Looking for that same small town in each of us on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula
by Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield
Discovery Bay Golf Club is a place of lore, legend, and roller-coaster greens framed by panoramic views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Formerly called Chevy Chase and located five miles from the historic town of Port Townsend, the 18-hole course is one of the oldest public courses in the state.
“This course is a treasure to be discovered,” says head PGA Professional Jeff Kent. “Our greens are as good as any around. Not a lot of people know about us.”
This undiscovered surprise also extends to another fabled treasure – $60,000 in gold English coins, dating from the 1860s, are rumored to be buried somewhere within vicinity of the golf course.
At 6,665 yards with a 124 slope rating, the course’s fairways weave between pines and pasture. The front side has been aptly named the Farm Nine, opened in 1925 as Chevy Chase Golf Course; and the back, the Forest Nine, designed by Michael Asmundson, which opened in 1997 – exactly 72 years after the first nine.
Asmundson designed numerous course in South America, as well as The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.
Nicolas Hurtado of Santiago, Chile now owns Discovery Bay, which is managed by a tight small crew, according to Superintendent Randy White. Hurtado and Asmundson met while designing and building five golf courses in Chile during the 1990s. Together, they bought the old Chevy Chase Golf Course in 2004 and renamed it Discovery Bay Golf Club. Asmundson lived upstairs in the course’s clubhouse until he passed away in 2020.
Kentucky Rye fairways cultivate passages through Madrona-laced forest slopes. Even seasoned walkers will be challenged by the long uphill pull to the 10th tee which leads to an elevated two-tiered green. “Many players walk the front nine then take a cart on the back nine,” said Kent.
Fondly referred to as “The Beast,” the green on the fourth hole is protected by water front-right and a bunker left. On this day, two barefoot players successfully landed on regulation only to three-putt, due to “hard-to-read breaks and tough undulations.”
An added feature is the course’s dog-friendly policy. “It’s like a dog heaven out there,” says Kent. Canine companions are welcomed as long as they are leashed. “We have never had any problems. People are very respectful. Just let us know in advance if you are bringing a dog.” This policy began with Asmundson, who brought his dog with him on every round he played.
Like most courses, Discovery Bay has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, having to close for six weeks. “But play actually increased once we got going again,” said Kent, adding the clubhouse has since reopened for beverages and snacks.
The course has five sets of tees and the only covered driving range on the Olympic Peninsula. Individual play and annual passes are available for this public course. “No one has to pay for a membership to play a quaint rural golf course with a championship layout,” said White.
For rates and tee times, call 360.385.0704 or visit DiscoveryBayGolfCourse.com.
Published in the June 2021 issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer. View the full digital issue.