds on the WA, OR and NorCal coasts during a road trip over the past 3 weeks.  I played:

 

Bandon Trails

Florence Golf Links

Gearhart Golf Links

Cedars at Dungeness

Sea Ranch 

Salmon Run 

 

My round at Bandon was probably under the nicest weather conditions that course ever sees; 70 degrees, sunny, very little wind.  Drove up to the course without a tee time, and was on the first tee in about 20 minutes, joining two great guys who were sharing a caddie, while I rented a push cart.  It was nice to listen in to the caddie helping the guys with start lines off the tee (yes, I gave him a small tip).  Really great afternoon.  

 

The other courses were all excellent as well.  Even though I suck at writing course reviews and don't do social media, I think I want to retire and enter my 2nd career as a van life/golf bum blogger.  

 

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  • 11 months later...
On 8/6/2021 at 7:01 PM, Chanceman said:

Snohomish is a course that was mentioned on this forum a while back as being a solid muni for little money. Any updates on its condition and playability?

Snohomish is in good shape.  During the dry season (July-Sept) the greens get firm and fast (unless they over-water them) and the fairways firm up. There's no irrigation in the fairways, just around tees and greens, so the ball will roll. That's good for more distance, but bad as the ball can roll into trouble.  It's now $55 plus tax for 18 on the weekend, but everywhere is getting more expensive. Regardless, it's a good value. I prefer it to the Seattle munis (Jackson, Jefferson, West Seattle) and the WAY overpriced Oki courses.

 

https://www.snohomishgolfcourse.com/greens-fees

 

 

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Hidden gem in Oregon for me is Buffalo Peak in Union, OR east or La Grande. It is a great course that is unique without being silly. I played there a couple weekends ago and the course wasn't in as nice of shape (still very good) but they had a really tough winter I'm guessing they are still recovering from. Tourist money spent in this little community is very impactful.

 

If you are out that way, then you should also play Wildhorse east of Pendleton. These are 1-2hrs from Walla Walla where Wine Valley is.

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On 8/28/2023 at 9:59 AM, Orchardist said:

If you have game, Salishan.  Peter Jacobson softened it up a few years ago but it stills play true on a windy day.  There's more to golf than bandon thankfully.

what do you mean by soften it up? Greens are slow? I am going out that way in June next year and am considering trying to get a round here.

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  • 2 months later...

Guessing OP has already come and gone from OR, but I would have added Mallard Creek outside Lebanon to the list. It can be soggy in the winter months, but the rest of the year it's a pretty fun track in the mid-Willamette Valley. It's about 15-20 minutes east of I-5, halfway between Salem and Eugene. I'd say about hour and 30-45 from PDX depending on traffic.

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On 7/25/2023 at 2:00 PM, erichake said:

Snohomish is in good shape.  During the dry season (July-Sept) the greens get firm and fast (unless they over-water them) and the fairways firm up. There's no irrigation in the fairways, just around tees and greens, so the ball will roll. That's good for more distance, but bad as the ball can roll into trouble.  It's now $55 plus tax for 18 on the weekend, but everywhere is getting more expensive. Regardless, it's a good value. I prefer it to the Seattle munis (Jackson, Jefferson, West Seattle) and the WAY overpriced Oki courses.

 

https://www.snohomishgolfcourse.com/greens-fees

 

 

100% agreed. Oki courses - with the exception of Trophy Lake - are as overpriced as they come. Newcastle is the only course I'll actively turn down an invite to. But in terms of value Snohomish is up there. I haven't played Battle Creek in some time, but Snohomish reminds me of a bit more polished version of Battle Creek (always thought that and Cedarcrest were a good value as well, although haven't played a while). In the summer Snohomish can get backed out a bit, so lacks that lush green look people associate with great conditions, but it just plays that firm and allows you to play on the ground a little more and the greens stay in really good shape. For the price well worth checking out. 

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On 6/8/2021 at 9:16 AM, asofine said:

Hi All,

 

A friend of mine is visiting the US for the first time this Summer. He's hoping to play lots of golf during his stay.

 

He's more interested in playing hidden gems than household name courses. I'm in Vancouver, Canada and am hoping to go on a 2-3 week trip with him in Washington/Oregon/Northern California.

 

I'm hoping for any recommendations of some great courses. 

 

Thanks in advance!

Central Oregon (Bend) has some amazing courses! Or make the trek to Bandon. Not a big fan of the Seattle courses but I’m sure there’s plenty to try that are good. I’m partial to Oregon because I lived there for most of my life. 
 

Bandon trip and Bend trip would be epic but spendy. 

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On 8/28/2023 at 11:59 AM, Orchardist said:

If you have game, Salishan.  Peter Jacobson softened it up a few years ago but it stills play true on a windy day.  There's more to golf than bandon thankfully.

Man I want to like Salishan but everytime I’ve played it the course is wet as hell. Even in the summer time. 

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On 1/13/2024 at 1:41 PM, byoshio82 said:

Man I want to like Salishan but everytime I’ve played it the course is wet as hell. Even in the summer time. 

Salishan is really a %$##$ especially with the wind and rain. A few really good holes,a few ok, and a few that are head scratchers to be honest. 

 

I would neve pay rack rate to play it. 

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On 1/13/2024 at 10:41 AM, kaschreiber said:

100% agreed. Oki courses - with the exception of Trophy Lake - are as overpriced as they come. Newcastle is the only course I'll actively turn down an invite to. But in terms of value Snohomish is up there. I haven't played Battle Creek in some time, but Snohomish reminds me of a bit more polished version of Battle Creek (always thought that and Cedarcrest were a good value as well, although haven't played a while). In the summer Snohomish can get backed out a bit, so lacks that lush green look people associate with great conditions, but it just plays that firm and allows you to play on the ground a little more and the greens stay in really good shape. For the price well worth checking out. 

Newcastle is terrible.

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On 7/25/2023 at 2:00 PM, erichake said:

Snohomish is in good shape.  During the dry season (July-Sept) the greens get firm and fast (unless they over-water them) and the fairways firm up. There's no irrigation in the fairways, just around tees and greens, so the ball will roll. That's good for more distance, but bad as the ball can roll into trouble.  It's now $55 plus tax for 18 on the weekend, but everywhere is getting more expensive. Regardless, it's a good value. I prefer it to the Seattle munis (Jackson, Jefferson, West Seattle) and the WAY overpriced Oki courses.

 

https://www.snohomishgolfcourse.com/greens-fees

 

 

When do the courses typically dry out in the spring? May?

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12 hours ago, bekgolf said:

Lake Padden and Sudden Valley should be on the hidden gem list.

Agreed. We do an in state boy's trip each Spring, this year is Bellingham (we've done Gamble a few times, Wine Valley). Playing Sudden Valley, North Bellingham, Shuksan, Avalon on our way home. Would have loved to end at Padden but they wouldn't allow our group of 16 to tee off before noon on a Sunday and we want to get home to the Seattle area. Seemed odd that they wouldn't let us out, I get that they need to be protective of pace of play, but we wouldn't be holding anyone up. Still excited for the trip, public golf in Bham is some of the best in the state imo

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On 3/10/2024 at 9:32 PM, bekgolf said:

Lake Padden and Sudden Valley should be on the hidden gem list.

I love the layout at LP. The 1st & 10th are beasts.

I haven't played LP in 2 decades.

Have they improved the conditions?

I always felt the municipality could have spent more money & resourses to improve the conditions to make LP a truly outstanding venue.

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It's unfortunate that Bellingham is not marketed better as a golf destination.

So many nice courses, with tons of variety.

Semiahmoo (need to stay at the resort to play)

Loomis Trail

Homestead (it's closed, it was in ruins the past 15 years, but was nice when it first opened).

Skuksan

North Bellingham

Lake Padden

Sudden Valley

Avalon

Eaglemont (new owners to bring it back to life?)

 

I have yet to play it...hopefully soon or one day. I hear Bellingham G&CC (private) is a hidden gem. It's on my bucket list.

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11 hours ago, Treats said:

It's unfortunate that Bellingham is not marketed better as a golf destination.

So many nice courses, with tons of variety.

Semiahmoo (need to stay at the resort to play)

Loomis Trail

Homestead (it's closed, it was in ruins the past 15 years, but was nice when it first opened).

Skuksan

North Bellingham

Lake Padden

Sudden Valley

Avalon

Eaglemont (new owners to bring it back to life?)

 

I have yet to play it...hopefully soon or one day. I hear Bellingham G&CC (private) is a hidden gem. It's on my bucket list.

 

The CC is nice - very old school. Shorter, tall trimmed trees where you have to work to lose a ball. Bigger, flatter greens that are well conditioned. 

 

I think it pops up on WA Golf's Casual Golf days from time to time - worth checking there if you're looking to get on (just need to have a valid GHIN in WA and you're a member of WA Golf)

Edited by kaschreiber

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16 minutes ago, kaschreiber said:

 

I think it pops up on WA Golf's Casual Golf days from time to time - worth checking there if you're looking to get on (just need to have a valid GHIN in WA and you're a member of WA Golf)

 

What's the best way to join WA Golf, directly through their website, or is there an advantage to joining through a club? The closest course to where I'm living is West Seattle, joining WA golf through West Seattle costs more than directly through WA Golf's website, but I can't seem to find any information as to why. 

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20 minutes ago, Double K said:

 

What's the best way to join WA Golf, directly through their website, or is there an advantage to joining through a club? The closest course to where I'm living is West Seattle, joining WA golf through West Seattle costs more than directly through WA Golf's website, but I can't seem to find any information as to why. 

Not sure the best way, I do it through my home club. It's a cost / benefit thing. Some men's clubs will give you a free round, or discounted rounds, etc. So if you play West Seattle enough and any benefits you get justify the incremental cost - I'd say go that route. 

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https://wagolf.org/play/casual-golf-days/

 

There's a date in Oct of this year at Bham CC, Sahalee in April, etc. I've gotten on Tumble Creek through this, Snoqualmie Ridge usually hosts one day a year, etc. 

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38 minutes ago, Double K said:

 

What's the best way to join WA Golf, directly through their website, or is there an advantage to joining through a club? The closest course to where I'm living is West Seattle, joining WA golf through West Seattle costs more than directly through WA Golf's website, but I can't seem to find any information as to why. 

 

If you join through your local courses' Men's club then you also belong to the club which has benefits like organized competition, tee times during prime times, meeting other members and players, etc.

 

You can join for less through Pro Golf Discount and get a handicap index but you won't belong to a Men's club.

 

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8 minutes ago, bekgolf said:

 

If you join through your local courses' Men's club then you also belong to the club which has benefits like organized competition, tee times during prime times, meeting other members and players, etc.

 

You can join for less through Pro Golf Discount and get a handicap index but you won't belong to a Men's club.

That too - if you just want the GHIN, cheaper ways to do it. But if you'd find value in joining a league, playing in events, etc. then going through a course directly can work. I joined North Bellingham in college, I think it was $100, but also got 2 free rounds and $18 for 18 holes before 10 am / after 1 pm. Not sure if many local courses offer benefits like that (the 2 free rounds paid for itself) but those are worth looking into. 

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Just now, kaschreiber said:

That too - if you just want the GHIN, cheaper ways to do it. But if you'd find value in joining a league, playing in events, etc. then going through a course directly can work. I joined North Bellingham in college, I think it was $100, but also got 2 free rounds and $18 for 18 holes before 10 am / after 1 pm. Not sure if many local courses offer benefits like that (the 2 free rounds paid for itself) but those are worth looking into. 

 

That's a pretty good deal.  North B. has too many fairway bunkers for my game, lol.  With that said those are some great perks for joining their club.

 

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Cleveland:  Wedges

Odyssey:  Putter

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, kaschreiber said:

Not sure the best way, I do it through my home club. It's a cost / benefit thing. Some men's clubs will give you a free round, or discounted rounds, etc. So if you play West Seattle enough and any benefits you get justify the incremental cost - I'd say go that route. 

 

A friend recommended doing it through The Home Club, because you get a free round, so I did that. Looks like it will be a net cost of $9 as I was planning on playing there anyways. 

 

It's about 90 mins from where I live, not something I'd do everyday, but I've driven further one way for a round. 

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