Westport Golf Links is entering the final stages of the environmental review process. Along with a group of private investors, Ryann Day has partnered with course designer David McLay Kidd and created a master plan for an 18-hole course in the 600-acre state park between the historic Grays Harbor Lighthouse and the ocean.
Ryann Day, a contractor in Seattle, Wash., always thought Westport, Wash. on the Pacific coast was missing something, KING 5 reported.
“I would jog up and down the dune trail and look at this land and I kept seeing a golf course,” Day said.
He decided to take his plans a step further and began researching what it would take, KING 5 reported. Westport Golf Links is entering the final stages of the environmental review process. Along with a group of private investors, Day has partnered with course designer David McLay Kidd and created a master plan for an 18-hole course in the 600-acre state park between the historic Grays Harbor Lighthouse and the ocean.
“I love golf and this provides an amazing opportunity for this area that you would only see in Scotland and Ireland,” McLay Kidd said. “It’s almost a crime that there isn’t a true links-style golf course on the Pacific Ocean here.”
With more than a dozen courses under his belt, McLay Kidd is also behind projects like the award-winning Gamble Sands in Brewster, Wash. and Bandon Dunes along Oregon’s coast, KING 5 reported. He hopes Westport will also become an international destination.
The project could also provide a boost to the local economy, KING 5 reported. Westport Golf Links estimates the course and its amenities would create 350 local jobs and a $20 million per year economic impact. Day said little to no public taxpayer funding would be needed for the project.
“When you’re in a community of only 2,200 people, every job matters,” said Molly Bold, General Manager of Westport Marina.
While Westport is considered one of the most thriving fishing communities in the U.S., the 15% poverty rate in Grays Harbor County is well above the state average, KING 5 reported.
“It’s a wonderful town as it is, but we have this golden opportunity of 600 acres sitting there on the Pacific Ocean,” Bold said. “It’s time we open it up for the public to enjoy.”
The 600-acre parcel of land is known collectively as Westport Light State Park. It’s largely inaccessible and now includes invasive species, KING 5 reported. While many feel the land should be preserved without additional human intervention, Westport Golf Links investors see the course as a sustainable way to maintain the land for protection.
“This is all environmentally driven,” Day said. “We want to do this the right way. There is a lot of investment in this.”
Two public hearings on the master plan have drawn record numbers of residents hoping to hear more about the project, KING 5 reported. The Washington State Parks commission will now review the environmental and economic site analysis before the project can receive any final regulatory approval.
Day said it’s too early to give any timeline for when golfers may be able to tee it up, KING 5 reported. But he’s hopeful to see golf sometime in 2025.
“This place is amazing,” Day said. “It deserves to be enjoyed by the people of Washington.”
C+RB first reported on the project in September 2019. A links-style course was considered for the same area more than a decade ago, but the proposal encountered opposition from local environmentalists, based in part on misgivings about the developer.