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The No. 18 hole on Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course is set to get even tougher on Aug. 18, when a new water trap is added to its many sand bunkers. - Photo by Jesse Beals
The No. 18 hole on Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course is set to get even tougher on Aug. 18, when a new water trap is added to its many sand bunkers.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The turn has been made, and you and your threesome have survived, so far. But now it’s going to get tough.

That’s what happens when you take the best of the best and combine them into one spectacular golf course. Just imagine playing a back nine that includes a tough uphill par 4 at Horseshoe Lake to step on the tee box of a reachable par 5 at McCormick Woods that is the ultimate in risk-reward, to then face a par 3 that measures a scary 251 yards, to then go to a short par 4 closing hole that can turn a sure birdie into a round-killing double bogey.

That can easily happen on the Bremerton Patriot’s Fantasy Golf Course which includes the 18 best golf holes in and around Kitsap County as voted on by the people that know them best — local golfers.

A poll conducted through interviews and e-mails of golf course owners, general managers and instructors as well as weekend warriors has produced the top 18 holes in the area and just beyond.

These holes include some of the hardest on the Olympic Peninsula as well as some of the easiest. Some holes are listed just for their beauty while others found their way into the top 18 because they have been the setting of some golfer’s most memorable shots – both good and bad.

And while the outward nine, which was showcased in the Aug. 6 issue of the Patriot, was a nice beginning, the inward nine will have golfers scrambling for their lives.

Although the back nine comes in at a par of 36 and covers just 3,357 yards, chances of success of are slim to say the least. Like the front, these holes come from predominantly three courses in the county, Trophy Lake Golf & Casting and McCormick Woods in Port Orchard and Bremerton’s Olympic Course at Gold Mountain.

But these are the best of the best: The toughest, the longest, the hardest and the most popular of all the holes detailed by area golfers along with some other worthy holes that were prominently mentioned but just didn’t quite make the final cut.

So grab a couple more sleeves of balls, take a deep breath, wipe your brow and adjust your collar; the best is yet to come.

No. 10 – No. 15 Gold Mountain, Olympic Course, par 4, 357 yards: A quick glance at the scorecard shows the opening hole on the back nine is short and sweet. But looks can be deceiving.

Finding the fairway from a blind tee shot up the hill is imperative, as is the placement of your drive. Anything left of center leaves an approach over the pond that guards the left of the green and a drive too far right leaves too much room for error coming into this narrow and tight green.

“It’s a great par 4,” said Mark Knowles, general manager at Trophy Lake. “It’s not overly long but a good, solid hole. And with the water in front, it’s a beautiful hole.”

No. 11 – No. 2 Port Ludlow, Trail Nine, par 3, 176 yards: Maybe the most scenic hole not only on this course but in the state of Washington and beyond. With an elevated tee looking down to a green with the Puget Sound flowing behind it, a premium is placed on the tee shot. And at 176 yards with a tricky wind, club selection becomes the most important part of the equation.

But the beauty of this hole will make any golfer forget his score, good or bad.

“Probably the most picturesque hole around and maybe in the world,” said Kevin Earl, director of golf at Port Ludlow. “It looks so great as you are up on the tee box hitting right back into the water.”

No. 12 – No. 18 McCormick Woods, par 5, 477 yards: The first of many risk-reward holes that make up this back nine. At 477 yards, it’s a short five-shooter. But much depends on how it is played.

First, a drive must find the fairway, avoiding the fairway bunkers to the right to leave any chance of hitting the green in two. But a well-placed drive only means making the dreaded decision of going for the green in two, which can be tricky.

Even a well-played second shot could leave a very tough eagle putt and can quickly turn into a three-putt par or worse.

“It’s just an excellent golf hole,” said Shawn Cuciardi, general manager of McCormick Woods. “There’s a lot of risk-reward on this hole. It’s a well designed hole.”

No. 13 – No. 4 Trophy Lake Golf & Casting, par 4, 473 yards: A straight-forward, long par 4 with a fairway split by a ridge that forces a decision off the tee. The fairway is wide, but the sloping ridge dictates the lie on the approach to a well guarded green.

Any drive too far left is blocked by trees, while a second shot from the right must not only carry a bunker but be long enough to reach a raised green. Anything in the left-front bunker is dead and birdie putts are hard to come by on this slick, sloping green.

“It’s flat-out a hard hole,” said e-mailer Duane Richardson. “Any time I walk off that hole with par or better it makes my round.”

No. 14 – No. 14 Horseshoe Lake, par 4, 365 yards: Definitely not the kind of hole a golfer wants to face as a round winds down. But that’s why it’s here.

A tough, uphill tester that demands an accurate tee shot down the left side to shorten the hole. There is plenty of room to bail out to the right but the second shot will be brutal, coming straight up the hill with little green to work with and no clue where the pin is. Even a well-placed tee

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