Pullman, Washington (Public)
Flying over Washington’s rural southeastern corner, you might notice a swath of university campus alone in an ocean of wheat. Brand-new on Washington State University’s campus map is a John Harbottle–designed golf course with greens perched high and fairways that heave and tilt like turbulent seas. The university hired Harbottle to plow up a frowzy nine-holer and replace it with a challenging eighteen that would help catapult Cougar golf to NCAA-elite status. He was thrilled to land the gig but had a pang of careful-what-you-wish-for as he set about taming the site’s hundred-foot elevation changes. “Driving around and looking up at the hills, I thought, ‘This is impossible. It’s like working in Japan,’” he recalls. Turns out there was plenty of workable terrain, which he decorated with top-shelf greens and whisker-edged bunkers. A common translation for “palouse” is “land of short and thick grasses.” We can vouch for the “thick” part, especially after missing the fairway on the epic, 626-yard tenth hole (one of five par fives). Wind turns Palouse Ridge into the Evergreen State’s version of a blustery British links. Even on calm days, the course is still a handful.
John F. Harbottle III.