My top 10 courses
10. The Links at Moses Pointe (Moses Lake, WA) - just a couple hours east of Seattle, Moses Pointe is good test. Greens usually run true and when the wind picks up (it happens there), it's a challenge. It's always well kept and under $100. Good value and one of my favorite courses to play every year.
9. Kohanaiki (Kailua, HI) - This is resort golf at its absolute finest. The course is built through a lava bed on the Big Island and offers some pretty breath-taking landscape. Kohanaiki is a private community and the course is lined with million-dollar homes. Golf - in some ways - almost comes secondary to the accommodations. Well-manicured, ocean-font with beautiful views. Tough to beat.
8. Washington National (Auburn, WA) - Home of the Washington Huskies (despite being close to an hour from campus in traffic), Washington National isn't for beginners. As a UW grad, this one holds a special place for me. Relatively wide fairways are reconciled by waste areas throughout the course.
7. TPC Scottsdale - Champions Course (Scottsdale, AZ) - It's less famous than its sister course - TPC Stadium - which hosts the Waste Management Open every year, but I've never played Stadium. The Champions course is just really solid desert golf. I've played about 10 courses in Arizona and this was the most memorable, both from a course-condition and scenery perspective.
6. Chambers Bay (University Place, WA) - Robert Trent Jones Jr. turned this gravel pit into a US Open host and made a Northwest favorite. I've played Chambers once and was lucky enough to be inside the ropes of the '15 Open when I worked for KING 5. My one experience there was slightly tarnished by the fact that we teed off at 8am and it was really foggy. No one in my foursome had played it before either, and it's definitely a course where you need to hit your spots. Simply hitting a straight drive isn't always enough. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in the fescue and sand. They just re-did the greens, though, so I'm probably due for a trip back.
5. Chateau Whistler (Whistler, B.C.) - Chateau is another Robert Trent Jones Jr. design and it really feels like you're playing golf in the mountains when you're here (because you are). A highlight for me was the wildlife - we saw a couple eagles (didn't make any) and deer. Highly recommend.
4. Lost Tracks (Bend, OR) - I had to put at least one course from Bend/Sun River on this list. I've played a bunch of courses in the Central Oregon area but Lost Tracks is the most memorable. It's also probably the most affordable course on this list - I think we got on for around $60 with cart. Make sure to bring an extra bag-tag to leave in the railroad car you walk through on the signature 16th - par 3 with an island green (pictured below).
3. Seattle Golf Club - It's the oldest private club in the Northwest and in many ways, they've maintained the history. It's fairly tight, tree-lined and just over 6800 yards from the tips. You absolutely need to have a good punch-shot (or hit every fairway) to score here. Its beauty is hard to match and the course is always in great shape.
2. Gamble Sands (Brewster, WA) - David Kidd designed Gamble in 2014 and it immediately began getting national recognition as a top public course. The course sits on a plateau that overlooks the Columbia River and the views are just awesome. It's links golf which doesn't tend to be my favorite style, but Gamble Sands was memorable. I played it the year after it opened and can't wait to go back.
1. Nanea Golf Club (Kailua, HI) - I got to play Nanea over Christmas 2018 (same trip as number 9 on this list) and it was a golfer's paradise. It's not your traditional Hawaii course where you get views of the ocean. It's a links course that weaves through the mountainside and there's no shortage of lava rock and stiff winds. Another Kidd design, Nanea is far and away the No. 1 course on my list.