Ready…set…go…and we’re off. Our tee time is 4:40pm and sunset is 6:18pm…you do the math. We tried to walk on around noon but the course was booked until late in the afternoon. That must be a good sign. As the sun was starting to fade at King City Golf Course, the pro shop attendant’s last words were…hit ’em straight.
He ain’t kidding! If you are wild off the tee, either skip this course or make sure your insurance premiums are paid. Hole #1 looks inviting until you put your peg in the ground. That’s when you swear the houses on each side of the fairway are starting to move and squeeze the landing area. Trees to the left and trees to the right on this 289 yard par 4. As the course manager said…hit them straight! Hole #2 is a long par 3 that was playing about 190 yards today from the white tees. There is a big tree in the fairway that could come into play if you are playing from the blue tees. From the red tees there is a house to the right that could be a hazard if you slice the ball that way. My playing partner (who shall remain nameless) experienced this first hand and we had a “pleasant” conversation with the home owner. No damage was done as the ground ball off the tee hit the fence and not the house.
Houses down the left and houses down the right at Hole #3. As you walk along the fairway you realize this is not a long course, but you need to be accurate or it will be a frustrating and possibly expensive day. Any long, straight drive can find the green that is only 249 yards away. Standing on the tee box at the par 3, 196 yard fourth hole the strange configuration of the course is evident. The par 4’s are short and the par 3’s long. This hole gave me fits. Trees to the right and left, along with houses to the left will create problems for any wayward shot. The green is very undulating and falls off on all sides. I watched my short pitch shot land by the pin, then roll past the flag and settle off the back side of the putting surface. The course may be short but it is not easy!
Hole #5 is 160 yards long and I was finally able to use an iron instead of a hybrid on a par 3. There are trees lining the right side and a few houses to the left, but it was the first time I felt I could really let loose and not use a tentative swing. Let’s play “fill in the blanks” at Hole #6. It’s a _____ par 4 with _____ trouble right and ______ trouble left. If you guessed short, tree, and tree (not houses) you are correct. Two other things you need to be wary of here. There is a tall pine tree strategically placed on the left side of the fairway as you approach the green. Too far left and you have to go way up and over the tree to find the green. Also behind the green is a house with a large glass window. Way too close for one of my “thinned” shots, so I played a low chip to the green.
More trees left and right along with a pond to carry at the par 5 seventh hole. To make this hole even more interesting today, the fairway was filled with at least 1,000 geese and their bountiful excrement. Timing is critical at Hole #8. The fairway is wide and you can finally “let it all hang out”, but beware of the road paralleling the fairway to the left. A hooked tee shot could give you plenty of roll, but could also play pinball with the cars moving down the street. The course is finally starting to open up on the last few holes. Hole #9 allows for a good chance to finish your round with a birdie. It’s a par 4 of 292 yards with no severe hazards to impede your search for a good score.
Rating – Par (34 out of 60): I felt very tentative when driving the first five holes because of all the houses that lined this course. It did open some during the last four holes. You won’t need your driver on many holes, so just select the club you can hit straight to find the fairways. The holes are all straight but the narrow fairways can make for a challenging course. The fairways and greens were in very good shape. Speaking of the greens, most of them had very subtle breaks that can be very difficult to read. Even though the yardage for this 9-hole course is abbreviated, there are enough design features to challenge all levels of golfers.
We did it! It’s now 6:06pm and we beat the dark, the rain, and a call to our insurance agent.
Since the King City Golf Course did not have the post-round amenities we craved, it was time to continue our adventure along the Oregon/Washington, Always Time for 9/McMenamins, Golf/Beer Trail. This was our 6th pairing and today we visited the Sherwood Pub in Sherwood, OR. Whether you choose the outside deck or the Scottish frog-inspired interior, it’s a nice location to give Karen grief about hitting her tee shot at #2 into the resident’s backyard and becoming awkwardly acquainted with the owners.
15355 SW Royalty Parkway, King City, OR; 503-639-7986; www.kccagolf.com