It was a “Take Your Kid” and “Take Your Wife” to work day for Craig and me as we headed to the nine-hole, par-3 course at Interbay Golf Center in Seattle.
Interbay, and Seattle’s other golf courses — Jefferson Park, Jackson Park and West Seattle — have been in the news after a city-financed study looked at their future sustainability, prompting concerns one or more could be closed.
The Interbay par-3 course has been a place for budding golfers, both young and old, and thus we brought my daughter, Elizabeth, and Craig’s wife, Julie.
Julie, 73, occasionally plays golf but is a devoted rower. She has competed in national regattas and has been known to complain, “I never got to play any high-school sports” (no Title IX in the 1960s).
Elizabeth was introduced to golf at 7 with The First Tee, and after a couple-year break, is showing passion for the game. Now 11 and blessed with a naturally good golf swing, she harbors hopes of “being famous someday” and dreams of attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Scott: Loved seeing all the kids at the facility, some as young as 5. With a putting course, a practice area and a great driving range along with the par-3 course, there is something for everyone. Interbay is by far the best maintained of the city’s three par-3 courses, and easily the best overall. … The greens are in nice condition. … The sixth and seventh holes are solid holes, at 175 yards and 172 yards, with out of bounds lurking to the left and two bunkers on the sixth. … Three different tees on each hole, with the most forward tees (except the par-4 first) being reachable for all but very young players.
Craig: Convenient location, between Queen Anne and Magnolia. … Course was in good condition. … Double-decker range has 80 stalls, half of them equipped with Toptracer high-tech equipment that tracks shots and even enables you to play virtual golf on famous courses. … Facility includes a practice bunker. … Food in restaurant was good enough. Beer was cold.
Scott: What makes Interbay great is what can also make it a pain if you are impatient or on a time constraint. Young and new players can be impervious to things like pace of play, and might not notice groups of players stacking behind them. But Interbay does what it can to move things along, asking the groups of juniors ahead of us to limit practice swings to one and to stay on pace with the group ahead.
Craig: Course is next to a railroad yard but Grandpa Smith worked for the Northern Pacific and I like trains and train noises, except in the middle of the night. … Course was built in 1997 atop a former landfill, which is a polite word for garbage dump.
Scott: Watching Julie and Elizabeth hang out together, talking with one another. Golf is a game that breeds conversation, and it didn’t matter that there were 62 years difference between them. …. Elizabeth coming over to give me a kiss after I made a bad shot. “That’s OK, Dad, we all have bad days.”
Shots of the day
Scott: Craig suggested that Elizabeth move back to the middle tee (103 yards) on the eighth hole. She hit her hybrid 15 feet past the hole, then after surveying the downhill putt from every angle, made the putt for her first-ever birdie. The unadulterated joy and ensuing celebration could not have been greater if she had won the U.S. Open. It was a great moment for Dad, too.
Craig: The Hansons screamed and hugged. The Smiths smiled and applauded the accomplishment in a more restrained manner.
Quotes of the day
“You just beat your old man on that hole,” Scott to Elizabeth, after she recorded her second straight par.
“I’m never using that ball on a hole over water,” Elizabeth, on the ball she made her first birdie with.
“Even though I’ve had golf clubs since we got married 50 years ago, I consider golf a sport in my future,” Julie.
Craig: The Interbay course is good practice for all golfers from advanced beginners through single-digit handicap folks. I say “advanced beginners” because I am a grouchy old man and this is real golf and things turn sour fast when you are playing with or behind someone who can’t break 65 on this 9-hole, par-28 course. Elizabeth is an advanced beginner who had practiced and Interbay represented a “graduation” of sorts.
Scott: After shooting a 40 from various tees (easily her best score ever), Elizabeth thinks she’s ready for Chambers Bay.
Scott: A great place for young and old. 3 stars
Craig: I do my course ratings with the bogey golfer in mind and there are too many vanilla holes for three stars. 2½ stars