Golfers in Northwest Washington know if they don’t golf in the rain, they probably won’t golf much.
But not every course is as capable of letting golfers play in the rain as Raspberry Ridge Golf Course in Everson.
“We are playable all year round,” Raspberry Ridge owner and course superintendent John Olson said in a phone interview. “Balls will be bouncing on this course during the winter, which you don’t typically get at a lot of other courses in the area.”
Olson says the course is blessed with a great soil profile that allows the water to quickly drain from the course. About the only time the course is unplayable is during a downpour.
“But I don’t think anyone wants to be outside in that kind of weather,” Olson said.
Though only nine holes, Raspberry Ridge is a regulation course and offers excellent views of Mount Baker on many holes.
“I think we have found a nine-hole niche,” Olson said. “A lot of people don’t have five hours to play a round. They can come out here and play nine and then go home and do the chores that your wife asked you to do.”
Olson takes us on a quick tour of the course:
“Short par 3, 135 yards. It has a lot of trouble. One being the sand bunker in the middle of the green. It’s kind of a la Riviera on the PGA Tour. It creates some problems for the errant shot … If you end up on one side or the other, you can easily three putt resulting in a bogey.”
Members’ favorite hole
“Pretty straight away par 4, and it heads right toward Mount Baker. So you get a very scenic view as you play the hole … The fairway is pretty narrow with sand bunkers down the left with OB (out of bounds) right and left and a pond in front of the green.”
“The average golfer will come away with a bogey or worse. It’s a par 3 with 180 yards, usually into the wind. OB left, water right and a very deep sand bunker in front of the green. That bunker has ruined a lot of good rounds and clubs, if you know what I mean. My suggestion is to use enough club to get to the back of the green to take the trouble out of play.”
“Not a lot of trouble. Fairly generous fairway. A good drive will set you up with a relatively easy sand wedge to the green. Birdie here is the score, but a par will never hurt.”
Hole not to underestimate
Shortest par 4 of 285 yards with a slight dogleg right to the green. From the tee the player must make a decision with club selection No. 1, but also on which side of the fairway to go, because there is a large group of firwood trees in the middle of the fairway … Once you get to the green, the player has to deal with a very undulating green. Par is a good score here, even though it’s a short par 4.”
Best hole to grip it and rip it
“A par 4 usually playing downwind with a large open fairway. Not a lot of trouble. There’s OB right and left, but not a lot to worry about. If you let the shaft out, you’ll have a pretty good approach shot.”
Toughest green to read
“It has a lot undulation. Not a flat spot on this green. It’s possible to have a three-way break if you’re not careful. The golfers like to blame me, because I set the pin, but it’s just not flat anywhere.”
Worst place for ball to land
In the sand traps
“Every hole out here has sand traps. In fact there are 34 traps total on the course. The average golfer panics when they’re in the sand, mainly because they don’t have time to practice that part of the game.”
Best risk-reward shot
“Use the driver there and take the water out of play down the left side and hit it to the mouth of the green. It’s a shorter par 4. It will leave you with a short approach or possibly even a putt. But if you do use the driver and you slice, you will have to use the drop area, because the water is to the right there.”
“Accuracy is a premium. You also need to be able to putt on large greens, because these greens are large, and it’s easy to end up three-putting.”