The Home Course has hosted one national championship and assisted hosting another. It provides a great round of golf at a very fair price.
In part six of this series reviewing golf courses around the region, Seattle Times golf writer Scott Hanson and golf writer emeritus Craig Smith head to DuPont to play The Home Course, which held the 2014 U.S. Women’s Public Links championship and assisted Chambers Bay in conducting the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
Perhaps the toughest part of these reviews is picking the courses we are going to play.
Every suggestion I make is met by something like this from Craig, “Yeah, but what about this one (insert name).” I think Craig thrives on being a contrarian. But The Home Course was an easy sell. It is south of Fort Lewis, but if you have a handicap index through the Washington State Golf Association you are a “member” at this public course because it is owned by the WSGA and Pacific Northwest Golf Association. Another reason we chose it: We could play it at a price where I won’t get any “What were you thinking?” comments when I submit my expenses.
Hanson: The condition is comparable to what you would expect at a nice country club, with interesting and challenging holes. If I had three wishes, one of them would be to be a good enough player to play from the Dynamite tees (7,424 yards) and not embarrass myself.
Smith: Course is so good that if golf is your game and you live in Washington, you are going to be asked, “What do you think of The Home Course?”
Hanson: The course can be tough enough to challenge a scratch golfer (as it did during two days of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur), but it is tame enough from the white tees (6,088 yards) that it won’t overwhelm a high-handicap player. The course is country-club level, but at a price not much higher than a municipal level. Great twilight deal (after 2 p.m.) that we took advantage of ($34 Monday-Thursday for members and $37 for non-members; $40 and $44 Friday-Sunday). Loved the restaurant patio overlooking the pond that I missed clearing by about six inches a couple hours earlier. Limited draft beer list (about five), but better-than-average food from a new menu at a fair price.
Smith: Challenging, enjoyable, walkable course that opened in 2007 and was designed by Mike Asmundson. … Impressive recent history as “assisting course” (for stroke play) to Chambers Bay for 2010 U.S. Amateur and was the site in 2014 of last U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship ever played. … Course is owned by the WSGA and PNGA, who bought the property from Weyerhaeuser. … Wonderful golf heritage as six primitive holes were built around Hudson’s Bay Co. fort site on the property in 1830s. … Views of Puget Sound and mountains. … Fake dynamite sticks are classy back-tee tee markers showing heritage as this was a DuPont Corp. munitions and explosives site from 1906 until 1970s. … Good practice range where you hit off grass . … Price of first beer was the score you shot (no, I didn’t pay a dollar). … No homes directly on course.
Hanson: I was pretty unhappy with the 1 1/2 hours it took to drive 34 miles from Des Moines, but that might have been bad luck. … I had a very hard time finding the pro shop, located in a trailer. … Finding the next hole was often more challenging than it should have been.
Smith: Took nearly 2½ hours in Friday afternoon traffic to get from my home in Kirkland to the course. Remind me never to go anyplace on Friday afternoon. … Signage to course once in DuPont is inadequate. … Signage from 12th green to 13th tee is either nonexistent or easy to miss. … 46 Canada Geese were on the grass near the green on par-3 14th hole. You have my permission, Home Course, to dispose of them and quietly donate them to a hungry family with a big freezer. … Lacks an “unforgettable” hole or shot.
Quote of the day
“That bunker isn’t in play for me,” said Scott’s dad, Dick, on the 18th hole, just moments before his drive took one bounce into the fairway bunker he said was out of range.
Rating (from 1 to 4)
Hanson: 3 1/2. I enjoyed covering the U.S. Women’s Public Links at The Home Course, and had just as much fun playing it (with the exception of that diabolical bunker on the first hole). This is one of the best public courses in Washington.
Smith: 3 1/2. I’ll be surprised if I ever hear anyone say they regretted playing this course.
2300 Golf House Road DuPont, WA 98327; 253-964-0520
Scott Hanson has been covering golf for The Seattle Times since 2005; Craig Smith covered golf for decades for The Seattle Times before retiring in 2008.