It’s no secret golf is a thriving pastime in the Pacific Northwest. With that in mind this reporter has set out to give a glimpse into the courses that dot the landscape of our community, reviewed through the eyes of a true amateur. Up first: The Golf Club at Newcastle.
Situated on 350 acres in Newcastle, this Oki Golf-owned course may be spendy ($160/round for Coal Creek course, $110 for China Creek) during the summer, but the bottom line is if you can afford to play it, the Golf Club at Newcastle provides an experience like no other course this reporter has played.
Hoping to catch the true glimpse of the experience, Issaquah Reporter sports writer Kevin Endejan and myself made our way to the club last week. We were impressed the second we entered the parking lot, as we were greeted by friendly young workers who took our bags out of our cars and loaded them up on carts for us.
We were slotted to play Newcastle’s signature course Coal Creek, but as we arrived early, we planned on getting some practice shots in. Again, we were pleasantly surprised to find our round fee not only covered our cart, but also allowed us the chance to hit balls in Newcastle’s fantastic practice facility.
When our tee time came, we headed down to Coal Creek’s first hole and were greeted by a Newcastle worker who gave us a quick rundown of the course, it’s rules and some other tidbits. Soon enough, we were teeing off on the course designed by architect Robert E. Cupp and Masters Champion Fred Couples, a Seattle-born golfer who has gone on to make it big.
Coal Creek has five par 3’s, eight par 4’s and five par 5’s, and we enjoyed every moment of it.
The views on Coal Creek are spectacular. We were lucky to receive a clear, sunny day, which afforded us views of the Olympic mountains, the city of Seattle, Lake Washington, Bellevue’s skyline and everything in between. More than once we caught each other taking in the views rather than concentrating on our shots (which may have a little bit to do with our scores).
The course itself is in immaculate shape and a wonderful play. There are some challenging holes of course; a few holes have some blind downhill or dog-leg shots and some of the roughs are well, very rough, but every single one of the holes seems to be unique. And almost every hole gives a great view, especially the 17th hole, which seems to tie all of the breathtaking views together before you play 18 and head back to the clubhouse, which is picturesque in its elegance.
This column, as it is written by what can only be described as an “amateur” golfer, is designed to speak more to the experience surrounding a trip to the course than it is a “review.” And as an experience, Newcastle gets top marks. Whether it was the engraved bag tag each first-time visitor to the course receives, or the simple complimentary apples, everything about Newcastle screams top-notch.
But one thing to me stood out more than the rest, something that truly made Newcastle unique: the attitude of the workers. Most of the workers I encountered on the course were college or high-school aged; every one of them displayed a cheerful attitude and most of all, was very polite. This small and simple fact added to the experience of the course in a big way.
All in all, the Golf Club at Newcastle is a top-notch experience; I have never played a course with such breathtaking views complimented by such dedicated workers. Other amenities, such as an 18-hole putting course and a Scottish bagpiper, add to an already great experience.
The bottom line: if you can afford to play the Golf Club at Newcastle, you won’t regret it.
The Golf Club at Newcastle
15500 Six Penny Lane
Newcastle, WA 98059
General Manager: David Hein
Courses: 2, Coal Creek and China Creek
Other amenities: Practice facility, 18-hole putting course, comfort stations, beverage carts.
Rates (include greens fee, cart, bat tag and range balls)
Coal Creek: Summer – $160 (April 15 – Oct. 31); Winter – $80 (Nov. 1 – April 15)
China Creek: Summer – $110 (April 15 – Oct. 31); Winter – $80 (Nov. 1 – April 15)