General Information  
Location Auburn, Washington
Date Opened August 2000
Date Played April 21, 2001
Review Date 04/23/2001
Low Score N/A
Phone Number 253-333-500
Web Site www.wngolf.com
I recently played Washington National in a 4 person best ball format. The day was perfect, although a bit cold in the AM. We teed off at 08:00AM in a shotgun start. 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. This was my first picture shoot with this camera. 

Washington National is the home of the Washington Huskies. Seems kinda strange since it certainly isn't convenient to the U of W, but oh well. The course is situated a few miles off of highway 18 in Auburn. It is managed by OB Sports, who also handles Trophy Lake, another fairly new course. Washington National (hereafter referred to as WN), is a different sort of course than most. Like many of the newer courses, trees are not a factor here other than on the boundaries. What you will find is some 70 odd bunkers, many of them large. In addition there are waste areas filled with various desert looking plants. These areas are sandy, yet not considered hazards (you can ground your club). They also contain to various degrees, some rocks, which you wouldn't want to subject a nice forged iron to hitting. You will also find 4 strategically placed ponds/lakes to contend with as well as large slick hard greens. The course has 5 sets of tee boxes, making the course range anywhere from 7304 yards down to 5117 yards. 

The facilities consist of a rather small club house and snack shop, as well as a large indoor tent like structure for after tournament festivities and such.  There is also a beverage/snack cart that drives around selling eats and drinks (including beer).

The practice range is well shall we say STILL under construction. For now you can hit into some high nets. To be honest I didn't explore this much as I had already warmed up at home into my own net. The claim is when finished (whenever that will be, they won't say), this will be one of the top practice facilities anywhere. We will await judgment on that. There is a decent sized putting green over by the first tee for chipping and putting, but that is about it for now.  Don't plan on coming here to work on your game right now, they just don't have the facilities yet. 

The greens were very good. They putted very true in general and were quick and hard. This is a definite different game than playing at most NW courses this time of year. A good spin ball is advisable. The only real flaw with the greens were I noticed more old ball marks/spots that I would have expected. It was a minor nit, but noticeable. In reality if all NW greens were this good I'd be a much happy putter. I didn't have nary a problem adjusting as I prefer the faster/truer putting surfaces. Some of the greens are rather large, often containing 3 levels. You really have to think about your approach shot or you could have a real dandy of a putt left. Also I don't recommend short siding yourself either or an up and down will be iffy at best. 
About 70 bunkers are spread evenly around the course. Some of these bunkers are very large and deep. You really want to stay out of these things. On the good side they were more consistent and did have sand in them. You won't really find any OB here, but some of the course perimeters have some nasty brush, so a lost ball is a possibility. The four ponds/lakes will come into play on a few holes, but are not a major feature of the course in general.  The waste areas often come into play as well, and although not technically hazards, can be rather nasty depending on the type of lie you happen to draw and if you happen to get stuck in one of those pseudo desert plants you could easily draw an unplayable lie. 
The fairways are firm and really cut close. If you are used to the more common fluffy lies of most Pacific NW fairways where the ball kinda sits up, you are in for a surprise here. Also bring a low/no bounce wedge if you plan on playing lofted cut type shots here. It was difficult to get high bounce wedges under the ball. I didn't notice any damp spots to speak of, and the roll out on the tee shots was good. The fairways themselves are rather wide, and the landing areas are pretty generous. Usually if you miss you will be in one of the many bunkers, or perhaps a water hazard or waste area. 
Lost Ball Factor
If you stay out of the water, you shouldn't lose that many balls. Only on some of the perimeters are you really at risk. With the generous landing areas, you shouldn't need that many balls to get around. 
Terrain/Elevations/Walking vs. Riding
For the most part this is a fairly flat layout. You will have some elevated greens, and an elevated tee or two (number 12 is perhaps the most fun driving hole), but you won't find yourself feeling like a mountain goat to get around. With that said, a riding cart is included in the green fee, however you have the option to walk and according to the staff, walking is NOT discouraged. The 90 degree rule is generally in effect, so at least you can drive to your ball. Most people seem to ride, I guess since they pay for it anyway. Don't be discouraged from walking though. I know I will next time when I'm not in a shotgun type of tournament.
My favorite aspects
The conditioning of the fairways and greens. You can get some serious roll out here, and the greens are pretty fast and true. There are also some pretty scenic holes as you will see in the photo section below.
Rocks in the waste areas. I realize you aren't supposed to be here, but what a shame to have a nice set of clubs and have to risk dinging them up. You can remove the rocks though as they are loose implements and you are NOT in a hazard.

The white tees(sophomore) are too short. There should be a set of tees for the average golfer in the 6000 range. 5794 is just too short, and for some 6424 is a bit on the long side. With all the set of tees, they missed the boat here.  At 5794 there are just too many places where you need to be laying up and it kinda takes the driver out of play too much for my tastes. 

The course is a bit pricier than most in the area as well, running over $90+ on the weekends in season. Winter/off season rates are somewhat more reasonable. This is just too pricey for most to make this a regular play. 

I see they are building some houses and in fact the 2001 Street of Dreams home showcase is here this year.  I always hate houses on a golf course.  This is not a good sign, and it appears for a month or so this summer there will be plenty of non golfers jamming up the place to gawk at the houses they could never afford. . 

Final Thoughts
Since I generally prefer a more wooded/isolated type of course, this is a definite departure. Trees don't come into play and you will be digging out of sand all day if you are less than accurate. More than anything though, the price is what will keep me from playing here on any kind of a regular basis. It is simply not enough course for the money in my opinion.  As an aside, if the course was in my backyard, and a little more to my style, I would probably purchase a membership which gives decent discounts on green fees. Even with this expect to pay $60 or more during peak summer weekend times.  I'd definitely go out and play the course and see for yourself.

Washington National Scorecard
Tee Yards Par Rating Slope
Husky 7304 72 75.6 141
Senior 6782 72 72.7 134
Junior 6424 72 71.1 130
Sophomore 5794 72 68.2 120
Freshman 5117 72 65.2 118

Hole by Hole

PAR 5  17 hdc
The 1st hole is one of the easier more mundane holes on the course. It's always nice to start out with a straight-away par 5 that is reachable in two. As long as you don't stray left, you should be OK. A fairway bunker on the right is to be avoided. The bunker comes into play 212 yards out from the blue/junior tees and requires a hefty 241 yard carry. A decision must be made on the second shot to lay up or go for it. Another fairway bunker sits off to the right 126 yards out from the green to catch any wayward lay-up attempts. Another bunker on the right starts 53 yards out to catch the wannabe go for it in two types. The green itself is guarded by a lone bunker front left.  Play smart and get your round off to a good start with a par or birdie.  The first picture is from the blue tee box. The 2nd picture is from where the drive lay, about 240 out from the green. 
PAR 4  3 hdc
The 2nd hole doesn't present any special difficulties. As with number 1, avoid going left. You tee over some waste area, which is more for ascetics, but if you top one, you could find trouble. A fairway bunker starts 211 out from the blue tee and will require about a 230 carry. Another no man's land bunker starts 72 yards out from the green. The green itself has two bunkers guarding the left side. The bail out is definitely to the right.  The picture was taken from the white tee box. 
PAR 4  9 hdc
Number 3 is one of the shorter par 4's on the course, but that doesn't mean it is easy. You have the usual crud left, and water all down the right hand side. The smart play is a lay-up iron off the tee, leaving yourself a comfortable distance in for your second shot. There are a couple of bunkers before the green that will catch any errant attempts at trying to drive the surface. The tricky green itself has bunkers both left and right. The right front portion is on a lower level. If you get the tee ball in play, this hole should give you a good chance for birdie and be a relatively easy par. The picture is from a lay-up spot. 
PAR 5  7 hdc
Number 4 is the longest hole on the course, although 14 is a close second. Going left is again a no no, and two large fairway bunkers line the right to catch the bail outs. Two more fairway bunkers pinch the 2nd shot landing area starting in the 180-200 yard range from the green. The last bunker on the right ends about 129 yard from the green, so if you can get your lay-up over this, you are home free. The green itself is elevated and guarded by bunkers left and right front. Not likely a reachable par 5 for any mere mortal except perhaps from the white tees or forward. This is definitely a hole where you want to plan your first two shots well to enable a 3rd shot from a favorable location. The first picture on the left is from the blue tee. The 2nd picture is from 200 and something yards. 
PAR 3  13 hdc
Number 5 is a nice par 3 with a very shallow green. Club selection is of utmost importance. The green is 25 yards deep. There are three bunkers, two in front (requiring a 145 yard carry from the blue tees), and another bunker to the left front side. The waste areas in front should only catch the worst misses. While the green is only 25 yards deep, it is 46 yards wide, allowing more directional error. This hole is pretty much a what you see is what you get kind of hole. Pick the right club and you are well on your way. 
PAR 4  1 hdc
Number 6 is the 1 handicap hole. From one of the back tee boxes, I can see it, but the hole just doesn't see all that difficult otherwise. You tee over a waste area and between/over two bunkers, which from all but the back tee boxes shouldn't come into play at all. There are no fairway bunkers on the hole, however an wayward right shot might find one of the invisible from the tee fairway bunkers on hole 4. A water hazard starts on the left side of the hole about 127 out from the green. The green is guarded by the water on the left, and a lone bunker on the right front. The 45 yard deep green is only 26 yards wide. The bail out here is definitely long or long right. The first picture is from the white tee. The second picture is the approach shot from the right side. 
PAR 4  1 hdc
Number 7 is a short risk/reward par 4. Take the risk, and you could be putting for eagle, or at least very close to the putting surface. Miss and you could end up wet or beached. There are a variety of ways to play this hole.

1) Drive the green, or attempt to. The drawback is if you miss weak right, you may get wet, or be in some small trees. If you go a little left, you may find the large bunker guarding the left approach. You will have to carry 210 yards from the blue tees to carry the water. 

2) Play a real lay-up short of the first bunker on the left. This is only about 173 yards from the blue tees. The main drawback here is you leave the water in play on the right. It almost seems that if you are gonna do this, you may as well break out the lumber. 

3) Play over that first bunker on the left side, left of the big bunker guarding the green. You take the water out of play and have something less than 100 yards in. The drawback here is that bunker is still in play, but given you are using an iron, you should be more accurate and able to avoid it. 

Once you reach  the rather normal green, you should have a good run at making the putt, be it for eagle or birdie. 

PAR 3  15 hdc
Number 8 is a straightforward medium length par 3. A token bunker sits off to the left, and another bunker guards the right front of the green. There is a good sized opening in front of the green should you elect to run your shot in. The somewhat smaller than average green presents no real difficulties.

PAR 4  5 hdc
Number 9 can be a tough hole, especially from the back tees. Bunkers start down the left side about 220 yards from the blue tees. Another bunker sits right in the middle of the fairway about 284 yards out from the blues. The elevated green is guarded by a large bunker starting 48 yards out from the green. There is bail out room long and right. If this hole is playing into the wind, as it was the day we played, it can be even tougher as you basically have to carry the ball all the way in over the bunker.  The first picture is from the blue tee. The 2nd picture is in the 2nd shot area, and the 3rd picture is from the left side of the green near the cart path. 
PAR 4  8 hdc
Number 10 is one of my least favorite holes at Washington National. Avoid going right at all costs as it is brushy and tree filled. If you go left you will be in the waste area. About 236 yards from the blue tees the waste area extends across the fairway requiring a layup. I'm just not real crazy about forced layup tee shots where you basically have no options. Second shot goes to a slightly elevated green with a bunker guarding the left front.  The first picture is from the blue tee, the 2nd about 175 yards out from the green in the layup area. 
PAR 3  18 hdc
Number 11 is a shortish par 3 from an elevated tee to a shallow but wide green which is guarded by a bunker in the left front, right, and rear. Pretty much what you see is what you get. The waste area is mostly for appearance and should only come into play for the worst shots. 
PAR 4  14 hdc
Number 12 is perhaps the most scenic from the tee. Elevate tee to a large landing area with a waste area to the left, and fairway bunkers left and right. The left bunker requires a 253 yard carry to fly, the right bunker is about 268 off the tee to reach it. Second shot is to a green guarded by bunkers on the right front side. Plenty of bail out room to the left and long left. 

PAR 4  16 hdc
Number 13 is probably the easiest par 4 on the back side. At just 366 yards from the blue tees, this is a birdie hole as long as you don't drift way right, or end up in one of the fairway bunkers which start 177 yards out on the right side, and extend out to 226 yards to fly both of them. The left fairway bunker is 263 from the tee. The fairway kicks left to right. The green is guarded by fairway bunkers left and right. 
PAR 5  4 hdc
Number 14 is another no mans land hole. From the blue tees it is 288 to the waste area and with favorable conditions, it is reachable. From this forced layup you are looking at 287 to the green, which is surely not a high percentage shot. You may as well play this hole smart as a 3 shot hole and avoid all the trouble. A fairway bunker on the left is 237 from the tee. A bunker also guards the layup area starting about 156  yards from the layup edge. The green itself is guarded by a lone bunker right front. The area left falls away into a rough/collection area where recovery shots are possible if you aren't short sided. 
PAR 4  10 hdc
Number 15 is sort of the signature hole, is a shortish par 4 to a green fronted by a creek with a rocky waterfall guarding the back right. A waste area and very long large bunker goes up the left side requiring a carry of 281 to circumvent. Another fairway bunker 200 yards out (218 to carry) guards the right side. Once you get past this, you have a green guarded by a creek right in front, a pond left, and the creek which meanders behind the right portion. The only bailout is long and left. If you scoring goes south, at least admire the artificial scenery around the green.  The picture from the tee didn't come out so well due to the sun glare. The second picture is the approach, and the third from right of the green by the cart path.
PAR 3  12 hdc
Number 16 is a par 3 with the same stream that was on number 15 meandering up and by the right side of the green. There is also a small pot bunker on the right and another bunker left. At only 146 from the blues, this hole doesn't seem to warrant being the 12 handicap hole. From the full length of 198 it may be a different story. 
PAR 5  6 hdc
Number 17 is definitely a risk reward par 5. You can play this hole any number of ways. It starts with how much you want to try and cut the lake down the left. Cut it close and you could be looking at a try for the green in two and an eagle putt. Fairway bunkers dot the right side to catch the bailers. The second fairway bunker down the right is 230 yards from the blue tees. You can then either lay up to the right short of the water in the 110-120 range, or go up the left side where you will have to squeeze between the water on the right and a bunker left. The green itself is guarded by water to the right front, and a bunker left. h.
PAR 4  2 hdc
Number 18 is a decent, yet not the most dramatic finishing hole. A slight dogleg right around a waste area down the left side of the fairway. A fairway bunker starts 190 out from the blues and extends out 212 yards. From here the fairway kicks right to left and goes a bit downhill.  The large 3 level green is guarded by bunkers all down the left as well as a bunker well short of the green in front.   The first picture is from the blue tee, the 2nd about 175 yards out from the green in the layup area. The first picture is from the tee, the second from the landing area, and the third from behind the green near the clubhouse. 


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This Page last updated May 9, 2001