Alta Lake Golf Course

Alta Lake Golf Course
140 Alta Lake Road
Pateros, WA 98846

Course Review Date: 6/30/2013
Course Reviewer: Ian

3 years running and this trip just gets better and better every year….however the days it takes to recover from said trip are getting longer and longer.  Two and a half days later and my body is still furious with the brutal punishment I put it through on another epic adventure at Alta Lake Golf Resort in Pateros, Wa.  64 holes on Friday, 63 holes on Saturday, 18 holes Sunday morning and your body goes into a full on revolt against you.  Body beat downs aside, Alta Lake Golf Resort really is the ultimate location for a weekend golf vacation where you can just hit pause on the outside world.

The Golf Course:

Just a 119 slope from the white tee’s but she plays way tougher than that with trees, water and desert sage brush to avoid, plus the most sloped and undulated greens you will play on outside of a putt putt golf course.  It’s a golf course where placing your approach shot on the same tier as the flag is easily the most important thing you will do all day.  Get stuck playing downhill on one of the tiers towards the pin and you’re looking 50/50 at even keeping it on the green.  The approach shots out there are a great test of how good of a player you really are.  Struggle on the greens out here and you can put up some real whopper numbers real quick.

The ball really flies out here so if you’re coming over from the west side and think you need to pull driver on every par 4, you don’t.  Keeping the ball in play and having a shot to get to the correct area of the green is your priority, and while it sure is fun to watch the big bomb fly out there, the risk of having to play from the sagebrush or other miscellaneous hazards just isn’t worth it.  That said, holes such as #8, #11, #17 and #18 are just begging for a big smash and a birdie possibility.

Alta Lake Golf Course is a great blend of go for it and make a birdie with, please just give me the par and let me get the heck out of here.  There’s also a few holes I would call nothing short of torture.  Starting with the opener, a long uphill par 5 with ob left, trees and bushes to the right of the green and a wicked two tiered green that absolutely requires near perfect approach distance.  I managed to par it twice in 7 rounds last weekend and I think that two better than I made last year.  The other real biscuit out there is the 10th hole.  Another par 5 that isn’t quite as long as number 1, but has an extremely tight tee shot with ob very tight right and a hillside of rocks, sage brush and trees to the left.  No other shot on the golf course make my knees knock like this one.  Lastly, and certainly not least is the Par 3, 12th hole. 165 yards straight uphill to a very narrow plateaued green, with a 15-20 drop directly behind the green, trees and brush left, sage and trouble to the right.  If you can make par on all 3 of those holes in one round, you are my hero.

alta_01  alta_02 rating: 24/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
Value: 5
Amenities: 4

Rating Notes: 
– Great staff out here that runs a great operation.
– Like every year the greens were in excellent condition.  Tough, no doubt but in superb shape.
– Course is in great shape and features a couple new tee boxes on holes 4 and 9.  The new teebox on the ninth is great, really opens the hole up to from the teebox where it was a bit blocked out on the left previously.
– 2 nights at the on course motel, 145 holes of golf and cart for 3 day at under $300.  Yeah, that’s value to say the least.
– Cafe food gets better and better each year.  That breakfast burrito is awesome.  6 pack of PBR tall boys for $10 bucks and even some cart service on the golf course on Saturday.  If they had a driving range, which really isn’t needed out there it would be a perfect score…easily.

Course Review Date: 6/30/2012
Course Reviewer: Ian

I almost don’t want to write this review because I am reluctant to give away the best kept golfing secret in Washington.  But since I already did it last year, what the heck.  As with last year, the price of this “man-cation” staggers me.  126 holes of golf from Friday through Sunday morning, 2 nights stay in the motel that sits on the golf course, cart fees and one ice cream cone for $201 American dollars.  Epic.  The ultimate test in marathon golf, there is no other deal like it.

This is a solid golf course too.  It’s not just some screaming deal at some rat track.  This place has some teeth.  Without debate it is the hardest putting golf course I play year in and year out.  Almost unbelievable green tiering, challenging pin locations, a barage of uphill approach shots, and deep rocky sagebrush rough areas make this one of the tougher golf courses we play all year.  It’s the kind of golf course (and I say this from experience) where if you start to spray it a bit, you can lose a dozen in a round….easily.  Especially if you are playing marathon golf like we do every year.  It’s pretty stinking difficult to keep a swing together for 126 holes and you are just bound to just go sideways for a round or two.

Play wise the golf course seemed unchanged from last year and they do a very good job with course maintenance out here.  The greens are all very healthy and roll with a very quick pace.  Downhill down grain is death basically and we love it.  The rough is thick and pretty tough to play out of, but not too punishing.  Then the course is framed in by the rocky sagebrush areas that eat and giveback so many golf balls.  If you’re one of those players that hits one in the woods, but comes out of the bush with 3 new ones, you’ll have a field day out here.  The only real rough spots are some of the tee boxes that can be a bit choppy and at times slopped a bit back or sideways.  All said, for what you pay, the quality of golf is pretty remarkable.  Check out last years review below for holes specifics, but I’ll just note, if you have a crew of golfers and are looking for a trip to take, do this one.  It’s a blast, it’s absolutely punishing to play this much golf, and you cannot beat this price anywhere. rating: 20/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 4
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4
Value: 5
Amenities: 3

Rating Notes: 
– Nice crew of people out here, family environment.
– Solid, but so tough.  Had a 3 putt from 4 feet that made me want to snap the putter 😉
– Minus the somewhat choppy tee boxes this place is in excellent condition.
– Best value in golf I have ever seen.
– No driving range and a crazy 3 tiered putting green.  Cafe is open serving some excellent breakfast burritos.  No cart service like last year.

Course Review Date: 06.27.2011
Course Reviewer: Ian

This will certainly be the most unique review that I have ever written for this website. My review of Alta Lake Golf Course in Central Washington (up past Lake Chelan by Pateros, WA) begins with an epic journey of 6 golfers in an RV and the possibility of 100+ holes of golf. The Alta Lake Golf Resort features a small motel sitting about 100 feet from the first tee and offers a weekend golf dealer that frankly cannot be beat. $55 for greens fees for the entire weekend, as much as you can play. Imagine this, 36 holes on Friday, 63 holes on Saturday, and 18 on Sunday before heading back to Seattle and the total green fees for all the golf was $55. The only caveat to the price is that you have to stay at the motel on the property to receive the rate. Regardless, that is hands down the best bang for your buck golf price I have ever heard of.

Given the price was so inexpensive to play this unreal amount of golf I was expecting the worse when it came to course quality and conditions. A Central Washington golf course in the middle of nowhere that I have never heard of…I wasn’t too optimistic that I would be playing much of a track. Well, low and behold this ends up being a pretty damn good golf course that featured what I have no problem in saying are the most difficult greens I have ever played on. More on that in a moment for sure. Before I review the actual course, I just want to make a point to tell you what you are getting by going out to this place. Between 6 guys, we played 117 holes of golf, with carts for all 3 days, and 2 nights in the resort motel for $165. Unreal.

As for the golf course, my worry that this might be a rat track was quickly put to rest when I encounter the 543 yard, uphill, par 5, 1st hole. This bad boy plays to well over its stated yardage and not a single person in our 6-some made this green in two during the entire weekend. That speaks volumes considering the amount of rounds we put through this place. Even when I pumped driver down the middle, then hammered a 3 wood at it, I still found myself playing full wedge over the damn cliff to get to the wicked two tiered green. Yeah, as if the distance isn’t tough enough, your approach shot is greeted with one of the most sloped two-tiered greens I have ever seen. I played the hole 6 times and never made par. 2 bogeys and 4 doubles. Epic.

This tiered and sloped green thing became the theme of the weekend and frankly I have never seen anything like it in my entire life. To a certain extent the undulation of the greens was reminiscent of Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes, just covering a much smaller area. Nearly every green had some epically baffling undulation and drop off to it that just left you scratching your head. On one of my runs through the front 9 nine, I hit the ball as good as I possibly could and carded 5, 3 putt bogey’s for a 42. Honestly, I didn’t miss a drive, an iron approach, or a chip and shot 42. I walked off that 9 and felt like I shot par. To top that off, the pin placements were on the spine of the slope or tucked into the corner guarded by two slopes. I actually took a lot of ribbing from the group for standing next to the hole and dropping a ball to see how far it rolled out. Seriously, one of those pin placements wasn’t legal. I’m serious guys!  It was the only golf course I have ever played where you could putt at the hole, have the ball go completely around the hole and wind up back at your feet.

Of the most memorable greens was the Par 3, 12th hole which we were playing from 160 yards out. It was pretty sharply uphill and had a pin tucked at the very top back right portion of the green, with maybe 5 feet of green work with beyond the hole, then a hill that dropped off into hell as far as I am concerned. I should sketch this green out for you but that would be a train wreck. Basically, pin is top right, 30 foot drop behind it, severe back to front slope starting about 8 feet in front of the hole, then a side slope to the left that funneled balls back down to the front. In 7 attempts on the back I never made the green, but managed to squeak a couple pars out.

This could go on forever so I’ll try a briefer breakdown on some of the holes:

Hole 1 – Long playing par 5 with epically tough 2 tiered green.
Hole 2 – Relatively straight forward, short par 3 with a flat green (maybe the only one)
Hole 3 – Long par 4 with danger left. You do not want to be in the sagebrush forest this course has. Also a back to front sloped green awaits you.
Hole 8 – Fun driving hole with a big uphill second shot. Hit the middle or left on your drive because a fade will leave you with 4 or 5 iron in.
Hole 9 – My nemesis. An average length par 4 with a very challenging downhill tee shot. Deep sagebrush and trees on the left goggle balls and leave you sitting 3 on the box. Then the fairways slopes left to right pretty sharply and ends with a creek on the right. I hit 5 balls o.b. left over the weekend and did not enjoy it one bit.
Hole 10 – Narrow but reachable par 5 with a tiny green waiting.
Hole 12 – If you can hold that green, you are my hero.
Hole 14 – A pretty straight forward par 3 that has a tiny fly fishing pond on it. Pretty cool to be lining up for a tee shot and seeing a huge hawk just dive bomb into the pond trying to grab a trophy trout.
Hole 16 – Long par 5 with sharp hill to climb at the end and a very small tucked green waiting.  Even if you could get there in two, the approach is blind, with no safety anywhere, and the green is tiny.
Hole 18 – Uphill, dogleg left par 4 with sagebrush eating any miss left and right.  A smoked drive can be too long and find the brush.  If you dont hit a draw, play 3 wood.  If you hit a draw, dont find the brush or that ball is long gone. rating: 19.5/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 4
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 3.5
Value: 5
Amenities: 3

Rating Notes: 
– Pretty friendly crew out there.  Owner lives on the course and watches play…keep that in mind.
– Heath wise the greens were fine. They all rolled well, kept a good pace, and looked solid.  However, the undulation of these greens was like nothing I have ever seen before.  Some will not like it at all as constant 3 putting can ruin the fun.
– Pretty good for a track in the middle of no where.  Nothing to gripe about for sure.
– Best value in golf I have ever seen.  The regular rate for 18 is $27 and $35 for all you can play.
– No driving range and a crazy 3 tiered putting green.  Some cart service and $2 PBR tall boys…we like!

Pictures of Alta Lake Golf Course


One thought on “Alta Lake Golf Course

  1. My buds and I played this course Last year for my Birthday, along with Bear Mountain and Desert Canyon. I loved this course !! wide open and serene especially the back…

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