The course at Harbour Pointe Golf Club offers a game of two halves: a fairly flat front nine with plenty of water then an undulating back nine featuring one of the most spectacular holes in the state at the downhill par four 11th.
Generally, the courses I've played bearing the fingerprints of Arthur Hills have been rather disappointing. They are done well but the overall impact from the architecture has often been rudimentary and hardly inspiring. More attention is centered on how the course "looks" rather than how it "plays."
However, that's not the case with Harbour Pointe.
The course provides two distinct nines and there's enough substance with each side.
After a fairly ordinary opening hole the quality of the design immediately ramps up with the next few holes. The test is securing the fairway because misplayed shots will almost certainly mean a healthy donation to the course's ball fund.
The dog-leg left par-4 4th is very good and it's followed by a strong two-shot hole at the long par-4 5th.
The short par-4 8th is a fine counterpoint -- not long but those seeking a big time play from the tee had best execute given the tighter landing area and water penalty area near to the green.
The dog-leg par-4 9th ends the outward side with a key decision -- how far does one wish to hit the ball from the tee -- those seeking max distance had best secure the narrowing landing area.
The inward half is considerably hillier and provides some eye-catching moments.
The downhill par-4 11th is clearly memorable but it's the building up towards the finale that mandates consistently executed shots. The penultimate 17th does not surrender willingly without proper thinking and the concluding par-5 18th can yield a closing birdie but you'll need to earn it.
Harbour Pointe is not helped with the plethora of housing that's clearly overdone in certain spots when playing. There's also the placement of cart paths which can be an eye-sore as well but given the necessity in today's game for many players.
When opening in 1991, Harbour Pointe was among the very top public courses available in Washington. That has since changed with the likes of Gamble Sands, Chambers Bay and Wine Valley, to name just three, having entered the scene.
Nonetheless, Harbour Point has enough present to merit checking out for those coming to the greater Seattle area.
M. James Ward
One thing I always appreciate about your reviews M. James, is that you always give credit where credit’s due. Sure, you like thrilling land and an absence of housing, but you always cut through to the golfing merit offered up - irrespective of who the architect was