Bogies and Beers in the Pacific Northwest
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
Have you ever been traveling, walking through a new city, seeing the historical buildings, hearing different languages, visiting old palaces with magnificent manicured lawns sprawling out and thought, “where’s the basket?” The line is perfect: evenly spaced trees running parallel for 400 feet with a hanging canopy forcing the low ceiling drive.
I love traveling, especially when I get to play disc golf along the way, and not just fantasize about throwing discs in inappropriate places. A few weekends ago Liza and I were traveling once again (no we weren't playing through people’s lawns in some exotic place), we were traveling through Washington state where disc golf has a legitimate presence and courses pop up in small parks like liquor stores in Grande Prairie.
On this trip Liza and I spent a couple of days in Seattle and the surrounding area, and in the short 3 days we were able to play 5 new courses: two 18 hole and three 9 hole courses. This brought my collection up to 44 different courses in 5 countries.
Woodland Creek Community Park: TALKIN’ ’BOUT PRACTICE!
One of these courses, Woodland Creek Community Park in Lacey, WA had an amazing practice setup.
Who cares about practice, how was the course? The course was fine, large trees shaped lines through the small patch of forest, and well beaten paths with good signage made sure we couldn’t get lost. For a small 9 holes course not far from the I-5 it was really fun. But the practice setup was amazing! When we pulled up we saw all these baskets in an open field and I thought, this course is gonna SUCK. After a quick chat with a local, he told us the course was actually behind us, and that all those baskets were the driving range.
That’s right, they had 3 DGA Mach V baskets setup at varying distances from 150 to 400 feet. To ensure you have good footing there were 4 large tee pads so your X-step would be X-traordinary.
He was very proud to tell us that this is the only official driving range in the state of Washington. Who wouldn’t want to unload there bag trying to add some practice aces? (I certainly unloaded mine, but didn’t add any aces that day). In addition to the 3 baskets of the driving range, just behind the tee pads there were 2 more baskets. They were 80 feet apart, intended for working on your putt and approach game. Clearly this club was well organized and had resources. While chatting with this local we made sure to ask for some suggestions for a few more good courses. This led us to Sheldon Springs.
We were told Shelton Springs is the best course in Washington, and it certainly seemed to check all the boxes. This course is primarily played through tall thick cedars that shape the fairways, their branches reach high to form the canopy and ceiling above. At the forest floor you have two giant colour-coordinated cement tee pads per hole, and beyond them thin brush only occasionally marks the ground. A quarter of the holes stretch out through the trees into tall grass that runs below the large power lines. The course design uses this space well, flowing from forest to grass, or grass to forest, or... from forest to grass back to forest. They used windows to throw out of the trees to unguarded baskets in the open space. While shots that start in the open had to find a lane along the wall of trees that led back to baskets hidden in the woods. Wind and sun exposure is also minimal in the forest which was greatly appreciated on that hot, windy day.