Gold Mountain adds another jewel

The view from the par-5 ninth hole on the Olympic Course. It used to be the 18th hole, but golf course officials have switched the nines in order to speed up play.  - Rogerick Anas
The view from the par-5 ninth hole on the Olympic Course. It used to be the 18th hole, but golf course officials have switched the nines in order to speed up play.
— image credit: Rogerick Anas

It might not be the Taj Mahal of golf course clubhouses, but for a municipal operation, Gold Mountain Golf Complex’s new $3.5 million facility is pretty spectacular.

The settings and views are definitely resort class.

“It’ll be a super-functional place,” said Pat Westhoff, the city of Bremerton’s golf operations supervisor. “Our No. 1 goal is to take care of the golfers. It just so happens we can take care of them with a very high class facility.”

It’s a major upgrade from the old clubhouse, which sits next to the Cascade Course, the original 18-hole course that opened in 1970.

“When it really rains, I’ve got 20 buckets out to catch the drips and about a five mile-an-hour wind through the pro shop area,” director of golf Scott Alexander said of the old clubhouse. “I started here in 1984 and the building leaked then.”

The new clubhouse, snuggled closer to the newer, higher-profile Olympic Course, has been open for banquets and meetings since Dec. 1. Alexander’s staff of golf professionals hoped to be operating out of their new pro shop by the middle of this week.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at noon.

The clubhouse, designed by Kitsap-based architect and avid golfer Steve Myrvang, is a handsome 12,500-square-foot, high-ceilinged structure. The interior includes pine and maple materials, while the exterior has cedar siding with wide overhangs that protects the siding and provides shelter for the golfers. There’s a lot of stone and masonry work.

“It’s a Northwestern style that fits the environment,” said Myrvang, who also designed the Poulsbo library and Silver City Brewery. “It’s a very practical building, a high-quality building to be used and enjoyed for 50 to 60 years easily without being remodeled.

“I think it turned out beautiful. I love it. Of course, you’re asking the wrong guy if you want to get an unbiased opinion.”

Golfers can take advantage of a large circular driveway to drop off their clubs before parking their cars.

An expansive concrete patio area overlooks several holes on the front nine of the Olympic Course and, on a clear day it looks like you can drive a golf ball to the Olympic Mountains.

Westhoff said some trees and brush will eventually be removed, giving viewers from the clubhouse an even better view.

Olympic’s front nine used to be the back nine, but officials decided long ago to switch sides when the clubhouse opened.

“It just makes sense,” Westhoff said. “We were getting backed up on No. 3 (a par-3 over water) and No. 9 (a short par-4) all the time. The spacing is so much better this way. We’ll be able to get a lot more golfers through on busy days.”

Olympic’s new 18th hole can be reached from an elevated tee by long hitters.

It’ll make for some interesting decisions by golfers during tournaments. Do they gamble and go for the green, or lay up short?

A 2,500-square-foot cedar banquet facility features a deck that overlooks the cavernous new finishing hole, which has kind of a built-in amphitheater feel to it. It’s an ideal spot to watch groups playing the hole.

Tuckers at Gold Mountain, named after Alexander’s daughter, is the new restaurant.

“We’re going to experiment with the restaurant,” Alexander said. “It won’t be open fulltime until next spring.”

But the bar and banquet facility’s up and running. The clubhouse has already booked a number of banquets, weddings and Christmas parties.

Alexander and Westhoff believe the new clubhouse will increase business at the golf complex.

Afterall, getting players on the golf course remains the No. 1 goal for the city of Bremerton-owned facility.

Gold Mountain remains one of the busiest facilities in the state, yet business has declined the past couple of years.

The highly-acclaimed Olympic Course, which opened Sept. 13, 1996, did 54,000 rounds in 1997. It’ll do about 47,000 this year. The Cascade Course will do about 54,000 this year, which is about 2,000 below the number the city projected.

“Hopefully, if rounds go up 5 percent next year, we would be happy,” Alexander said.

“We think we’re now going to be able to get some corporate tournaments that we’ve lost to other courses,” Alexander said. “We’ve lost a certain clientele because of the old building. They were going some place that was able to put the Ritz on for their people. Now we can do that here.”

Westhoff said the 36-hole facility, which remains one of the top winter golf destinations around because of its excellent drainage, sells itself.

“Once you get people over here for the corporate outings, get them introduced for the first time, you get a lot of word-of-mouth advertising,” Westhoff said. “You hear first timers all the time saying, ‘You’ve got to play this thing. It’s beautiful.’ They can’t believe it’s a municipal golf course.

“Now we’ve got a first-class clubhouse to go with a first-class course.”

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