There are 10 golf courses throughout the Tri-Cities, but for the third year in a row, Canyon Lakes Golf Course is the top place to tee off, as voted by People’s Choice readers.
The lush course is more than 7,000 yards from the back tees, with large, fast greens and wide fairways. Add in the ponds, fountains, ducks and turtles, and it’s no wonder Golf Digest rated it 41/2 stars, making it the highest-rated course in the Tri-City area. It shares the highest ranking in Washington.
Canyon Lakes also features five sets of tees, a driving range, practice putting green, practice bunker, 18-hole championship putting course and a full-service restaurant.
“I think the main thing is we are a great golf course with great people working here,” said Mike Lundgren, Canyon Lakes president and general manager. “Every hole is different. There are 18 distinctive holes. No. 12 is one of the largest in the Northwest (12,000 square feet).”
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Hole No. 9 was selected by Northwest Travel Magazine as one of the Northwest’s “Dream 18” holes. It’s a par 5 with a fountain in the front.
The wide greens allow the course to have a nine-point rotation, which gives everyone a fresh green every time. “We change them about five times a week,” Lundgren said. “A lot of the other courses have smaller greens and can only do one or two rotations.”
The course, built in 1981 and designed by local architect John Steidel, is surrounded by trees, big homes and hills on the back side, cutting down on the wind.
“When it blows in the Tri-Cities, it blows,” Lundgren said. “We are in a valley, and that helps cut down on the breeze.”
Canyon Lakes is a public course with about 700 members, Lundgren said.
“In 1995, one-third of the golfers were members, and two-thirds were outside play,” Lundgren said. “Now, we are 75 percent member play. We are the busiest golf course in town.”
Membership at Canyon Lakes has its advantages. There are no big initiation fees, no food requirements, 10-day reservation advantage, 50 percent off cart rentals, and 50 percent off green fees and cart rental at Horn Rapids and Wine Valley Golf Course. There are 22 membership levels to choose from.
“You get to choose what you want,” Lundgren said. “We only charge them for what they want.”
If a cart is what you want, Canyon Lakes has a whole fleet, all equipped with GPS so golfers can maneuver the course and get back to the clubhouse for a cool beverage at the end of their round.