Eaglemont Golf Club
Mt. Vernon, Wash. | 800-368-8876
When sixth-seeded Eaglemont Golf Club upset third-seed Lake Padden in the first round of our Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness – our year-long quest to crown the state’s No. 1 golf course, as selected by Cascade Golfer readers, many thought it was just a matter of artificially low seeding for the Mt. Vernon track tabbed as one of the state’s 10 best by Golf Digest.
When it nearly pulled off the upset again in the Sweet 16, though – falling to semi-private Loomis Trail Golf Club by just a mere handful votes – another theory had to be suggested: maybe Eaglemont is just that good.
Roughly an hour north of Seattle, Eaglemont is tucked among the fir-covered hills just east of I-5, about a mile off the freeway. If you’re using a GPS to guide you in, it’s worthwhile to double-check the address against the one on Eaglemont’s website – not only has the course relocated its clubhouse in the last year, but even before that, some phone and online maps applications were known to erroneously direct users down an incorrect path. Double-check it before you leave to make sure you don’t miss your tee time, and have enough time to check out the new clubhouse and practice area opened in July of 2011.
You’ll also want a few minutes just to soak in the view from Eaglemont’s first tee, a broad panorama of rolling hills, with the Olympic Mountains rising in the distance. Out of sight between the two are the vast tulip fields of Skagit County, a worthwhile before- or after-round stop for any golfer passing through during the annual Tulip Festival in late spring.
Don’t get too comfortable, though – while offering plenty of interesting scenery and unique holes, Eaglemont is a course that can require all of your focus. Played from the back tees, it’s a 7,006-yard monster (74.8/149), all the challenge you’d expect from a course that regularly hosts U.S. Open qualifiers. Most players choose the whites (5,766, 69.1/129) or grays (6,354, 71.4/141), each of which offer enough challenge to make you earn your birdies, without the huge forced carries and long approaches of the epic black tees.
It’s appropriate that Eaglemont built their new clubhouse atop what used to be their No. 13 tee – not only is it the course’s high point, with 270-degree views, but it’s also a hole that embodies everything Eaglemont is about. A steeply sloping downhill par-4 (447 from the back, but just 382 from the whites), it’s an excellent birdie opportunity – provided, that is, you can keep your drive on the fairway, which narrows in the landing area, just short of an unmowed section of waste that bisects the fairway. Longer hitters may try to carry the waste to the slim section of fairway beyond, but failing to do so can turn birdie into double bogey in a hurry.
It’s like that for much of the round, really – nearly every hole, if played well, presents the opportunity for birdie. From the middle (grey) tees, only two of the par-5s are longer than 500 yards, and many of the par-4s play short as well, rewarding players who can keep their drives on the fairway with a short-iron approach. Those fairways, however, are almost universally narrow, often bordered by bunkers and cris-crossed by waste areas and wild brush that wait to capture any mis-hit ball.
Perhaps the best example is the par-5 14th, formerly Eaglemont’s third hole. Just 480 from the whites and 505 from the grays, it may look like an eagle opportunity on the scorecard. Two waste areas protrude into the fairway from the right-hand side, though, forcing golfers to carefully measure their approach shots. While a long drive may tempt you to go for it, the wiser play is to lay up between the waste areas, and play for birdie.
It’s followed by one of the most dramatic par-3s in the region, a nearly straight drop down from an elevated tee box to a long, narrow green. Other favorites include the downhill, par-4 10th and the uphill, dog-leg right, par-5 ninth – now a perfect finishing hole to the front nine.
Rates drop down to $42 (including a required cart) for weekday play in the offseason, including $57 for as much golf as you can fit in between sun-up and sun-down. Eaglemont also offers web specials and notices of further discounts to players who sign up for their online e-club.