PORT LUDLOW, Wash. – The amenities are top-shelf, the on-course constructions – the cart paths and tee boxes and practice areas — are well-thought-out and well-tended. And even with that, the word that comes to mind at Port Ludlow Golf Course is “rough.”
Rough, as in nature in all its unruliness doesn’t get lost against the built environment. Rough, as in it’s hard on Roadie golfers who are just looking for a green place for their balls to land.
Day One of the Northern Ports Tour was spent at this severely scenic resort course on the Olympic Peninsula, where the routing bumps along over hazards, humps and hillocks that play havoc even with well-struck golf balls.
Port Ludlow was designed by Robert Muir Graves, a much-honored golf architect for his work, especially, in the Western U.S. If Graves ever intended to honor the tradition of easing the golf experience at a resort so as to delimit the on-course stress for its guests, he forgot a few things.
Like broad, comforting landing areas. Like big, welcoming greens.
NOTE: Graves did get the “big” part right with some of the greens — No. 5 is 56 yards deep, No. 7 53 yards deep, and No. 14, a long and pretty par-3 (208 yards from the whites) fits in a green of 55 yards front to back. Their very largeness, of course, offers ample canvases on which greenskeepers can fuck with our heads with their pin placements.
Port Ludlow used to offer 27 holes of golf – the Tide, Timber and Trail nines. The Trail has reverted to a nice walk in the woods. For the surviving 18 holes, you’ll need golf balls, and you might oughta bring a few.