West Seattle Golf Course

4470 35th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

Course Review Date – 8/24/2013
Course Reviewer: Ian

Finally a return visit to what always delivers as one of the best muni’s on the west side during the summer months.  Sneaking my way into a company tournament as a non-employee (thanks guys!) allowed me to team up with 3 other Chops writers and lay absolute waste to the field once again (John H. that comment was for you by the rare chance you are reading this;)  West Seattle, as she always does in August, gave us excellent playing conditions, highlighted by some very good looking and rolling greens.  I’m always amazed by the condition they are able to keep the greens in during the summer months given the thousands off rounds they pump through here annually.  I don’t know the exact number, but I know this is one of the highest trafficked golf courses in the state, year in and year out.

One thing they really have going for them at West Seattle is consistency in all areas of their operation.  They have a solid staff that always seem to be enjoying what they do and are accommodating to their customers.  Their playing conditions are always the same depending on the weather of course.  You never show up and come across a green that’s all beat up, or a piece of the fairway that has died or a terrible looking bunker that needs to be worked over.  You always seem to get the same playing experience and at $40 a pop it’s a damn good one.

West Seattle will always be handicapped a bit by their lack of a driving range, but besides that hiccup there’s nothing not to like here.  Service, greens, conditions, staff, price….all solid.  You’ll never be disappointed playing here.

– Warm up mats are behind the trees on the back section of the putting green to get a few practice swipes in.
– A friendly staff from check in, to marshals, to service always stands out to me and they do it well at West Seattle.
– $40 greens fee is great.  Just played somewhere else (cough, not saying..) for $49 and it was beat to death.  (Cough….Kayak…)
– Perfect golf course for a variety of skill levels.  Newbies can move forward, keep the ball in play and have fun.  Better handicaps can move back and enjoy a legit challenge.  Truly the measure of a good course is making it so a total hack and a zero handicap can both enjoy themselves.  Perfect golf course for that.

Golfchops.com rating: 20/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 4
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4
Value: 4
Amenities:  3

Course Review Date – 3/03/2013
Course Reviewer: Ian

Easily one of my favorite summer golf courses to play in the western Washington area, West Seattle Golf Course, in my mind at least, is the best of all of our Seattle municipal tracks.  In the summer and for the price, West Seattle really is one of the better all around tracks to go out a hone your game.  Wide enough to allow a very green golfer to slap it all over the place without losing 2 dozen balls, but long and challenging enough to keep good players honest and coming back.  However, in the winter you can throw that all out the window.  As fantastic as she plays in the summer, she’s an absolute mud pit on the winter.  We may have played in the sunshine due to some freak weather pattern that allowed the sun to touch land this past Sunday, but make no mistake, we left shin deep in mud.  Next to maybe Echo Falls, West Seattle might be the worst draining course in our area.

4th Tee at West Seattle Golf Course  A very soft green at West Seattle

Picture 1 – A look from the teebox up the 4th fairway at West Seattle.

Picture 2 – I believe this was my approach on the 16th green.  That’s what you call sticking one.

As you can see from that picture above, the rains will turn a lot of greens into a soft, spongy, bumpy mess.  After a few groups have trampled through you might have a couple of greens so bumpy you have to call auto two putt.  In the summer, these puppies are great and usually really slick for a city muni.  Alas, I should quit my complaining, a round without rain gloves was a very welcome blessing to say the least.  Aside from some very muddy conditions, the golf course was in great shape as always, and it actually appears as though they are doing some work out on the course to help improve the drainage.  I believe it was number 8 that has some work being done in the fairway to release some of the water towards the ravine.

Other notes from our round:  Pretty slow out there for March golf and the marshal actually came out and apologized about the pace.  5 hours and 10 minutes for West Seattle is too long, but to be honest, with the sunshine out for once, we barely noticed.  Frankly, anytime denim and slip on’s are teeing off in front of you, you should know its going to be a long round.  Golf shoes aren’t that expensive are they?  $37 green fee for a good course that maintenance wise is in solid shape is a great deal.  I’ll never bark about that price.  The right hand side of #7 is soup, do not even bother or you are going ankle deep….yes over the top of the golf shoes, mud foot for the rest of your round.  The 7th is the hole that probably struggles with water the most.  A footprint will leave a 1/2 inch cave in the green.  Oh, and maybe I didn’t get the memo, but it was golf cart commando day out there.  People going 4×4 up the back of teeboxes, etc.  One of our writers, Sean, stopped at the top of his back swing on #12 while some yahoo playing 11, 4×4’d his golf cart up the back of the 12th tee box.  I mean, I know no one in Seattle can drive, but this phenomenon applies to golf carts as well?  Needless to say, you might want to stick to the old cart path my friends.

Golfchops.com rating: 17/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 3
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4
Value: 4
Amenities:  2

Rating Notes:
Always a pretty solid staff, marshal was very friendly, cafe employee was buried doing 80 things and still took care of us in a timely manner.
– Sooo….greens look very healthy and will be great this summer, but are absolute mush right now.  Putting is significantly impacted by footprints.
– Wet, like everywhere else, but visually the course looked good.
– $37.00 March prime time rate is excellent.
–  No driving range will always be the achilles heel of this place.

Course Review Date – 8/09/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian

One of the great things about the month of August in Seattle is that some of the golf courses that play extremely swampy in the winter, turn in to absolute gems in the summer.  This has always been my experience with West Seattle Golf Course.  A murky hot mess in the winter, but a nice well manicured track in the late summer.  Also, it’s a perfect place for a late afternoon 18 when you’re sneaking out of the office given it’s close proximity to downtown Seattle.  Our most recent visit to West Seattle Golf Course back in late May was solid, with the course playing in really good shape so no reason to expect any different on this run.

A couple notes from this encounter at West Seattle that are worth mentioning.  The putting green, for whatever reason was sizzling fast!  It looked parched and wow was it quick.  I’ve putted on this thing hundreds of times and it’s never been anything near that fast.  Pretty random really and it will totally throw you off so be warned.  Once we hit the course we got a true taste of the speed and it was no where near as fast as that putting green was.  They also removed the 3 hitting mats and nets that you used to be able to warm up on.  Kind of a bummer really but now there is no way to get warmed up at all.  Still she gets a tremendous amount of play and is a bit of a casual golfers paradise.  If they ever find a place for a driving range down there (which is dead at the moment) it would be an utter gold mine.

As for course conditions, West Seattle played her typical solid August self.  Although I will say that it wasn’t quite as nice as it has been in summer’s past.  Maybe it has just seen a lot of rounds the past month or so, but I’ve played this course more than any other in the state and I could tell that it was different from last summer.  That being said, for $33 on a weekday you really can’t go wrong.  It’s head over heels better than the other Seattle muni’s (Jackson & Jefferson) and is in pretty solid shape for the amount of traffic it gets.  Check out some of our tips and previous notes in the two reviews listed below.

Golfchops.com rating: 17/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 3.5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 3.5
Value: 4
Amenities:  2

Rating Notes:
 Staff is usually very nice at West Seattle
– Greens are in good shape and not to many ball marks for the amount of round that go through here.
– Course was in pretty good shape.  Not as good as past late summers, but good.
– $33.00 for a weekday rate is a pretty solid price.
–  No driving range and now no mats!?  Ugh!  Putting green solid as always.  Good beer prices 🙂

Course Review Date – 5/25/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian

Hadn’t been out to West Seattle since the day job’s company tournament last August so why not give it a mid-spring whirl and see how she’s holding up.  I would consider myself a resident expert on playing this course as I have logged atleast 70 rounds out there.  This is an E. Chandler Egan golf course that has once hosted a major PGA event (US Am Public Links, 1953).  To me, this is easily the best of all the city municipal golf courses leaving places like Jefferson and Jackson in the dust.  It’s only real drawbacks are a lack of a driving range (which is a real killer and if you read anything about West Seattle news, they will never get) and it’s murky play in the winter months.  With a lot of rain fall the past couple of days, as usual, and showers when we arrived at the course I was pretty worried that we were in for a slop fest.

To my significant surprise West Seattle didn’t play that murky at all.  Our Golfchops.com professional Matt Favre pumped his R11 off the first tee and the damn thing bounced forward.  I was shocked.  I even got a bit of roll on my tee shot….in the 9th fairway, ugh…see my no driving range comment for my excuse on that one 🙂  Kudos to West Seattle for improving the conditions in this regard.  I remember winters in the past where it was a miserable plug fest out there.  In general the course seemed to be in pretty good condition.  The greens didn’t look or roll like they have been cut in ages, but that’s understandable for a high traffic Seattle municipal at this time of the year.  They were in pretty good shape though, just really slow.  More details on the course in the previous review, but I’ll leave you with a couple West Seattle playing tips:

– Don’t be a hero and hit driver on #2
– Left is a safe miss on #11, everything will kick right
– There’s a lot more room to the right on #12 than you think
– Watch out for the false fronts on the uphill par 4’s on the back.  They can really sting ya!

Course Review Date – 8/27/2010  (Pictures Listed Below)
Course Reviewer: Ian

A beautiful Seattle Summer Saturday and a company scramble at West Seattle Golf Course brought the Golfchops.com team together to try and win company bragging rights as well as review the course.  West Seattle is one of the most played courses in the state and we’ve heard somewhere around 75,000 rounds a year go through here.  That has to be one heck of a challenge to maintain so we were looking forward to inspecting their work.  West Seattle is definitely old school Western Washington golf.  The course opened in 1940 and hosted a USGA event, the National Public Links back in 1953.  It has also been one of the courses that hosts the Seattle Amateur Championship for the past 20 years. WSGC comes in at 6322 yards from the Blues, has a 70.0 rating, and a 126 slope.

The first thing to note about West Seattle is no driving range.  They have one in the works and we’ve seen a lot of community meetings about it, but as it stands today, if you want to hit balls before a round there you either go to Interbay or hit off one of the two mats into a net.  No fun.  They do have a huge putting green that has always rolled really well.  They appear to be work on it right now as there were several sections of the putting surface removed and all the pins were crammed over to one site.  About 70% of the putting green was not being utilized.  There is also a very small putting green for a couple final rolls right by the first tee box.  One other note and that is in regards to parking.  The golf course shares a parking lot with the stadium.  So if there is a 10 team, all day, Pop Warner football jamboree going on, you’re screwed.  Many of the people in the tournament had to park a couple blocks away and haul their gear all the way down to the course.  Also, when the police have to infiltrate the parking lot to break up a huge brawl, it certainly makes you wonder if you are really at a golf course.

The course itself is a pretty solid layout, but not one that has tremendous character.  It gives you the feel of, “here’s a rectangle, make a golf course inside of that.”  They throw a pretty good amount of undulation at you to get you thinking and finish you off with some extremely slippery greens.  Everything seems to break much harder out here than what you read.  The only hole of distinction on the course is #12 which offers a remarkable view of downtown Seattle.  This is also an excellent driving hole that makes you feel as if you are hitting the ball out of a tunnel.  #18 can be a challenge for some as well, especially if you have a slice or banana ball.  Hit a wicked slice here and you have a heck of a chance a clipping one of the little guys running with the football at the stadium.  We saw the scoreboard hit many years ago with a nasty slice on 18.  Now that is embarrassing.  Ok fine, it was me.  I hit it and yeah it was embarrassing.

There are some definite things to keep in mind when you are playing this track.  First, everything on the greens seems to run towards the ravines.  Check out where they are and keep that in mind when you are making your reads.  Secondly, watch out for the false fronts on the back nine.  The back nine tends to lull you to sleep because it’s just a back and forth haul.  Keep 16 in mind, that false front will kill ya, especially if you spin your wedges a lot.  And lastly, those greens are faster than they look.  Kudos to the greens keeping staff at West Seattle.  We thought their greens were in excellent shape and rolled pretty stinking fast for a Muni.

Minus the parking lot debacle we had a great time out there.  The course was in excellent shape, the greens rolled very smooth, and the staff was very accommodating to our group.  This place was home away from home for quite a while so we will be back for sure.  By the way….the Golfchops.com team shot  -11 to win the tournament by a stroke.

Golfchops.com rating: 18/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 4
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 4
Value: 4
Amenities:  2

Rating Notes:
 Staff was very friendly and accommodating
– 75k rounds a year and the greens are this nice?  Impressive.  Great to see a Muni have greens like this.
– Course was in good shape. Nothing that had a wow factor, but definitely not a mess either.
– $37.00 prime time rate is pretty good for the course.  A 9 hole rate would be good to see.
–  No driving range is a real killer.  Good putting green but it looks like it under repair.  16oz PBR from the cart girl, our favorite!

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