Aug. 6, 2017: Esmeralda Golf Course, Spokane
I’d been warned, see, that Esmeralda Golf Course was all about old people and kids in flip flops and tank tops and foursomes too thickly placed on the course to contemplate anything less than a five-hour round. It’s the most popular course in the Spokane city system, and you know what that means.
So it’s all true, and none of it’s true, and when it’s all said and played Esmeralda is a good and challenging public golf course, notwithstanding what the snarks (and the slope and rating) have to say about it.
There might be more than a few flat and straight holes with nothing much to them at this parkland layout in northeast Spokane. But there are as many holes here that are pleasing to the eye and plenty tough to play. The course literature says there are 2,000 trees on the course (we didn’t count them).
The par-4 No. 6 is almost 400 yards to a green that’s all angle-y and elevated. No. 7, another par-4, stretches to 455 yards and earns its rating as the hardest hole on the course.
The 11th is a boomerang-shaped dogleg-right par-4. If you don’t get your tee shot past the 150 marker, your air lane to the green is blocked by a very large tree, with serious trouble to the immediate right. Go over the tree, if you have that shot in your bag, and you’ll be on the green or damn close.
We Roadies dubbed the par-3 12th Esmeralda’s signature hole, in the absence of much competition. Here, you can pause for a grand (if smoke-obscured) view of the Spokane skyline from an elevated teebox before you take aim at a smallish green 100-plus feet below. Club down here, like two numbers.
When you get ’round to 18, be warned — as we were, without getting specific, by the friendly greenskeeper who placed the pins — about the wickedness that awaits. When you get to the green, the prominent shelf splitting it side-to-side means you do not want to land above the hole, especially on a day like today, when the dude placed the pin front right. A four-putt here is possible … not saying it happened, but it could.
We did find the slowest group on the golf course, and we didn’t have to go looking — it was right in front of us. They (two couples) let us through at the turn, cheerfully, and made us ashamed of all the bad things we’d said about ’em.
I am now prepared to defend Esmeralda against the elitists and snobs and all the mean things they say. If you don’t like it here, don’t come around. Ezzy don’t need you.
Tomorrow: Circling Raven Golf Course.