General Information  
Location Kent, Washington
Year Opened 1989
Date Played Various
Review Date 01/24/99
My Score/Best Score 77
Phone Number 1-887-224-3250
Web Site http://www.riverbend-golf.com/
Located in the Kent Valley, Riverbend is flat and very easy to walk. This is a course I watched being built and first played the 2nd day after it first opened in 1989. The trees then were little saplings. You won't find as many grown trees as you will on other Northwest courses, but those little saplings are now almost 10 years old and finally starting to get to a size where they can come into play. The fairways are generally wide, and there isn't much deep rough (unless they haven't mowed it for a while). Fairway and greenside bunkers will come into play as will wetlands and ponds causing water to come into play on 8 holes. Greens are medium size and contain various curves and breaks. Yardage is just 6666 yards from the blue tees, but often roll is not as much as you might anticipate, particularly in the wet season. I'll also add that last season I played this course in an evening league, so I put in quite a few rounds and am pretty familiar with the layout. There is also a par 3 course and a driving range across the street. 
The greens have potential, but aren't in as good shape as they could be. Some seem to putt slower than others, and footprint indentations are a problem on some of the softer greens. Number 8 comes to mind as being more lumpy than some. Size is decent but not huge, so 3 putts are possible if you miss far from the pin. While there aren't a lot of big tiers or levels, there are some, and the greens are not flat. You will need to be concerned with the break, which incidentally is often not as big as you first see. 
The biggest form of hazards come from the many bunkers and ponds. Not only will you find greenside bunkers, but there are more than the usual allotment of fairway bunkers that come into play. If that isn't enough there are 8 water holes, and some out of bounds to contend with. 
The fairways are generally wide and tend to be on the wet side in the winter. Summer roll is about average as the course stays pretty well watered. Condition is average.
Lost Ball Factor
If you avoid the drink, you shouldn't need that many balls in your round. There are a couple of opportunities to snap one OB into the Green River or to an adjacent road, but if you keep the ball on the course and dry, you should find it. 
Terrain/Elevations/Walking vs Riding
Courses don't get much flatter than this. The biggest walking challenge is the somewhat long walk from the 10th tee to the 11th, then the 15th back to the 16th. If there was ever a course you could walk, this is it. 
My favorite aspects
I like this course when my long game is off since there is often lots of room to spray the ball around. As the trees come in this will be less useful. The course is not over taxing and fairly forgiving, but to shoot a good round, you will be required to stay out of trouble and execute some shots. The views of Mt. Rainier can also be spectacular albeit being somewhat surrounded by city like structures.
The course is a bit too wet in the winter, although you won't see temporary greens or tees (thank goodness). Some of the bunkers could use some more sand, and the greens in general more consistency. It seems the ones in the shade roll a bit different. Also the lack of elevation changes can get sometimes mundane, but the hazards and bunkers sort of compensate to keep it interesting. The course also plays a bit long from the women's tees, over 5500 yards. Perhaps a closer set of tees would help out. 
Final Thoughts
A good muny course for under $30 even on the weekends. Slow play can be a problem, but it isn't as bad as say Auburn. The Tacoma public courses are at least as nice and a bit cheaper but a longer drive unless you live down there. 

While there are better courses in the Puget Sound area, I've played this course a lot, primarily because it is close to home, convenient, and lets me work some of the kinks out of my game. It's worth at least a look if you are in the area. 

Riverbend Score Card Riverbend Scorecard
Tee Yards Par Rating Slope
Blue 6666 72 70.6 118
White 6260 72 68.6 112
Red 5582 72 70.8 119

Course Pictures

Riverbend Back to 3 A shot looking back towards the 3rd hole from the bike/jogging trail. The bridge is coming from the 3rd green towards the 4th tee. 
Riverbend 4th side Looking from the bike trail across the 3rd fairway, and over the pond/lake separating the 3rd and 4th holes. The front edge of the 3rd green can be seen on the right of the picture. Two bunkers down the left side are visible. 
Riverbend 5h hole The 5th hole, a mere 150 yard par 3 from the blue tees plays pretty much as you see it. Bunkers guard the right front, left and right rear. Beyond the trees on the left is the bike path, which is OB. 
Riverbend 6th hole The 554 yard par 5 sixth hole is arguably the toughest on the course being the 1 handicap hole. OB lies along the bike trial down the left side. You need to favor the right side to have any chance at reaching the green in two. If you go left at all, you will be laying up towards the fairway bunkers. The entrance to the green is pinched by tall trees requiring a precise lay-up shot to not get blocked out. The mild two level green can cause putting difficulties. 
Riverbend 10th hole The 10th, a 374 yard par 4 looking back from the green to the tee. A fairway bunker comes into play on the right side, and the main road is OB left. There is also a bunker right rear of the green which is not visible in this picture. 
Riverbend 11th hole The 11th hole is a 389 yard par 4 with a pond down the left side. If you venture too far to the right you may have some tree trouble into the green. A large greenside bunker guards the right front. 
Riverbend 12th hole The 12th hole, a 359 yard par 4 looking back from the 13th tee. This is a dog leg left, where you can cut as much of the pond as you want. If you favor the right, there is a fairway bunker to contend with. If you go too far through the fairway, you may have some small trees to negotiate. The green has a small bunker guarding the right front. All down the left is the pond. 
Riverbend 12 & 11 Another view looking back over the 12th green across the pond to the 11th fairway.
Riverbend 13th hole The 13th is a short 157 yard par 3 to a 3 level green, although the levels are not severe. Going left will leave a very difficult approach over a bunker. Going way left is a fence and OB. The green falls away right with another bunker on that side. This is one of the deeper greens on the course and pin position will dictate club selection.
Riverbend 15th hole The 15th hole is a 414 yard par 4 with no particular trouble off the tee except the small trees and the fence OB left. The green is guarded with a bunker left front. This view is from the green looking back down the fairway.

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This Page last updated 02/01/99