By JOEL WILLITS
Bellevue Reporter Former Sports Writer
August 15, 2008 · Updated 12:12 AM
A lot of bang;
not a lot of buck
Note: this is the second of a series of columns reviewing local golf courses available to Bellevue golfers from the eyes of a true amateur. The first column covered Newcastle Golf Course and appeared in the Bellevue Reporter on July 30.
This time was going to be different.
At least that’s what I thought as I unpacked my golf bag from the back of my SUV at Willows Run Golf Course. On the second stop of my summer tour of golf course reviews, I figured this time I would edge out Issaquah Reporter Kevin Endejan. After all, his victory over me at Newcastle Golf Course had to be a fluke, didn’t it?
Well it turns out it wasn’t, as Kevin edged me again. And just like our first trip, the course provided an extremely enjoyable afternoon available to any Bellevue golfer.
Willows Run, located in Redmond on Willows Road Northeast, provides a bevy of options to the golfer, with two 18-hole courses, an 18-hole par 3 course and even an 18-hole themed mini-golf course. Willows Run also has all the usual amenities such as a large clubhouse restaurant, driving range and putting greens for golfers to enjoy.
Kevin and I were lucky enough to get on Willow’s signature course, Eagle’s Talon, which provided a memorable experience. If only our scores reflected that; both of us were over 100, with Kevin edging me by 10 strokes. I really wasn’t kidding with that whole amateur thing.
The course itself was deceptively challenging in spots, starting with a narrow fairway on the first hole, a 350-yard par 4. With your confidence in tatters (at least ours were), the second hole provides quite a large fairway in which even the shakiest drive can find a home on. This seemed to be a theme through Eagle’s Talon - just when you felt like you were playing your worst on a particularly difficult hole, the next seemed to be a bit easier. These difficulty swings seemed especially helpful to my amateur game.
But that didn’t prepare either of us for the treacherous eighth hole. With a fairway lined with water on either side, this hole owned me. Two water balls later, I walked off the hole, vowing revenge the next time I played.
Eagle’s Talon also has a great mix of par 3 holes, as well as a spectacular 18th hole which ends with a shot to the green over a large fountain, which was a great finish to the round. One word of caution however; with construction on Willows east-side, a bad drive may result in a lost ball. You’ve been warned.
One amenity Willows Run provides that can’t be overlooked is their choice of golf carts. Each cart comes complete with a GPS computer that marks distance to the hole, as well as mapping other carts position on the course. This can help when you’re wondering if the party in front of you is out of sight, as well as help you find your position on the course. The computer also can keep score and pass messages along from the clubhouse. The neatest feature? In case of injury a golfer can summon an ambulance directly from the cart’s computer.
Willows Run provided everything I look for in a course - quality course play, numerous amenities and for me especially, reasonable fees. With rates of $43 Monday through Thursday and $56 Friday through Sunday for 18 holes, Willows Run is an option for those looking for a top-notch experience without a top price. My suggestion: head in after 5 p.m. for the $24 “Super Twilight” rate.
By the way, Kevin may be 2-0 in our little matches, but he’s also leading me in a less desirable category: 2-1 in clubs left behind on a previous hole. They say memory is the first thing that goes.
Joel Willits is the sports reporter for the Bellevue Reporter. He can be reached at 425-453-5045 or at email@example.com.
Willows Run Golf Course
10402 Willows Road N.E.
Redmond, WA 98052