News and notes about Northwest golfers and golf courses.
Happy 100th birthday, Jefferson Park Golf Course.
Seattle’s oldest public course hits the century mark in May and has a new clubhouse and remodeled driving range.
Jefferson Park was crucial to the development of Fred Couples, the greatest male golfer in state history. Couples grew up near the course, and admits that more than a few times he sneaked on.
Jefferson always has attracted a blend of golfers and has been home to Fir State Golf Club, which boasts of being one of the nation’s oldest African-American golf organizations. Fir State was founded in response to racist policies that kept blacks out of local tournaments. In 1992, Fir State hosted a clinic at Jefferson where a promising 16-year-old named Tiger Woods appeared.
During World War II, anti-aircraft guns were on the course because Boeing Field, the aircraft factory and the waterfront were considered prime targets for a possible attack.
Jefferson Park was the site of the 1967 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship won by Californian Verne Callison. It was the home course of Bill Wright, the Franklin High School grad who became the first black champion of a United States Golf Association tournament when he won the 1959 U.S. Public Links in Denver.
The course was designed by Scotsman Thomas Bendelow, called “the Johnny Appleseed of American golf” because he designed hundreds of courses. He was the original designer of Medinah Country Club’s No. 3 course, which has hosted three U.S. Opens, and the East Lake Golf Club course in Atlanta, where Bobby Jones learned to play golf.
Other course news
• Alta Lake Golf Course, the course near Pateros in the north-central part of the state that was hit hard by wildfires last July, opened as usual this month.
“We’re back up and running,” said Parker Barth, head pro and member of the family that owns the course. He was speaking from a temporary pro shop because the previous building was destroyed in the fire that also took 55 homes, including his own.
• Gamble Sands. located outside Brewster in north-central Washington, was named best new course to open in America in 2014 by Golf Digest.
•The double-decker, 50-station driving range at Jackson Park Golf Course in Seattle opened in January.
• Premier Golf, which operates several municipal golf courses, added Cedarcrest in Marysville to its portfolio in March. Premier also is now operating the Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course in Bellevue, bringing its total of courses to 13.
• The 18-hole Elk Run Golf Course in Maple Valley closed om October. It became the 15th course in the greater Puget Sound area to close in the past five years, although two — Holmes Harbor and Carnation (now named Blue Heron Golf Course) later reopened.