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Back in the Day: Dick Rovig Remembers

Back in the Day: Dick Rovig Remembers

     One-time Local Golf Courses I have known and played. Alas, the local area has said goodbye to a lot of courses over the years. Here is a short history of what I can remember about them and a Google Earth photo of what is located at the site now.


     Many present Jackson Park members probably matriculated at Nathan Hale High School. Well before the school was built, the area contained a nine-hole golf course, a fun track to play.  N. 115th to the north, 35th Ave. N.E.  To the east, N. 110th to the south, Ravenna NE was the western boundary. Thornton Creek ran through it, making it really muddy during the rainy season. A Google search indicates the course was built in 1928, two years before Jackson. The site was sold to the city and school district in 1960.




     Founded in the mid-1920, the Olympic View Golf Club, was located off Holman Road, between 95th and 85th Streets and 15th and 24th Avenues.

     Fifty one years ago, the club gave way to a housing development — Olympic Manor — its members unable to raise the $300,000 necessary to keep the developers at bay. (It is rumored the City of Seattle could have purchased the course, but the powers that be considered it too tough. DR)

     Small lots sold for $3,700 each. Memories were not for sale, not of the renowned Walter Hagen, once owning the course record at Olympic View, of Byron Nelson playing — and losing — an exhibition there, of Jerry Fehr — Rick’s Dad — carving out the final course record of 62. Pro golfer Don Bies learned his trade there..

(The above information was culled from a Seattle Times article by Blaine Newman celebrating the 50th anniversary of  the club’s closing.)

     This writer never played the course but in 1952, caddied for a friend who was representing Lincoln High School in a tournament there. One remembrance; the clubhouse had slot machines in the lobby (It was located outside the city limits at that time).

Olympic View



     Juanita Bay Park was once the home of the Juanita Golf Course which opened in 1932 and was in operation for more than 40 years. Its landscape of rolling hills, as well as its proximity to wetlands made for a natural conversion to into one of the best parks for urban nature walking on the Eastside (sound familiar, Jackson Park?).

     This writer can only recall this course was really wet.  It was almost unplayable in the rainy season (which was most of the time). One sidelight; this is where LPGA Hall of Famer, Joanne Gunderson Carner learned the game.



Redmond Golf Links 1932-1980(or so)

     Redmond opened the same day as Juanita, on 87 acres right in the middle of the city. The Redmond Town Center is presently located on its site. It was an 18 hole track. Obviously, on only 87 acres it was short. I think par was 68. Frankly, it was pretty easy. I called it “my confidence course,” always playing it my when game wasn’t going well (which was pretty often.)

     The land was purchased in about 1978. Much discussion about its use occurred. It was a tossup  whether to continue as a golf site, condominiums or a shopping center. Alas, of course the shopping center won. One can still see vestiges of the course as they drive past on 520.

redmond golf links 


UW GOLF COURSE 1912-early ‘60s

From Columns, the University of Washington Alumni Magazine

     Cheers went up the day ground was broken in 1947 to build the new UW School of Medicine-except from some local physicians, who opposed the creation of the school and local golfers.

     The Seattle golfing community was a bit sad because the school was being built on the grounds of the University Golf Course, a sweet, nine-hole layout that for 3 1/2 decades hugged more than half a mile of Portage Bay and the Montlake Cut.

     The course was the home of the University Golf Club, and offered students, faculty and other University folks a chance to grab their sticks and whack the ball around for next to nothing. Carved out of an undeveloped landscape that-in 1912-was three miles outside of Seattle city limits, the 3,100-yard course started along Pacific Avenue for a few holes, then picked up across Montlake Blvd. E. and ran along the Montlake Cut, ending next to Husky Stadium. The picturesque course did not lead an idyllic life, however. For years, S.E. Hayes, the owner of the Sand Point Golf Club, protested the fact that students and others could play on the “tax-free and rent-free” University course for little money (non-members paid 50 cents) while Sand Point members had to pay “hefty” fees at their course. But the course survived the dispute.

     The course was doomed the day the University decided to build the school. It was the only open section of land on campus large enough to accommodate the planned medical, dental and nursing schools, health sciences complex and accompanying teaching hospital-as well as room for their probable expansion.

UHosp skeleton

UW golf course



     Earlington Golf Club and Country Club  in Renton was one of the first golf courses in the area. It opened as a nine hole course in 1894, according to some accounts, competing with the Tacoma Country Club as the oldest course in the state. It was considered “a plush country club” and competed with the Seattle Golf Club in many matches.

     On land leased from the Burlington Railroad it later added nine holes and went public later in the century. Its address was 1004 Monster Road S.W. Alas, it closed in late 1981. In 1961, this writer scored his first eagle on the seventh hole in about 1962.

     Interestingly, the area can be search on Google Earth as “Earlington Golf Course”, even though most of it is a business park now.

 The drawing below was rendered in 1913.

eazrlington 1913


Thank you Dick Rovig for this wonderful remembrance of our local Golf History!

5 thoughts on “Back in the Day: Dick Rovig Remembers”

  1. Thanks for the memories.
    My family (Keenholts) owned Earlington Golf Course for a period of time back in the forties. The clubhouse burned to the ground, believed to be arson, and they recieved an offer to sell, so they did.

  2. Thank you for the history of the Earlington golf course. When we played it in the early 60s, we thought of it as cow pasture course, always easy to get on, and not the posh course it was originally. We would drive from Rainier Valley down Empire Way and somehow get onto the road that took us to Earlington. As there was no marked signage, we never knew of Monster Rd. until recently when I read on Facebook how a friend got to Longacres from Empire Way past Earlington on Monster Rd. After college in 68, I lived away from Seattle and didn’t golf much. When I learned that it closed in 81, I regret not having played it at least one more time, especially the two par 3 Black River remnant water holes.

  3. My Dad (Ray Walker) was the Assistant pro at Earlington Golf Course; I was in the fifth grade when we moved their and lived in an old farm house above the golf course. I use to help Marg Puetz the wife of the Pro their in the small Cafe there on weekends. It was near the Long Acres Race Track and my brother and I would sit on the edge of a hill near the golf course and watch the races on he weekends. We would walk to church on Sundays through the golf course, pastures, and a nursery garden, then a few blocks to the Church called St Anthony’s in Renton. There was a dairy nearby and I was woken up one morning when I heard a MOOO, someone evidently didn’t close the cow pasture gate because several of he cows got out and one just outside my bedroom window which was close to the ground. I think it thought it was the entrance to their feeding bin. It was isolated but my brother Bob and I formed a strong bond growing up. Unfortunately he passed a few years ago. My Dad became friends with the Pro at Foster Golf Course not to far away and they would go fishing together. One time as they were floating down a river fishing in a small rowboat it capsized and Dad came home soaking wet and no fish. I believe it was called Black River but not sure. We walked a 1/4 of a mile each morning and afternoon to and from our school bus stop near Longacres. There was a garbage dump near by and people would drop cats and kitten by and I would rescue them. I’d have them for a short time and then they would disappear. They started attacking attacking my Mom who would feed them leftovers. Se had scratches all over her arm from one attack so I think my Dad got rid of them but saved one of my favorites. We had a wonderful orchard of apple and cherry trees and nuts but not sure what kind of nuts so we never ate any. One of the fun things we did was go night crawler hunting after dark with flashlights; they loved the greens on the golf course and they were great for catching fish. Must take a break.

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