COVID-19 has hurt small businesses everywhere during 2020 and Ellensburg Golf Club is one of those small town, family-owned courses we need to support. The course was originally designed by farmers in the area who took plows to their fields and created a 9-hole golf course. It was a place to meet, enjoy each other’s company, and knock that little ball around their land. In those days you had to avoid the sheep that helped to maintain the course. Over the years the course went through a few incarnations, and in 1985 it was bought by two brothers and current owners, Frank and Keith Crimp.
It was a busy Friday afternoon, but Keith was able to get us out among a myriad of golfers – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. When there is only one course in town, you need to be patient and just have fun because it could be a long round. The Good was the group of experienced players who were one group ahead of us; the Bad was the group of beginners behind us – the perfect placement for us. The Ugly will be addressed later.
Hole #1 starts with a wide fairway that slopes a bit from right to left. This is probably perfect for the number of novice golfers we saw today. It will allow for their slices to filter back to the fairway at this 350 yard par 4. The tee shot at Hole #2 can be a little intimidating to the high-handicap golfer as the tee shot needs to get airborne to carry the stream fronting the tee box. The hole is straight with bunkers to avoid at about the 150 yard marker and the front left side of the green. I was slightly confused by the white, red, blue, and yellow tee markers but the group in front explained it to us. If playing 18, the men play off the white on the front and the red on the back. The women play the front from the blue and the back from the yellow. Very simple and shown on the scorecard (if you can read)!
Lost again! We couldn’t find the white tee box at Hole #3. Luckily, the novice group behind us was nowhere to be found, so we were able to wander aimlessly without getting laughed or yelled at. We found every color in the rainbow except white. The white tee box is tucked over to the right of the second green. All the other boxes are way over to the left. This is a straight hole unless you play from the white tee box in which case it has a completely different look with a big dogleg to the right. This hole is a great example of how a 9-hole course can completely change the look if playing 18. Good Job!
Hole #4 is only 293 yards but has a bend to the right. A big sweeping fade/slice is the perfect shot at this par 4. Be careful if you hit a straight drive (but who does that?) as you can hit it through the fairway and find plenty of tree and bunker trouble. The fifth hole is a 188 yard par 3. Easy hole if you hit your tee shot long and straight, but again, who does that? If your shot goes left, your ball will find a bunker, and way left finds trees. If your shot goes right, you find sand, and way left you’ll be fishing in the Yakima River!
Hole #6 is a 459 yard par 4 with a dogleg to the left. This one is a little tricky as the native grasses pinch the fairway about where most golfers will find their drives. There are a few bunkers to avoid at about the 150 yard marker at this #2 handicap hole. The tee shot at Hole #7 was a bit intimidating for me, so I can’t imagine how the high handicapper feels when standing on the tee box. Two things are very apparent as you stand there with knees shaking and hands sweating…1) Six large trees that line the first part of the fairway will gobble up a slice or hook. 2) The refreshment stand (and it’s occupants) on the right is just waiting for your wayward slice. If you avoid these two obstacles (I did), the landing area is very generous. Your 2nd (or 3rd) shot will be a blind one to a green that sits up on a hill. I had to run up the hill to find where the putting surface was situated. A fun hole if you keep it on the short grass!
Hole #8 is a straight, tree-lined par 4 with twin bunkers guarding the green. The trees are generously spaced, so even if your drive is wild, you should be able to find a clear shot to the green. The final hole of the day is a 150 yard par 3 with large bunkers both left and right. Remember if you are going to play 18, you’ll tee it up from the red tee markers.
Rating – Birdie: I liked the layout of the course and how different the track will look if you play 18 holes. The greens are small, virtually flat, and most slope from back to front. They were quick today and a little spotty as were the fairways. That being said, for the middle of summer with watering restrictions, the course was in good shape. During this time of COVID-19 this is the type of course we need to help support and have a fun day on the links. The Ugly you may ask? We were standing off to the right of the 1st tee filming a video of the course as two balls came streaking toward us off the tee box. As we filmed, the foursome at the first hole must have been there for 15 minutes. They were probably on their way to a four hour 9-hole round. Can you say, “mind if we play through”? Thanks Keith, we had a good time!
3231 Thorp Hwy. South, Ellensburg, WA 98926; 509-962-2984; www.myellensburg.com