Sports

No more tee times at Christy's

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The familiar sounds are gone.

The unmistakable smack of a golf club hitting a tiny dimpled ball and the occasional “Fore!” call that lets everyone in shouting distance know to duck and cover are now things of the past at Christy’s Golf Range and Par 3 course.

The facility closed its doors last month after 26 years of service in Federal Way.

Now, the only noise emerging from Christy’s is the occasional bark from Arlene “Duffy” Christy’s four labrador retrievers. The dogs are the only foursome playing the 28-acre golf facility near the Enchanted Village/Wild Waves site.

“My four labs have to have room to roam,” Arlene said. “It’s just time to retire.”

The family-owned nine-hole golf course and driving range officially closed its gates Aug. 22 because of the terminal illness of Arlene’s husband and fellow owner, George Christy. George, the workhorse behind the facility, eventually died of complications from brain cancer six days later.

“Nobody knew,” Arlene said about the quickness the tumor took her husband. “He had been battling thyroid cancer for the last 18 years. He had his voicebox taken out in January. But this came out of nowhere.”

Closing down the Christys golf facility for good was the only logical thing to do following the death of George, who along with his wife, dreamt and carried out the pipe dream of turning a piece of wooded property into a place where golfers of all levels could congregate.

That was back in 1978.

“We have seen a couple generations go through here,” Arlene said. “It was just great to see the little kids coming in. We have given a lot of lessons over 26 years.”

The attraction to Christy’s was simple.

Golf courses, for the longest time, have had the reputation for being a tad bit on the stuffy side. There is rule after rule listed on most scorecards and even more of the unwritten variety. Things like not stepping in the line of a putt, not talking during a back swing and actually making tee times.

Christy’s was a little more lackadaisical on the etiquette surrounding a round of golf and that led to a lot of first-timers taking their inaugural swings at the driving range or on the nine-hole, par-3 course.

“It’s too bad that it’s closing,” said longtime customer Paul Names. “I liked it because it was a family-run place.”

The idea of Christy’s Golf Range and Par 3, Inc. started in the mid-70s when George and Arlene bought the 28-acre site. George was already a veteran in the golf world around the Puget Sound area working as a professional at Puetz Golf, a company that has been around for nearly 60 years.

But he wanted his own place and Arlene and their four kids were behind him.

Being a family-owned business, the Christys thought of their property more as a farm than a golf course. The family did everything associated with running the facility, including the mowing, picking up range balls and all the finances, to name just a few.

“It was an everyday thing,” Arlene said. “We had it

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