Overlook course lives up to its name

August 14, 2007 

Walt Ames of Camano Island plays on the second hole at Overlook Golf Club in Mount Vernon.



    USGA rating: 60.3
    USGA slope: 96
    Course opened: 1985
    Course designer: Neil Hansen
    Weekday (M-F) rates: $11 ($10 over 60, $9 17 and under)
    Weekend rates: $13 for everybody
    Cart: $13 for 9 holes
    Leagues: Wednesday night league
    PGA professional: David Nicholls
    How long at course: Past three years
    Phone: (360) 422-6444
    Address: 17523 Highway 9, Mount Vernon
    Directions: From Interstate 5, take the College Way exit (227) and turn left onto Highway 538. Turn right on Highway 9.

No course in the area lives up to its name better than Overlook Golf Club.

The course overlooks Big Lake, which is located just south of Mount Vernon.

“You can see the lake from all nine holes,” Overlook PGA professional David Nicholls said in a phone interview. “There are some really dramatic views.”

But like most courses in the area, Overlook is more than just pretty scenery around a Northwest Washington lake, though. The course demands golfers execute a variety of shots.

“You’ll need to use every club in the bag,” Nicholls said. “We’ve got some long holes and some short holes … You’ve got to pay attention to what you are doing on this course.”

Nicholls takes us on a quick tour of the course:

Signature hole

No. 2

“A par 4. Water all down the left side of the hole. The water hazard makes it a unique hole. It also cuts in front of the green.”

Players’ favorite hole

No. 9

“It’s a short par 4. You need to carry the water with your tee shot. And if you do, you’ve got a chip and a putt. Most guys like it because they can birdie it with a good drive.”

Toughest hole

No. 5

“The fifth hole is a par 5. The road is down the left side all the way. The green is a tricky putting green. It’s a very difficult green to get a good read. By far, it’s the longest hole on the course at 478 (yards).”

Easiest hole

No. 6

“Right after the par 5, it is a par 3. 126 yards from the whites. And there is no water or anything to really worry about.”

Hole not to underestimate

No. 5

“Because of the green … Because it’s a short par 5, it can jump up and bite you.”

Best hole to grip it and rip it

No. 5

“The length … You have to worry about the road. It can really be trouble. But if you can drive it good off the tee, you will be in pretty good shape.”

Toughest green to read

No. 8

“That green is sloping, just like No. 5 … It’s got quite a bit of slope towards the lake, just like No. 5 does. Maybe more than you realize.”

Best risk-reward shot

Drive on No. 9

“You can drive the green, but you can also put it in the water hazard.”

Worst place for ball to land

Above the green on No. 8

“Hit it long on No. 8 and you are in trouble. If you drift towards the back of the green, it’s sloping away from you. It’s an impossible shot if you hit it too long.”

Pro’s tip

“Chip and putt well. If you can chip well, you can score well here.”

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