Put some swing in your game and your social life with the WAC Golf Club
Written by Lisa Wogan
Photography by Jonathan Schmidt
John Corby will never forget the first time he joined the WAC Golf Club for an outing at The Home Course in DuPont. Jaw-dropping views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier—combined with a stellar round—had John elated.
“I was playing out of my mind, on my way to shooting a career low,” he recalls.
Late in the round, he teed off with a 3-wood and shanked the ball out of bounds. Then, he did it again.
“It was just one of those golf moments,” he says.
At least he was in good company.
John joined the WAC in 2004, soon after moving to Seattle from Southern California. The Club satisfied his desire to stay active and cultivate a social life in his new city. The following spring, John’s wife, Alison, read about the WAC Golf Club and encouraged her husband to join. With about 100 members, the Golf Club hosts summer outings—from nine-hole twilight games to Club championship tournaments—at some of the most beautiful courses around Puget Sound.
“I get to play a variety of courses at a price that’s decent with really nice people,” John says. “There are a whole lot of positives.”
For many members of the Golf Club, the social aspect of the sport trumps strategy and competition.
“I really promote the fellowship,” Athletics Program Manager Darin Barr says. That includes taking special care to put together complementary foursomes.
“It’s as simple as, ‘This member would probably really like this member,’” Darin says.
Before joining the Golf Club two years ago, longtime WAC member Marilyn Boss devoted the majority of her golf time to the driving range. Her Golf Club membership connects her with others and eliminates the random draw of showing up to a course as a single. Now when she plays as part of a foursome, she knows she’ll share a common bond with her playing partners.
“There’s instant rapport because you’re playing with other members of the WAC,” she says.
Like John Corby, Marilyn keeps her USGA handicap at the WAC, a service included in the Golf Club’s annual fee of $55. “I would never have done it if they hadn’t made it so easy,” Marilyn says.
WAC members who don’t want to maintain a handicap can join the Golf Club for $25.
Show up and play
Keeping things streamlined and predictable are key features of the WAC Golf Club. That’s where Darin comes in. He takes care of all the logistics—from selecting courses suited to members’ skills and interests to setting up tee times to coordinating players and paying green fees, which are billed back in WAC member statements. All members need to do is show up and play. That suits Dave Scurlock just fine.
As a principal architect at Callison, Dave’s schedule makes it difficult to take advantage of other social opportunities at the WAC.
“I joined the Golf Club as a way to network [and] meet people with similar interests,” he says. “It’s one of the things I like best about the WAC.”
His wife, Lisa Noji, participates in the Golf Club intermittently, and the duo plays tournaments together when their schedules allow.
The downtime involved in a round of golf, Dave says, offers one of the sport’s best advantages.
“Four hours long but only 15 minutes of action, which leaves time for lots of walking and talking.”
Hail and hazards
Another member of the WAC Golf Club, David Theobald, grew up playing in Ohio. He’s a dedicated all-weather player with one WAC Golf Club tournament victory to his name.
“I had a dream that Darin called me and said we weren’t doing the Golf Club this year,” David says with a laugh. “That’s how involved I am and how important it is.”
He’s been a member of the Golf Club for more than a decade and has collected many fond memories. A few of those, he admits, are too colorful to print.
He still recalls the sting of shooting a 13 on one water-hazard-rich first hole to the amusement of his fellow players, and he savors the satisfaction of waiting out a rainstorm and then a hailstorm to be one of a handful of golfers to go the full 18 that day.
David generally brings a nonmember friend and pairs up with another twosome selected by Darin. Among those whose company he especially enjoyed over the years was Dave Smith, a longtime Golf Club member who lived off the 16th hole of the China Creek course at The Golf Club at Newcastle.
“He was always there with a smile,” David says.
The low-net winner at this year’s Newcastle tournament in June will receive a trophy named in Dave’s memory.
“Dave Smith was always in a good mood and helped create great memories,” Darin says. “That’s what the WAC Golf Club is all about.”
Improving your game
Lest you think it’s one big 19th hole, there is serious golf being played—and improved —through the WAC Golf Club.
“Golf is centered around social interaction,” WAC Golf Pro Alex Dunlop says. “The more people you meet that play, the larger your golfing network becomes. The larger the network, the more opportunities to play, which almost always leads to playing better.”
Tournaments take things up a notch further.
“Playing in structured events like the ones the WAC puts on is a great way to test your game and see what areas you can improve on,” says Alex, who can tailor instruction specifically to an upcoming event.
The WAC Golf Club’s first tournament of the 2012 season is set for Friday, June 1, at the Coal Creek course at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Tournaments typically take place on Saturdays.
Alex enjoys teaching golfers at every level. His experience with the game includes a year at David Leadbetter Golf Academy, two years of competitive golf for Washington State University, and a degree in professional golf management. He uses the latest in video-swing analysis—he can compare your swing to most professional golfers—and focuses on tempo-related issues and mental preparation.
Lessons are offered at Interbay Golf Center and at Hotel 1000. For information, contact Alex at 206.225.4526 or email@example.com.
—Lisa Wogan is a Seattle-based freelance writer. To learn more about the WAC Golf Club and the upcoming season, contact Darin Barr at 206.464.3074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.