For some unknown reason the golf gods don’t want us to play Agate Beach Golf Course. During a 2019 buddy trip the rain pelted the course, the wind was ferocious, and the cold chilled us to the bone – Strike one. In 2020, the smoke from the devastating fires followed us from Central Oregon to the coast. The air quality was so dangerous, the course along with most of the Newport businesses were closed for safety concerns – Strike two. So, will 2021 be Strike Three or the Third time is the Charm?
Third Time is the Charm – the sun was shining; the birds were singing; and we hope the birdies are dropping!
Hole#1 starts with a generous, wide-open fairway that will let you settle nicely into your round. That being said, I “yanked” my drive into the trees to the left. There is a slight bend to the left on this hole…but not that much! Mrs. Always Time for 9, who had not played in about 30 years, calmly split the fairway. This is such an easy game! If you are a speed-demon on the cart, take it easy driving down this first fairway if you want to avoid a visit to the chiropractor. Many of the fairways are quite hilly, so enjoy the ride. Hole #2 is another par 4 that bends in the other direction. Another wide fairway, but any very wild shots could run into tree-trouble both left and right. So far, so good – Two holes two pars. I’ll take that start any day. We’ll get to Mrs. AT49 later.
Three 4’s on the scorecard now, but not good since the third hole is a par three of 157 yards. Trees surround this green, and they can create trouble if you miss the green. There are bunkers both left (which I found) and right, but there should be no excuse for missing this very large green. Of course, my excuse was that I was trying to impress my bride of 39 years about my excellent iron play. The greens were in excellent shape as well as the fairways. You may see some dried spots on the fairways in some of the pictures, but during a hot July summer with water restrictions, they played just fine.
Grip it and rip it! Another wide-open fairway on Hole #4 with trees that bracket the fairway. Even if you are wild, you will probably have a shot through the trees. The design of the first four holes allows the high handicap golfer to make mistakes but not be penalized too terribly, and gives the low handicapper a chance to be four under after four. Even though Hole #5 is the number one handicap hole it is very parable…that explains my four on the par 4!
I felt like Agate Beach GC was a “tale of two courses”. Between holes #5 and #6, it changed for me. Hole #6 is the first par 5 and is 501 yards long. As you look down the fairway all you see is…fairway – no sign of the green anywhere. The design of the hole is excellent because you need two precise shots that will give you a clear opening to the green. You need to decide which two clubs to use to land about 400 yards from the teeing area. At that point in the fairway it takes a 45-degree angle to the right and you need to direct your third shot between two large trees to the green. As you step up to the par 4 seventh hole, once again you need to decide which club to pull. For me, a short hitter, it was easy – driver. However, if you hit a long ball, you may need to club down. It is very similar to hole #6 in that the fairway runs out and there is a short dogleg to the right to reach the green. There is a deep depression to carry to the green, so it is critical for your tee shot to be on the elevated portion of the fairway. Two back-to-back fun holes!
Now we come to the signature par 3 eighth hole. This hole is set back in the woods with trees all around and a nasty bunker on the front/left side of the green. I may have mentioned that Mrs. AT49 had not played in about 30 years. Her shots: 1)tee shot clobbered down the middle but short of the green; 2) chip to the green was an U.B.E.R. (ugly but excellent result); 3) 20 foot putt for her first par in 30 years! My shots: 1) tee shot lands in the big bunker to the left of the green; 2) decided to build a few sandcastles with my sand wedge as I tried to escape the bunker; 3) finally found the cup for my double bogey. Final result – Karen talking smack the rest of the day. Hole #9 is a par 5 with a dogleg to the right. There is tree-trouble and OB down the entire right side, so aiming to the left is a smart move. This fairway is rather undulating, so if you are a little walking-challenged, a cart may be your best option when playing here.
Rating – Ace (52 out of 60): The Third Time was the Charm! The Martin family has owned the course since the 1960’s and they pride themselves in making sure you have a wonderful day. The greens were in outstanding shape and the fairways were in good condition even though the hot, dry summer sun was trying to bake the green right out of them. The pro shop is full of great product and the small grill offers daily specials for pre/post round nourishment. As we left the parking lot and headed north on the Pacific Coast Highway, Karen said, “let me tell you again how “I” made a par on #8!
A short distance north of the golf course is Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The lighthouse was closed but there are a few walking trails, and exploring the Cobble Beach is awesome for the kids. As you travel south on Highway 101 another fun stop is the Oregon Coast Aquarium. If you are craving local seafood and want to avoid the crowds of Newport, try Luna Sea in Seal Rock, which was a recommendation by our friends at Agate Beach GC.
After a long day of golf, hiking, and eating, as our heads hit the pillow that night, I heard Mrs. AT49 mumbling in her sleep, “let me tell you about my par 3 at hole #8!
4100 N. Coast Hwy. Newport, OR 97365; 541-265-7331; www.agatebeachgolf.net