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|A pond guards the finishing hole of both Eagle's Talon and Coyote Creek at Willows Run Golf Complex. (Jason Scott Deegan/TravelGolf)|
REDMOND, Wash. -- The Willows Run Golf Complex can be many things to many people. There's a diverse array of facilities that caters to every level and age of golfer.
With 36 holes, Willows Run regularly attracts singles looking to join potential new friends for a round. The length of the Eagle's Talon Course attracts longer hitters and lower handicaps, while the tighter, shorter Coyote Creek Course provides a different target-oriented test of precision and shot-making.
Families and beginners gravitate toward the nine-hole Heron Links executive course or Rainbow Run, an 18-hole themed putt-putt course. Heron Links can also sharpen up the iron game of better players with holes ranging from 86 yards to 170 yards. Everybody would benefit from more practice on the covered bays of the driving range or by taking lessons at the Gregg Rogers' Golf Performance Center.
It's easy to see why Willows Run has become a public country club for anyone and everyone in the Sammamish Valley east of Seattle.
"We are kind of the golf mecca," Head Professional Shawn Beattie said. "We have everything, from scratch golfers to 'I-just-want-to-pick-the-game-up' players. We try to hit every age demographic. You can come with the family or come with the buddies. Being in the Redmond area, we are located perfectly to be like this. New guests that come in say 'It's amazing. I don't have to go anywhere else.'"
Architect Ted Locke designed the first 18 holes of Willows Run in 1994. He added the other 18 holes five years later, integrating the layouts by transferring several holes between the two. Both were designed on flat farmland as inland links with virtually no trees. Trees sprouting up over time have distinctly changed their character, providing some seclusion from one hole to the next.
Locals simply refer to the 6,843-yard Eagle's Talon as the "outer" course since it hugs the perimeter of the property with the 6,344-yard Coyote Creek the "inner" course. Both are walker friendly and feature plenty of water and wetlands, including side-by-side finishing holes that require approach shots over a pond. The 17th on Eagle's Talon plays to an island-like green surrounded by water.
Beattie said higher handicaps like the wider corridors of Eagle's Talon. "The difference between the two is Eagle's Talon," he added. "You can pretty much see every flag from every tee. Coyote Creek, there's much more shot-shaping. It's narrow. You can't always see the flag. There's more doglegs."
Beattie and much of his staff slightly favor Coyote Creek since it's less crowded and plays more strategic. "On the Eagle's Talon, it's swing away and go find it," he said.
Redmond resident Matt Cave, a single digit, said he prefers Eagle's Talon instead. "What you see is what you get. It's a traditional layout," he said. "In the summer time, the greens are in good shape."
Being in the middle of the suburbs is great for business, but unfortunately, the traffic on the road adjacent to Eagle's Talon does detract somewhat from its natural ambiance.
Still, for convenience and value, Willows Run Golf Complex is hard to beat for thousands of local golfers who consider it their "home" club.
July 15, 2013
Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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