‘America’s St. Andrews’


In the mid-1990’s Pierce County, WA completed a community oriented  master site planning process for 900 acres along Puget Sound and  Chambers Creek. Two-thirds of this municipal land was barren, vacant  land which once comprised the largest sand and gravel mining operation  in Western Washington. The vision was to transform some of the acreage  into a combination of infrastructure facilities alongside passive and  active recreation. A central component in the master plan was to develop  revenue-generating uses on the site which would help support the  operation and maintenance of the non-revenue-generating uses.  A golf  course was selected for 275 acres of the disturbed mining land as the  largest revenue generating opportunity.  Further study by the County  resulted in a world-class, destination style golf course capable of  hosting local, regional, national, international and PGA tournament  events to be programmed and implemented on the site along with various  supporting facilities including a golf clubhouse, maintenance  facilities, a golf academy and supporting practice facilities. The  County had a desire to implement the highest levels of environmentally  sustainable construction and operating practices in all aspects of the  project, which led to selection of members of our experienced team. 

An 18-hole public course on 275 acres was completed just outside  Tacoma, WA. The course winds through a beautiful coastal setting, among  windswept dunes and native fescue grasses. The course was home to the  2010 U.S. Amateur Championships and will host the 2015 U.S. Open.  Golfweek ranked this course as the number two US Municipal Course for  2010-2011. 


Reclamation of this active mining site created a unique opportunity  to restore native habitats and landscapes. The reclamation transformed  250 acres of degraded land to native northwestern coastal habitat. Dunes  were created and planted with native dune grasses. 

A detailed Natural Resource Management Plan was developed and  implemented for the golf course that incorporated environmental  protection for every aspect of golf course development and management.   The plan provides detailed protocols and processes for every step of  development and operations. Ecological risk assessments were conducted  to evaluate the nutrients and pesticides proposed for use on the  property.  We selected materials that were safe for wildlife, safe for  aquatic environments, and were as short lived as possible.  Extensive  Best Management Practices (BMP) were specified and implemented to  protect soil, water, and vegetation.  Buildings, including the club  house, are located away from Puget Sound to minimize runoff and  pollutant loading to Puget Sound. 

We developed an extensive public education programs that includes an  Environmental Education Center. A multi-purpose trail provides public  access through the golf course and along the Puget Sound. 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies have been incorporated  into every aspect of the development and maintenance of the golf course.  IPM strategies reduce the need for large scale applications of  fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals, ensure that materials used  to maintain the landscape are safe for the environment, and that  materials are applied properly by trained and licensed contractors.