Date Played: July, 2013

Tucked into the Dutch Hill neighborhood of Snohomish is the classically styled and classically named Snohomish Golf Course.  Built in 1967, by an architect I’ve never heard of named Dave Richards, it never really piqued my interest enough to make the trek east.  After picking Snohomish as the town to settle in this summer and in need of a new home course, I set out to give it a play.

Playing at 6800+ yards from the tips, with a rating of 71.7 and a par of 72, Snohomish Golf Course is pretty long by the standards of the era in which it was built.  Many courses in that crossover period between “Classic” (1900-1950) and “Modern” (1970-Present) were built to satiate the golf thirst of the new middle class and didn’t offer a ton of creativity or thought.  Back and forth, fairway bunker right, small circular green; just take a second to think about the courses built in the mid-50’s to mid 70’s and I’m pretty sure I just described every par 4 on the property.  Snohomish can, to a degree, be shoehorned into this description, but it does offer much more than the typical fare of most 60’s tracks.

The trees are tall, and press closely to the fairways, but without being too dense to devour balls (like say, Gleneagle).  The greens are incredibly well cared for and feature great subtle slopes.  The fairway curvature is mostly subtle, with the exception of a couple hard doglegs, and the slopes generally offer a friendly bounce.  The standout holes are the par 4’s…all of them.  Only two of the par 4’s (the 12th and 15th) are between 350-400 yards.  Everything else is either a quality short hole (340 yard 2nd), or a long (447 yard 16th) test.  The par 3s and par 5s are just fine, but the lack of a real bad par 4 makes Snohomish inherently re-playable.

Having said all that, my favorite hole is actually a par 3.  The 13th is a 135 yarder, slightly downhill with a back right to front left sloping green.  An out of play waste area puts a little doubt in your head and bunkers right and left offer standard placement to corral wayward shots.  It’s not a special hole with a great view or a remarkable layout, but it is nuanced particularly well.  Standing on the tee, you know it’s an easy shot; but the doubt creeps in when you have to examine the trouble.  It’s also got a great green.  Depending on the pin position, bailing out right can kick you directly at the hole, or it can leave you a horrible scramble chance due to the contours and shape of the green complex.

All in all, Snohomish Golf Course offers one of the better designs in Snohomish County.  It’s walkable, (although parts can be tough), it’s long enough, it’s got character and it feels out-of-the-way while being less than 20 minutes off of I-5.  Pace of play is a notorious problem, so bring some beer money on the weekends, but at $34 weekend/27$ weekday green fees with good early bird and twilight specials, it’s probably the best bang for your buck if you want a championship length course.  Final Score: 80/100

Design – 21/25 (Tons of good par 4’s and long par 5’s.  Walkable, but very compact with shared fairways.)
Test of Golf – 19/25 (Not super hard if you’re a straight hitter, but length can be the great equalizer.)
Value – 17/20 ($34 weekend green fees are great for summer, but 5-6 hour rounds put a dent in the score.)
Condition – 8/10 (Fairways and tee boxes were average.  Greens were in great shape)
Amenities – 7/10 (Range, putting green, chipping green, good pro shop.  Nothing spectacular, but all nice enough.)
Experience – 8/10 (It’s a really fun play and worth the price.  Just watch out for weekend pace.)