Fall golf in the Pacific Northwest

Updated: September 3, 2023

While the fair-weather golfers put their cubs into the closet for the year, those of us that truly love the game know that the fall season can be the best time to play. The trees are displaying their magnificent colors, the greens are dark green and receptive, the fairways are a bit softer so that balls hit less than perfect, don’t bounce into trouble nearly as often as they did during the firm summer fairways. October still finds the courses fairly firm so you don’t have to worry about balls plugging in the fairways.

Probably the best part of fall golf is playing the lack of congestion, the slow playing that is associated with large crowds navigating the course is gone. Fall time brings out the true golf lover, the ones who may not be the best ball strikers but they know how to get around the course at a fair pace. If you choose your course carefully, you just might find that you have the course nearly to your self. Golf was meant to be played at a speed that is comfortable and not hurried or rushed because the group behind you is starting to drive on you or having to wait on every tee for the slow group in front of you.

As the days are getting shorter it is important to plan for earlier rounds. The weather is going to be cooler so choosing your clothing is an important consideration – pick multiple thin layers that don’t restrict your swing but can be adjusted to the situation–a vest is always a good choice. Generally speaking, the close-in courses will get the majority of play in fall and winter months, which leaves the perimeter courses with more open tee times. We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from playing the city courses, but sometimes a little variety is good. Outlaying courses tee sheets should be a bit more open.  Most courses are still dry this time of year so the options are wide open when choosing a course to play.

This is the time of year when jumping in the car and driving out of the city can be rewarding, to places like The Home Course in DuPont, Alderbrook on Hood Canal, or a 30-minute ferry ride across the water from Seattle to White Horse in Kingston.  Also on the Olympic Peninsula is a terrific stop – Port Ludlow Golf Club, always ranked among the top courses in the Pacific Northwest.                   

White Horse in Kingston,WA

In Oregon, the Portland area is another great option and Central Oregon, at places like Juniper, the fall golf options are terrific with the changing of the colors, course conditions and weather. And Black Butte Ranch Resort offers two championship courses, and now a new putting course.

Black Butte Ranch

There are a bunch of great golf courses to choose from whether going north, south, west or east. And, don’t forget just over the mountains, Eastern Washington still has some great golfing weather where you can extend the dry season a bit longer–places like Sage Hills, Desert Aire, Moses Lake or Wine Valley in Walla Walla.

Sage Hills Golf & RV
Wine Valley

Wine Valley, designed by Dan Hixson, is an award winner with wide fairways, rolling greens and terrific views of the Blue Mountains.

One huge benefit to fall golf is the off-season green fees. For some, the high-time rates can be challenging to average player who can only afford a few rounds a month while the reduced rates allow more people to play more often and keep the clubs in the car instead of in the closet.

Hope everyone is able to get out and take advantage of the great weather before it’s gone.