History of Discovery Bay Golf Course
Discovery Bay Golf Course first opened for play as a nine hole course on May 9, 1925 and was called the Chevy Chase Port Townsend Golf Club. The 1920’s were the golden age of golf in the United States as this sport gained a surge in popularity resulting from the US Open competition which was a ‘David and Goliath’ duel between Francis Ouiment, a nineteen year old american amateur prodigy against the seasoned and invincible professional from across the pond, Harry Vardon, known as the quintessential golfer of his day and having held that title for a most of his generation of competitions.
The course was built on open farm and pasture land to provide additional recreation for the guests of the Saint’s Rest Inn later called the Chevy Chase Inn, named after Mary Chase, the owner at that time, and the Cheviot Hills in England since the land reminded her of her native homeland. Today the Inn is a private residence but several of the cabins and former clubhouse and caretaker residence have been remodeled and are available for lodging. The victorian inn and several of the sites original buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When Captain Vancouver first sailed into Discovery Bay on May 2, 1792 resting at the Kalama Indian Village for repairs and provisions, he wrote in his log “the sea before us was perfectly smooth and the country before us exhibited everything that bounteous nature could be expected to draw into one point of view”. Later, prior to moving on to what is now Pt Townsend Captain Vancouver named this beautiful bay after his ship. Discovery Bay retains today the same bounteous unspoiled nature that so impressed the famous explorer of the west coast and its islands, bays, and rivers reaching north to what is now southeast Alaska.
From the outset the golf course possessed two unique features. The first being that on the opening hole golfers had to drive the ball over Cape George Road on a 300 yard par four hole. Today the original clubhouse has been converted to rustic beach cabin, and in the 1950’s the tee shot over the road was eliminated when a new and larger clubhouse was built in a more central location within the golf course itself that also facilitated the addition of a golf practice range which remains today. The second unique feature required teeing off on a very challenging par 3 from an elevated wooden platform that resembles a ‘hangman’s place of business’ only without the trap door. This feature remains today and will be relocated and serve as the championship tee for the second hole which is also being converted to a 420 yard par four assuring the continuation of this novel conversation piece.
Discovery Bay is born of legends one of which tells a true story that back in 1862, the original homesteader, Mr. Tukey, saw a canoe land on his beach and then watched three men disembark carrying a small chest. One of the three later approached Tukey and asked for a horse to ride to Port Townsend. This man was recognized as the person wanted in connection with a payroll heist of 6,000 gold sovereigns (current value over$1 million.) Published in a book of unfound treasures, the owners receive periodic requests to go searching the property with modern metal detecting equipment. Who knows someday a golfer armed with a sand wedge may do what others could not and that is while treasuring the golf course unearths the gold coins.