In the late 1940’s Esmeralda golf course was just a thought in the back of the mind of Lawrence Hamblen, President of Spokane’s Park Board. He had the brilliant idea to build a golf course in northeastern Spokane. He enlisted Joe Albi, President of the Athletic Round Table (A.R.T.) to help fund and promote the idea. A.R.T. was a group of local businessmen that focused on promoting athletics in the Spokane area who then set to work on acquiring the land for the course and funds for the buildings to be established. The name of the course comes from Esmeralda the racehorse, another project sponsored by A.R.T., and legend has it that she is buried under the small hill near the 13th green. On April Fool’s Day 1956, the opening of the course was heralded with a simulated volcanic eruption on the adjacent hill using fireworks and other explosives.
Over the years, Esmeralda has hosted many prestigious events, including the First National Senior Open and an LPGA tour as well as the Spokane Women’s Open. The course is 6,249 yards of sweeping green open space and flat fairways. It very much has an “outdoorsy” feel to it with over 2,000 trees gracing the premise. It is not an overly difficult course and is excellent for beginners. Tee times are Monday through Thursday after 2 p.m. for $27 for 18 holes, $20 for nine. Fridays, weekend, and holidays, both 18 holes and 9 holes are $29 but reservations need to be made at least 8 days in advance. If you golf frequently in the Spokane area you should purchase a discount membership for $35 dollars that works for any Spokane Parks and Recreation golf course. To learn more about the course, book a tee time, sign up for lessons, etc. visit www.golfesmeralda.org.