In Washington, golfers enjoy windswept links, tracks carved from old-growth forests, lush valley courses, city layouts offering glimpses of skyscrapers and venues stretching across the high desert. Give yourself more than one day to play these stunning terrains.
1. Nestled up against Puget Sound, Chambers Bay, which opened in 2007 and hosts the U.S. Open June 15–21, 2015, quickly earned street cred as a top public venue in the country. The natural, linksy layout unfurls across a former sand-and-gravel mine that’s been crafted into a wonderland of dunes, waste areas and shot-making challenges.
2. On the very edge of the Olympic Peninsula, the Port Ludlow Golf Course boasts rugged scenic beauty, wild native grasses and wildflowers run amok. On this course, elevation changes, forced carries and expansive views rule the day.
3. Perched on a rise that sometimes sits above low clouds, The Golf Club at Newcastle offers impeccable service amid unimaginable panoramas. Fred Couples teamed with Bob Cupp to design two layouts here proffering views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.
4. Suncadia Resort, outside Roslyn, stretches across 6,000 acres of forested mountain landscape with views of the North Cascades. The resort’s peppy Prospector course presents sweeping fairways that cut through ponderosa pine, punctuated by Arnold Palmer’s signature bunkering. Suncadia is also home to the Rope Rider course, crafted by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy.
5. In the shadow of the Blue Mountains outside Walla Walla, Wine Valley Golf Club presents a links-style layout atop rich soil deposited from the ancient Missoula Floods. Architect Dan Hixson used open spaces and the topography carved by wind and water over thousands of years to craft a course that facilitates premium shot making.
6. John Harbottle created a course worth studying in the Palouse Ridge Golf Club at Washington State University in Pullman. Its natural track incorporates swirling breezes, 100-foot elevation changes, 49 whiskery bunkers and two lakes. Many greens are surrounded by swales and hollows, and are designed with infinity edges so they appear to drop off the end of the planet in the back. Holes offer surprises too, playing past such unexpected hazards like nuclear reactor and a grizzly bear research facility.
Photo Credit: Palouse Ridge Golf Club/Rob Perry