Featured Course: Picturesque Port Ludlow Offers Challenging Tour

By Chris Sitzenstock, Contributor

Resting in that most beautiful place where the water meets the mountains rests Port Ludlow Golf Course. Looking over Port Ludlow bay and the Hood Canal rests 27 picturesque holes designed by Robert Muir Graves. It is no surprise that Esquire magazine rated Port Ludlow Golf Course as one of the most scenic golf courses in the entire world.

Playing Port Ludlow is a wonderful natural experience. Herons glide through the trees on the way to nests, while ospreys and eagles can be seen soaring above, creating a unique golf experience. Each hole is cut through beautiful green canyons of fir trees making straight tee shots a premium.

The wildlife is just part of the beauty of Port Ludlow. The golf course is a challenge to anyone's game. The 72 holes are aptly named Tide, Timber and Trail, alluding to the natural surroundings. The three different nines may be played in any combination with yardages of: Tide/Timber, 6,787; Timber/Trail, 6,756; and Tide/Trail, 6,683 yards from the black tees.

Port Ludlow Golf Course has been home to U.S. Open qualifying and other prominent amateur tournaments. The main reason that Port Ludlow has not hosted professional tournaments like other golf courses with the same stature is the lack of room for galleries caused by the uncompromising devotion to natural surroundings.

One of Port Ludlow's signature holes, No. 8 on Timber, a par three of 164 yards which forces the player around water, is nothing short of spectacular. Played from a elevated green, a small pond guards the green and penalizes errant tee shots. If the water isn't bad enough, a bunker lurks, quickly taking balls shot too far from the water. Playing in the evening, I witnessed a family of deer drinking from the pond while a great blue heron looked for food and eventually flew off through the trees. From the elevated tees, one has a view of the Cascade mountains and all one has to do is turn around to see the Olympic mountains.

The clubhouse at Port Ludlow is refined and upscale while still fitting in to the rustic setting. There is a very nice facility with a driving range, practice green and practice bunker. Rental sets may be rented at the clubhouse, as well as carts. Carts are recommended because of the rugged landscape. Lessons and multi-day clinics are offered by head professional Tony Manzanares.

Port Ludlow Golf Course is kept in immaculate condition by head superintendent Jerry Mathews. Flawless fairways and greens reward good shot making, while wildflowers create beautiful backdrops to tees and greens.

Port Ludlow is more than just a golf course. It is an all inclusive resort. There is a luxury hotel, along with several gourmet restaurants. For those who wish to stay longer, Port Ludlow has also been voted one of the best planned communities in the country.

Port Ludlow stands as a model for golf course design, combining environmental awareness with incredible golf architecture. It is well worth the trip to the Olympic peninsula to play golf and stay for a long weekend at the resort.

Chris Sitzenstock, Contributor

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