Sand Point Country Club
8333 55th Ave. Ne
Seattle, Wa 98115
Course Review Date: 12/04/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian Favre
Ahhh, the municipal playing, chili dipping, weekend warrior in me sure does love it when I get to go Bushwood Country Club style and play a golf course that on most days would be off limits to me. I’m not going to lie, having friends and family in the golf business is a luxury that will never get old. I wouldn’t say it opens so many doors to us, however, on occasion they leave the side open just enough for us to sneak on in. With Mother Nature on board for a beautiful, crisp winter Sunday, we ventured out to Sand Point Country Club in North Seattle.
Sand Point is a tough find being right smack in the middle of a very nice upscale residential Seattle neighborhood. You’re just kind of cruising through some very nice housing and poof there’s your sign with a guard station entry. Guard stations and gated entries are always a pretty good indicator that the golf is up to snuff. When the course does come into view, you’re delighted with brilliantly narrow, forest greens fairways and tree after tree after tree. Not to mention one heck of view of Lake Washington and the cascades in the background.
Yeah, I was pretty excited by what I had seen so far and I wasn’t out of the car yet. So excited I had to call JR and tell, “man, this place is off the hook.” And, yes, I used that expression. Even more amazing than the views I had seen so far was the huge outdoor pool and the fact that is was just popping with swimmers! Seriously, its 41 degrees outside people! Realizing I was going to spend the next 5 or so hours in this cold and that I was likely as just as much a fool, I grabbed my gear and headed in.
I was greeted by Sand Point’s head pro Craig Hunter, welcomed to the course, and advised to hit the putting green until my party had arrived. No tee times at Sand Point, line em up and get em out is how they roll. Their putting green, while fairly small was superb condition and my hats to them for having 3 mini holes. First course I have ever seen have more than 1. I cannot advertise use of the mini-putting hole enough. I spent 20 minutes on it and had 11 putts on the front. Putted my rear off.
After the rest of the crew arrived we motored down to the driving range for a few moments of warm up before we began the adventure. Sand Point, as I now know if home to one of the most unusual driving ranges you will find. It’s only 125 yards long and up a very steep hill. Plenty of balls out there is standard country club fashion so don’t get carried away hitting 100 free balls and have nothing left for the course. I’ve surely pulled that one before.
At long last we get to the golfing portion of this review, where the first hole greets the player with an uphill, 315 yard, par 4 that plays like 390. Sand Point does an excellent job of using the limited amount of space they have. From the tips it only plays 6009 yards, yet has a rating/slope of 70.1/130. Par 4’s that look easy by the yardage on the scorecard are mostly severely uphill and require very accurate driving of the golf ball. Its one of those golf courses where the majority of the holes are narrow and framed by trees, but you can miss and still survive.
That first hole also features a beautiful view of Lake Washington off to the right (see photo below). Many of the holes on the golf course are accented by an amazing view of the lake or the mountains in the background. When not taken back in awe of the natural surroundings you get to enjoy a really well designed, well-managed track.
The par 3’s at Sand Point are all outstanding, highlighted by hole #7. At 192 yards it plays over a huge ravine/gorge. The green is nearly invisible from the tee box and on this day we had only a glimmer of the flag stick tucked back left and hidden by two large trees that nearly blocked it. I didn’t like the bogey but I certainly loved the golf hole. On the back 9, hole #11 is a severe downhill, 156 yarder that has Lake Washington and the mountain range in the background. Remarkably beautiful landscape and an excellent golf hole as well.
On the unusual side, hole #17 is big uphill par 5 coming in at a whopping 418 yards. Yeah, a par 5 at 418 yards. You’re thinking two is easy, but its so uphill it just doesn’t happen. It’s narrow, it’s undulated, it plays left to right and if you’re not careful you can make double really easy. Just another example of using a limited amount of space really well to make a really good golf hole.
A big thank you to Curtis and the rest of the staff at Sand Point for letting us enjoy their excellent course.
Golfchops.com Rating: 25/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
– Very friendly accommodating staff, gave us instructions and tips on the course, invited us for a drink after the round, etc. Great group.
– Greens were spotless. Rolled perfect, no ball marks, no repair areas, good speed, etc. For December good luck finding a better putting surface.
– As with the greens the golf course was in excellent shape. No areas of repair, the bunkers looked great and the tee boxes were well maintained.
– $45 for a guest fee is pretty solid at any private club.
– Excellent putting green and funky driving range. No cart service on the course that we noticed but I guess it is December. Remarkable pool that was packed for the members. Hell of a club to enjoy if you’re a member.
Editors Note – Can’t believe I gave it a perfect score, but there was nothing I could even take a point away for. The place was great.