Cleaved through rows of muscular pine trees and mature arbors, Gleneagle Golf Course's 18-hole course stretches across 5,851 yards of meandering fairways and treacherous hazards. Though the relatively short course does not demand gargantuan drives to contend for par, it counters with an ensemble of strategically placed bunkers, ball-hungry water hazards, and shape-shifting greens to affect a moderately challenging course. Patrons can prepare for the picturesque par 70 with a stint at the driving range, where an irons-only restriction keeps unruly drivers at bay and fosters the type of short-yardage precision that will prove advantageous on the course. After looping the emerald links, players can recess to the Gleneagle Family Restaurant Bar & Grill, where three large flat-screen TVs fill the room with sports-world happenings.
Course at a Glance:
Virtual Golf Systems allows groups of up to four people to play rain or shine, day or night, dead or alive, in a 3-D HD virtual simulator featuring 18 famous courses. The simulator combines high-resolution digital images with satellite data to create a realistic 3-D golfing field that's accurate down to the smallest detail, displaying trees, bunkers, hazards, and panther tracks exactly as they appear on the actual course. Grab a group of buddies and re-create Major moments on courses such as Pebble Beach, Pinehurst No. 2, and Kiawah Island. The simulator's ball-tracking system measures and reports data related to players' games, analyzing balls and clubs at high resolution to project accurate trajectory analysis, distance measurements, velocity, backspin, and sidespin.
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:
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:
At Redwood Golf Center, club-swinging cadets send range balls flying from personal mats housed within their cozy, covered stalls. After first selecting a bucket size – large buckets contain 85 balls while small buckets have 34 – golfers then set to practicing their 2-iron stingers, wedge game accuracy, and triple pump-fake drives off the tee. Frequent visitors can also take advantage of the per-bucket discounts found within the center’s punch cards, which are redeemable for 9, 25, or 50 buckets over the course of a year.
At Swing Doctors, PGA-certified instructors use state-of-the-art video-analysis software to improve each golfer’s swing mechanics and overall skill set. A camera captures swings and divides them into freeze frames to pinpoint weaknesses in posture, technique, and color coordination of clothing.
Swing Doctors is also home to more than 100 virtual golf courses. Links including Firestone and Pinehurst unfurl on 10'x13' screens, simulating surfaces such as fairway, green, and sand bunker.
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.