Whether you’re looking to escape office-related stress on the weekends or ink a deal on the course, here are some of the best Eastside spots to break out the clubs.
Maplewood Golf Course
This par-72 course is a fun and challenging course for golf enthusiasts of all ages. With ponds, tree-lined fairways, and the Cedar River running next to it, Maplewood boasts beautiful scenery. It’s also one of the few courses in the state to be designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for its efforts to protect the surrounding wildlife habitat.
Willows Run Golf Complex
Located in the heart of the Sammamish River Valley, Willows Run is a retreat from the urban Eastside. Players are likely to spot herons, Canada geese, and bald eagles during a round at Willows Run. There are two 18-hole courses, a par-three course, and a themed 18-hole putting course that mimics different climate zones.
The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge
Redmond Ridge is one of the region’s most challenging courses. The Gary Panks-designed, par-70 course winds through dense native forest and skirts wetlands. Difficult water features test the skills of golfers, who enjoy picturesque views of the Cascade mountains.
Bellevue Golf Course
This family-friendly, 18-hole course is open year-round and features a heated driving range with 46 stalls for chilly days on the course. Players of all ages can test their swing and then wind down at Bellevue Grill. Then try your hand — or, more accurately, foot — at FootGolf, which combines golf and soccer. The rules of golf remain, but instead of clubs and a golf ball, you’ll be kicking a soccer ball.
The Golf Club at Newcastle
Spread across 350 acres, The Golf Club at Newcastle has two 18-hole courses. The hilltop location offers up a panorama of Lake Washington, Mount Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade mountains, and the Seattle skyline. Both courses have first-class amenities, with well-bunkered landing areas, rolling fairways, and superbly conditioned greens.
Cascade Golf Course
Even though it’s a stone’s throw away from the South Fork Snoqualmie River, Cascade Golf Course is known as the driest course in Western Washington. Beginners can rest easy knowing they won’t be sending balls into water hazards all day. It’s also a quick play; during peak hours, the 18-hole course can be played in just four hours, giving you more time to check out Cascade’s old-fashioned general store and its award-winning Riverbend Cafe.
Want to venture beyond the Eastside? Here are some Washington courses worth the drive.
The Home Course
When The Home Course first opened in 2007, Golfweek magazine named it the second-best public course in Washington, and the course has continued to be a local favorite. It also boasts a rich history. The original site of Fort Nisqually is preserved next to the first green, and, according to PNGA research, the current Home Course site may have been the location of the first golf course in the Northwest, one built by Hudson’s Bay Company traders.
Chambers Bay Golf Course
There’s a reason the U.S. Open came to Chambers Bay for its first tournament in the Northwest: golf courses don’t get much better. Featuring towering sand dunes and massive fairways, Chambers Bay offers an authentic links course experience. With Puget Sound in the background, Chambers Bay is reminiscent of St. Andrews, the Scottish course where the game has been played for six centuries.
At Suncadia Resort, you can enjoy 54 holes spread over two courses with stunning Cascade vistas and surrounded by rolling pine forests. Check out the Rope Rider Golf Course, which was voted Best New Course of the Year by Golf magazine in 2011. After a few hours on the course, you’ll love winding down with a glass of wine and a hearty meal at Swiftwater Cellars.
With sweeping views of the Columbia River, Gamble Sands offers views that just aren’t available on the Eastside. This par-72 course is a young course; it opened in 2014 nestled into a resort. Dan Gamble claimed the land where Gamble Sands now rests in 1885, but instead of digging for and striking gold, he built a lumber mill and a hotel, and planted a fruit orchard. Gamble’s family since has since developed the golf course, and the commitment to excellence there has remained strong since.
Everett Golf and Country Club
For more than 100 years locals have called it “The Country Club,” lending weight to the course’s prestigious past and beautiful greens. The club itself boasts a relaxed atmosphere and casual environment. The course is short by modern standards, with relatively hilly, smallish mounded greens and narrow fairways. Douglas firs line the greens, which have hosted PGA events three times.
Desert Canyon Golf Resort
Washington isn’t all green and rainforest, and Desert Canyon is here to prove it doesn’t matter when it comes to shaping an excellent golf course. This 18-hole course is highly ranked by Golfweek, and is a gorgeous spread of green oasis in the Central Washington desert designed by Jack Frei and Rick Fehr. With plenty of elevation changes and a few blind corners, this tough-but-friendly course is bound to keep you on your toes.
This article appeared in the June 2016 issue of 425 Business.