Date Played: October 5th

The South end of the I-5 corridor is home to some really good courses.  Courses that I always seem to forget when I travel between Portland and Seattle.  I decided to put a couple of these tracks to the test, and my first stop was at a course that had me pretty pumped, Mint Valley.

Mint Valley is built on an old Mint Farm, in a valley (originality bonus points) in Longview.  I was reading up on it to see what I might be in for, and I stumbled across the familiar name of Ronald Freem.  For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of getting your self-esteem handed to you at Kayak Point, you know the awful, sadistic and brilliant Ron Freem already.  With “Valley” right in the name and a design by Freem, I figured I was in for a beat down.  So it came as quite a surprise that this course is extremely gentle.

MVGC is nothing special.  There aren’t any real “wow” holes.  There is however, 18 solid golf holes that leave you satisfied in the clubhouse.  You start off on a couple of simple, flat and remarkably regular holes.  But things get fun on the third tee box.  You find your self on an elevated tee about 215 yards away from a green guarded by a giant front left bunker.  Long, elevated par 3’s, for my money are classic and never really get old.  So imagine my delight when on the 4th hole, you find yourself standing over another green, this time 175 yards with a menacing pond on the right edge.  It was a memorable feature that was followed by my favorite par 4 on the course.  The 5th hole is a 400 yard dogleg right, risk/reward layout that has a large safe landing area that leaves over 200 yards into the green.  The fairway necks down and has a bunker left that really makes taking driver a tall order.  The rest of the holes are alright, nothing to write home about, but they do enough for you that it doesn’t ever come across as boring.

The Greens at Mint Valley lack pizzazz  but they are fairly well maintained.  The fairways are cut nice and short , but the rough is a little shaggy and the bunkers aren’t the greatest.  The pro-shop is very well stocked and has a restaurant with a nice patio to watch players come in on 18.  I didn’t get to hit a bucket, but the driving range looks nice and the putting green is pretty big and true to the course greens.

All in all, Mint Valley is a nice course for the area.  It’s not something I would recommend tripping to, but if you’re local, $34 weekend prime-time is a good deal.  Just don’t get a cart, it’s $28 god damned dollars…so if you’re handicapped, I hope you’re well off.

Final Score: 41/60.

Design – 7/10
Test of Golf – 6/10
Condition – 6/10
Amenities – 7/10
Value – 7/10
Experience – 8/10