The Golf Club at Echo Falls – Review
The Golf Club at Echo Falls offers golfers a challenging design that forces you to play every club in your bag, while also providing many opportunities to score. Operated by Oki Golf (www.okigolf.com) and designed by Jack Frei, Echo Falls is serenely set in Snohomish, WA and offers a great layout that provides many risk reward shot choices throughout the round. Echo Falls, along with Hawks Prairie, are two of the great value courses under Oki Golf management. On par with all the other Oki courses, the customer service and amenities at Echo Falls are top of the line. Be sure to call ahead and book your tee time as early as possible as the course stays very busy during the summer months. There are also a lot of corporate tournaments hosted at the course so don’t be surprised if it is difficult to secure a tee time on the weekend.
Looking at the scorecard the layout hardly looks intimidating, however with the combination of doglegs and elevation changes club selection will play a large role in your ability to score. The course is just under 6,000 yards from the back tees, and for the long hitter every par 5 on the course can be reached in two. With that being said, one must decide whether to grip it and rip it or play for position off the tee. The opening hole provides a leftward sloping hill on the right side of the hole and can save you from your early push to the right. Be wary if you do end up on the slope, as many shots are lost into the trees on the left of green from this sloping lie.
The third hole will greet you with your first risk reward decision. Sitting at just 284 yards from the tips and 258 from the white tees the hole can be reached off the box. If you do choose to rip it off the tee there is water on the right and trees on the left waiting to gobble up your ball. A good tee shot on this hole cold set the tone for your round. The par 3 5th offers a large green with a large deep bunker guarding the front right. There is a very slight tier to this green and it is quite large, so an off target shot, even if on the green, is by no means a guaranteed par. If you are hungry near the turn be sure to stop at the snack shack after hole #8, as the turn will not take you back by the clubhouse. As a side note the snack shack has a great breakfast burrito.
The back 9 opens with a very short, very easy par 3. There used to be a tree that guarded the left half of the green, but that has now been removed and the approach to this short par 3 is wide open. The 12th hole offers a great view from an elevated green. This par 5 will take a long tee shot to allow the long hitter to reach it in two as there is a hazard that runs in front of this slightly elevated green. A lay up to around 100 yards on this hole is a good decision. While the 12th is a straightforward hole it always seems to give me fits.
The back 9 at Echo Falls is only a par 34, with four par 3’s and two par 5’. The only complaint about the back 9 is the large number of par 3’s that greet players. I am not a big fan of a course having 4 Par 3’s on any set of 9 holes; but the challenge of the two finishing holes makes up for it. The 17th hole is one of the hardest holes in the area. This long par 4 stretches 460 yards from the tips and offers an intimidating tee-shot. With water right and trees on the left you need a long straight shot to have less than a wood into this green. You are hardly done after your tee shot as the lake runs the length of the front right of the green. Any errant approach shot into this green will be sure to get wet. The 18th hole has a stunning view with an island green leading back to the clubhouse. This par 3 is just over 150 yards, but club selection is key. A miss in any direction will leave you reaching for another ball out of your bag.
If playing the course for the first time you may want to consider getting a cart. While you can walk the course, it is setup in such a way that there are long walks between holes; and the walk up the hill from 11 to 12 can leaving you searching for breath. One thing to keep in mind with the course is that due to its short length you will find that rounds can be a little slow. You tend to run into a lot of people who wait to hit their second shots into reachable par 5’s. Overall I enjoy the course and especially its proximity to the Seattle-Metro area. It offers the golfer a chance to get away and play without have to drive a great distance.
Echo Falls is a great venue and has a restaurant that is more than capable of hosting your after round bite to eat or your next special event. The dining area can seat up to 200 and hosts a number of weddings and special events throughout the year. As is the case with most Oki courses the management does a wonderful job of hosting tournaments (hence the reason it is hard to get a tee-time in the summer). Within easy driving distance from both Seattle and Bellevue, Echo Falls is a great choice for your weekend round.