Who needs to golf within the Pacific Northwest within the winter? Properly, the extra essential factor is which you could. Scott Hanson and Craig Smith present you the place on this particular winter installment of our Teeing Off collection of golf membership critiques. So bundle up, pack the golf equipment and skim on.
There are many good causes to play golf within the winter, and in case you are fortunate sufficient to play on a pleasant day, and on a dry course, it may be nice enjoyable.
However once we stepped out of our automobiles on an early December morning at Oakbrook Golf Membership outdoors Tacoma, the one factor I might take into consideration was that it was 26 levels out and nobody of their proper thoughts would need to golf in such climate.
There was not one other automotive within the parking zone, and we assumed the course was closed. We have been disenchanted that it wasn’t, and it was extra survival than enjoyable within the frosty circumstances.
However about two weeks later, we performed once more at Oakbrook on a day that was presupposed to be very ugly with heavy rain and winds within the forecast. We have been pleasantly stunned once we performed 18 principally dry holes and found why Oakbrook has a fame as among the best wet-weather programs within the space.
This can be each a evaluation of Oakbrook and a basic dialogue of winter golf, which has its personal pleasures and benefits.
Greens charges are decrease within the winter, and there are fewer individuals enjoying, which makes the rounds extra enjoyable: no worrying that you’re too sluggish or getting annoyed if the group in entrance of you is. You’ll be able to even decide up your ball, clear it and place it properly again on the bottom with out being referred to as a cheater.
Sure, winter golf could be nice enjoyable on many days. Nevertheless it may also be not so enjoyable, comparable to when the course is frozen and you’re enjoying on momentary greens.
We skilled a little bit of each in our two rounds at Oakbrook, which we selected for its fame as a great winter-weather course and in addition its considerably current conversion to a public course after being a longtime personal nation membership.
The situation of golf programs within the winter, we should level out, varies tremendously. Whereas Oakbrook’s fairways have been exhausting and the balls would roll even regardless of current heavy rains, we have now additionally performed programs the place virtually each drive will get embedded and needs to be excavated.
However for golfers who do their homework – on each course choice and climate forecast — there isn’t a cause to not tee it up. At the very least on some days.
As Craig put it: “An satisfying spherical in winter lends itself to self-congratulations to have ventured onto the course. A spherical in harsh circumstances is only a survival march in duck-hunting garb the place you rely down the holes – ‘Six extra to go, 5 extra to go.’ ”
Hanson: My father and frequent golf associate got here by to select me up for our second spherical at Oakbrook (not the frigid one), and the very first thing he stated was that he wasn’t going. It was raining so exhausting and the wind was blowing a lot that I didn’t even try and argue, however I requested if I might borrow his rain pants. (Sure, one thing a real winter golfer in all probability ought to personal.)
As we chatted for a couple of minutes, the rain let up and he had a change of coronary heart. Whereas joyful, I used to be additionally involved that this might end up badly for each of us: He can be enjoying within the rain, and I might not have his rain pants.
I shouldn’t have nervous. It was one among my most pleasurable rounds of the yr. It rained for a couple of holes, and onerous for a couple of minutes a few occasions, however every time circumstances bordered on uncomfortable, it let up.
The Oakbrook Golf Membership began out as a personal membership in 1966, it’s now a public 18-hole course in Lakewood. Mature fir and oak timber are scattered across the course. 208880 (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Occasions)
It had rained quite a bit the earlier two days, however the course was in nice situation. I solely obtained mud on my ball a number of occasions, and solely once I was off the green. The fairways by some means have been agency, and I by no means stopped being amazed once I watched balls roll for yards after hitting the bottom. The greens appeared in summer time situation, and at occasions when the solar got here out, I virtually felt like I used to be enjoying in Might.
We performed a mixture of white and inexperienced tees (6,047 yards) and located it to be robust sufficient to be difficult however nonetheless gave us bogey (and double bogey) golfers an opportunity to attain nicely. That we noticed lower than a handful of different golfers throughout our spherical was nice for us (though not for the course revenues). And the course was in such nice form that carts have been allowed on it (as an alternative of being confined to cart paths to guard fairways).
The restaurant was a welcome sight, particularly after our spherical within the chilly. Not solely was our meals good – membership sandwich, hamburger and the seafood stew — however I regained feeling in my toes.
Smith: Enjoying within the winter teaches you to cope with totally different circumstances and focus on areas of your recreation that want work. For one factor, you possibly can drop and hit an additional ball after botching a shot since you gained’t be inflicting a delay.
As a result of Oakbrook was personal for therefore lengthy, my hunch is that 75 % of public-course gamers within the Puget Sound space don’t know that this good course exists. The truth that 4 Washington Open Invitationals have been performed on it tells you lots.
Additionally: Though there are houses on each gap, I’ve by no means seen so many U.S. flags flying at houses. I hint this to the proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. the course is appropriately named as a result of it’s lined with tons of of oak timber.
Oakbrook was inbuilt 1966 as a personal membership and have become public in 2012 when bought by Ryan Moore golf, the corporate headed by PGA Tour participant Moore. Columbia Hospitality operates the course. The great restaurant provides “steak nights” and different promotions to draw non-golfers within the Tacoma-Lakewood-College Place space.
On the Oakbrook Golf Membership, golfer Brian Petoletti, DuPont, practices on an indoor excessive tech monitoring system. A display readout will provide you with knowledge in your swing and accuaracy. 208880 (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Occasions)
Hanson: The primary spherical at Oakbrook. I’m unsure people ought to even be outdoor when it’s 26 levels, not to mention play golf. The fairways had a layer of ice on them, and momentary greens have been positioned in fairways close to the actual ones. It’s simply not the identical placing on a fairway.
Craig found there was one advantage of enjoying within the Arctic. His tee shot on the one gap with water hit the ice that coated it, bounced up into the purple hazard stake above the pond, then bounced backward onto the ice, the place it stopped. The ice was so thick, Craig in all probability might have gone onto it and hit a shot, however “in all probability” was not sufficient to persuade him. However he did get his ball again, utilizing a membership to scoop it off the ice.
Smith: Short-term greens, that are simply low-cut areas of fairways, are like having a longing for recent salmon and being handed a can of cat meals. I often putted one-handed with no matter membership I had final used simply to get it over with. One other drawback with short-term greens is that they take virtually all greenside bunkers out of play and coping with bunkers is a part of a spherical of golf.
When Scott sank a 99-foot chip into the opening on a short lived inexperienced, the consensus was, “Too dangerous you wasted that shot on a temp inexperienced.”
Additionally: In case you don’t have GPS, Oakbrook could be troublesome to seek out in case you are unfamiliar with the world. Do your homework to keep away from frustration. … About 30 Canada geese landed on 18th fairway once we performed on the hotter day. … Signage to subsequent gap is insufficient on some holes the place subsequent tee isn’t apparent.
On the Oakbrook Golf Membership professional store, Jeff Mehlert’s canine “Hank” will greet you gladly. Jeff is Director of Golf at Oakbrook. 208880 (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Occasions)
What makes a course good within the winter? “Two phrases: Sand and drainage,” stated Larry Gilhuly, an agronomist for america Golf Affiliation. “In case you don’t have sand, you higher have actually good drainage.” Good winter programs keep dry and agency, even during times of rain. However many programs round right here flip right into a mucky mess in the course of the winter. … Some programs put tarps over their front-nine greens in a single day throughout freezing climate so golfers can use them within the morning. … Washington and different northern states don’t permit winter scores to be posted for handicap index functions. One purpose is that the ball doesn’t roll as far in soggy, winter circumstances because it does within the different three seasons. One other is the use, at occasions, of short-term greens.
Smith: One good factor about enjoying with Scott and his father is listening to these three fantastic phrases: “Good shot, Dad!”
Score (1 to four stars)
Hanson: 3½. The course is value enjoying yr spherical, and it needs to be within the dialogue for greatest wet-weather course in Western Washington.
Smith: three. Strong course unknown to many golfers. Nicely well worth the drive.
Weathering the climate
Listed here are 10 different programs which are value enjoying within the winter as a result of they continue to be comparatively dry. (in alphabetical order). The record was compiled with the assistance of a number of native golf officers and gamers.
- Capital Metropolis (Olympia) — Many say it’s one of the best winter course in Puget Sound space
- Chambers Bay (College Place) — Closed now as greens are being redone
- Lake Spanaway GC (Spanaway) — Over 700 tons of sand utilized in 2007
- Jefferson Park GC (Seattle) — One of the best of the Seattle munis within the winter
- Gold Mountain (Bremerton) — The Olympic course has an edge over the Cascade
- The Residence Course (Dupont) — One more reason this can be a must-play
- Legion GC (Everett) — Will stay shortened by development till spring
- Newcastle (Newcastle) — Each China Creek and Coal Creek programs fare nicely
- Redmond Ridge (Redmond) — One journal as soon as referred to as it “greatest enjoying situation” in NW
- White Horse (Kingston) — Simply one more reason to make the journey.
Oakbrook Golf Membership
8102 Zircon Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98498; 253-584-8770
Scott Hanson has been overlaying golf for The Seattle Occasions since 2005; Craig Smith coated golf for many years for the Seattle Occasions earlier than retiring in 2008.