Situated just outside Port Orchard, the public course at McCormick Woods Golf Club was laid out by architect Jack Frei, first opening its doors to golfers in the mid-1980s. The course occupies heavily forested terrain, with a number of holes routed around elements of housing.
Configured as two returning loops of nine holes, both of which conclude with demanding par fives, the course can be stretched to 7,040 yards from the championship back markers, though a choice of five tees on every hole allows the course to be played as short as 5,260 yards.
There’s plenty of challenge to be found at McCormick Woods, with heavy, damp air within sea level wooded areas close to the Sound tending to make it play longer. Still, a good drainage substructure handles the large amount of rain that falls here very well, permitting a reasonable level of fairways roll.
Notable holes include the 575-yard 9th, veering left to a green that sits next to the 18th in front of the clubhouse, and the 350-yard 12th, doglegging sharply right off the tee, past a small pond at the bend in the narrowing fairway which will catch many overly ambitious players who decide to go for the green with their tee shot.
A quality layout by Jack Frei -- the man responsible for the even better Desert Canyon in Orondo -- and best of all, available for the public to enjoy.
The main deficiency with the layout is the stacking of the housing that engulfs much of the property. That type of atmosphere only serves to diminish the overall golf experience. This is certainly unlike Desert Canyon which provides intoxicating vistas that only add to the enjoyment of the round there.
The routing is also a bit of a minus as the hole march in a predictable manner so that as many fronting housing lots can be maxed out.
Nonetheless, the sum total of the holes is put together in fine fashion. There will be times when the encroaching marine layer will only add to the yardages faced but that's part of the challenge when playing in the Pac Northwest.
Washington State public golf has clearly ramped up in the recent years but McCormick Woods is by no means a pushover of a layout. Frei's creativity can be observed at a number of the holes -- the detailing of the greens for the most part is quite good.
In my mind, if McCormick Woods underwent a makeover -- not in changing the holes - but in enhancing the qualities they have the layout would be worthy of top ten consideration among public courses in the State. That may not happen but I still believe what's presented is good enough golf for the non-affiliated player to enjoy.
M. James Ward