White Horse Golf Club

Published on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 in Course of the Week

Kingston, Wash. | 360-297-4468

White Horse Golf Club returned to the Cascade Golfer Cup schedule in 2014, and our players received quite a treat.

Built by Cynthia Dye McGarey in 2007, the course has always been a stunner, with its creative mounding, unique hole designs and plethora of natural scenery. It wasn’t until John Harbottle was brought in to smooth out some of White Horse’s rougher edges in 2011, though, that it truly became a blast to play.

If you first played White Horse before Harbottle’s redesign, your memory of the course is likely of the most beautiful course you never wanted to play again. It was a looker, but it was hard — too hard. Greens were so firm as to send even a well-hit approach bounding off into the O.B. that surrounded just about every hole, while rolling fairways and large, penal bunkers made even shots to and from the fairway a tricky venture. McGarey once said famously, “If you find a level lie out there, let me know. I’ll come and fix it.”

If that was your only experience with White Horse, we have a message for you — come back. And come running, because the new White Horse, revealed in 2012, is one of the most enjoyable courses in the region, with a lower slope, a lower greens fee and, as of 2013, one of the nicest clubhouses in the entire region.

Harbottle’s goal was to make the golf course more playable for golfers of all skill levels, while preserving the essence of McGarey’s design and the natural beauty of the land. In that way, it’s similar to his other notable Northwest projects, including Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course and Palouse Ridge, each of which have hosted NCAA and USGA championships, while remaining fun and playable for double-digit handicappers as well.

Harbottle removed over 100 trees to increase shot angles and allow more sunlight to the greens,and filled in bunkers that he felt unfairly penalized amateur players. In addition, he smoothed out the most common landing areas for players from the red and white tees, and softened up the greens and aprons to better hold an approach.

It’s turned one of the region’s nicest courses into one of its most fun to play — a fact that was reflected by Cascade Golfer readers and local golf writers, who have ranked White Horse in the top-10 of every Cascade Golfer ranking of Washington’s Top Public Golf Courses since 2013, including a high ranking seventh in 2015.

Rates start as low as $25 after 3 p.m., and peak at just $65 on a summer weekend afternoon, so make it a part of your golf plan this season. Then, sign up for the Puetz Golf Shootout at White Horse on Sept. 9 — because once you get a taste, you’re going to want to come back for more.

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