Private gem offers twist
(Moses Lake, 109 miles from Spokane; 73 miles from Ellensburg Golf Club)
This 18-hole course within a lob wedge of I-90 appears inviting from the driver’s seat and it doesn’t disappoint upon closer inspection. It’s in fabulous condition from tee to nearly ball-mark-free greens.
Many of the holes are framed by natural waste areas, a mix of sand, leftover ash from Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption, high grass and perhaps the only weeds you’ll find on the course.
“It looks like this year ’round,” pro Mike Eslick said.
Moses Lake is private, but tee times can be found on golfnow.com. It’s worth a Web search.
The course has some teeth – 6,632 yards from the blues – and the fairways are so lush there isn’t much rollout on drives. Moses Lake’s biggest defense is the greens, nearly all back-to-front slopes. They’re often small, circular targets that demand precise approaches and deft touch on chip shots.
Then the real work begins. Find yourself above the hole and you’ll wish your ball was equipped with brakes. The greens were running 11.2 on the Stimpmeter and Eslick said they’re typically kept at 12. A 20-foot uphill putt is usually a better spot than a 10-foot downhiller.
The 18th green, almost perfectly round, is table-top fast.
“Most of our greens are small and pushed up,” Eslick said. “You’re in defense mode when you short-side yourself or you’re above the hole or over the green.”
It took all of one swing to find a waste area, but it’s not difficult to find your ball. Houses line the perimeter of the course, but they’re situated well off the fairway. A few holes are tree-lined, but more often there are trees every 15-25 yards that permit recovery shots.
The par 3s range between 140-180 yards with greens protected by bunkers front left and front right. The par 4s have a nice blend of short – No. 1 is 314 yards and No. 2 is 324 from the tips – and long – four are 400-plus. The par 5s are reachable in two with an accurate, booming drive, but there’s sufficient punishment if you’re off target on either of your first two swings.
The signature hole is the 555-yard, par-5 17th adjacent to I-90. It used to be a par 4 but was extended 90 yards. The green sits less than 50 yards from the interstate with a sand trap, marshy area and a frontage road in between.
Moses Lake GC
Rating/Slope: Men 70.5/114, Women 75.8/124
Rating/Slope: Men 68.1/109, Women 72.9/118