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.
Nestled in the bucolic scenery of coastal Washington, Whidbey Golf and Country Club’s par 72 course stretches across 6,467 yards of water-kissed terrain. The round begins with a challenge, as the first tee gives way to the longest and most difficult hole, a 516-yard par 5 where drives must touch down on a narrow landing strip flanked by bunkers or circle in the atmosphere until they get signal clearance. Multiple ponds come into play throughout the round, upping the ante on certain shots with high-risk, high-reward scenarios. Before embarking on their pin-hunting expedition, duffers can trace power draws into the sky or take aim at invading weather balloons at the driving range.
Those hoping to more thoroughly scout their verdant foe can pore over the website’s hole-by-hole description. A one-hour drive or ferry trip north of Seattle, the course is playable year-round, with closures only for Christmas, New Year’s, and Chi Chi Rodriguez Day.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,476 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 70.7 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 123 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
The origin story of Gig Harbor Golf Club has a certain Rockwellian flavor. In the early 1950s, the Wollochet Community Club?a group that included local community leader Walter Hogan?discussed building their own country club. The idea generated buzz throughout the community, who invested not just money, but sweat equity. After purchasing a 114-acre farm with a brilliant view of Mount Rainier, the club's charter members took to etching the course into the land, using all of the tools they had at their disposal?some even used spoons, screwdrivers, and garden rakes to dig rocks out of the soil and flatten the turf.
Opened in 1961, the 9-hole labor of love still stands, having benefited from a half century of maturation and trading out fedora hats in favor of flags. The course?which measures 5,420 yards from the farthest tees?presents ample opportunities to score, including four short par-fours in which some golfers may be able to drive the green. The course features two distinct sets of forward and back tees (four tees total), so golfers can play it twice over for an 18-hole round that has a different front- and back-nine experience.