Monday, September 28, 2009

For a romantic golf getaway - Check out Alderbrook in Washington State

After two weeks vacationing with the kids this summer, my golfguy and I wanted a getaway just for ourselves - somewhere where we could golf, but also enjoy being pampered with luxury accommodations, fine dining, and a spa - all on the water, of course.

And as luck would have it, I received, out of the blue, an email promoting a resort just SW of Seattle that fit the bill for us - Alderbrook Resort and Spa.






I had never heard of Alderbrook, but the website sounded like it was made for us. And their Ultimate Golfers Escape looked like a really good deal. Starting at only $309/person you get:


- Luxury overnight accommodations
- Bottle of Wine
- $50 Dining Credit at the Restaurant at Alderbrook
- Two Rounds of Golf at the Alderbrook Golf Course
- $50 Calloway Gift Card
- One Under Armour Scramble Golf Bag (retail value $125)
- Valet Parking


Not too shabby, eh? And when we arrived there, this sign told me we'd arrived at the right place!




Haha...this was my kind of resort! And what was even better, the place is pet friendly - we saw all kinds of dogs and even some cats. Funny, I didn't see any children at all. I guess the signed worked ;)

We had a lovely 2 room suite overlooking the water. It was so quiet and peaceful. We slipped on the courtesy bathrobes and enjoyed a glass of wine while looking out at the canal. It was hard to believe we'd just been in I5 gridlock an hour before. The miles just fell off our bodies.

The restaurant/bar was buzzing - seems we hit the season opener for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the bar was jam packed with fans. I was surprised no one was watching the Mariners (I'm a baseball fan, not a football fan). Apparently, that was on in the kitchen. We almost asked if we could dine with the chef ;)

After a lovely meal (highly recommend the open faced ravioli), we strolled through the resort. The lobby is gorgeous with high vaulted ceilings and a rustic charm that makes you want to grab a good book and just sit by the fire and relax.



The next day we checked out the other amenities. There are tons of areas outside on the grounds to sneak away during the day and relax, or you can enjoy water sports at the end of a very long dock.

I enjoyed standing at the end of it, looking back at the resort. It was as beautiful looking from the water as it was looking at the water - A truly picturesque setting. I heard a rumour that Bill Gates owns property next door (shhh, it's supposed to be a secret). I wouldn't doubt it after seeing how beautiful the whole area is.




Now, I'm not really a lake/ocean swimmer, so I was looking for a pool, hot tub and spa. They weren't hard to find.



I saw a woman coming out of the spa as I was heading in. She looked very very relaxed. After some pretty brutal massage therapy at home to fix some golf-related issues, I was looking for something a bit gentler here. So I walked in and said to the receptionist, "I want whatever she had!" haha...


Of course golf was high on our agenda so we headed out to check out the course. It's across the street from the resort, about a 5 minute drive high up in the hills. I knew as the car climbed higher that we were about to face some ups and downs that day.

The first "up" was the clubhouse. It only just opened in the spring and it still had the "new" smell to it. I felt bad walking in with grass on my golf shoes.


The course was in very good shape - very well maintained and quite beautiful. Unfortunately we arrived when the greens were being aerated. In fact, we actually watched the maintenance guy sand the 17th hole as we were coming up on our approach shots. This happens a lot to us. Memo to Gayle - "Check aeration schedule before booking tee times!" Oh well, it just gave me lots of excuses for my putting. ;)


There are a lot of trees and houses on the course (AKA watch out for the OB stakes). The fairways are very narrow, making the front nine tricky. And the severe sloping of fairways like #4 and this one on #6 made keeping it in the short grass a challenge. But who wants an easy course, right? Ummm...me??? ;)


Our very friendly starter, Mark, told us that the back nine plays about 9-10 strokes easier. Apparently the two nines were designed by different people - sort of a Hyde/Jekyl thing going on, I'd say.

But to be fair, the course really is beautiful. There were moments when we just stood there and looked around at the towering trees. It felt almost like being in a cathedral - I swore I heard an echo.

On one hole, my golfguy was chipping up from the rough onto the green. He was quite a bit below the putting surface, and as he was doing his practice swing the sun was peeking through the tall trees behind him. The brush of the grass sprayed the dew in the air and it looked like he was bathed in a sun shower of crystals. It was quite stunning and reminded me that it was time to look around and appreciate the beauty of this course and forgot my score card for a while.

The fairways and rought are rye grass and the greens bent grass poa. And in the morning with the dew's dampness the rough was really rough. The ball had a tendency to settle down inside the grass, making escape even a problem for Houdini.

Now the 8th hole is one I won't forget. A par 5 where the women's tees are maybe 10 yards ahead of the men (not the women-friendliest of holes), this is known as the "Z" hole. You have to aim for the hill on the right and let it roll left. Then on your 2nd shot, aim left and let it roll right. This is the first hole I ever played where Army Golf was a good thing. I felt like I was playing PONG. LOL! It actually was a lot of fun.



The 10th hole was one of my favorites. A short dogleg left, it was beautiful looking forward up the fairway, but even better looking back towards the mountains.



I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be with the snow on them in the spring.

Now I mentioned there were houses on the course. And usually I hate that, but they were nestled nicely into the trees and frankly, it was like no one lived in them. It was soooo quiet. The only time I heard any signs of civilization was on #13.

I had such a hard time on that "funnel" hole. You look at it and are convinced that all balls will roll to the centre of the fairway. And...I expect they do when the rough is dry. But when it's wet, like the day we played, oh my! I had the worst uphill and downhill lies on that hole!


And when I finally made it to the green, I couldn't read it for love or money. As I dragged myself off the green,I heard a baby start to cry. It was perfect timing - someone to share my pain!

Funny how golf is. Just when you want to give it up, the gods of golf give you a birdie. I loved the 16th hole!



18 was pretty special too - a great closing hole that awards you vista views of the sound as you head to the green.



They even have a telescope at the tee to either look for golfers ahead or just check out the scenery. Cool!



At the end of our round, we watched the one of the Fedex Cup playoffs at the bar and had some lunch. The bartender was very friendly (actually all the staff were great) and I was very happy they had my post-round drink of choice - champagne splits.



Alderbrook Golf Course is one I will definitely play again - partly for revenge, I must admit. It may be a resort course, and it's not that long at only 6338 yards from the tips, but it's not easy with its elevation changes, blind shots and difficult rough. I heard rumours they are trying to make it a championship course. I expect all it needs is some length - they got the hard part down pat I'd say!

The time flew by at Alderbrook. That's what happens when you're having too much fun I guess. But it just made me want to come back again to take advantage of some of the water activities. Next time I think we'll try the cottages. They have full kitchens and the staff will even deliver groceries to your door. We love to cook, so that's right up our alley.

Alderbrook really is a hidden gem in Washington State. The only advice I can give you - try and avoid rush hour traffic on the I5 to save an hour or two and a few grey hairs on your way there. (Now...is that even possible?).

Golfgal

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