At Washington County Golf Course You're a Spectator First, Golfer Second.
By Steve Pease
On a crisp, late-October morning, I skipped the practice green in favor of some touristy teebox pics. From the 10th tee you can easily see Holy Hill atop the southeastern horizon - it's the highlight of a delightfully dizzying 360-degree vantage of the Kettle Range. After about five minutes, I remembered I was there to golf.
A practice swing and a pulled 3-wood later, and I was off on the most enjoyable, and final, round of my 2013 season. My partner in crime, Ben, and I played the morning after a pro-am. Tucked pins were plentiful and, despite dew, greens were not slow.
Washington County is a municipal course, but unlike any muni I've ever played. At 7,000+ yards from the blacks (I played the whites), it's most certainly a big-boy course. Hit the fairway. Hit the green. Or you'll be spending more time in the woods than Bear Grylls.
Fifteen years ago, aptly-named course architect Arthur Hills expertly melded the course to the topography, fooling you into thinking it's been naturally shaped by ancient glaciers. Again and again Hills keeps you guessing in the form of undulating, blind approaches that require you to clear protective greenside mounds in order to reach devilish greens. And it's fair to say this linksish-style course gets tricky when cross-winds kick up.
The following features make Washington County an a-typical muni:
* The apex that divides No. 1 green. (I made a 50-foot bomb from the right fringe for par. Love it.)
* An approach to No. 7 that makes my head hurt. (Rae's Creek, I mean, a creek guards a deceptive, angled green that's 24 yards deep, and about 2 feet wide.)
* A dogleg right green on No. 10.
* A rock outcropping along the left of 13 that mysteriously eats golf balls.
* Fringe on No. 16 that's crunched like accordion bellows.
* A pair of bearded pot bunkers along 18 fairway dubbed "Cheech" and "Chong." Kidding.
At $45, Washington County gives you a taste of Erin Hills at a fraction of the price. Stop out around 2 p.m. for a twilight round, and the price drops to $20 for walkers. There you'll find one of the better values, and best views, in all of Wisconsin.
Revised: 11/05/2013 - Article Viewed 22,434 Times - View Golf Course Profile
About: Steve Pease
Steve Pease, resides in Wisconsin and carries the burden of a 13 handicap. He enjoys microbrews, the Pack and Twitter. Often at the same time. He plays TaylorMade R9 irons, an old-school R7 driver and whatever putter is "working."
He has worked for four golf courses in his life (pro shop attendant, then later, the more prestigious title of course ranger. Ha!) In 2008, he took a part-time job at Golfsmith, custom-fitting clubs when he wasn't running his own freelance writing business. He also experimented with a golf blog.
His favorite interview was ex-USGA executive director David Fay.
Golf writers he reads: John Feinstein, Herbert Warren Wind, Nicklaus (the guy is a little too "feel-oriented" to really provide tangible advice), Jason Sobel and Alan Shipnuck (latter two on Twitter). Although, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Gary D'Amato is his "favorite."
Interested in: golf travel writing; course reviews; freelance golf writing; club reviews; Wisconsin golf culture reports; the art of golf gambling; the rules of playing music at low volumes while on the course (read: no Rodney Dangerfield impersonations); learning how pros never, ever accidentally knock the ball off the tee at address, and other stuff.
Greatest moment on a golf course: Uhhhh ... yeah.
Most embarrassing moment on a golf course: Trying to high five Steve Stricker only to have him give me the "knuckle-knock," only it was too late. It ended in more of a "knuckle-hug" and my "best friend" doubling over in laughter.
Contact Steve Pease:
GolfTrips.com - Contributor