Vicwood Links: Best of new crop of courses
by Blaine Newnham - Seattle Times staff columnist
LACEY - A year ago produced the biggest building binge in Western Washington golf as Trophy Lake, Snoqualmie Ridge, Newcastle, Vicwood and a new 18 at Willows Run came on line.
The best of the bunch?
For my money -- and ultimately yours -- it is Vicwood Golf Links, which ought to become a model for the modern course, when less, frankly, is more.
Golf entered the last century as a rich man's game and after a brief fling at egalitarianism seemed at century's end headed back to its ritzy roots with $100 green fees not uncommon.
One need not go far to understand the difference between Vicwood and the other new courses. Perhaps it is best illustrated by a comparison with its sister course across the street, Meriwood, the tougher, tighter, and more expensive of the two.
Meriwood has gotten the acclaim of a championship course - hosting qualifying rounds for the U.S. Open - but Vicwood is getting the play.
It opened last April and in the first nine months played host to 40,000 rounds, 9,000 more than the established Meriwood did in the same period of time.
It was, plainly, more playable, more walkable and more affordable than not only Meriwood, but all the other new courses.
Indeed, Golf Digest named it one of the country's best new affordable courses.
Is it a better course than Trophy Lake in Port Orchard, which I happen to like? No. But it is a better buy, can be walked and is somewhat easier.
They both take a time commitment. Vicwood is almost to Olympia, Trophy Lake almost to Bremerton. Trophy Lake, however, charges $49 during the week for green fees this time of year - which includes a cart, range balls and tees - while Vicwood charges $33 for a round without a cart.