By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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I had stumbled upon a perfect viewing location for the fireworks a quick 10-minute walk from a friend’s house while on a morning stroll before the Apple Cup back in November.
With Port of Seattle terminal cranes in the foreground, a nicely centered vista of the Space Needle across Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline sitting proudly just to the right, I was eager to ring in the New Year there with friends.
Then less than a half hour before the clock struck midnight, a thick fog rolled in across the bay and obscured even the closest terminal cranes.
My group and the hopeful band of 50 or so neighbors that trekked to the vista certainly heard them, but we only saw them on television replay after we walked home.
Thankfully, a sunshine-dappled round at West Seattle Golf Course a few days later broke me out of the fireworks funk with a healthy serving of Seattle skyline.
West Seattle is a city of Seattle-owned course, like Jackson Park in northeast Seattle, Jefferson Park in south Seattle and Interbay, in between downtown and Ballard.
The designer, H. Chandler Egan, is credited with the redesign of Pebble Beach, also laid out Indian Canyon, a popular course in Spokane.
It is managed by Premier Golf Center, which manages the Seattle courses and some other municipal courses in the Puget Sound area, but rates are kept low, which helps keep the game of golf accessible to players who are new to the game or those who want to join the fun.
Or those, like myself, who are a little financially lacking after the holidays.
One thing I don’t enjoy about Seattle courses: Having to pay for 18 holes even if I wish to only play nine holes.
I should not be complaining as I was able to play mid-day on a Friday for $17 for 18 holes, and allowed to begin on the more scenic (and more difficult) back nine.
Aim just to the left of Mount Rainier with your blind tee shot on the 375-yard par-4 tenth hole.
You’ll likely have a downhill lie on your second shot to the green, so club down a bit on the approach.
The 11th hole was one of my favorites, an amphitheater-style 182-yard par-3 flanked by a creek on the left and in back.
Since the pin sits protected on each side, it’s tough to tell wind direction from the tee.
Hole No. 12 is the signature hole on the West Seattle layout and provides a beautiful but tough 515-yard par-5 test.
Much of the downtown skyline is in view from the elevated tee, and golfers need to be careful with their drive, to the left is a fairway bunker, to the right a hazard.
Hit it too far off the tee and it will slope down the hill toward a creek, too short and you might have a longer approach to the elevated green with your second and third shots.
Did I mention this back nine is hilly and a little difficult to maneuver mid-winter?
No. 13 is a par-3 from an elevated tee to a postage-stamp sized green and No. 14 is 475-yards straight uphill to a sloped putting surface (yeah that was a 3-putt).
My favorite hole, the 413-yard par-4 No. 15, provided me with the view I had been craving all along.
With the Space Needle to the left, aim at the port cranes and enjoy the view of downtown as you meander down the fairway.
Hole No. 16 is a devilishly-long, all uphill 380-yard par-4, but once you make it to the green, turn around and get another skyline sighting as your reward.
The final two holes are a little middling, compared to what you’ve already played; if only the routing worked out so that No. 12 or No. 15 were the finishing holes.
With the price, the cityscape scenery and the pedigree of the course factored in, West Seattle earns a positive recommendation.
I’d just like to see the track when it’s dry, as wet winter is not exactly the greatest time to play a hilly golf course.
Yes, I did slip a few times and I may have come back into the clubhouse with a mud-dappled backside.
With the Seahawks set to kick off at 1:35 p.m. Saturday, SkyRidge Golf Course in Sequim has updated the opening tee time for its three-person Mid-Winter Open scramble event.
The tourney is now set to begin with a shotgun start at 8:45 a.m. and should finish in time for the matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
Each team has to have a total team handicap of 15 and higher, and three drives and three second shots must be used by each team.
The cost is $90 per team.
Phone SkyRidge at 360-683-3673 to get in the fun.
Port Ludlow will host its New Year’s Stableford Tournament with a 10 a.m. shotgun start on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Players can score one point for a bogey, two for par, three for birdie, four for eagle and five for a double eagle (phone or email me if there is a double-eagle sighting).
Cost is $80 for the public and includes the round, use of cart, range and dinner.
Members can get in the game for $40.
Sign up by Wednesday, Jan. 15, by phoning 360-437-0272.
Polar Bear tourney
Cedars’ 21st annual Polar Bear Championship, a 36-hole individual stroke play event, is slated for Jan. 24-26.
Players have to have a valid USGA handicap index of 27 or lower.
A practice round is available on Jan. 24, and the two-day tourney will begin with 9 a.m. shotgun starts on Jan. 25-26.
Cost is $140 per person and includes the three rounds, range balls Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Sunday and $1,000 in prizes (based on 100-person field).
To sign up , phone Cedars at 360-683-6344 or visit the clubhouse.
Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-417-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.