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JUNE 23, 1997

Sports

Golf-In' the Northwest: The Hack of Kayak

golf by Chuck Reidt
Trees, fairways, elevations changes, trees, sloping greens, trees ... and trees. Kayak G.C., 14 miles north and west of Marysville off Marine Drive, is a top fifty nationally-ranked public golf course carved from heavily wooded hills above Puget Sound. It is a classic NW design that is one of this region's most beautiful and difficult golf courses.
   In my mind, Kayak does not have the typical "signature hole." What it has is eighteen very distinctive golf holes without duplicity. Part of the intrigue of this course is you don't see the green from the tee on 11 of the 14 par four and fives due to the dog-leg and elevation changes in the fairway. Course knowledge is essential to scoring, so concede the first several rounds to reconnaissance.
   Kayak isn't long, but its high slope rating of 128 is a forewarning of potential trouble to the careless golfer. You can keep the "big dog" in the bag most of the time, particularly on Nos. 2, 4, 7, 11, and 14, where a long straight shot can be problematic.
   The most troubleseome hole on the course for me is aptly the No. 1 handicap hole, the par four #6. Your tee shot is through a window of trees to the uphill fairway which dog-legs hard right; the optimum shot is a cut/slice to set a your mid-iron approach. Hit a drive straight and long or with a draw/hook and you're in Deep Dukakis. The approach shot to the large sloping green is no less daunting. A cavernous bunker protects the front while a tall fir tree guards the right flank.
   Kayak is not resting on past laurels; they have enhanced all the bunkers with lots of silica sand, rebuilt the tee boxes, and what will be a spectacular 18 hole putting course that wraps around the clubhouse is currently under construction.
   The driving range is adequate, but could be helped with more grass tee areas, while the small bunker and chipping green really need an upgrade. The large putting green next to the No. 1 tee works well.
   The restaurant/sports bar and pro shot are private club caliber, absolutely super. The pro shop has a great selection of quality clothes and equipment items.
   Kayak rates as another "must play" golf course. It's a difficult course to walk, but a great way to get exercise. Also allow extra time on your commute to Kayak. The wandering road and road construction may cause delays.
   A stupendous golf course--enjoy!!

Kayak G.C.