After starting this year’s series of golf reviews at Seattle’s Jackson Park Golf Course, Scott Hanson and Craig Smith went south to play another municipal course, Foster Golf Links, owned by the city of Tukwila.

First thoughts

Scott: Foster is a fun course to play, and a great spot to take advanced beginners. It’s fun because while there are three difficult holes, it is by no means a difficult course. I understand the desire to occasionally challenge oneself with a very hard course, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself at a course that won’t severely punish every errant shot. Sitting on the patio over lunch while discussing scores much lower than you normally shoot is a great way to end the golf day.

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The good

Scott: Because Foster has less yardage than most 18-hole courses, rounds tend to be faster, even on days when it seems slow. Our foursome played in about 3 hours, 50 minutes. Three of the par-3s are over water, and the sixth hole is as tough as any par-4 I have played in the area, at 420 yards and with a lateral hazard running the entire length of the hole to the left. Until recently, anything left or long was out of bounds, but it has since changed to a lateral hazard.

Billy Baroo’s, the course restaurant, has excellent food, 20 beers on tap and a large outdoor patio next to the course.

Craig: Fine condition. … Very walkable. … Keeps you upbeat because every hole is birdie or par possibility for the bogey golfer. … Nos. 11 and 16 are par-3s that cross the Duwamish River.

The bad

Scott: The course does not handle rain very well, and there is no driving range. Other than about three holes, it would not provide much of a challenge for very good players. The course is in good shape, but you would not confuse it with a country club.


Craig: No driving range. … Course is too easy for golfers with handicap indexes in single digits looking for a challenge. However, if they just want the exhilaration of a low score or play the round with irons-only for practice, they will enjoy it. … A bad odor occasionally emanates from a nearby rendering plant.

From the blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut file …

Scott: On the par-4 15th hole, my father hit his second shot to about 6 feet. I hit my second to about 5 feet away, then Craig hit his second to about 4 feet from the pin. All three of us made our putts for birdies. I am guessing we could play every day for the next 10 years and the three of us would not each birdie the same hole. But that’s golf. Just like it’s golf when I hit my next shot into the river.

Just for you, dear

Craig: I had been telling my wife that she and her girlfriends, all very high-handicap players, wouldn’t enjoy some courses they were considering because of pressure to play faster from impatient players (like me). I went home after playing Foster and told her, “I just found the course for you.”


Craig: City of Tukwila purchased course in 1977. In 2004, the city spent nearly $5 million on improvements to course and construction of the new clubhouse that includes popular Billy Baroo’s Restaurant, which gets most of its business from non-golfers. … Course did almost 50,000 rounds last year. … Course record is 57. … The 12 par-4’s for men average 301 yards. … Course is named after an area pioneer.

Shot of the day

Scott hit his tee shot on the 14th hole into the red tee marker, and the violent collision sent the ball right, 140 yards away, to the adjacent fairway. But even that shot didn’t kill him at Foster. He finished with a bogey.

Quote of the day

“Speaking of that pop-up, how are the Mariners doing today?” Craig to Seattle Times assistant sports editor Sean Quinton, after his drive would have brought out the infield fly rule at a baseball game. The Mariners, down 1-0 when Craig asked, lost 10-5.


Scott: Easy doesn’t mean bad. It’s a good place to spend a few hours. 2½ stars

Craig: Grade based on usual standards, but fun, shorter-than-average Foster is a different animal. More people would play golf if we had another six Fosters in the Puget Sound area. 2½ stars


At a glance

Foster Golf Links

(206) 242-4221; 13500 Interurban Ave S, Tukwila 98168

Opened: 1925
Par: 68
Rating/slope: Blue tees (Men – 62.8, 65.4), Red tees (Women – 65.4/105)
Yardage: Blue: 4,804 yards, Red: 4,529 yards.
Rates: Regular rates are $34 weekdays and $39 on weekends. Lower junior, senior and early bird rates are available.

For more information, click here.