Towering trees and tumultuous terrain make Kayak Point Golf Course in Stanwood, Washington

STANWOOD, Wash. -- The old growth fir and cedar trees lining Kayak Point Golf Course tower over players. They provide the seclusion from the outside world that golfers crave. There's no noise from nearby roads or homes, just you against Mother Nature.

There aren't many bunkers here -- just 34, 95 percent of them greenside -- and water comes into play on only two holes. But untamed terrain creates a routing that plays much longer than its yardage.

The side-by-side par 4s at the first and 10th holes fall off the same ridge to greens well below. Conversely, the finishing holes on each nine, the par-5 ninth hole and the par-4 18th hole, must climb back uphill to the clubhouse.

Deciphering the speed and breaks of Kayak Point's poa annua greens can be tricky.

"There are a lot of risk-reward shots," General Manager Steve Stensland said. "You don't need a driver on most of the holes, but it's fun to challenge those doglegs and try to reach those par 5s in two."

Snohomish County, which owns the 6,719-yard course, will soon launch plans to invest $500,000 back into the 260-acre property over the next three years. Stensland said improvements will include leveling tee boxes among other details to return the Ronald Fream design to its glory days (it opened in 1977).

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Towering trees and tumultuous terrain make Kayak Point Golf Course in Stanwood, Washington