The Tacoma area is noted for its meadows; its municipal offerings include both a Meadow Park and a MeadowWood Golf Course. The latter is a Robert Muir Graves design from the 1980s, which is the second-most celebrated municipal course in Tacoma (the first is U.S. Open host Chambers Bay). Although it’s a long road to catch up with that course, MeadowWood offers a collection of impressive hazards, which are kept at peak condition.
One of Graves’s favorite ploys around the course was to create large bunkers that feature islands of turf within; there are seven of these along the route, creating a range of awkward lies for those who miss the fairway.
Many of the holes stick to land on the flatter parts of the property, but the final stretch of the course travels up into the hills (a decent amount of this climb will occur during your approach shot at No. 16, a 600-yard par five that climbs dramatically to the green). This culminates with a closing par four that dives down toward the final green. Although measuring nearly 400 yards from the back tee, it will almost seem drivable from on high (it isn’t).
I am surprised Meadow Wood made the list, but here goes. The first hole is a dogleg right with bunkers on the inside elbow. Favor left of center off the tee and there are three greenside bunkers. The first par five is interesting. Trees and OB left and the fairway tighten sup in the landing area. The last 120 yards of the hole is hard left, but this is where the bunkers come into play. There is a donut bunker on the inside elbow about 120 yards out and three sequential on the right and two behind the green. Play it as a three shotter. The 3rd is a short par four and a birdie oppty. However, consider laying up. There are two bunkers right about 130 yards out and water starts on the left and wraps around the green about 70 yards out. Not sure why the 4th is rated the number 4 handicap. Yes, it is one of the longer par fours but straightaway with only two greenside bunkers. The 5th parallels the 4th and is 3 yards longer. The 6th is the shortest par three and has three large bunkers enveloping the green. The 7th is a left leaning par five that is reachable. Big hitters can try to fly the bunker on the inside elbow and that will leave them inside of 225. Other wise play right of the bunker and you still may be able to get home in two. There are two large fairway bunkers on each side starting about 100 yards out and a large greenside bunker right. The 8th is a mid-length par three with three surrounding greenside bunkers. The 9th is the longest par four and it is demanding. The hole tilts left and wraps around a water hazard. Generous landing area that constricts as you get closer to the green with two bunkers right.
The back starts with a dogleg left with water also down the left side. The fairway really shrinks inside of 150. Play accordingly. The 11th is a mid-length Florida par three. The 12th is a good par five that bends right. To carry the inside right elbow bunkers 250 yards. You will then have a water carry, but it is not as daunting as it may appear, as there is about 40 yards between the water hazard and the middle of the green. If you play it left of the bunkers off the tee you are reducing the water carry significantly. The 14th is a reverse C with a left fairway bunker squeezing the fairway. To carry this bunker is also about 250. The 14th is straightaway but has left and right bunkers hour glassing the fairway as well as let and right greenside bunkers. The 15th has water all the way down the right side and the green is perched behind the water hazard. Favor the left side. The 16th is a 600 plus yard par five that is uphill. Really the only hilly section on the course. The hole bends left with OB left so favor the right side. The 16th warrants the number one handicap. The 17th is a short par three. The 18th is a long par four that ultimately trundles downhill and leans right. You will need to hit two good shots here to be on the green.
Meadow Wood is a fine municipal course. Pretty flat except for the last three holes, An excellent value.