Date Played: July 31, 2013 I love golf. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I do. I love playing it, I love learning about it, I love seeing other people play it. Golf in the Puget Sound might be defined nationally by courses like Chambers Bay and Salish Cliffs. It might even be defined regionally by courses like Harbour Pointe and Newcastle. But what really makes the golf industry of Western Washington tick, is courses like Blue Boy West. BBW (fantastic acronym) is a 9 hole jaunt in the backwoods of NE Monroe. I stumbled across it on a tip when I had just started playing golf again, circa 2005. A gentleman I was playing with mentioned that it’s a great, no frills course to go get reacquainted on. When I played it then, I wasn’t really impressed. I had a good time, but I was at a point where I was still enamored by the glitz of more expensive neighbors like Echo Falls. After a few years of breaking clubs, throwing fits and taking random sabbaticals from the game; I came to love places like Blue Boy that just offer golf, without the pretense and “fashion show” mentality that is so abundant at other facilities. Blue Boy operated as a ranch, for the better part of 80 years. The way the story was described to me, 6 holes were built in the early 90’s and maintained by the owner of the Ranch. In 1995, 3 extra holes were added, the barn was converted to a clubhouse and Blue Boy West was a “real” course. The course still operates under the family that the ranch did over a century ago, and the commitment to a good time is just as strong now as it was nearly 10 years ago when I first ventured out. 9 hole courses are often handcuffed by space limitations and rarely offer championship length or difficulty, and Blue Boy is no different. What separates Blue Boy from other (now defunct) 9 holers like Wellington Hills and Ballinger Lakes is the character and the service. When I showed up for my noon tee time, I was greeted by the same old guy who’d helped me before, and he had the same smile and lax attitude that I remembered. After ringing me up, he stepped out on the patio to smoke a cigar and spent a minute talking to me about golf and commenting on what a nice setup I had. After hitting the practice green, which is lacking but serviceable, I hoofed over to the first tee and fell right back in love with this course. The first hole is a dogleg right, that is about 185 yards to the cutoff and another 150 downhill to a green protected by a front right pond. It’s incredibly unremarkable. It’s also incredibly difficult to put into words, how with the right attitude, this course brings you closer to the game and the feelings that the originators of the game felt when inventing it. The second hole is a quality example of this. A 150ish yard par 3 plays to a decent sized green with what appears to be a big ass stump sitting right in the middle of it. It appears that way because it is, in fact, a big ass stump with a flower bed that creates a donut shaped green and crystallizes what this course is about…the best kind of weird you’ve ever experienced. The rest of the course is pretty nice, including the par 4 8th, which plays about 220 to a deep gulley and just beyond it sits a really tough green that is quite unreceptive. The other star is the par 3 finisher. It too plays over the large gulley, about 130 yards with the best backstop in all of golf. A giant implement shed with a blue aluminum roof, if hit right, can drop a ball in the hole for the best ace in the game. If there’s nobody behind you, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not hitting an extra one and seeing if you can play it off the shed. Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a 7000 yard monster with a 140 slope and 75 bunkers, go somewhere else. If you happen to enjoy golf, this place has some great quirks and great staff. This post comes about a week after playing, in the dead of summer and it’s in as good of shape as I’ve ever seen it. With $20 weekday and $21 weekend 18 hole fees and very good walkability (without sacrificing decent in play elevation), this might be the most underappreciated course in Washington. Holding true to my scoring standards, this place won’t be on the top of the list, but I’ll be damned if I recommend any other North Sound track ahead of this one. Final Score: 75/100 Design – 18/25 (Fun, quirky, fun, walkable and fun. Nothing “great”, but nothing to scoff at either.) Test of Golf – 15/25 (It’s not that hard, the slope is under 100 but it’ll have you scratching your head a couple of times when deciding on a club.) Value – 20/20 ($21 18 hole weekend greens fees in the Summer is nuts. Service gives this perfect score.) Condition – 7/10 (Tee boxes are iffy and 5th green has some scarring, but otherwise in fantastic shape.) Amenities – 3/10 (No range, small practice green, understocked pro-shop. The biggest downside.) Experience – 10/10 (Leave your ego at the door and you won’t have a better time anywhere on the North end.)