White Horse Golf Club
22795 Three Lions Pl. NE
Kingston, WA 98346
Course Review Date: 07/22/2012
Course Reviewer: Ian Favre
The traditional warm up round for the big JC Invitational afforded us a great opportunity to check out the completed “softening” changes at White Horse Golf Club in Kingston. A brilliantly designed golf course in my mind was often hammered by the weekend golfer who would go through the trouble of getting their butt out to Kingston only to have White Horse give them absolute business. Honestly who can argue with the weekend warrior that doesn’t enjoy getting their lunch handed to them after they just paid a king’s ransom in ferry fee’s to get out there. If you have played the course on a somewhat regular basis the changes are clearly noticeable without effecting the quality of play. It still has the look and feel of an upper echelon golf course, it’s just a lot less penal when you make a mistake.
The most obvious change is the massive removal of dirt from the slope to the right of the 9th green. Previously playing as one of the most difficult holes on the golf course with greenside bunkers left and a huge slope and hillside to the right, anything but a very accurate approach to the green was in serious trouble. The recent changes now give you a bail out or miss zone basically in case you are a little less than confident in the narrow landing strip of a green you need to hit. Also worth noting are the changes around most of the greens. In the past, a good shot to the green that managed to roll off was penalized by short fast grass that really allowed the ball to get away from the putting surface. New turf has been placed in many of these areas and now shots that do not hold the green have a softer landing and a much more likely chance at getting up and down.
Overall White Horse was able to keep up its mystique of being one of the more quality tracks in Western Washington, while accomplishing it’s goal of making the golf course more playable to a variety of golfer skill levels. One other note, the entrance area of the golf course is under significant construction right now as they build out what the specs show is going to be an amazing club house. While play is not impacted at all, the large putting green has been removed and the only one you can use is the small one between the 1st and 10th tee boxes. For someone heading out to play it’s pretty much a non factor, but just a heads up.
Golfchops.com rating: 23/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
- White Horse has a great staff of very welcoming folks. Their head pro Bruce runs a solid operation out there.
- In fantastic shape as always, but slower than usual. No real explanation on that one.
- Solid as always.
- Hmmm, prices have gone up a bit. Weekend prime time with a cart was $81. Not outrageous….but getting up there.
- Missing their main putting green due to construction, but everything else is dialed in as usual.
Course Review Date: 05/26/2012
Course Reviewer: Ian Favre
Memorial Day weekend and beautiful weather made it a perfect time to get an update on one of our favorite tracks, White Horse Golf Club in Kingston. White Horse can be a pretty big time commitment compared to booking a time at the municipal up the street. Catching the ferry both ways adds a lot of time to the trip and a 9:20am tee time becomes an out of bed a 5:40am, return home at 4:30pm mission. However, your time commitment is rewarded with some exceptional golf from practice facility to the 18th green. Worth mentioning, White Horse breaks ground on their new clubhouse in a couple weeks so the entire main putting green is being wiped out. The grounds are expected to be a mess for a while as construction goes on through the start of 2013.
At check in, the head pro Bruce greets us and rings us up for a special we were unaware of when we made the tee time. Greens fees, golf cart and a sleeve of balls (Precept’s) for $59. Pretty good deal and we certainly like surprises that make our wallets happy. Over the past year, White Horse has gone through a lot of changes to “soften” the golf course and make a bit more playable and enjoyable for the average weekend golfer. Committing all that time, taking the ferry and such, only get your butt totally handed to you by White Horse might not have been everyone’s cup of tee. Personally, I thought the design and set up was pretty brilliant before, but I can certainly understand the need to get some return business out there.
Out on the course we got exactly what we expected; exceptional course conditions, pure rolling greens and peace and quiet. One of my favorite things about White Horse is how quite the golf course can be as you navigate through the fairways. One thing that stood out from this trip was that the rough was a lot taller than any other time we had played there. Many areas featured a knee high mess of rough that would hide wayward tee shots and pretty much choke the life out of your scorecard. The greens were as good as ever and will always be one of the main reasons we return here multiple times a year.
We do have one negative to report from the trip and that’s an awful pace of play. Haven’t encountered terribly slow play out there before, but we clocked in 5 hours, 20 minutes, and 3 of those hours were spent on the back 9 where the course came to an absolute crawl. To the gentleman playing from the black tee’s in front of us….sir…you are clearly more than a 25 handicap and have no business playing from the black tees. Do yourself, and everyone on the golf course a favor and move forward 2 sets of tee’s please. Our threesome is playing from the tee’s in front of you and without trying to sound too arrogant, we are all better than you. Watching you duff it all day off of tee boxes set up for a single digit handicap was as thrilling as going to see Dr. HotDog Fingers for a prostate exam. In reality, the pace was killed by some people 3 or 4 groups ahead of him but ughhh…come on man.
Minus the rough pace of play which we haven’t run in to at White Horse before, this place remains one of the best, if not the best bang for your buck golf course in Western Washington. And in a not so shameless plug, we encourage you to join us at White Horse for the 2012 JC Invitational on July 28th and help us raise money for Children’s Hospital with the Circle of Hope Guild.
Golfchops.com rating: 24/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
- Great crew at White Horse, always friendly and welcoming.
- Once again, some of the best greens at a public course in Western Washington. Love these greens.
- Pretty darn solid. Course was in tip top shape.
- $59 for greens fees, golf cart, and a sleeve of balls. Solid.
- Going to miss this putting green when they yank it out (its for sale by the way, how awesome would that be in your back yard?!) Cart service 3 times out of the course, solid driving range with lots of targets. When they get this new clubhouse built they will have a hell of a facility.
Course Review Date: 09/22/2011
Course reviewer: Ian
Had an opportunity to check out some of the course modifications being made a White Horse Golf Club in Kingston last Thursday as part of a White Horse VIP tournament. Let me start by thanking the folks at White Horse for inviting us out to participate in this little event. The first thing we got to check out was the large sketch of the soon to be clubhouse that will be built to replace the high school portable they currently have. Pretty sweet looking design that will surely help the course make more money, attract more tournaments and maybe a wedding or two. Construction is slated to begin in February.
The biggest changes going on at White Horse are to the course itself. Personally, White Horse has been my favortite track for a couple years now. For some reason I am one of those nitwits that enjoys to play a course that is pretty much as difficult as possible. Within reason of course, but I like well protected greens, sloping and coutours, etc. A thinking man’s course is just my style, which is hilarious really as I am known to be a mental midget at times when I play. However, I am not in the majority and most golfers do not want to take a ferry and commit a full day to going out and getting the hell beat out of them. For White Horse, these are the exact people they need making return visits to their golf course and filling the tee sheet. In an effort to get that return business the folks at White Horse are taking Cynthia Dye’s masterpiece and softening it up….a bunch.
All told some 40-50 bunkers have been removed from the golf course and there is some sigificant construction underway on holes #7 and #9. Hole 9, the #1 handicap hole on the golf course has had 80 truckloads of dirt removed to take away some of its severe slope on the right side of the green. You’ll also notice a large amount of new turf that has been placed in various areas (mostly around greens) to help hold shots better. After my most recent run through the course I can comfortably say that this these changes have made it a very different golf course. I’m very curious to see how #9 shakes out. It was one of those holes that used to just own me.
Our Fall Classic Golf Tournament is out there next weekend so I will get some pictures of the construction to share.
Course Review Date – 07/22-23/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian
With a record field for the 11th annual JC Invitational slated for Saturday, we were able to give White Horse Golf Club an epic 54 updated review on Golfchops.com, In previous reviews its pretty obvious that we are big fans of this track and along with Chamber’s Bay Golf Course I have no problem with calling this my favorite golf course in the state. What was new in these rounds was the obvious attempts by the course superintendant to ‘soften’ the playing conditions and not beat the golfers up quite as much. That being said, White Horse is still a very challenging golf course that features the highest slope on a scorecard I have played in Western Washington. A newcomer to White Horse would have no idea that the course has recently been altered to make the playing conditions a bit easier, but as a veteran of this track they are apparent right away. For the most part it is two major changes that have softened up play. First is the removal of several bunkers on the course. We heard varying numbers from as high as 16 to a little as 6 in total. The other change was adding a much thicker cut of rough around the greens to try and hold approach shots up much better than before. White Horse was a bit notorious for balls flying off the green and rolling well out because there was no grass to hold the shot.
I would also like to point out that White Horse was the most accomidating course I have ever seen host a tournament. The 2011 JC Invitational featured a 148 player field, a helicopter that landed on the driving range, the SeaGals, the Seattle Mist Lingerie Football Team, and over $6000 raised for Children’s Hospital.
As for course conditions, White Horse was totally nails once again. The greens were in perfect shape, rolling really quick and dead smooth. You will notice the areas where new turf was put in to soften the playing conditions, however it plays as if it has been there for years. I could write for days and not be able to come up with a single negative thing to say about the course or the staff at White Horse. Looking forward to the Fall Scramble (our next tournament) at White Horse on October 1st.
Oh, one final note. Sounds like construction of a clubhouse out there is slated to begin fairly soon. Great to see some money being pumped into this place.
2011 JC Invitational Photos from White Horse Golf Club are at the very bottom
Course Review Date – 03/27/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian
We’ve raved about White Horse a bunch of times in the past so anytime we get to go out it’s a real treat. White Horse is one of the few golf courses in the state that can manage to keep some solid playing conditions during copious amounts of rain. We played there when the pineapple express rolled through in December and she held up pretty well for us. For this round the rain had pounded to a certain extent the day prior, and a light rain greeted us for the first 6 holes, but again the ball was not plugging and we even managed a touch of roll on a few drives. We won’t go in to too much detail given the 4 reviews we have below that rave about the course. Some new notes that are worth mentioning:
1. White Horse is making some course improvements out there so there is some ground under repair. Most of it doesn’t come in to play at all and between the two of us we only found GUR twice. By the looks of the work it’s being done to make play around the greens a bit more realistic. White Horse is ultra-tough around the greens, as they are all built in a plateau fashion. Anything that misses runs down the plateaus.
2. Heads up on the ferry ride back from Kingston on Sundays. There is a tally system where you need to go out of Kingston on the highway and get a blue ticket from the State Patrol so the ferry service will sell you a ferry ticket. Hot mess is the only way to describe it. Going from White Horse to the ferry you do not hit this highway and thus after waiting in line, you are told to buck a u-turn, go back up the highway you were never on, wait in a 1/4 mile line and get a tally ticket. No bueno, so heads up on the way out of Kingston.
No ending on a negative for White Horse though. We love this place as it continues to offer a fantastic championship golf course at an unbeatable price. We have two tournaments there this summer so we will be back for sure. Our thanks to Patrick the assistance golf professional at White Horse for having us out.
Course Review Date – 12/12/2010
Seriously, there is no better way to winter test a golf course that in the middle of the Pineapple Express hitting Western Washington. Record flooding and monsoon like conditions were in play for a couple days leading up to our Sunday morning tee time and frankly, we were a little scared for this one. However, White Horse is one of our absolute favorite public golf courses in the state and appeared as though it would play really well in the winter. We have reviewed White Horse a few times, as seen below, so we’re just going to focus on the winter playability and call it a day.
After getting checked in we hit the driving range in a downpour. This Pineapple Express bit is no joke. As mentioned in previous reviews, White Horse has a nice, grass tee driving range with a lot of targets to shoot at. Also, the weather pattern added two lakes in the center to shoot at. By the time we hit the first tee box we were pretty darn wet already. Wet enough to skip rolling a few warm up putts and just tee it up and let it fly.
The first few holes played pretty well. There wasn’t any mud out there or major areas of casual water where we had to take relief. The greens rolled well minus a couple spots where water would ruin the speed of a putt. It was pretty surprising considering the amount of rainfall that had come down in the previous 48 hours. After about the 3rd hole the rain stopped and never made an appearance the rest of the round. By the time we hit the 7th green all the water had drained and they were rolling great! Amazing, but in about 45 minutes all the greens played as if they were a touch wet and not drowning in a monsoon. We only encountered one area on the course where water had taken over, and it was basically a lake in the middle of the fairway. Of course, I manage to chunk a 4 iron off the tee right into the center of it!
Our assessment is that during the winter you can do no wrong by coming to play here. Minus Chamber’s Bay it’s the best draining course around and offers an excellent bang for your buck. Plus, the wet weather slows it down quite a bit and you can play a lot more aggressive. She can be fast and mean in the summer months. White Horse continues to be in our top 3 of public courses to play in Western Washington.
Course Review Date – 9/06/2010
White Horse impressed us so much last time out that we thought it was a priority to get out here and enjoy it again. We didn’t luck out and get 75 degree sparkling conditions, however we managed to dodge the rain and only struggle with a significant head wind. Let’s back track a touch and talk about the ferry ride out there, because this is where the State of Washington really sticks it to you. An SUV of 4 golfers costs you $36.00 to get there from Edmonds and an additional $16.00 back. Robbery. Play it smart and walk on to the ferry with your gear. Just make sure to call the course ahead of time and schedule the shuttle to come pick you up. This will save you quite a bit of money. After that wallet beater, paying $40 for greens fees and a bucket at a golf course this nice makes you smile all day, no matter who bad you play.
White Horse played as impressive as it did before and it was fun to watch 3 people who had never played it before get the business from its tough approach shots and ultra challenging greens. The constant head wind made the course so much harder than last time as even a little push or block on an iron was gobbled up by the wind and blown into hazrads. The greens ate my foresome for breakfast, literally. Getting on in regulation only to walk away with a bogey is deflating and can happen rather often at White Horse. Golfchops staffer Joshua Eubanks started off really taking it to White Horse by stealing birdies on the first two holes, but as expected, it quickly brought him back to down to Earth. Trying to figure out how you shot 41 on the front after carding birdie on the first two holes can be a real head scratcher.
With winter golf right around the corner for the diehards, we should note that this appears to be an excellent winter course. The greens were wet all day and they still ran quick and very true. The light amount of play helps keep this place in tip top shape and we imagine that taking the boat across to White Horse on a 45 degree rainy Seattle day will only be done by a truely dedicated golfer. We’ll be back next time we want a course to humle us. Which will be soon!
Course Review Date – 8/23/2010 (Pictures Listed Below)
The Golfchops.com team decided to play a little hooky from the office (aka vacation day) and take advantage of the fantastic weekday rates at White Horse Golf Club in Kingston. White Horse opened to much fan fare back in 2007 but quickly went in to foreclosure when the housing market crumbled. There are some very beautiful homes out there and you can tell that many of them are not occupied at this time or never have been. Regardless of this, the course was purchased this past February by the Suquamish Tribe and Port Madison Enterprises. We hadn’t been out to White Horse since last fall and really liked it back then, so the opportunity to play it on a peaceful, low traffic Monday was too good to pass up.
Most players will need to take the ferry to get out to the course since it is in Kingston. If you call the course at least 48 hours ahead of your round you can have the golf course shuttle come pick you up and drop you off. This will save you about $30.00 in ferry fee’s compared to driving over. Once you get there you are amazed that there are only 5 to 7 cars in the parking lot. Hmmm, seems pretty quiet today. Maybe that whole ferry ride gig deters people from coming out. Then the biggest smile you get all day, when they ring up for $32.00 greens fees! Seriously, $32.00 and this place is nails. Greens fees, small bucket, and a sleeve of balls, $50 on the head. We love it! Off to the range we go.
The driving range is perfect. Excellent grass tee range and not one that is all beat to hell and more dirt than grass. Lots of targets to shoot at and plenty of space to work your shots. Off to the putting green next door which we quickly find out is slippery, very slippery. It was one of those practice greens where you drop you golf balls to start rolling some and they run 15ft away from you. We’re pretty darn excited at this point so we dashed to the first tee to get this going.
Starter was a friendly guy and watched patiently as our excitement got the best of us and we both over cooked drives off to the right. First green, 3 putt. Hmmmmmm. Second green, 3 putt, Hmmmmm. Fourth green, 3 putt. Wow. White Horse was giving us the business. These greens are pretty darn tough. They roll really quick and there are breaks, and tiers, and undulation all over the place. Pay attention to the flag placement out here because it is going to be critical to be pin high. It’s so peaceful out there too, no street noise, no planes flying over, no loud guys teeing off 20 feet from you when you are trying to putt. Lots of wildlife out there too. We had encounters with a couple deer on the first hole and a red chipmunk that stared us down near the green on 14.
Go play this course or you are missing out friends. The fairways were nicer than some of the greens we have played recently (see Snohomish); the tee boxes were well cared for, the greens were immaculate, and it was just dead quiet out there. Watch Bagger Vance and then go out here and try to “see the field.” It’s the perfect setting for it! We’re going back, for sure, and soon!
Golfchops.com rating: 23/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4
- Proshop staff and course marshals were very friendly.
- Kudos on your greens White Horse. They were some of the best we have seen this year. Not as good as Tacoma Country and Golf Club, but pretty close.
- This could easily have been a 5. However we are going to be nitpicky about one thing, the tee boxes on a couple of par 3’s. They were basically all sand in an attempt to get the grass growing better. We understand the purpose, but it made the tee shots play like bunker shots. We were short every time.
- $32.00 to play here? You must be kidding. Move this course to Redmond or say Newcastle and its $125 easily. No debate. Just by comparison, China Creek would be $115 to play this morning. This is twice the course regardless of the price.
- Great driving range, great putting green, cart girl had 25oz cans of Foster’s and a Shuttle that will pick you up and drop you off at the ferry to save you $30.00 is a heck an amenity.