The Morning: Surfside Golf Course, Ocean Park, Wash.
3,098 yards, par 36
Surfside has evolved in recent years. It used to be a course that could bend your irons and dent your golf balls when you clanged off the flint-hard fairways. Now, the earth on the fairways is softer, firm enough, and not so hazardous to your set. It’s the closest to a full-size nine on the Six Niner Tour.
Surfside has something of visual interest on every hole. Several teeboxes are tucked back in the shaded woods and open into the light of broad fairways. Course regulars talk about the wildlife on the course, and — for the second year in a row — we Roadies lucked into a close encounter with the male half of the resident bald eagle pair on the property, broad-winged and graceful, low in the cloudy-soft sky above the tiny pond by the No. 3 green and No. 4 tee.
The greens are not the fastest you’ll find, but they were consistent enough to be able to adjust through its nine diverse holes. On the 8th green, the pin-placement possibilities are endless for a superintendent to take full fiendish advantage of the severe shelf bisecting the green. If you stick it on the upper plateau, you still have to putt, and best of luck stopping it near the hole if the pin is positioned in any number of diabolical locales below.
It’s good country golf, and, like all the courses on the Six Niner Tour, supremely affordable. You’ll find it about 11 miles north on the Pacific Coast Highway out of Long Beach, and it’s worth the trip.
The Afternoon: Peninsula Golf Course, Long Beach, Wash.
2,019 yards, par 32
This is the course you’ve been by a hundred times as you head north on the highway out of Long Beach. The ninth hole parallels the highway, and you’d be right if you thought it was flat and dead-straight … but you’d be wrong if you concluded the whole course is about that interesting. The holes you can’t see from the highway are more stimulating than you might surmise.
The new owners have been in charge for a half-dozen years, and they’ve built a new clubhouse and opened a restaurant, The Cove, that’s earned a reputation for its wine list and fare that’s a cut above the typical golf-course menu.
Peninsula is busy, but unfailingly relaxed. Take it as you find it, and you will come to believe a return visit would be more than worthwhile.
Six Niner Postscript
- It’s hard to overstate the disappointment The Roadies encountered at Seaside on Day One. There were so many grace notes: the bridges over the creek on two holes, the distinctive siting of the teeboxes, the old trees hard by the greens that signified nothing but a singular intention by the course designer. The outhouse by one of the bridges, complete with half-moon on the door, would have been cool, but I wasn’t setting foot in the place, and no sane person would have.
- Were we harsh to call Lewis & Clark Golf and RV Park “jokey”? Maybe. At least one hole, No. 8, its only par-5, was legitimately challenging: 502 yards, with two separate waste areas necessitating strong carries to reach the green unscathed. Obviously, the keepers of this course aren’t willing to spend money on upkeep, and that’s too bad.
- There was a little money on the line between The Roadies, based on a byzantine system of net and gross daily and overall scores and buck-and-carries on the many par-3s. Potter was reluctant to rub it in that he came away with the largest share of the cash … oh, hell, no he wasn’t.