One of just 23 TaylorMade Performance Labs in the world, the location at Willows Run Golf Club uses modern swing technology to gather data about golfers’ games, resulting in club recommendations that are uniquely suited to each player. A certified TaylorMade Club-Fitting Professional guides athletes through the entire experience. While the client swings inside a golf simulator, the pro helms the Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade, an apparatus comprised of six high-speed cameras. These cameras turn the golfer into a three-dimensional digital rendering, similar to the process used by video-game developers. Whether a customer opts for fitting with all 14 clubs in his or her bag or a single category—such as irons, woods, putters, or wedges—the technology captures their mechanics down to a tenth of a degree, revealing optimal club parameters ranging from loft angle to shaft flex.
Venturing into the valley formed by the neighborhoods of Queen Anne Hill and Mongolia, golfers find the rolling landscape that hosts Interbay Golf Center. One of ten courses maintained by the City of Seattle's Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility makes the most of its space with both a nine-hole, par 28 layout and an 80-stall driving range. The course's 1,520-yard length isn't overwhelming, but the deep bunkers and tall grasses typical of its links-style format supply more than enough challenge or areas to sneak in a nap. Moreover, the course has earned the recognition of Audubon International in return for its accomplishments with conserving water.
A team of PGA professional instructors oversees the practice facilities throughout the year. They lend their advice for getting up-and-down from unfavorable lies in the practice bunker and making more golf balls rattle into cups on the 7,500-square-foot putting green—all without threatening the golf ball with solitary confinement in dark bag pockets.
You and your golf pal will receive a wealth of feedback from Tacoma Firs' PGA- and LPGA-certified instructors over the course of each of your hour-long lessons. They tailor instruction to individual needs, so novices can learn the fundamentals of the game, and expert ball-swatters will season their swing, perfect golf posture, and hone alignment. The staff's careful instruction, observation, and friendly demeanor make it easy to make balls to soar more gracefully than an ultralight made of dreams.
Planet Jupiter bridges the divide between fun and competition with several activities for groups and individuals. Inside of the nearly 4,000-square-foot laser-tag arena teams will don armor and join forces in an attempt to successfully target and deactivate their opponents’ headquarters during 15-minute battles ($8/game). After emerging victoriously from the futuristic frontlines, guests can commandeer one of Planet Jupiter’s electric go-karts ($8/5-minute race) for a fume-free pedal-pushing competition. The karts achieve speeds of up to 42 mph and for the safety of inexperienced drivers, can be controlled by the central operator. These 15-horsepower karts emit less noise than standard karts, which allows drivers to audibly compliment each other on grandmotheresque driving skills. Planet Jupiter will provide drivers with necessary safety gear, including helmets and neck braces.
Praised by CityVoters as the best course in western Washington, Avalon Golf Links lays out three nines that offer eye-pleasing glimpses of the Skagit Valley below. Though each nine conceals its own unique set of obstacles, every 1 of the 27 holes place golfers amid a picturesque sweep of Northwestern flora, challenging them to bend shots around towering evergreens and send drives screaming against the backdrop of the Olympic and Cascade ranges. The North Nine bookends the toughest stretch on the course in holes four through seven, a rigorous test requiring approaches as steady as the hand of a neurosurgeon playing Operation. Though short in comparison, the West Nine is notable for its tight fairways and frequent East-to-West orientation, yielding panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains. The South Nine punishes poor approaches with challenging greens, where balls frequently run away from their owners when struck too firmly or distracted by a particularly attractive goose egg.
After testing mind and body over 18 holes, Avalon's Sweet Bite Cafe stands at the ready to refuel tuckered-out golfers with breakfast served starting at 7:30 a.m. on weekends and sandwiches served starting at 11 a.m.
Course at a Glance:
Three nine-hole, par 36 courses
Total length up to 6,803 yards from the back tees
Course rating up to 72.3 from the back tees
Course slope up to 126 from the back tees
Four sets of tees
Designed by Robert Muir Graves
When viewed from the sky, the fairways at Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club resemble lush terraces descending into Lake Whatcom, like some grandiose, modern version of Incan horticulture. From a player's perspective, this visually dynamic setting makes for two very different nines. The front nine roams the flat shores of the lake, easing golfers into the round with wide fairways and large greens. A much different challenge awaits on the course's second act, as the fairways climb up a ridge and cleave through dense evergreens, demanding accuracy and smart approach shots onto smaller greens. Water hazards on 14 of 18 holes make the path to an under-par round even more treacherous, and 47 sandtraps peppered throughout the layout provide a soft landing spot for long-jump competitions in between shots.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,553 yards from the tips * Course rating of 71.5 from the tips * Slope rating of 130 from the tips * Three tee options