REDMOND, Wash. - In between the suburbs and industrial parks of Redmond, Wash., rests Willows Run Golf Course, a golf complex consisting of two 18-hole golf courses and a brand new par three, nine-hole course. The course rests in a low-lying valley full of wetlands and water fowl, especially geese flying in formation overhead. On the rim of the valley are large office buildings full of all those high-tech Seattle computer companies that one always hears about.
The golf course itself is fairly straight forward, measuring 6,364 yards from the whites, with water appearing on eight of the eighteen holes. With the water is the added challenge of gusty wind that funnels down the valley that the course rests in, and gives it a rugged feeling even though it is so close to the city.
The course is almost treeless because of its newness combined with the wind. To see the layout of the golf course, visit the Willows Run website at www.willowsrun.com.
Hole No. 2 gives you a good indication of the front nine. It's a wide open par 5 measuring 526 yards that dares you to swing your hardest. On your second shot you must contend with water on the right of the green which keeps you from going for the green or makes it more exciting when you do go for the green. The greens are large and reportedly deadly fast, but have recently been plugged and sanded.
Hole No. 8 is by far the most interesting on the front nine. Just 334 yards, but with water on both sides of the fairway and water in front of the green. It takes a good iron shot to lay-up for the tricky approach. I hit a good five iron to the right side of the fairway and had a short iron in with swirling winds and water looming for anything on the short side.
Hole No. 11 is the next challenge. Just a 459-yard par 5, but from the tee it feels like you're teeing off into a desert of sand traps. One is forced to lay up or risk going over the traps. The green is also surrounded by traps, making accuracy paramount during play of the entire hole. With a good drive this hole turns into an easy birdie even for the short hitter.
Hole 17 is definitely the signature hole of eagle's Talon. A 160-yard par three to an almost island green. The large bank forces anything short into the lake while a hard and fast green makes getting close very difficult. The island looks small on the scorecard and the only way to hit it over the green is perhaps with a wood.
The main problem with the entire golf course is the amount of holes. I constantly felt like I was next to someone on another hole. At first I liked the whole lack of trees, make believing that I was in the British Open on a windy day. The British Open fantasy is quickly gone when you look around and see an industrial park or the rocket and model airplane area that is next to the course.
The lack of rough even with the water on the course lets you hit it almost anywhere on most of the holes and be in a playable position. Looking at the score card before I started I was excited to play between the water hazards and hit those exciting shots over water.
By the 12th hole, I was bored with the golf course and was dreaming of tree lined fairways away from the view of industrial parks.
10442 Willows Road N.E.
Redmond, WA 98052