At the root of the game, golf is supposed to be fun.
Sure, there are the all-to-often frustrations that make most golfers want to toss a new bag of clubs in the lake and shout obscenities, but the game is supposed to be enjoyed.
Owners of Dakota Creek Golf and Country Club in Custer have tried to everything they could to make sure the game remains a fun, relaxing experience.
We want to make sure everyone feels really comfortable here, course owner and architect Pamela Smith said in a phone interview. Its a real low key atmosphere out here We play to the everyday golfer. This is just s fun place to be.
The low-key atmosphere extends to the dress code, which Smith said permits just about everything except swimming suits, cowboys boots and high heels.
Adding to the enjoyment factor are some scenic views of the San Juan Islands.
More people come up to me and say its the prettiest course theyve ever been on, Smith said. There are no homes and you can see right up the Georgia Strait It is built out in the forest, and you gets these spectacular views.
Though the course may not be as well known as some of Whatcom Countys other links, Smith feels the course compares well.
Id say were right there in the upper bracket, she said. We say its the best golf buy in the county. It may not be the best course, and it may not be the cheapest course, but it is the best golf for your dollar in this area.
Smith takes us on a quick tour of the course:
It has the Grand Canyon shot. Its very intimidating hitting over the canyon. It (the canyon) is only 80 yards, but the fact that its there is very intimidating. Plus its very beautiful.
Superintendents favorite hole
Par 4, but you have a shot at reaching the green. He (course superintendent James Bowyer) really likes the way it looks. Its flanked to the left by a big fir tree. It makes it look really nice, but we want to take it out because it causes a lot of trouble. It came within two minutes of coming down once, but his saw ran out of gas It (the tree) grows profusely because of all the watering of the green and the fertilizing of the green, so it probably grows three times as much any fir in the Northwest.
Its the toughest in the county. A lot of people come in here and say it may be the toughest in state. Its a great way to start people off. I wish it was a little further down the course. Its a par 5 and people always remember first day they par it. Woods on both sides. Right over the 150-yard marker is the salmon spawning green, which adds to the difficulty. Then youre going uphill to the green, and good luck.
Its wide open and has lots of forgiveness. When youre going toward green, youre overlooking the whole county and can see the San Juan Islands, and on a clear day you can see into the Georgia Strait.
Hole not to underestimate
Its a 78-yard par 3. It looks like piece of cake. I mean, 78 yards your grandma can do it, right. But there are woods within 10 feet of the green just off the collar, so not even 10 feet. You have to be on target and hit that green.
Worst place for ball to land
The right side of No. 2 or shooting over the canyon on No. 3 is a bad place. On this particular course, its really a thinking mans course. The pros have told me if you can master this course, you can play anywhere in the world because it has every lie youll find anywhere.
Toughest green to read
Its the newest green. It was recently redone. It looks flat as a pancake but has very subtle breakings in it. When you reach it, youve gone through 17 other greens with lots of undulation. Then this one looks as flat as a pancake, but its not.
Best hole to grip it and rip it
Lots of open spaces on both sides. Its a par 4, playing uphill to a gorgeous setting. My favorite hole to look at in the evening Its long and uphill so it plays even longer. We keep our rough cut short, so theres lots of forgiveness.
Best risk-reward shot
It was the last hole we built because didnt know how we were going to do with it What we ended up with is a blind hole. You cant see the green from the tee. If you play it between the two fir trees that are straight ahead, youll be fine. Its a love-hate hole. Once you learn to play it, you love it. But before then, you hate it. We suggest using a 5-wood and give it all youve got, but be straight.
Play conservatively and have fun. Thats what its supposed to be about. Enjoy the quiet and scenery. The course is in great condition. Hasnt always been that way.