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:
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:
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
The crack of bats rings out into the air at Rage Cage Training Complex’s eight outdoor batting cages, part of a sprawling facility where players hone their baseball and softball skills. The cages can whip baseballs at slow, medium, and fast speeds as well as slow-pitch softball throws, and the 4,200-square-foot indoor facility touts a retail shop and space for lessons. During the offseason, professional athletes host clinics that help young players improve their mechanics and give rookie mascots a chance to practice dodging foul balls.
Named a Top 100 Bike Retailer by Bicycle Retailer and Best Bike Shop of 2009, Gregg’s Cycle has been greasing hinges and tightening brakes in its shops, which provide bicycle maintenance and merchandise, for more than 70 years. During the minor tune-up, each cycle’s derailleurs, drive train, and bottom bracket all get a sprucing up. Expert mechanics tighten and actively listen to each loose bolt, no matter how crazy, while lubricating and adjusting wobbly hubs and headsets. Downhill trips will fly by faster than a family reunion with a brake adjustment and wheel-tension checkup.