Highlands Golf Course in Tacoma celebrates a major milestone

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Updated: September 1, 2021

It’s 90 years old, but who’s counting? So, what’s new at the Highlands Golf Course in Tacoma? How about four miles of irrigation pipe, a completely remodeled building with a new McDuff’s café and a huge new outdoor patio attached, new fountains, a Scottish bridge, a new outdoor fireplace and fire pit, a pair of new lakes and hundreds of additional floral arrangements plus the “greenest greens you’ll ever see.” 

If you don’t golf, you probably wouldn’t appreciate all that we are referring to, but if you do, just wait and see what’s “at the ready” at the par three golfing “gem” near the Narrows Bridge. It’s currently the 7th ranked golf course in the entire state of Washington and the only par 3 layout to be so honored, but those who play there will tell you …  “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”!

So, who’s responsible for “all of the above”?  That would be its new owner, Jack Connelly. Jack and his wife Angela, and many of their nine children, have been actively involved with golf course operations since their purchase of the nine-hole facility last year.  Initially their goal was to stage a spectacular 90th Anniversary Tournament there in 2021. Covid slowed those plans so they have gone to work on the course.

They had heard the complaints about the course conditions they inherited, however, and then listened to the many suggestions for improvements while actively exploring the potential changes which its past owners were not able to accomplish. All in all, it’s been a” Happy New Year approach” rather than a 90th anniversary finale.

So, the celebration will be for a “brand new” facility instead of a near-century of “wear and tear” on one. The Connellys won’t be satisfied with a number seven ranking. They not only have those high hopes for golf at Highlands but they want to be regarded as good neighbors to their hundreds of nearby homes and families with the addition of hosting certain community events and activities. 

An Easter Egg Hunt which attracted some 800 neighborhood youngsters this year was a huge success, for example, and there will be several similar gatherings in 2022.

Golf Tournaments are other events which have had to wait their turn. With all of the renovation and remodeling which has taken place and a sprinkling system which had to be shut down during much of the course construction, (which also came during two of the driest months on record), the course has been playable but not as attractive as needed for highly-competitive action and its spectators. That will soon change.

Ask the Highlands “regulars” what they think and there is plenty of agreement about the future. There are 42 members in the Ladies Club there and 53 in its Men’s Club and, to a person, they think course conditions will match any in the region once the various irrigation ditches are completely covered and the watering has had its chance for the turf to “go green” again. 

   Golf Pro Don Mojean, together with Bob Harris and Thomas Connelly have been dealing with all the new business in the Pro Shop while the friendly staff at McDuff’s stands by to treat you to some beverages, food and conversation after your round.

To date, what has been the verdict of the golfing public? They let their actions speak louder than words by coming back to play over and over again. In counting the rounds, Highlands has attracted some 21,000 already in 2021. There were 28,308 rounds played in the entire year of 2020.

With that kind of continued play, just imagine what our “celebration of the century” will be like 10 years from now? 

For more information about Highlands Golf Course call 253.759.3622 or see the website at wwww.highlandsgolf.net.