|Date Opened||July 1997|
|I'll preface this review in that it will be more detailed than some
of the others. I play this course quite frequently as I have been playing
in a spring/summer weekly league for the last 3 years. The pictures have
been updated to more recent digital pictures. All pictures
were taken with a Olympus D-460 Digital Camera in 1280x960 SHQ mode. Some
minor editing cleanup was done. The pictures were sized down/compressed
to 640x480 for web display purposes. If anyone wants more full blow pictures
of any of the shots feel free to drop me an email.
Druids Glen is advertised as the Jewel of the Northwest. Situated in Kent, actually more like Covington and not all that far from Black Diamond, it is tucked away in an area near some newer housing developments, yet the feeling is of being in the wilderness. While in the proximity of newer housing, you will not find any houses to contend with on the course. The course can play as long or as short as you want. Ranging from about 5300 yards from the gold tees up to over 7100 from the blacks. Pick your poison. The nines are contrasting in length, with the front 9 being shorter (about 200 yards). The back nine from the blacks plays a whopping 3657 yards.
While there is no real club house yet, one is to be built at some point once they get through the impossible King County permit system. Currently the clubhouse consists of a small structure were they sell some merchandise and have a few tables to sit down. Behind the temporary clubhouse is another structure which contains the rest rooms and a small snack counter where you can buy various munchies, pop as well as beer. There is also a beverage/snack cart that drives around in season selling eats and drinks.
The practice range is grass, except when weather dictates that they use range mats on the concrete. About all this does is give you lots of practice on your hanging lies, as these concrete areas aren't level. While the tees are grass, it isn't always groomed tee/fairway grass. I.E. the grass is typically longer, more like hitting out of light rough than even off of of one of the well groomed fairways. Still anything that isn't mats is welcome. There are some target flags and range signs to give you something to shoot at. The general range area has been expanded somewhat but the range is surrounded by long grass left and behind. To the right is the first hole, but it seems to sit far enough away to not cause any real problems. It is still easy to send balls into the thick areas, especially left of the groomed area. There is only one putting/chipping green and it is just to the left of the 1st hole.
|The greens like the fairways are bent grass. The greens are in pretty good shape, but number 12, the beautiful par 3 still isn't up to snuff, probably due to the shaded low lying area. The greens overall are in pretty good shape and will roll pretty fast if cut down. The trick is, they don't seem to keep them cut as close as they could. They are not flat, and contain some minor tiers, swales, and undulations. I found that it seemed there wasn't as much break as you often first see. Don't give the hole away, especially on short putts unless you are sure. As far as size, they seem to be pretty average. Not like the monsters at say The Classic, but not Jackson Park muni size either. One of the larger greens is probably the 3rd, which is 60 yards from the angled front to the back.|
|Bunkers are present in deck of card proportions, meaning there are 54 total, evenly distributed, 27 per nine holes. There is a good mix of fairway and green side bunkers. The only OB on the course is the practice range left of number 1, the road left of number 2 and boundary fences (which are barbed wire and have white paint on the tips such as to the right of 13 and 14. You will not find any mickey mouse in course artificial OB. Water or marked red or yellow hazards come into play on 7 holes on the front 9, and 5 holes on the back nine. Often times fairways are separated by dense rough/trees and woods. If you leave the fairway/light rough, a provisional is advised as balls can get eaten up and not found. While the rough itself isn't a hazard, if they let it grow (as they have been known to do at times) in the 4-6 inch range it can be murder especially when it's wet.|
|The fairways are perhaps the best conditioned part of Druids. One of the few around with pure bent grass, and when they cut them down, you really get a nice tight surface to hit from as well as some good roll. Some may not be used to these tighter lies as on other less groomed courses the ball sits up more with the longer fairway grass. If only they'd firm them up and cut them down like they do at Washington National, you would really have something here. You will find a few damp spots in winter or after a lot of rain, but the course is very playable all year round. They are working on some better drainage on some of the wetter holes like number 11. The fairways are also somewhat generous in width, so while the fairway boundaries are often undesirable lost ball territory, you are given more room between the trouble than a course like Lipoma Firs, or Kayak Point.|
|Lost Ball Factor|
|As noted above, the hazards and rough areas will present a distinct possibility of a lost ball or two if you stray to far from the straight and not so narrow, so bring a few extra.|
|Terrain/Elevations/Walking vs. Riding|
|Terrain is usually gentle slops with a few more severe hills. It isn't flat, but you don't need to be a mountain goat. Walking is allowed at all times. The course is very walk able with one caveat. It is a very long walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee. You have to cross a natural area containing a creek and as you climb back towards the tee you have a nice hill to climb. It isn't too bad unless everyone else in your group has a cart, then you will be a few minutes behind them arriving to the tee. Given the constraints of having to leave the creek wetlands area alone, this part of the layout was probably a necessity.|
|My favorite aspects|
|Hole variety, hole variety, hole variety! Did I mention hole variety? Nowhere I recall will you find a more varied set of holes. There just aren't any duplicates or clones. Each hole is distinct and will test your abilities. The par 3's are especially varied and all scenic yet at the same time tough. There are also some spectacular views of Mt. Rainier to the South, so if it's a nice sunny day and you're having a bad round, just look south. I like the wilderness aspect of the back 40 (holes 13-16) and the lack of houses on the course, which now seems all too rare with new courses. You will also often see deer and elk on the course which is not something you would see on most courses. Unfortunately the elk sometimes do a number on certain greens like number 13.|
|Rocks! While I was lucky, others had clubs dinged by rocks. This
is especially likely if you venture off the fairway. Some areas of the
rough can be very rocky. Fair warning, especially if you bring out
your brand spanking new Mizuno forged clubs when trying to extract your
ball from a rough area.
The bunkers while well having been resanded last year are still inconsistent.
Some contain more fluffy sand, others are hard packed in places. Some also
fill up after a rain and you may have casual water problems.
Sometimes in the summer, especially in the back 40 section (holes 13-16) bugs can be a problem. In season I'd advise at least carrying some insect repellent in case this is a problem.
Another minor peeve was that originally there were no visible yardage
markers, other than the sprinklers and 100/150/200 yard plaques. They have
since at least added small 150 yard plastic posts. It was especially frustrating
when you were off the fairway and needed a yardage. You had to walk and
hunt for a sprinkler head or a middle marker, which often slowed play down.
An improvement would be to add 100 and 200 yard stakes like the 150 yard
|I play in a weekly league here in the summer, so what can I say. I like the course a lot even though it plays pretty tough. You have to play smart and can't let your guard down for a minute. With a little better conditioning of a green or two and maybe firming up the fairways and making all the bunkers consistent, and maybe some rock removal, this course will be in top shape, and live up to it's full potential. I can only hope they don't surround the course with housing developments as the semi wild state is one aspect that appeals to me personally. With the exception of holes 4 and 5, and maybe 1 and 2, you really don't have any crossover problems with other groups.|
|Druids Glen Scorecard|
|The 1st hole is a straight away, medium length par 4. The practice range sits off to the left as OB awaiting Mr. Snappy. You tee over a lake/pond, which shouldn't come into play except for bad misses or maybe from the black tees. Off to the right are tall, but spaced scraggly trees. If you drift over here, you may have a shot if you get lucky. The biggest obstacle on the tee shot is the two fairway bunkers on the right that seem like ball magnets. The first one is only 242 yards from the white tees/254 from the blues and is known to suck balls in. To carry both will require a poke of over 260 yards/272 yards, difficult at best, even more so from the blacks. Also add in the fact that in nice summer weather, this hole usually plays into the north breeze. A well positioned drive should lead to a mid to short iron into the roundish green. The left is jail with a steep facing bunker and a falling away slope. Balls hit slightly right of the green tend to kick to the left, and the green slopes right to left. There is sort of a lower level on the right center portion of the green and pins along this ridge can be tricky and lead to 3 putts especially when the greens are fast. If you are gonna miss this green, short and right are the best. Not the toughest hole on the course, but no bargain either. Not a bad opening hole. The bottom picture is the practice green.|
|The 2nd hole is the shortest par 5 on the course. As you notice, even from the tips it is not long and yardage wise, only a USGA par 5 by a few yards. There still may be some reason for playing this hole more conservatively. The large fairway bunker shouldn't come into play on a reasonably struck shot unless you are on the black tees or for shorter hitters, the blues. There is OB all down the left side as well as a few annoying trees. More trouble comes in as a blind lake off the tee which starts to come into play about 168 yards out from the green. The difficulty of going for the green in two comes if you are too far out, as the green is only 17 yards deep, and surrounded by the lake in front, to the right, and behind the right portion. The bail out is definitely left where you will find two bunkers. There is definite risk reward here because if you bust a drive down the middle, you could be looking at a short iron for your 2nd. If not, you will really have to weight the choices and decide whether to lay-up or go for it. All in all I consider this the most birdie able hole on the front side for sure if not the course. It is definitely your best chance for an eagle on the course. The bottom photo is a picture of the green from the number 1 tee.|
|Number 3 is one of the 4 strong par 3's on the course. From the tips it is especially challenging and into a wintery headwind can lead one to pulling out the big dog just to be assured of clearing the water. The tee shot is over a lake and it's all carry unless the pin is in the right front of the green (which it rarely seems to be). The green is kind of angled right to left and is 60 yards deep all total, but it doesn't look that way from the tee. If the lake wasn't enough, you have two deep bunkers to the right causing more problems for those attempting to bail right to avoid the water. If you aren't a solid bunker player, landing in here could be an adventure. If you happen to meet that fate, you may be blasting out with a chance to overshoot and end up in the lake. About the only real bail out on this hole is long and towards the left, but that is no bargain either. If you really tank one off to the right of the cart path, there is another grassy marked hazard area to worry about. On the green below the hole is definitely the option of choice if you dare flirt with the water.|
|Number 4 is a good par 4. The tee selection largely determines whether the lake to the left or the fairway bunker comes into play. While the fairway bunker is not totally jail (depending on the lie/position), it is definitely a less than desirable place to be. Once past this trouble it is fairly open down to the green guarded by a deep trap on the right. Getting the ball close from this bunker is not a simple task. If you veer right, you still may have a shot depending on the luck of the bounce as there are scattered trees to contend with. If you go way right, you may find yourself in some old beauty bark, which can also contain some rocks and tends to be a rather unpleasant experience. The approach is to a green with a couple of humps along the edges. The green falls away left and behind. Going much over the green can end up in the woods.|
|Number 5 is a reachable par 5 with a slight dog leg right on the last portion. This is a good grip it and rip it hole. Here is a fine example of why you need to play tees appropriate to your ability. Just to reach the fairway from the blacks requires a decent poke. The final dog foot if you will starts 67 yards from the green. If you aren't playing from at least the blue tees, reaching this one in two requires two mammoth shots requiring you to either be a gorilla or Tiger Woods. Tee shots tend to kick to the left, which if you turn it over too much, you may find the rough edges of the course. There is a large (15 yard wide) fairway bunker smack in the middle of the fairway that starts about 200 yards out from the green. Depending on tee selection, this may or not readily come into play. The lay-up area opens up to the left, but going further left is not advised. You will have a better angle out to the left somewhere past the trap. If you go too far right, you may have to deal with a tree or two and it can be hit or miss if you have a clear and perhaps blind shot to the green. To shoot at the green in two will require a high shot over some trees, or a delayed fade into the right tucked green. A small but deep pot/face bunker sits in front of the green towards the left side. Two other bunkers guard the rear to perhaps save you from going over the green. The wide (52 yards wide) but shallow elevated green is not especially receptive to a long approach since it is only 18 yards deep.|
|Number 6 is a long, but not especially difficult par 3 other than the sheer length from the back tees. In fact it is the 17 handicap hole. Take this hole back to the blacks or blues and you're doing good to par this one just due to the sheer length. The hole does seem to play perhaps a club shorter than the yardage might indicate. You tee from a slightly elevated tee to a fairly deep green. The front bunker is not in play as much as it looks from the tee since it is stops probably about 15 yards short of the actual green. Once over this bunker, the slope kicks down and left towards the green. Balls hitting short of the green but over the bunker will probably end up on the lower left portion of the green or fringe. There is a 2nd tier up above and the green can be tricky if you are above the pin or on the wrong tier. If you decide to bail right, you have a bunker to contend with. There is an open throat to the right side that will allow the ball to run up if you execute perfectly.|
|Number 7 is a somewhat annoying, yet short par 4 but
it plays uphill to an elevated fairway/green over a lake. There are many
ways to play this hole, none of them seem all that great.
1) Drive the green. The drawback is that anything hooked or pulled will roll down a slope either ending up in the sand (if you're lucky), on patchy rough with a nasty uphill lie, or rolling down into deeper rough/big trouble. If you happen to think about going right there are many trees and ugly seasonal rough to contend with so you predicament is Russian roulette at best and can turn into golf pinball if you try and go through the trees.
2) Try and hit a long iron/fairway wood up on top over the fairway bunker which will require a 180-245 yard carry depending on the chosen tee. There isn't a lot of room up top as you can still go left or right with similar results as if you had tried to drive the green with a little more room on the left.
3) Really lay up on the flat short of the fairway bunker. This will leave you with a 100-110 yard blind shot uphill to the green, but may be the safest, yet not the most exciting course of action.
Once you reach the narrow green, it is best to stay below the hole.
The green slopes to the left. With smart, precision, or lucky play,
this is a birdie hole. More often than not it will reach up and bite you
if you don't play it smart.
|Number 8 is a par 4 with a couple of fairway bunkers out in the landing area. The 2nd fairway bunker is a 230 yard carry from the whites, or 244 from the blues. Once past here if you nail one, you can get down in front of the green, as the slope kicks down and to the right. If you really yank one left you could end up wet in the lake. If you drive through the fairway left, you could end up in a rocky hazard where you may have to decide if you club or the shot is worth more. I hit over there once and ended up deliberately blading a wedge to avoid rock damage. The elevated green is guarded by a bunker front left, and two on the right. For some reason this green seems a bit tricky to read so look carefully.|
|Number 9 is a par 4 with a blind shot up a hill and is also the number 1 handicap hole and for good reason. The fairway bunker on the right is only 188 to carry from the whites and 212 from the blues but it is uphill and often into the wind. More trouble comes in the form of a hidden lake starting about 228 from the whites and 252 from the blues down the right side. Shots hit down the right side will tend to kick further right into the lake. There isn't much to stop them in the form of rough. The best approach/tee shot favors the left side as there is quite a bit of room over there. The green is heavily guarded by a pond in front, which extends around the back. Anything long is wet. If you to the right, your 2nd shot will be a forced carry over the pond. A lone bunker sits as a sentinel on the left side which can be a valid bail out. The best way I have found to play this hole is to hit something off the tee that will carry the bunker but avoid the water, and go from there, trying to favor the left side as much as possible to open up the angle to the green. On the other hand I have hit a tee shot over by the number 6 tee and it does shorten up the hole, but you are really guessing on the yardage, and it really is ALL carry over water.|
|Number 10 is a long, tough par 4. The carry over the water shouldn't be a major concern as it is only 135 yards from the whites, and 189 from the blacks. The water on the right however is more of a concern. At just past the 150 yard marker, the fairway narrows as the water pinches in from the right, and some trees on the left. If you miss left you will probably have to play a draw around the tree cluster. If you are playing the more forward tees, a fairway wood or long iron might be the prudent choice off the tee. At just past the 100 yard marker, the water ends and you hit up to a slightly elevated green with a bunker guarding the front left side. There is also a grass bunker or two on the left, but plenty of room to miss left. The key here is the tee shot. Hit a solid straight one, and this hole doesn't play as difficult. The green is open in the front middle allowing a run up shot provided the course is dry enough.|
|Number 11 is a par 4 slight dog leg left over some nasty fairway bunkers. Going left is jail as you will either be in very tall rough, or in a pinball maze of trees, or both. There is some room to the right except the fairway does pinch down as you get towards the 100 yard marker. The carry over the 2nd fairway bunker on the left is 172 from the whites, 211 from the blues, and a nasty 246 from the blacks. The ideal tee shot would be favoring the left side over the bunkers as this shortens the hole. At just inside the 100 yard marker a cart path crosses bordered by rough which sort of splits the fairway into two sections. The green has a small bunker guarding the right front. If you miss, go left as there is lots of room over there, almost like a groomed chipping area offering an opportunity to actually play a pitch and run shot, or perhaps even putt if it is dry enough.|
|Number 12 is arguably the most scenic par 3 on the course. The very elevated tee is all carry over a pond which runs in front and all down the left side of the green. The green is wider in the back, so to stay dry, favor the back, but you will be left with a long ricky downhill/side hill putt. A small bunker guards the right front for anyone thinking of going there. Perhaps some good advice is to take enough club to carry the bunker and favor the right side. For me this hole plays about one club shorter than the stated yardage, but the green is 30 yards deep so that must be taken into account.|
|Number 13 is another scenic par 4 over another pond. Getting there from the 12th green involves making the somewhat long trek across the salmon stream/creek to the wilder part of the course containing holes 13-16. I like the special wild feeling of this group of holes. This happens to be the only back side par 4 from the black tees under 420 yards. The pond is not in play except for the bad miss. Trees and thick rough line the left side, and a boundary fence (OB) runs down the right. The best approach to the green is from the right as the bunkers are less in play. The more direct route is down the left side near the tree line. A lone tree sits on the left about 240 yards from the white tees. Get past this and you are home free. If you start drifting right however, you could bounce over by the barbed wire fence and end up OB. The approach is to an elevated green over two less than desirable bunkers. Behind the green is a bank, which will somewhat contain a miss long, however you will have a delicate chip/pitch back to the hole.|
|Number 14 has just recently changed from a rather unique par 5 over a wild brushy area. This areas in in the process of being converted from a hazard to grass with some fairway bunkers. The bunkers begin anywhere from 164 yards off the tee from the gold tees, 199 from the whites, 230 from the blues, and 275 from the tips. In order to carry it all will require about 248 yards from the whites, 279 from the blues, and well. 324 from the tips. The prudent course it to select a club to lay up. If you are precise, you can try and thread a shot either right or left of the wetland, but it is not advised as the fairway is very narrow, especially to the left. The OB on the right can be troublesome as it is just to the right of the cart path, so if you hit the cart path, you are almost assured of ending up OB. If you gamble on your tee shot and get over the bunkers, you will be left with 200 yards or less to the green. At about 65 yards from the tee a series of bunkers start down the left side. There is also a bunker down the right starting about 40 yards from the middle of the green. Any of these bunkers are not the place to be. If you can't reach the green in two it is better to lay back at least 80 yards out depending on what you are comfortable with for your approach. The green itself has a bunker left and one right rear to catch any long approaches that go through the green. The green generally slopes left to right.|
|The 15th is long tough mild dog leg right. At about 214 from the white tees, and 247 yards from the blues in the middle of the fairway is a diagonal ridge which will kick balls down making this hole play shorter than the indicated yardage. An ideal tee shot here is a power fade. Don't fade too much though or you may kick off into the thickets on the right. If your shot drifts too much right, a provisional ball is advised and balls seem to mysteriously disappear over there when you think you are ok. If you stay too far left, you may go through the fairway into more jungle. This is especially possible from the white tees. Once down the ridge, the approach is fairly straightforward with a lone bunker guarding the left front. The front part of the green opens up and will accept a running shot if required. A good design for such a hole that from the back tees may require a fairway wood to reach.|
|The 16th is an intimidating, yet scenic par 3 over water. This hole is an entirely different animal depending on which tees you are playing. I also tend to notice that even the white tees are more often back on the blue markers. This 42 yard deep green is surrounded front, right and left with a lake. There are also two traps left, and one right, which may in fact save you from taking a bath. This two level green, can leave you with some very long putts. Happily take a par here and move on to the long trek up to 17.|
|The 17th is a nice slightly downhill par 4 dog leg right. It should be noted that the blue yardage I have never seen played. The blue tees are always up on a more forward tee box so the hole doesn't play 464. The ideal shot is a power fade which will put you down the slope hitting a sort iron or wedge shot into the green guarded by two bunkers left, and one right front. There is room to bail left. The last thing you want off the tee is to drift right of the bunkers into lost ball territory. The fairway bunkers down the right should only be in play from the blacks or maybe the blues. To the right of the bunkers is a steep slope/rough area best to be avoided.|
|Coming home on 18 is an uphill par 5. Another good risk reward hole especially from all but the black tees, as with the blacks it is almost an automatic 3 shot hole. A lake sits off to the left pinching the landing area within range, especially from the white or blue tees, at just under 200 yards from the whites, and 234 from the blues. If you want to drift right there is also another water hazard that is just over the cart path. Cart path bounces will usually end up wet or in high weeds in this area. The safe play is a lay-up short of the pond on the left, then to play a 2nd shot between the two bunkers up the hill. The first bunker on the left starts about 145 from the green. Three more bunkers dot down the left in that no mans sand shot land ranging from about 20-50 yards from the green. If that wasn't enough, there is also a green side bunker guarding the left side. Shots hit way left will end up on or down a steep slope towards the 10th tee, leaving a very blind shot up the hill. This hole can yield some birdies if played smart, but can also hand you a snowman or worse!|
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This Page last updated May 8, 2001