Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
If you’ve never been to Washington, you probably think it rains all the time. There’s an element of truth to that but, the eastern two thirds of the state are actually quite dry. I learned this for myself because I recently took a golf trip with one of our writers who’s played a lot of golf in Washington.
We traversed from west to east playing at some of the best public courses in the state. We weren’t disappointed in the least. With that in mind, we compiled a list of what we consider to be the top ten best public courses in Washington
I love playing where the pros play, and I couldn’t wait to get out to Chambers Bay where Jordan Spieth won the U.S. Open in 2015.
Our writer had played this track in college and warned me it was a big course. I found out just how big on the par four first hole when I ripped a driver and three-wood and came up 60 yards short of the green.
My favorite hole on the front nine was the par three ninth. Measuring over 200 yards, the green sits several hundred feet below the tee. This hole is flat out fun but club selection can be a guess.
The back nine at Chambers Bay has some really fun holes including a drivable par four, two great par threes, and the memorable par five 18th.
If you’re in the Sea-Tac area, be sure to play Chambers Bay. You’re going to be in for a hike, and you might not shoot your career round the first time out but, you’ll have an experience you won’t forget.
You wouldn’t think of Southeast Washington as a hotbed for golf. Gamble Sands disproves that notion entirely.
Another links layout, Gamble Sands sits on a bluff overlooking the mighty Columbia River. Don’t let the spectacular views distract you too much though. When the wind kicks up in the afternoon, this course has some teeth.
Because it’s a little remote, you might want to plan a stay and play trip to Gamble Sands. The good news is that you can stay right above the practice putting green at the Inn. The Inn boasts spacious condos with breathtaking views of the golf course and river below.
Having played this course once, you can bet I’ll be back again.
One of the best tracks in Western Washington is Salish Cliffs. When this track opened in 2011, it was met with critical acclaim. I understand why.
The elevation changes at Salish Cliffs make it challenging from tee to green. Club selection is paramount if you’re going to score well.
Even though the locals told me that the course can get a little wet in the winter, I couldn’t believe what good shape it was in. The greens were some of the best we played on the entire trip.
Even though Salish Cliffs is a long course from all the way back, plenty of different tees make it playable for golfers of all abilities.
Olympic Course at Gold Mountain
There are two courses at Gold Mountain, the Olympic and Cascade. While the Cascade Course is a treat to play, the Olympic Course is the flagship.
Located in the town of Bremerton, the Olympic Course features tree lined fairways, sloped greens, and plenty of elevation changes.
The 18th hole might be the best finishing hole in the state. A downhill drivable par four, you have two choices on this hole. You can lay up short of the lake that guards the front of the green or, take out the big stick and try to drive the green. I chose the latter and ended up making double bogey.
All the facilities at Gold Mountain are first-rate and I highly recommend putting this course on your list.
Auburn Golf Course
Auburn Golf Course celebrated its 50-year anniversary this year. My bet is that it will be around for at least another 50.
Built on 200 acres woodlands along the Green River, this course is just plain fun to play. A mixture of different holes offers plenty of opportunity for risk and reward.
Several lakes and waterfalls only add to the natural beauty to be found here.
Auburn Hills isn’t overly long, but you’ll need to pay attention and keep the ball in play.
Easily accessible and a great value, Auburn is a hidden gem.
The views at Druids Glen are breathtaking. The golf course is just as good.
With Mt. Rainier reigning supreme in the background, the verdant fairways at Druids Glen make for a most pleasant round of golf.
I would advise you not to chew off more than you can chew here. The course plays quite long from all the way back and the par threes are especially difficult.
With that being said, Druids Glen is both fair and fun. There are opportunities for risk and reward and the poa annua greens are as pure as the driven snow.
White Horse Golf Club
White Horse Golf Club was purchased by the Suquamish tribe in 2010. Ever since, golfers have raved about this course that’s only a short trip from Seattle.
Surrounded by old-growth cedar, pine, and fir trees, you won’t find any homes surrounding this golf course. Instead, your chances of seeing a bald eagle, coyote, or blacktail deer are good.
This track is fairly straightforward but trouble lurks in unexpected places, especially around the greens.
If you have a junior with you, White Horse has some of the cheapest rates to be found.
For an extra flare of fun, try renting one of the course’s golf boards for your round.
Homestead Farms Golf Club
Way up north, just south of the Canadian border lies the town of Lynden and Homestead Farms Golf Club.
Immaculately kept, this course has a number of risk and reward holes that give you plenty of options.
Beautiful mountain views, vibrant wildflowers, and sparkling water features accent the verdant green fairways.
The practice facilities are second to none at Homestead Farms and the Professional Staff are all seasoned instructors. A great place to come work on your game.
If steak is your flavor, you won’t want to miss a meal at Steakhouse 9 after your round. Mouthwatering dishes and an extensive wine list await.
Canyon Lakes Golf Course
You’ll find some of the fastest greens you’ll ever play at Canyon Lakes in the city of Kennewick.
A true public track, Canyon Lakes is always in great shape considering it handles upward of 300 rounds per day in the summer.
The wind can blow in this part of the state so be ready to hit a variety of shots and different clubs.
As one of the best values in the tri-city area, it’s easy to see why this course is so popular.
Stay below the hole and swing it easy when it’s breezy. Those are the keys to getting around Canyon Lakes.
Quail Ridge Golf Course
In the eastern part of the state along the Idaho border, you’ll find Quail Ridge Golf Course.
Perched high atop the city of Clarkston, this course offers expansive views of the Snake River below.
Winding through canyons and over hills, be prepared for some uneven lies on this track. Full shots can get especially tricky when the winds kick up in the afternoon.
This is muni golf. Feel free to come as you are.
Washington is a state of diversity and that’s reflected in its variety of great golf courses. From the evergreen fairways of the coast, to the windswept links of the eastern part of the state, you won’t get bored with golf in Washington.
My recent golf trip to the Evergreen State was an absolute blast. We didn’t get to play as many courses as we would’ve like but, time was our only limiting factor.
If you get a chance to make it to the Pacific Northwest, I highly suggest going in September or October. Yes, the weather is a little cooler but, the crowds are gone, and the courses are in the best shape they are all year.