Let’s admit it, unless you’re a fan of sticking soft spikes on to a pair of galoshes, summer is the best time to play golf in the Pacific Northwest. Golfers wait year-round for that precious two-month stretch from late June through August when clear blue skies, temperatures in the 80s and dry conditions abound.
Redmond, surprisingly, only has two public golf courses within its city limits. What the city may lack in quantity, however, is more than made up for in the quality of golf that can be found — if you can afford the greens fees.
Trilogy Golf Club, located high up in the hills on Redmond Ridge, is an absolute treat. The 2006 Links Magazine “Best Playing Conditions in the Northwest” award winner looks and plays like a track located far outside of the suburbs, carved through evergreens and offering sweeping views of the Cascades.
Measuring only 6,440 yards from the back tees, Trilogy is deceptively tough due to its generally tight layout, rolling terrain, deep bunkers, elevation changes and 16 water hazards scattered throughout the course.
Trilogy’s signature hole is the 435-yard par-4 13th, nicknamed “Sasquatch” for the seven-foot wooden replica of the beast that lurks in the woods left of the fairway. The hole features a blind approach and 70-foot elevation drop to a well-protected green that will test the nerves of any golfer. The course can also play as short as 4,818 yards, providing golfers of all skill levels with a day of challenging golf.
At $59 weekdays and $89 on the weekends (including cart), Trilogy may be pricey, but you get what you pay for. The course offers sweeping, panoramic views of the Cascades and is manicured to perfection. An assortment of flora can be found surrounding the greens on many holes, like the par-3 12th “Augusta,” aptly named for the azalea flowers that come into bloom every spring for the annual Masters golf tournament.
“We pride ourselves on offering a service model above and beyond our competitors,” said Todd Mielke, Golf Operations Manager at Trilogy. “It’s a nice, relaxed environment here.”
While Trilogy may well be classified as Redmond’s best-kept golf secret, a long-time favorite of locals has been Willows Run, located on Willows Road in Redmond. With two championship-caliber 18-hole courses, a 9-hole, par-3 course and a themed putting course, Willows has something for everyone to enjoy. The complex also boasts a top-notch practice facility featuring a covered driving range, two putting greens and two practice greens where golfers can practice their chipping, pitching or sand play.
“Willows Run offers great value,” said head golf pro Shawn Beattie. “It’s never hard to get a tee time here … the nice thing with our 36 holes is that you can always get on.
“We’re in a great location in Redmond and people just love to come here—from seniors to little kids, since there’s something for the whole family.”
Although slow play has been cited by some players as an issue during peak times, Willows drains well in wet weather and is kept in very good condition by course superintendent Chris King considering the heavy amount of play the course receives. Like Trilogy, its entire fleet of golf carts is equipped with an on-board GPS system that shows each hole’s layout, yardage markers and distance to the pin.
Casual golfers can enjoy Coyote Creek, the older and tamer of Willows’ two offerings, measuring 6,344 yards from the tips, and the more adventurous golfer can seek their challenge on Eagle’s Talon, a much longer 6,803-yard layout that runs around the circumference of Coyote Creek. Eagle’s Talon also features Willows Run’s signature hole, the 172-yard 17th, which features a nerve-wracking tee shot to a three-tiered island green surrounded by four bunkers.
Built on property intended to be a dairy farm, the flat terrain of Willows makes the course very walkable. The relatively open layout is a favorite for golfers of a variety of skill levels, though the minute evergreen trees that were planted when the course opened in 1994 have filled out considerably, particularly on the Coyote Creek course.
Willows charges $43 to play either course Monday through Thursday and $56 on the weekends and also features many money-saving options including mid-day, twilight and early-bird specials.
So unless you’re fortunate enough to know someone that is a member of Sahalee Country Club or happen to live in the 100 or so homes that surround the 9-hole Brae Burn Golf Course, Trilogy and Willows Run are your only two options to tee it up in Redmond. Choosing between spending an afternoon at either facility, however, would be akin to having to pick either Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson as your partner in the weekly best-ball tournament —both should provide the discerning Redmond golfer with a good value and a quality playing experience.
Tim Watanabe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5054.