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Walked Willows Run Eagle this morning while taking a day off of work. Considering how absolutely miserable this past winter has been here in the northwest, the course is in pretty reasonable shape. Fairways and rough are a bit shaggy, and very wet, but it has been raining non stop for the last week or so it seems, so its pretty hard to complain about it. The same for the bunkers, lots of them are little ponds now but I can't see how there's too much the crew can do about it. Tee boxes are decent, some of the worst offenders are closed now and being rebuilt, I would guess that by the summer they'll be very nice. Greens remain pretty good, although a couple seemed to be in need of a little love. Seeing as how there was a break in the rain, and I had the place all to myself, it was a very nice way to spend the morning.
9 Likes.
Played Bellevue this morning, teeing off right on time at 6:15 walking with 2 others. Conditions here are pretty bad right now, the greens have lots of dead spots, and bounce all over the place. Fairways, rough, and tee boxes are a little bit better, but not by a lot. I found 2 greenside bunkers, and they were reasonable. I find myself playing here often as it is close to home, and today I just didn't have the time to travel somewhere. At the same time, $40 to walk it is too much for the current state of the place. I think I'll have to stay away for the rest of the year, and hope it improves some next season.
5 Likes.
Played West Seattle yesterday morning (7/31/16) and had a very enjoyable time. Our foursome (3 walking, 1 riding) teed off a few minutes past our 7:07 tee time, and played the blues in a little bit over 4 hours. There was a wait here and there, but nothing too bad at all. Conditions were solid across the board, but the highlight was the greens. They all rolled very nicely, quite true and consistent at a medium to quick pace. It did take a few holes to get used to them, as the larger of their 2 practice greens (the one that I used for quite a while before the round) was a little bit slower than the course. Well struck shots held, but anything else would release a bit. All other areas, fairways, rough, tees, and traps, were good as well. A couple of my playing partners complained that the traps were thin, but the 3 that I found (1 fairway, 2 greenside) were quite consistent, with soft heavy sand that behaved how I would expect. Of all of the Premier managed municipals here in the Seattle area, I think West Seattle's been the best this season.
10 Likes.
Took a mid week vacation day yesterday (7/20/16) and walked Washington National. I played by myself, behind another single in a cart that I never saw after the second hole. No one ever pushed me from behind, so even with practicing short game shots and putting at several of the greens, I played all 18 in a very comfortable 3.5 hours.

Conditions were pretty solid, the greens were very nice, even with a few having some unrepaired ball marks. They rolled very true, medium to quick with lots of subtle breaks near the holes, and were quite firm. A well struck iron would hold, but anything not hit solidly (or hit out of the rough) was going to release a fair bit. Fairways were very firm as well, with some spots that are a bit fried and should be marked as ground under repair. Fortunately most of those seemed to be in the spots that don't get a lot of play (or at least I managed to avoid the bulk of those spots). I had good lies in the short grass all day, and got plenty of roll on all of my shots. Rough isn't too long, and not too penalizing for the most part, although it was long enough to make you wish you'd found the fairway. Tees were in very good shape, all of them pretty level, and even the par threes didn't have much divot damage. If the conditions had a weak spot, I would say that it is the sand. The greenside bunkers I found on #10 and #16 were pretty nice, with just enough soft sand to splash out. I found a few fairway bunkers, however, and they were a bit inconsistent. One felt just like a greenside bunker, one was a bit thin, and then the third one that I found was incredibly thin, with a lot of rocks. All of the bunkers on this course are quite deep, so a difficult shot gets even more difficult when you find yourself feeling very unsure about how the club's going to react when you hit the sand. I understand they are hazards, but their depth makes them difficult enough, in my opinion.

I've played here a lot over the years, and I really do love the layout. Conditions are always a bit better than the munis I usually play, and I found that to be the case again today. I think the rack rate's a little bit steep, but having bought a 3 round weekday deal from Oki golf, it works out to $53 per round, which i think is more than fair. I can play these rounds at any of the Oki courses, but I've done the 1st two now at Washington National, and I'd be very surprised if I don't return here for the third.
10 Likes.
Played at Riverbend this morning, walking the course in 4 hours on the dot. Teed off at 6:30, about 5 minutes ahead of our scheduled tee time as a twosome. At the 3rd hole we caught the two in front of us and finished the round with them as a four. It felt a lot slower than 4 hours, as we waited on many shots, but the waits were never very long.

Conditions were a bit of a mixed bag. The greens were very nice, quite firm, a little quick, and really only holding well struck shots. They putted relatively true, and although I had trouble reading the breaks today, speed seemed pretty consistent. Fairways were ok, when in the short grass I had good lies, and got lots of roll. Things got pretty sketchy once you're off the fairway, sometimes you'd get a reasonable lie, but for the most part the rough could give you just about anything. Lots of bare spots here and there, just really inconsistent. I found 3 traps, two greenside and one fairway, and they were a bit on the thin side, especially the fairway bunker I found on #18. My buddy found a couple of greenside bunkers that he felt were extremely thin, the couple I found were playable. Tee boxes for the most part were uniformly awful, tons of divot damage. Most are pretty level, but there aren't many that have healthy grass on them. Even holes where you would always hit driver had craters all over the place.

In general, Riverbend just doesn't drain very well, and I pretty much avoid the place if there's been any rain. You can tell that there really hasn't been any rain at all lately, because this place is just bone dry. Everything felt very firm, and it was a pleasant change of pace from how it normally is here. Lots of places are just about fried, however, but thankfully they've marked the majority of the worst spots as ground under repair. At $32 to walk it, it was worth it, and I can see me getting back here before we get to the wet season.
5 Likes.
Played Mount Si yesterday (7/10/16) for the first time in many years, and found that the experience hasn't changed too much. Teed off at about 6:55 am, 5 minutes ahead of our 7:00 am tee time and essentially had no one in front of our foursome for the entire round, walking the blues in just about exactly 4 hours for a decent pace. Greens were ok, a few bumps here and there but not too bad, and not too many unrepaired ball marks. They were a tad slow, but very receptive. Fairways were very nice in spots, yet very bad in others. The rough was lush, but not too long, therefore not much of a penalty. Tee boxes ranged from good to awful, #15 had almost no grass on it, and it seemed like about half of them had the markers in spots that were not level at all. There's almost no sand on the course, so I can't remark about bunkers, but several holes have these weird grass bunkers guarding the greens, and while thankfully I didn't find any of them, they really must be avoided.

I feel like this place has a lot of potential, but it just doesn't quite make it. The setting is gorgeous, but there almost always seems to be something just a little bit wrong. We were a walking foursome, with no one in front of us, a threesome in carts behind us with foursomes behind them. As we're hitting our tee shots, there was always the sound of the gas carts approaching the green which was a major distraction as this course has tee boxes right next to the previous greens. We actually wanted to let that threesome go in front of us, but the marshall said don't do that, just play faster (we weren't slow to begin with) which really didn't help our games at all. I think he told that three to not push us, so the lawnmower style racket mellowed out a bit, but I think things would have been much better all around if we'd been able to let them through.

Another issue I have with the place is that the layout is just a little bit weird. It's pleasant to walk, and has some really strong holes, but there's also a few that just don't work for me. The second hole used to be slightly goofy par 5, but now they've moved the tee box to accomodate their short course, and have made it a an even goofier hole. Many of the tee boxes and greens are very close to each other, making for a nice walk, but in some areas they're so close to each other that you essentially have a gallery watching your shots, and someone having a quiet conversation becomes a distraction to another group. The place really should feel peaceful, as you're basically out in the middle of nowhere, there's no development around at all, yet it still manages to feel crowded. It had been some time since I'd played here, and while it isn't too bad, I still think I'll only come here when I can't find something better. The combination of conditions not quite matching the price, plus the general weirdness that seems to bother me makes it just not worth it.
7 Likes.
Played Walter Hall yesterday (6/11/16) for just the second time ever, and had a reasonably enjoyable morning. A friend and I teed off about 7:20 as a twosome, just about 5 minutes late from the reservation. Course conditions were a bit of a mixed bag, the fairways and especially the rough, were very nice. Great lies to hit from in the short grass, long, lush, and difficult at times in the rough. Greens unfortunately didn't roll very well, they were a bit on the slow side, and very bumpy. They were very receptive, holding most any kind of shot. Tee boxes weren't great either, a few of the tee markers were in places where it was a bit of an effort to find a flat spot. I avoided the bunkers (there aren't many here) so I can't comment on their condition. The pace of play felt a little bit slow (4:20 ish) for as early as we played, but I think it felt worse than it really was because we were a two sandwiched around fours, and even a five behind us.

Even though I had a good time, I do feel a little let down by the place. The layout is really pretty interesting, with a lot of really strong holes. It's a nice walk, without being flat and boring. But the greens really need to be rolled at least, because if those were a bit better the place would be very nice. They don't need to be faster, as they are pretty big greens, with lots of significant undulations. While they don't have a range, there is a short game area, and big putting green that felt the same as the greens on the course. Overall, if felt like there's just a lot of potential not quite being reached there. I'm sure I'll be back at least once more before the year's out, but I don't think it'll be a regular in the rotation.
6 Likes.
Enjoyed a very nice round at West Seattle this morning. Teed off at 7 am as a three with a couple of friends, let a single through on #2, and never waited or was pushed after that, finishing in about 3 and 1/2 hours. Overall conditions were very good, greens on the firm side, only holding a well struck shot. They did roll very nice, true at a medium fast pace. Fairways and rough good, as were the tee boxes. I found both the fairway and green side bunker on #1, and both had great sand. I found a couple others as well, and they were just as good. Conditions here are really nice, and will only get better between now and July 4, when they hold the Seattle amateur.

The layout can still give me fits, I feel like the first 13 holes here are as good as any public track in Washington, but after that it gets ridiculously hard, without feeling fun. Holes 14 through 17 here require absolutely perfect shots, merely good ones get seriously punished and that can just leave you feeling so disappointed as you walk up 18. The quality conditions at a fair price ($40 to walk) made it all good today, but there times when those four holes can just wreck the day.
8 Likes.
Took the day off work to get an early start on the holiday weekend, and walked Willows Run as a single early this morning. Got around insanely fast, just a hair over three hours even with a few practice shots here and there. I've always felt that this place gets away with charging more than its worth, but it seems that now the conditioning is catching up to the price. Greens rolled extremely well, very true and medium quick. Not super firm, they would hold shots very nicely. Fairways offered a lot of roll, but were not thin, and gave very good lies to hit from. The rough had been cut, and wasn't too long, but it was definitely lush enough to make you think about how to play from it. It really reminded you how nice the short grass is here right now. I found one green side bunker, and it had very nice sand, not thin but not super heavy either. Tee boxes could still use some leveling, (a few really are pretty bad) although they all did have very nice healthy grass with only the par 3s having much divot damage. I'm not sure I would want to pay the $65 or so it costs to walk here prime time on Saturday or Sunday, but for the $46 I ended up paying today, I think it was actually worth it.
5 Likes.
Walked the Home Course very early this morning, teeing off with another single around 6:30am. It felt like we had the place to ourselves, as we were always a hole behind the twosome walking in front of us, and the group behind us was always at least a hole and a half behind us. Coupled with the phenomenal weather, it was a great day.

The greens have recovered very well from their spring punch, and rolled very true. I was a little bit bummed by how many unrepaired and poorly repaired ballmarks I found on the front nine, but they weren't too much of an issue. Speed was medium fast, at least compared to the rest of the places I play here in the northwest, and I found that you did need to be assertive if going uphill, and careful when coming down. A solidly struck shot held very well. Fairways could be a little bit thin, but really not bad to hit from, and they gave lots of roll like always here. Rough's very thin, and not much of a penalty. The one green side bunker I found was in very good shape, although somewhat thin, but that's really being nit picky. Teeboxes were excellent.

It's a bit of a drive for me to get here, but the value of this place is just amazing. If you want a nice restaurant, and an attendant to clean your clubs, this isn't the place for you. But, if you want a really well conditioned, walkable golf course in a very nice setting, this place is tough to beat.
8 Likes.
Played in a Men's club event this morning (4/23/16) at Legion and had a real good time. Greens were very slow, which was the only real downside to the day. They had a few hops as well, but they are only 3 weeks out from the spring punch so it was definitely to be expected. Every other part of the course was lush and pleasant to play from. Rough long enough to really make you earn it, fairways always treating you well. The only bunker I found was green side on 15, and while it was a tad thin it was very playable. A little bit of rain and wind on the front nine gave way to some nicer weather on the back, so overall a great day. In about 2 more weeks, when the greens are fully healed, Legion will be awesome.
6 Likes.
Played here on Saturday, 3/26/16, in order to get my last winter club ($32 to walk) round in. The course was in decent enough shape, the greens were very nice, pretty smooth and medium speed. They were a bit difficult to get used to as the practice green had been punched and sanded, and I believe that the other course here has been punched as well. After a couple of holes of adjusting they seemed to me to be very consistent. They also held all shots pretty well. Fairways aren't too bad, although the usual places that don't drain well were pretty sloppy. Rough was consistently thick throughout, and if you was trying to hit against the grain you were going to be punished. Tee boxes as always were pretty bad, and many of the bunkers were full with standing water. I believe they'll be punching this course on April 4, so this week would be a good time to play it. However, now that they'll be charging their in-season rate, it will probably become a place that I'll only play occasionally. I think that $60-ish to walk here on a weekend morning is just too much.
8 Likes.
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