If you’ve read these columns for any length of time, you’ll realize I’m a relatively peaceful, emotionally-balanced fellow who’s not inclined toward temper tantrums or sudden flashes of rage. In other words, I don’t play golf.
Almost everything about that sport, from the objective to the tee-off swing, seems hopelessly bland and awkward to me. Throughout my 20 years of formal education, from kindergarten through graduate school, the only class I ever flunked was golf. I simply quit going to the damned class.
Yet, I have many friends who enjoy the game. In fact, a few of them are very avid golfers who let nothing, including their family ties and mental stability, stand in the way of another 18 holes. One sunny afternoon a month ago, they were already out there, wading through the back nine on the Enumclaw course. (Talk about pushing the season!)
King County developed the first nine holes on the local links during the late 1930s. Near as I can determine, without extensive research, the Men’s Club originated several years later. Founding members included some of the most familiar names in regional history; for example, George Kranc and “Hap” and Sam LaFromboise. The current president, Terry Flynn, claims the club now has more than 220 members.
Obviously, the main purpose of the Men’s Club is to support and promote the golf course. Nonetheless, their club house is rented for all kinds of community events; i.e., weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc. The place was built around 1972.
Through the years, King County gradually let the condition of the park deteriorate. The primary issue involved the turf, which was more swamp than fairway. Then, in 2003, ownership of the golf course and the swimming pool were simultaneously transferred from the county to the city of Enumclaw.
When this change occurred, the swimming pool had no source of income, so the fees collected at the golf course were used to maintain the pool. This produced a popular quip among golfers: Instead of asking an associate if he wanted to play golf, you asked if he wanted to contribute to swimming pool maintenance. (Today, approximately two-thirds of the pool’s expenses are covered by pool fees.)
According to Larry Fetter, director of Enumclaw parks, since 2005 the city has invested $150,000 on a new irrigation system for nine of the 18 holes in the course. Fetter readily admits that a lot more improvements are needed. First on the agenda is solving additional drainage problems, some of which can be cleared up by treating the turf for five or six years with a specially selected sand that’s free of weeds and undesirable foreign grasses. Paths and bridges also need repairs. Until these projects are completed, golfers will simply have to keep their cars on established paths and carry hip-boots. The facility also needs a driving range.
Long-range goals include a first-class restaurant and lounge that would not only attract golfers, but the public in general. Apparently, plans envision something like the Fire Creek Grill and Lounge on the Druids Glen Golf Course. Personally, I’ve always been fond of that place and, given the scenic setting we have to work with here, I’m sure Enumclaw could come up with something even finer, if it ever gets off the drawing board.