Inspiration to hit the links will be abundant when the pomp and circumstance of golf’s U.S. Open descends on Chambers Bay Golf Course this week. Actually playing golf though? Leave the hard stuff up to the professionals.
Inspiration to hit the links will be abundant when the pomp and circumstance of golf’s U.S. Open descends on Chambers Bay Golf Course.
Actually playing golf though? That takes time, dedication, lessons, gear and patience. Way too much patience — leave the hard stuff up to the professionals.
Add some wacky extracurriculars and subtract the steep learning curve and even steeper greens fees of bona fide golf. Kick, toss, or putt to victory in the Greater Seattle area for $10-$20 on these selected attractions.
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Smash Putt is the antithesis of the U.S. Open’s prim style. Abandon all rules and score cards to battle absurd and eclectic holes made by Northwest artists, carpenters, architects and software developers. There’s a “mission impossib-hole” where players have to duck lasers as they putt. Or, take a shot at firing golf balls from air-powered guns in a makeshift driving range.
Smash Putt is 21-and-over, so go ahead, drink on the course. Smash Putt, which opened in late March, is a pop-up, and closes in July, according to its website.
Where: 1110 23rd Ave., Seattle; smashputt.com.
FootGolf at Jefferson Park Golf Course
FootGolf is like golf, but played by kicking a soccer ball down the links until reaching a cup 21 inches in diameter. The American FootGolf League strongly recommends upholding the goofy tradition of knee-high argyle socks, golf shorts, a polo shirt and an old-timey golf cap — but it’s just for fun. Otherwise, stick to the dress code of the golf course. Indoor soccer shoes are OK, but leave the spikes at home. FootGolf is an ultra-accessible (and growing) sport. Official rules for the sport can be found on the American FootGolf League website (afgl.us).
Where: Jefferson Park, 4101 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle; premiergc.com/-footgolf.
More: FootGolf courses can be found at Foster Golf Links (13500 Interurban Ave. S., Tukwila; a fostergolflinks.com/-footgolf) and Gold Mountain Golf Club (7263 W. Belfair Valley Road, Bremerton; goldmountaingolf.com/-footgolf).
Green Lake Pitch & Putt
For those who always slice a driver but can pull off a nine iron, Green Lake Pitch & Putt is golf Shangri-La. The longest of the nine 3-par holes is 115 yards. (The average hole distance at Chambers Bay is about 400 yards from the Navy Tees.) Now there’s finally a hope to hit the green on the first shot. Just try not to three-putt.
The course moves faster than a full-length nine, and is perfect for kids and golfers who are green behind the ears. Plus, if it’s hot, take a dip in Green Lake right next door.
Where: 5701 W. Green Lake Way N., Seattle; seattle.gov/parks/athletics/golfcrse.htm#green.
Learning Science Through Golf at Pacific Science Center
Learn the science of golf with interactive, golf-themed stations at the Pacific Science Center. Solve riddles, like what determines the flight of a golf ball? How does motion affect the distance a golf ball will travel? All four “STEM” fields (science, technology, engineering and math) put golf through the scientific gauntlet in the exhibit which runs through June 15. The display is partnered with the United States Golf Association with the U.S. Open in mind. Hopefully it can help diagnose an ailing short game, too.
Where: 200 Second Ave. N., Seattle; pacificsciencecenter.org.
Interbay Golf Center
Can mini golf be elegant? There are no windmills or flashing lights to be found at Interbay Golf Center, which would be a terrific host to the U.S. Mini Golf Open (which exists). Instead, trees and bushes line the 18-hole course, which is mostly Par 2. From 3-6 p.m. during weekdays, there’s a happy hour — mini golf and a pint of beer for $11.
Where: 2501 15th Ave., W., Seattle; premiergc.com/-miniature-golf.
More: Mini-golf courses can be found at Discovery Trail at Willows Run (10402 Willows Road N.E., Redmond; willowsrun.com) and Riverbend Golf Complex (2019 W. Meeker St., Kent; riverbendgolfcomplex.com) and elsewhere.
Lakewood Disc Golf Course
Ditch the clubs altogether and flick Frisbees around this scenic 18-hole course in White Center. The Professional Disc Golf Assocation lauds the course’s rolling hills and views of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. It’s an intermediate course, so beginners and more advanced disc golfers will be entertained. There’s a pro shop at the course with gear and goods (chainbangers.com).
Where: 11050 10th Ave. S.W., Seattle; lakewooddiscgolf.com.
More: Disc golf courses can be found at Mineral Springs Park (1500 N. 105th St., Seattle); SeaTac Disc Golf Course (13001 20th Ave. S., SeaTac) and Howling Coyote Disc Golf Course (16900 W. Riverside Drive, Bothell); for the lowdown on all these courses, see pdga.com or dgcoursereview.com.
Family Fun Center
The Family Fun Center hits all the standards for cheesy-but-awesome mini golf. In its Tukwila location, there are Arctic-themed links, and a nostalgic “Memory Lane” course with an Eiffel Tower and more. Swashbuckle away on a pirate course in Edmonds. If putting gets old, there’s a host of other activities at the Fun Centers like bumper boats and batting cages.
Where: 7300 Fun Center Way, Tukwila and 7212 220th St. S.W., Edmonds (fun-center.com).