The Golf Club at Newcastle – China Creek

15500 Six Penny Lane
Newcastle, WA 98059
(425) 793-5566

Course Review Date: 01/08/2011 (Pictures Below)
Reviewer: Ian

38 degrees with possible snow?  Sounds like a perfect day for golf at one of Washington’s finest golf facilities does it not?  We tried to get this round in last weekend, but Newcastle doesn’t play around when it comes to the weather.  The course was closed all weekend because of cold temperatures and they do not run temps just to get a few bucks through the door.  You can’t fault that logic really.  It keeps the winter “crop circles” off the course, preserves the greens, and doesn’t get anyone thinking they just paid $65 to play on temps in the dead of winter. Plus, those greens (along with a lot of others in the state) had a rough winter last year, so keeping them going has to be a top priority for Oki’s crown jewel.

Newcastle warms you up with a pretty solid driving range that has a lot of targets to shoot at….and heaters.  We needed those!  They also warm your wallet up with a $14 large bucket of range balls.  Yeah, the same ones your local range sells for $6 to $8 bucks.  Just as a note, you get a small bucket free with your greens fee’s.  On to the course, which given the weather we pretty much had our run of.  China Creek is surely the easier of the two courses and the fescue we love to battle with in the summer is pretty well matted down in the winter.  The biggest challenge out there was finding where our plugged golf balls were.  I wouldn’t say it was extremely murky, but the course did have its fair share of plug zones.  Lose one ball, find two ProV1’s while searching.  Not a bad exchange.  Our other challenge was gauging distances and selecting the correct club.  For example, we hit the second hole (we started on 10) a 200 yard par 3, that is significantly down hill.  In the summer, its probably a 7 iron, maybe a 6.  Today, we both drew 4 irons and we’re well short.

As for the greens they rolled pretty darn well.  To the eye, some of them were spotty and one in particular had quite a bit of moss on it.  However, they all rolled true and played pretty firm given the amount of water the course has taken.  No complaints here and we would be happy to encounter putting surfaces like this at other courses during the winter.

Altogether it was a solid day at China Creek.  The weather was miserable, but the course was in solid shape, the greens rolled well, and the price was just….ok, it’s Newcastle, the price is never going to be right. Rating (Winter Rating): 18.5/25
Customer Service: 3.5
Condition of Greens:3.5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
Value: 2
Amenities: 4.5

Rating Notes:
1. The proshop guys we’re watching football, but came right over and assisted when we walked in.
2. Greens rolled well for winter and did not have all the ball marks like last time.
3. Course was in good shape and they are clearing spending cash to keep it that way.
4. <sigh> $14 for a bucket of balls is aggressive.  Greens fees with Oki Card is $65.  Have to say it..Chamber’s Bay is $69 right now.
5. Putting green in front of China Creek is solid, good driving range with a lot of targets, and the nicest bathrooms on a golf course I have ever seen.

Course Review Date – 8/15/2010 (Pictures Below)

Golfchops team finally got to check out the other Newcastle course, China Creek. 90 degrees out there so it was just a perfect day to take in some of the amazing views Newcastle has to offer (as the pictures below will show) and an even better day to swing the sticks! Yes, the PGA Championship is on, but we made it home in time to see Dustin Johnson get hosed on 18 and watch this playoff between Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. Anyways, on to the review.China Creek is basically the step brother of Coal Creek and while a nice course, Coal Creek is on a whole other level. (OMG did Bubba Watson just hit that ball in the water! Wow) Ok Sorry. China Creek plays pretty wide open and its lack of o.b. is very forgiving. You’ll find that most of the staked areas on the course are red staked environmental areas so even the occasional sprayed tee shot is less damaging on the score card than it could be. Not that we would ever hit a ball o.b. or in an environmental hazard…but you get our drift. Right out of the gate they throw some pretty nice ungulated fairways at you. You can pump one right down the middle and still get stuck with a gnarly little side-lie. The only real trouble out there is the fescue, and in mid-August it is in full effect. Wicked waist high fescue that makes shots unpredictable and hilarious at times. Easily our favorite feature of this course minus the great views.

The greens were a little bit disappointing to be honest. The putting green was in fantastic shape but the greens on the course were in no where near as good of condition. They did all roll very true so we are not laying the gauntlet here, but the amount of unrepaired ball marks was staggering. We would suggest fixing a minimum of two every green you touch just to try and help out. Minus the divots they would very solid greens. The #1 handicap hole is the par 5, 8th hole which comes in at 569 yards from the blue tees. It’s pretty straight forward and just gives you the business with fescue and distance. Stay straight or you will find trouble. Our favorite hole is the 463 yard par 5, 10th. It’s down hill quite a bit and offers what you think is a cake walk chance at getting on in two. A 280 yard drive leaves you a nice 6 iron in, but the green is guarded well and tucked back to the right. This one did not turn out as planned to say the least.

Highlights of the round were provided by one member of our foursome who destroyed a drive on the back nice; however it was destroyed significantly to the right and on someone’s patio. We’re pretty convinced that Fluffy was on the deck scavenging for cat food and took the brunt of that rocket ball. He later followed that up by plunking a maintenance workers golf cart on the fly. “Sorry buddy, didn’t see ya down there.” The golf cart, 40 foot hose, and 20 foot stream of water he was wielding was a bit tough to eye ball from 200 out huh Sean. Our final highlight came from Golfchops staffer JR who on hole 15, a 145 yard par 3, dropped a tidy little 9-iron to about 2 feet. Nice shot JR! rating: 19.5/25
Customer Service: 3.5
Condition of Greens:3.5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4.5
Value: 3.5
Amenities: 4.5

Rating Notes:
1. Service was pretty solid, but try to avoid asking a guy from 40 ft. away if he wants a beer when he is in his back swing. The hossle rocket and ensuring double bogey was not enjoyed. (we’re not bitter about it at all either).
2. Greens rolled well, however they were beat up with ball marks. If you play here, make 1 repair 3.
3. Course was in pretty solid shape, minus the greens being beat up a touch. Maintenance workers on the course busy watering, raking, cleaning, etc.
4. $125 for our friend who did not have an Oki Card. A little spicy for our taste. $100 on the nose seems more reasonable.
5. Putting green in front of China Creek was excellent. Grass range at the “premier” course in the area should be mandatory, so the mats are a bummer. Cart girl came around often and bonus points for the cool little Newcastle key chains they gave 

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