Portal to a perfect pit stop
Courses along I-90 provide respite to travelers
The signs pop up every hour or so along Interstate 90 west toward Snoqualmie Pass. A brown recreation sign with a golf bag and clubs. An exit for Golf Course Road.
I’ve driven to Seattle too many times to count. I always gaze over at tree-lined fairways in Ritzville and Moses Lake and wonder why I haven’t taken the time to check out those courses.
The thought passes. I’ll stop on the next trip.
For The Spokesman-Review golf tab, photographer Chris Anderson and I stopped – in Cle Elum, in Ellensburg, twice in Moses Lake and in Ritzville. Five courses, all close enough to I-90 at some point that you can see traffic zipping by in the background while lining up a putt. We left a few more courses to sample on another trip.
Instead of stretching your legs at a rest area with your family or buddies en route to a Mariners game, maybe set up a nine- or 18-hole diversion to break up the five-hour drive.
I’d never played four of the five courses and it had been five years since I toured The Links at Moses Pointe. We played in chilly temperatures and brisk winds that left a few courses nearly empty. There were four cars in the parking lot at one course and we played nine holes in 65 minutes.
We let a Ford Explorer play through (we figure the driver was heading for a maintenance shed accessed via a dirt road below an elevated tee box). We played a par 5 that measured 365 yards and neither of us made par. We played a par 3 where the flagstick wasn’t visible from the tee box. We did a double-take at two greens separated by 8 feet. We experienced tiny, round bunkers that looked borrowed from a British Open and deep rough that had a U.S. Open feel.
We put roughly 765 miles on my car.
We played an alpine gem, an 18-hole layout with a challenging mix of hazards, a pair of traditional nine-hole tracks and an immaculately manicured private course with some tee times available to the public.
And I was left wondering why I hadn’t stopped sooner.