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Top five golf courses in the South Sound

Men's Club picks their favorite local links

The Gold Mountain course south of Bremerton is cut out of the woods. Photo courtesy of Gold Mountain

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Although I am not usually a writer, everyone on our staff suggested I write this story when we discussed featuring the top golf courses in the South Sound. Looks like my occasional runny nose, cough and low-grade fever on warm Friday afternoons aren't fooling anyone. In order to bring some legitimacy to the project, I solicited more than 20 members of my Men's Club at RMG Oakbrook to share with me their opinions. The following are the results of their shared expertise. If you disagree, don't blame me, I only had one vote.

Tacoma Country & Golf Club

Rumored to be the oldest golf club west of the Mississippi, TCGC sits above American Lake in Lakewood. The course is always in immaculate condition with greens that are slicker than your kitchen floor. After the round, TCGC features a stylish restaurant with breathtaking views of the lake. This is a Country Club, so no jean shorts or tank tops. That also makes it hard to get a tee time. If you get the opportunity, don't miss it.

Gold Mountain Golf Club, Olympic Course

Seemingly cut out of the woods south of Bremerton, Gold Mountain will challenge your game as well as any in the region. Gold Mountain has been host to numerous NCAA events and the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Fairways are tree-lined but open, and the greens feature lots of mounding and collection areas surrounding them.

Chambers Bay

Although this Pierce County-owned links-styled course seems to bring out a wide range of opinions, it appeared, somewhere, on nearly every list I received from my golfing mates. After this weekend's U.S. Open, you will see why. With spectacular views and wide-open fairways, Chambers Bay gives you a different look off every tee. You won't find anything like it in the Northwest. Bring spare oxygen if you need it. The elevation changes are dramatic. Or, for the faint of heart, get a caddy to carry your clubs.

The RMG Club @ Oakbrook

This former Country Club, tucked in the back of the Oakbrook housing development in Lakewood, is now in the capable hands of PGA professional Ryan Moore. Long known for its challenging layout, the course has a new look with many of the firs removed this spring. The result: the track's many oak trees now frame each hole more prominently resembling, how I'd imagine it, it looked when originally opened in 1966.  The hidden secret here is the Oakhouse Restaurant. On a warm summer evening, there is no better spot than a seat on its patio, staring out at the action on the 18th green.

Salish Cliffs

Golfing and gambling go together ... right?  This beautiful mountainside resort course is challenging, particularly when the wind blows ... which is all the time. If you take a beating from your buddies in the afternoon, take a chance at changing your luck that evening at the Little Creek Casino and Hotel, only a long Par 5 away.    

Honorable mention:

The Home Course

Merely minutes from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and tucked up against the Puget Sound in DuPont, The Home Course features some gorgeous views. Tee it up and let it fly as this track can play long without much danger lurking. The challenge lies in the greens, big and undulating.

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