Volume 7 • Issue 1 • APRIL 2013
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Departments 6 PUBLISHER’S PITCH 10 SHORT GAME
• • • • • •
James Lepp gets Big Break Northwest putter inventor scores big Chambers named Washington’s best Latest news from around the region Lee, Gove lead final class at Q School SG Extra: CG’s Big Year
20 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• Super-adjustable drivers • Rangefinders, shoes and more
25 TEEING OFF • Tom Douglas’ 5-iron wizardry gives new meaning to phrase “Iron Chef”
31 RISK VS REWARD
• Bear Mountain Ranch — No. 14
52 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Puget Sound’s “Amen Corner”
• 10 bold predictions for the year ahead
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS!
8-9 | 26-30 | 53
WHAT A YEAR!
Super-adjustable drivers, local course changes, PGA TOUR drama ... oh my! CG hits the things that have our golf juices flowing this spring.
40 THE GRINDER
Seattle’s Jeff Gove gets another shot.
44 PAR-5 DREAM TEAM
Golden Tate, Kasey Keller, Ryan Moore and other Northwest icons pick the state’s most breathtaking — and bedeviling — par-5s.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2013 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes.
THIS PAGE Chambers Bay may have been voted Washington’s No. 1 course by CG readers, but none of its par-5s were deemed worthy of honor by our CG Dream Team. Find out which holes made the cut starting on page 44.
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
APRIL APRIL 2013 2013
The view from the gallery, as a parent of a high-school linkster
ne of the great pleasures of publishing a magazine is having the chance to reflect on an aspect of the game and share it with whomever may take a few minutes to read what I’ve offered up. Each and every time I sit down to write this brief introductory column, I hope to pique your interest or spur on the imagination of at least a few of our 100,000 readers. This month, I will open up my world and share some of the light, promise and utter joy I have felt seeing my high-school-freshman daughter, Lily, proactively take steps towards a lifetime with the game. Lil’, truly on her own, decided to try out for the school team, and was selected to the junior varsity squad this spring. In picking out her first real set of clubs, I had flashbacks of getting my first set with my parents -- some Wilson Crest blades and a blonde, laminated Johnny Miller wood driver. I was beside myself; in compete candor, I fainted in the pro shop and had to lay down on the pro’s couch until I could get it together. That was a very real moment for me and a first step in a million-mile journey. Lily didn’t pass out, but she did thoroughly enjoy testing the clubs, and carefully picking out her bag and shoes. She could have picked the gorgeous new Adams driver, but the used ladies TaylorMade r7 proved the best
fit. It was special to see her go through the experience and take it with such a personal touch, going with “feel” instead of what looked coolest. I love this girl with all my heart, and seeing her take on every challenge with grace and gusto — whether it be school, acting, singing, friendships or personal obstacles — is one of the greatest gifts I know. She is hitting golf straight on, and enjoying the game, her coach and the new friends she has made since joining the team. In her first 9-hole match, she won — not so much in the form of a low score or the head-to-head victory, but in sharing her excitement with her tiny achievements, like coming hard out of the rough, some nice pitches around the green and getting comfortable with her hand-medown putter that she loves, because it used to be mine. Hearing about her first tournament made me soar. Of course, I want her to do well, but I just hope she can fall in love with the game so we can play for the rest of our lives – Lily and I, Lily and her brothers and I, or even Lil’ and her grandfather. Plus, whoever else she can find pleasure in playing with as she takes the game with her through life. I can’t wait for the spring and summer months to spend time beating balls. Enjoy this issue and, as always, TAKE IT EASY.
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Lepp Gets Out-Kikked On Big Break
ith $50,000, an Adams Golf endorsement deal and an exemption to the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic on the line, you might have expected James Lepp to be more nervous. If that’s the case, then you don’t know James Lepp. Whether winning NCAA titles at Washington, or walking away from a professional golf career to try his hand in the dog-eat-dog world of golf apparel manufacturing, the British Columbia native and Kikkor Golf founder has never been one to go weak-kneed in moments of pressure. In December, Golf Channel viewers watched as Lepp stood on the 14th tee at the Greenbrier Resort, three up with five holes to play in the match play finals of the network’s “Big Break Greenbrier” program, a reality competition show in which the winner receives the bounty mentioned above. The show taped over two weeks in June, with the season premiere airing in October. Despite the reward being so close, Lepp remembers feeling calm. “I thought, ‘Just don’t give him anything,’” Lepp recalls. “If he was going to be beat me, I wanted to make sure he was going to have to make birdies. “Or eagles,” he adds, with a grim chuckle of remembrance. Lepp’s opponent, Mark Silvers, birdied the 14th hole. After Lepp bogeyed No. 16, his lead was down to one. Lepp got back on track with a birdie at 17 — but Silvers 10
indeed eagled, halving the match. On the 18th hole — a par-3 — Silvers stuck his tee shot to three feet, while Lepp stared down a 20-footer for birdie. After Lepp narrowly missed, Silvers drained his short putt to complete a remarkable five-hole stretch and claim victory. “He had to go five under in five holes to beat me, and he did it,” Lepp said. “To reach the final was uber-special. I have no regrets.” But then, Lepp has never been one to look back. Just four years after winning the NCAA title as a senior at Washington in 2005, Lepp famously walked away from pro golf in 2009 to found Kikkor, a B.C.-based shoe company that earned raves throughout the golf world for its youthful, stylish designs. Lepp says, though, that recently, that old itch had started to creep up again. “I loved golf, and I wanted it to love me back, but it never did,” he recalls of his decision to step away. “Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the chance to recharge my batteries, and recharge my passion. I’ve been getting back into shape and working hard on my game, making some real, fundamental changes that will make me more successful. It’s felt good.” Lepp says that the Big Break exposure has opened a few doors for him professionally, both as a player and entrepreneur. Kikkor will launch a full men’s clothing line this year to go with its popular shoes, and Lepp hopes to appear in a few Canadian Tour events as well. When asked to summarize his past year, Lepp does so in a typically Kikkor way: “It’s been awesome.” cascadegolfer.com
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS
OF DECEMBER’S CG SWAG!
Clear Eyes, Clear Ball, Can’t Miss
ennis Wong loved to play golf. He just wished he was a better putter. Unlike those of us who trudge back and forth between the golf shop and the practice green in search of that elusive fix, though, Wong — a businessman, golf tinkerer and founder of Vancouver-based Innovations Golf — trudged to the workshop. He emerged with the initial designs for what would become the ClearBall putter, a flatstick designed to help a golfer develop 100-percent confidence in their set-up and putt alignment. The putter’s most notable feature is a patent-pending “alignment disc,” essentially two lines — the top one white, the bottom one red — that run across a ball-sized disc in the rear of the putter. From the golfer’s perspective, when the red line disappears beneath the white line, the putter is perfectly flat on the ground, and the golfer’s head is in the proper position above the ball, two key elements to a consistent stroke. In addition, three lines on top of the putter help to center the ball to the face and align the face to the intended target, while a grooved polymer insert promotes a soft feel and smooth roll. Wong debuted the putter just over a year ago at the PGA Merchandise Show, and says that sales have been brisk — particularly in Europe. Golf Test USA, one of the industry’s leading testing companies, even concluded, “We have tested hundreds of putters over the years, and the ClearBall
LAQUINTA RESORT & SPA STAY-&-PLAY Adam Ladage • Auburn SIX-NIGHT, 12-ROUND PALM SPRINGS VACATION Mike Hahn • Lake Stevens PUTTING ALLEY James Hickman • University Place I’M CADDIE RANGEFINDER Jack Hilt • Chimacum
putter from Innovations Golf is the best design so far.” Recently, the putter was featured in the putting challenge at the Seattle Golf Show, where golfers were challenged to make a 30-foot putt to win prizes. “Three of the four winners were teenagers, and each of them made more than half of their 30-foot putts in the finals,” Wong says. “Even more significant, they all considered themselves beginners. The alignment feature on the ClearBall makes it so easy for them to align, that even a beginner can putt with full confidence, and at a high level, in a very short time.” The ClearBall starts at $129.90 on Wong’s website, InnovationsGolf.com, though he will give a 10-percent discount to any Cascade Golfer readers who use the promo code, “VIP1061DW”. “We truly feel that this putter can help not only beginner golfers, but all golfers,” he says. “It’s been very successful so far.”
ORANGE WHIP Kevin McCleskey • Seattle DIDN’T WIN? DON’T WORRY! We’ve gone around the state to drum up even more great swag for this issue:
DESTINATION: Apple Tree Twosome SOUTH END: Salish Cliffs Twosome NORTH SOUND: Twosomes to Eaglemont AND Camaloch! EASTSIDE: Snoqualmie Falls Twosome AND two dozen Innovex Balls! PLUS a Twosome to Druids Glen or Willows Run! LOG ON TO CASCADEGOLFER.COM FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
Chambers Bay Cuts Down The Nets
Chambers Bay • No. 17
n the end, it was a battle of the links. Chambers Bay and Wine Valley, two courses with one tree between them (and one that’s blissfully out of play, at that), were selected as the finalists in last year’s Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness, our yearlong quest to crown the No. 1 golf course in the state of Washington. And when the voting closed in December, it was Chambers — host of the 2010 U.S. Amateur, 2015 U.S. Open and several Cascade Golfer Cup tournaments — which grabbed 55 percent of the votes cast online at cascadegolfer.com to edge its Eastern Washington linksland sibling and claim the crown as Washington’s top daily-fee golf course. “That’s exciting news,” said Chambers Bay general manager Matt Allen, who said he followed the contest closely throughout the year. “I think the Cascade Golfer readers did a great job of identifying the best courses in each region, and we’re honored they’ve picked us No. 1.”
In all, more than 20,000 individual online votes were cast, including contributions from as far away as Spain, Argentina and Japan. From an original bracket of 32 Washington state daily-fee golf courses, Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, Gold Mountain (Olympic) and Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club were named champions of their respective regions, with the two links courses emerging to duel for the title. So did your fellow CG readers hit a hole in one, or was your favorite course left behind in a hazard? We’ll be certain to revisit the bracket down the road – after all, Salish Cliffs and Rope Rider, two courses that were “too new for inclusion,” might have something to say about your picks, while another year or two will give our readers the chance to sample more of our state’s great tracks, and perhaps give some lesser-played gems a shot. Until then, congrats to the No. 1 public course in Washington — Chambers Bay. Tiger, Rory, Phil ... you guys are sure in for a treat. APRIL 2013
OUT OF THE ROUGH
hile there are plenty of us who keep the clubs in the trunk year-round, in order to take advantage of that one sunny day in December or January when we can squeeze in a quick 18 in the few hours between sunrise and sunset, a large subset of Northwest golfers go into hibernation for the winter, emerging from their caves each March and rubbing their eyes to see what’s changed in the months they’ve been away. The answer is — quite a bit. New clubhouses have gone up (or will soon) at Allenmore, Jefferson Park and White Horse, Highlander is scheduled to begin work on a complete overhaul of its back nine, and the tractors have finally left the fairways at Jackson Park and Chambers Bay, leaving behind exciting new layouts that promise to increase the enjoyment and playability of both tracks. In fact, there’s so much to look forward to in 2013, that we’ve committed a whole issue to it, with a feature starting on page 32. However, not all of the news that came out of the local golf scene since the end of last season was good news. On Oct. 31, Blaine’s Semiahmoo Resort — one of the region’s most beautiful hotels, and for golfers, one of its top stay-and-play destinations — announced that it
Semiahmoo Resort • Blaine
was closing its doors after 25 years, the latest victim of a downturn in tourism revenue since the recession. Attorney Harold Chesin, who represents the resort’s majority owner, the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, told The Seattle Times that the Tribe has been looking for an investor to purchase the resort, and hopefully reopen it at a later date. While the hotel has closed for at least the time being, however, both Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Club (also owned by the Tribe’s Semiahmoo Resort Co.) remain open. Brett Eaton, Semiahmoo’s Director of Golf, says it’s been “business as usual,” at the golf courses, each of which were voted by CG readers into the Elite Eight of last year’s Match Play Madness, our 32-course bracket to crown the best daily-fee course in Washington. Semiahmoo remains
open on odd days of the month, and Loomis Trail on even days (though club members can play them anytime), and at a peak rate of just $55 through the end of May, remain one of the state’s best bargains. Just a week after the Semiahmoo announcement, golfers arriving at Mountlake Terrace’s Ballinger Lakes Golf Course — a popular nine-holer on the north shore of Lake Ballinger — were greeted by a locked door and a note that the course had been closed. In an email to CG, representatives for Hardy Golf LLC, the company which managed the course for the city of Mountlake Terrace, indicated that the down economy had made the course financially unmanageable, forcing Hardy to close its doors. Since that date, the Mountlake Terrace City Council has voted to turn the course into a public park.
And then, just after Christmas, came more bad news for north end golfers, with news that the city of Lynnwood’s municipal course, Lynnwood Golf Course, was falling on hard times of its own. Reports in The Seattle Times and on KING-5 news indicated that the course had lost money for four straight years, and that a recent state audit had found that the city’s plan to shift money from other areas of the budget to keep the course open was, in fact, not allowed under state law. In the weeks since, city managers have been working to find a solution to put the course on stable footing for the long haul, one of which could include selling the course to an outside management agency. Public meetings were held throughout March, with a final recommendation scheduled to have been made Mar. 25. “Our goal is to keep the golf course moving forward,” said Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Sordel. “Our expenses are as low as we can get them. Now, we have to grow the revenue.” Semiahmoo’s Eaton says what, no doubt, the management at Lynnwood and other courses are thinking. “This summer will be key,” he says of the golf courses’ first peak season without their neighboring resort, which accounted for an estimated 10-12 percent of the course’s business. “Until we go through a full season, we don’t really know yet exactly what the effect will be. “But we’re hopeful. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
SHORT GAME Golf’s More Fun With A Sidekick
here’s no worse feeling in golf than realizing you’ve lost a club. With the Sidekick golf caddy, you might never have to experience that feeling again. Invented by a 45-year-old commercial printer in Texas, and officially unveiled at the PGA Merchandise Show this January, the Sidekick is a portable club stand that hangs off the side of your golf bag and stakes into the ground. With the ability to carry up to four clubs at a time, plus separate holders for a cigar, golf balls and towel, it’s already drummed up interest from golfers, golf courses — even golf cart companies, as a musthave product in 2013. “I had one retailer approach me at the PGA Merchandise show and shake my hand, saying that he thought someday the Sidekick will become a standard feature on every golf cart, just like the sand dispensers have become,” says inventor Scott Sykes. “That was pretty neat.” Sykes says he originally conceived of the Sidekick after shuttling back and forth to his cart on cart-path only days, often having to go back more than once to swap clubs after scoping out his lie, or due to a gusty wind. He’d also left behind many a club, golf glove or pair of sunglasses on the green, had laid down towels to keep his wedge grips from getting wet while putting – annoyances every golfer has experienced at one point or another. “I just got tired of it,” he says. “I remember thinking, ‘There has to be a better way.’” Enter the Sidekick. The 25-inch tall, solid plastic club caddy stands up straight on the ground, with two-inch metal spikes that keep it firmly anchored in the turf. Sykes says that in addition to use around the green to carry an extra wedge, or rest your glove or sunglasses on, it’s proved just as useful in the fairway. Sykes often takes 2-3 clubs with
him to the fairway before examining his lie, using the caddy to hold the two he chooses not to hit — upright, and away from the wet turf. “I find that I’m scoring better, because I’m hitting the right club more often,” he says. “I’m also shaving 30 minutes off my round, because I’m not running back and forth to the cart so much. And I’m not as fatigued as I used to be, either. “And since I started using it, I’ve never lost a club.” To this point, Sykes’ sales have all been through his website, sidekickgolfcaddy.com, where the Sidekick retails for $79.95. As a special treat for CG readers, Sykes says that he’ll give buyers who use the promo code “CASCADE” at checkout $10 off the price and throw in free shipping as well — a more than 20-percent savings. He’s hoping to expand into golf shops and retail stores this summer. “People are excited about it, because it’s a product that’s never been seen before,” he says. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s going really well.”
Home Teamers Lee, Gove Earn A Place In Golf History
n 2011, Richard Lee needed an eagle and three birdies over his final five holes at Q School to earn his Tour card by just one stroke. This year, he made it a little easier. The 25-year-old former UW golf star, who earned over $500,000 as a Tour rookie in 2012, finished in a three-way tie for fourth place at December’s Q School Finals, while fellow Home Teamer Jeff Gove, a Seattle native and PGA Tour veteran himself (featured on page 40), placed 10th, each earning their Tour cards for 2013. Lee and Gove will join 2012 PGA Tour winners Ryan Moore and Kyle Stanley, 2012 Web.com Tour winner Andres Gonzales, and former Washington Husky Troy Kelly on the big tour in 2013, giving the Home Team its largest full-time Tour contingent in years. Of course, when it comes to looking ahead to 2013, there’s really just one question on most Northwest golf fans’ minds — “How’s Fred’s back?” Fans felt the pain of Seattle native Fred Couples at August’s Boeing Classic, when the golf legend and soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer’s season came to an end on the first tee at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, the victim of an aggravated back injury. He was back in action at the Ryder Cup, serving as an assistant coach to Davis Love III, and was spotted throughout the fall at both CenturyLink Field — where he cheered for both his hometown Huskies and Seahawks — and Alaska Airlines Arena, where of all things he watched the UW battle Western Washington in an early-season exhibition basketball game. By all accounts, Fred’s back is ready to go, and with a big year ahead of him, it had better be. In addition to his regular Champions Tour schedule — where he won twice in just 11 events last year, including a Senior British Open win — he’ll make his annual charge at the Masters in April (we all know it’s coming), will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in May (see page 33) and will captain the U.S. in the President’s Cup in October. Add in Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang looking to add to their career totals on the LPGA Tour, and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2013. Thankfully, we’re just getting started. cascadegolfer.com
7 Courses, 7 Rounds, Just $199: The CG Players Card Is Back As in past years, tournaments will be played in a variety of formats, and will be open to any player with an established handicap. We’ll award prizes at each tournament to the top-15 net and top-5 gross-scoring teams — including trips to Bandon, Vegas, Whistler, Palm Springs, Central Oregon and Mesquite, twosomes and foursomes to Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, Gold Mountain, Salish Cliffs and other top tracks, plus clubs, shoes, bags and more. In addition, we’ll award team points for the top-performing duos at each event — you can play in one to compete for fun prizes, or play in them all to rack up team points and go for the overall grand prize — the 2014 Summer Golf Package, including 20 twosomes at the top courses in the state. With gross and net prizes, plus fun team formats, anyone can win — our 27 tournaments in the past three-plus years have produced 24 different net-scoring champions, with handicaps ranging from 2 to 22. Play your best on any given day, and you’ll be walking away with the trophy. Seven team-scoring tournaments, three new courses, two private tracks, the most talked-about new course in the state and over $100,000 in prizes — plus a free, bonus tournament as a thank you to our most loyal players. The Cascade Golfer Cup is back — let’s make it the best year yet.
Druids Glen Golf Club
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
13Card 0 2 s r laye
ere at CG headquarters, we’ve never been ones to play it safe. The bottom line in our “Risk/Reward” column almost always recommends going for the green, because we don’t ever want to walk off the course wondering, “What if?” So when it came time to relaunch our popular Players Card Bucket for 2013, we could have simply rolled out a similar card to last Mt. Si of Balls Leavenworth Golf Course Highlander year’s — after all, the card was a big hit, and sold out in no time. Club lf Go Golf Club But that’s just not the CG way. Instead, we reached out to our friends throughout the region to give you an even better value — seven rounds, including one of the most-talked-about new courses in America. For just $199, 2013 Cascade Golfer Players Card holders will receive a greens fee to Salish Cliffs, Druids Glen, Port Ludlow, Highlander, the Cedars at Dungeness, Leavenworth Golf Course and Mount Si — and to help you warm up, Puetz is throwing in a free bucket of balls at their Seattle range. Recently named the No. 6 course in the state — public or private — by Golf Digest, and second only to Chambers Bay among daily-fee tracks, Salish Cliffs is quite possibly the hottest course in Washington entering 2013, and was listed by CG readers on Facebook in January as the course they are most looking forward to playing this year. That round alone, if played on a weekend after noon, has a value of $99. Add the peak eligible values of all seven rounds together, and it’s a $443 value, for just $199 — a 55-percent discount over the rack rate per round. In fact, if you only used the Salish Cliffs, Druids Glen and Port Ludlow rounds — all three top-rated courses, all located on the shores of Puget Sound — you’d finish a few dollars ahead of even. And you still have fun day trips to Dungeness, Leavenworth and Highlander to enjoy, plus a beautiful summer afternoon in the shadow of Mount Si. Just like last year, a limited supply of 2013 Cascade Golfer Players Cards are available — after all, Salish Cliffs and Co. can’t afford to let everybody play for an average of $28 a round. And like those April showers, 2013 Cascade Golfer Players Cards won’t last much longer — in fact, fewer than 100 remain. Make sure you’re ready for spring by logging on to CascadeGolfer.com and buying yours today!
RISK vs. REWARD Bear Mountain Ranch
Hole No. 14 • Par 5 • 518 Yards (Whites), 550 Yards (Blues) The Setup: The stretch of holes No. 12-13-14 at Bear Mountain Ranch is one of the best half hours of golf this state has to offer. The spectacular 14th puts a cap on this trio and offers golfers a wide range of numbers they can put on their scorecard. Although 550 from the blues might normally be pushing it for anyone but the longest of hitters, the epic tee shot here is significantly downhill, and combined with Chelan’s famously warm climate, can leave many golfers in the go-zone for the second shot. Bunkers and water guard the fairway right, with O.B. stakes to the left. The green is surrounded by water on three sides, while sand guards the fourth.
By Simon Dubiel
The Risk: A long approach — 200-250 yards, depending on your tee shot. A near-island green. Bunkers left that will leave you splashing out towards water. Short is dead; long is deader. Only a miss left will even keep you afloat. Though, with only a sliver of fairway in front of the green, any miss here will likely be painful.
Pound your tee shot down over the ridge and you could get an extra 40-50 yards of roll, leaving you with an iron in. Going for it with your second might be risky, but those same risks are inherent in the layup. The truth is, there is no easy approach, nor are there many
opportunities at BMR for a two-putt birdie. This might be it.
So, you drove three-plus hours from Seattle to play this amazing hole and decided to lay up? Yeah, me neither. Put away your camera and take out your fairway wood. Aim just left of the target, hit it solid and watch that pearl fade back to the middle of the green. The golfers on the 12th tee will be impressed, as will your buddies getting ready to hit their third from 100 yards out. In the words of Cosmo Kramer, “Giddyup!”
OF THE BIRDIE YEAR Cascade Golfer looks ahead to the clubs, courses and can’t-miss moments of 2013
ccording to the Mayans, 2013 was a year that was never supposed to be. Just think of what we would have already missed if the world had indeed ended on Dec. 21, 2012 — the Seahawks’ epic blowout of San Francisco and subsequent run to within eight seconds of the NFC title game, the announced return of the Sonics after four long years away, the Mariners locking up Felix Hernandez to a long-term deal… And that’s barely a month’s worth of news. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, there are dozens of things
BY B R I A N B E A K Y
we can’t wait to see, do and enjoy — from dialing in our new “super-adjustable” drivers, to checking out the new digs (both on and off-course) at some of our favorite local tracks, to watching a kid who grew up playing one of our own local munis join Sam Snead, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in the World Golf Hall of Fame. In the pages ahead, we take a look at some of the things we’re most excited about in the coming year — and in our Postgame feature, take a stab at some bold predictions of our own. Can Tiger share the spotlight with
Rory at Nike — and perhaps just as interestingly, how will Rory respond to his first equipment change in six years? Can the Americans recover from their Ryder Cup collapse and retain the President’s Cup at Muirfield this fall? And most importantly — can we surpass 2012’s near-record 48 straight days of sun? That last one might be tough to top … but hey, the world didn’t end, so we’re living on bonus time now, right? Strap on the golf bag, don your Titleist cap and turn your face up towards the sun — because this year is going to be great.
The COOLEST DRIVER We’ve Ever Seen Is that overstating things? I don’t think so. From its cherry-red crown, to that cavity-back sole, Nike’s new VR_S Covert driver is calling to us like Adam’s famous apple in the Garden of Eden. We can’t wait to take a bite.
TIGER VS. RORY
SAVE THE DATE • May 6 • 2013
h, it’s onnnnnnnnn. When rumors began to swirl late last year that Nike was going to sign Rory McIlroy, the question many golf fans asked was, “How will Tiger react to sharing the Nike spotlight?” The same way LeBron did after teaming up with Dwayne Wade, or Kobe did when paired with Shaq — by dominating, obviously. A renewed Tiger rolled over the field at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, sending notice that the question isn’t whether Tiger and Rory can coexist — but rather, with Tiger and Rory playing for the same team, does anyone else have a chance? Tiger spent all but a few months of the 11-year period from 1999-2010 at No. 1, and has climbed back to No. 2 — just behind his new pal, Rory, who has been No. 1, by a wide margin, since his PGA Championship win last year. Watching them push each other all year, with those sweet Nike VR_S Covert drivers in hand, will make for fantastic golf viewing.
BOOM-BOOM Gets The Call
hite Horse in Kingston, Allenmore in Tacoma and Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill will each get new homes in 2013 — and you can bet we’ll be sipping brews on the back decks of all three just as soon as we can. White Horse’s clubhouse (pictured below, under construction) was officially unveiled in March, and features a golf shop, banquet room, restaurant, bar and outdoor patio area with fire pits and views of the scenic 18th green. The new clubhouse finally gives White Horse a facility to match the quality of its course, long a CG favorite for its creative design and reasonable rates. Allenmore, too, will open the doors on its expansive clubhouse in May, which will double as a lodge for the Tacoma Elks and include a sports bar, full-service restaurant, handball and racquetball courts, pool tables, locker rooms and more. The last new clubhouse to throw open its doors will be Jefferson Park, where construction is scheduled to begin this year on a $4.5 million clubhouse and driving range. The long-rumored project, finally approved by the Seattle City Council in November, will replace Jefferson’s venerable home, originally built in 1919, with a modern, 10,800-square-foot structure with a restaurant, pro shop, indoor and outdoor dining areas — even a roof deck. And perhaps most exciting for Seattle golfers, the project includes a two-story, lighted, heated driving range, so you can work on your game 12 months a year.
he state of Washington has had its share of great athletes. Few, though, have captured our hearts like Fred Couples. On May 6, in St. Augustine, Fla., a journey that began on the fairways of Jefferson Park Golf Course will end at the World Golf Hall of Fame, where the Seattle native will earn a locker alongside Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and the most hallowed names in golf. In announcing Couples’ election last fall, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem cited his 1992 Masters win, his No. 1 world ranking — the first American ever to hold that lofty post — his PGA Tour Player of the Year honors, and his extensive Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences. All of those are remarkable achievements — but when it comes to rationalizing Couples’ inclusion among the greatest names in golf, they’re mere window-dressing. Fred Couples is not going into the Hall of Fame because of the way his ball stopped just shy of Rae’s Creek, or because his 2009 President’s Cup team dominated their World foes as American Ryder Cup squads can only dream of. Indeed, there are a number of outstanding golfers with a resume similar to Couples — many of whom are not, and will likely never be, similarly enshrined. Fred Couples is going into the Hall of Fame for all of the reasons that Seattle golfers, and indeed golf fans worldwide, have so embraced him over the years: His humility. His grace. His sense of humor. His enthusiasm. And of course, his ability to completely obliterate a small white ball in a way none of us had ever before seen. And while fans in other parts of the world might have a hard time putting into words just what it is about Fred that makes them root him year after year, we recognize it for exactly what it is — it’s his very “Seattleness,” the humble, relatable, down-to-earth personality of a golfer who taught himself the game on one of our municipal golf courses, in a working-class neighborhood, of the incredible city we call home. More than anything, Fred Couples has always remained one of us, a Man of the People — his induction into the Hall of Fame says as much about the love and loyalty of those of us in his hometown and around the world who have followed his career, as it does for the remarkable achievements he has made along the way. On May 6, Fred Couples will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame. And in a way, so will we.
Jackson Park Golf Club • Seattle
hile no new Puget Sound courses are opening in 2013, two Puget Sound favorites are unveiling new holes, or new layouts, and a third — Wenatchee’s Highlander Golf Club — is scheduled to break ground on a complete overhaul of its back nine, including a reroute and resort-style beautification to match its front-nine overhaul in 2011. The most dramatic changes have been made at Jackson Park, where construction of a new driving range required turning one hole, the par-4 11th, into a par-3, changes to Nos. 10 and 18, and a flip of the last three holes on each nine — what last fall were holes 7, 8 and 9 are now 16, 17 and 18, and vice versa. The new layout was scheduled to open in March, with the driving range to follow in July. In addition to checking out the new driving range (one of just a handful of its size between Puetz’ Seattle range and the Columbia SuperRange in Everett, we’re eager to play the new routing, which puts two of Jackson’s signature holes, the par-4, downhill No. 7 (now No. 16) and the long, uphill, par-4 No. 9 (now No. 18), at the end of the round, where they belong. We’re also eager to play the new Chambers Bay, whose two-year process of renovations in preparation for the 2015 U.S. Open was completed in January. Approaches to the first, eighth and 13th greens were softened to prevent balls from running all the way across the green, while the entire green complex at No. 7 — a split-level, elevated green — was remodeled to better hold approaches. Rough has also been added on six holes, and additional tees were built on several more, all in response to USGA recommendations following the 2010 U.S. Amateur. That’s three courses that, while not new, will certainly play different than they have before — and we can’t wait to let it fly on each one.
e can’t remember a year when there were so many new clubs we were excited to try. The TaylorMade R1 driver and RocketBladez irons, the Cobra AMP driver, the Callaway X Hot, PING’s new G25s … like the 2012 NFL rookie quarterbacks, the golf industry’s manufacturing Class of 2013 may go down as one of the best in history.
MORE BEN CRANE
e can’t get enough of Ben Crane. The Portland native and former Oregon Ducks golfer finished in the PGA Tour’s top-50 last year with over $1.7 million in earnings – and that’s only the secondmost interesting thing about him. In addition to founding the Golf Boys, a four-man, tongue-in-cheek hip-hop act featuring himself and fellow Tour stars Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan, he’s spun his Golf Boys persona into a series of YouTube videos highlighting everything from slow play, to his pre-shot routine. We can’t wait to see what hilarity he has up his sleeve — or under his motorcycle helmet — this year.
THE CLASSIC RETURNS Save the Date • Aug. 19 • 2013
n the Northwest, we’re fiercely proud of our own. We make the best airplanes, the best computer software and the best coffee — and you’d better believe we have the best golf tournament on the PGA Tour Champions Tour schedule. The Tour and players agree, having given the Boeing Classic one of its coveted end-of-year awards each of the last three years. With the summer sun sparkling off of Mount Si and clear blue skies as far as you can see, there’s no place we’d rather be in August than along the ropes at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge watching Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Craig Stadler, Ben Crenshaw, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin, Kenny Perry, Hale Irwin and other golf legends do what they do best. And with Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie and Rocco Mediate potentially joining the fold in 2013, this year could be one for the ages.
CG CUP GOES PRIVATE U.S. DEFENDS HOME TURF AT MUIRFIELD Save the Date • Oct. 3 • 2013
eam USA will have the chance to exorcise its Ryder Cup demons at Muirfield in October, where they’ll do battle with an International Team of non-Europeans in the 2013 President’s Cup. For as famously as the U.S. has struggled in Ryder Cup play over the last decade, the opposite has been true in the President’s Cup, where Team USA has lost just once in nine tries, and is riding a fourmatch winning streak. The last two of those victories were captained by our own Fred Couples, who will once again be tasked with building a team to match up against Nick Price’s Internationals. Can a U.S. roster potentially featuring Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley — and maybe even Ryan Moore? — take down an International team with the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, K.J. Choi and others? Yes or no (and we say yes), the U.S. redemption story will make for great golf TV.
n our three years hosting tournaments, we’ve played some of the region’s best courses, from local gems like Chambers Bay, Washington National and Gold Mountain (Olympic) to destination tracks like Prospector, Desert Canyon and Rope Rider. This year, though, we’ve kicked it up a notch, going behind the ropes at Mill Creek Country Club (pictured here) and the RMG Club at Oakbrook, in what will be many of our players’ first experience on a private course. And just for good measure, we’ve also added the hottest new course in the state — and the No. 2 public track, according to Golf Digest — Salish Cliffs. It’s going to be a great year.
BY BOB SHERWIN
hree years ago, Seattle’s Jeff Gove
lost his PGA Tour card, having missed the cut in 17 of the 22 tournaments he entered and made just $92,155 in prize money, barely covering expenses. At age 39, the married father of
three was peering over the edge of his competitive career. In order to earn his card back, he’d need to return to the Nationwide Tour, golf’s secondary circuit, to play among a mixture of promising 20-somethings and veteran grinders seeking restored glory. Once again, he was relegated to the back of the line. “When I lost my card in 2010, I was
Seattle’s JEFF GOVE has been riding the roller coaster of life on the fringes of the PGA TOUR for almost 20 years — and he’s not about to get off
disappointed in myself. I thought I may never play (the Tour) again,’’ says Gove, who grew up in Kenmore and still has plenty of extended family living in the Seattle area. “There are not many spots available and no one wants to give up his job.’’ Nor were there many golfers at his age willing to endure the qualifying process again, especially after having been in this position before, repeatedly. It started in 1994, when Gove turned professional and played on the Nationwide (now the Web.com Tour) for five years before earning his PGA Tour card in 2000.
“I have a good perspective on life now. Golf is a gift, not a right,” Gove says. “I appreciate every chance I can get. I’m not sure I had that attitude when I first got here 12 years ago.”
That lasted one year — then, it was down and up for the next decade. He played on the Nationwide in 2001. The PGA Tour in 2002. The Nationwide in 2003-05. The PGA in 2006-2008. The Nationwide in 2009 and the PGA in 2010. Despite facing more crossroads than winning putts in his near 20-year professional career, Gove was undeterred. He made the decision to return to the secondary tour for a fifth time, playing in places such as Panama City, Fla., Valdosta, Ga., and Newburgh, Ind., in front of a few hundred, for a few thousand. His wife, and three children all under 8 years old, stayed behind in San Marcos, Calif. “As long as I feel competitive, [I’ll continue],’’ Gove says. “I’m healthy. I have great support at home. My family wants me to keep doing it. Every year, at the end of the year, I ask myself, ‘Am I getting better? Do I enjoy what’s going on? I don’t have a five-year plan, just year-to-year.’’’ But his two seasons on the Web.com were not as fruitful as he had hoped. He failed to make enough money to automatically qualify for his PGA Tour card. So, he took another route, playing in the final year of the PGA Tour’s “Q School” qualifying format last December at PGA West in Palm Desert. He rallied over his final two of six rounds to finish in a tie for 10th at 21-under par, and earn one of 25 Tour cards for the 2013 season. “He’s a marvelous player, a fabulous ballstriker,’’ says Mike Gove, Jeff’s uncle, former PGA Tour player and the head pro at Inglewood Country Club. “He played well in qualifying school. He turned it around in his fifth round when things were not going his way and finished strong. Then he played fabulous down the stretch in his sixth round.’’ Jeff Gove, who will be 42 on May 28, is chasing his dream again. Hollywood makes movies about these kinds of dream-chasers — “Rudy,” or “The Rookie,” or even “Hoosiers.” Who doesn’t love a dreamer, especially one who has been chasing for 20 years? “Physically, I feel better than 10 years ago,’’ he says. “Mentally, I’m a little more mature. If I play the way I’m capable of playing, I’ll take another run at it.’’ It’s not unusual for golfers to be competitive at his age. Vijay Singh, who turned 50 on Feb. 22, had a record 22 victories in his 40s. Four players in their 40s are still ranked among the top-21 in the world: Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Jim cascadegolfer.com
Furyk and David Toms. Success can happen. Why not for Jeff Gove? His advantage, he believes, is his age. He’s been around – and up and down. He knows everyone on the Tour. He’s not cowed when paired with a Mickelson or a Mahan. “You have to have the attitude that, ‘He’s watching what I’m doing, too,’’’ he says. “I’ve been out here long enough. I’m friends with all these guys. I’m not intimidated. “I know it’s a long year,” he continues. “When some young guys get off to a bad start, they hit the panic button. I have a good perspective on life now. Golf is a gift, not a right. It’s not the only thing I can do. I appreciate every chance I can get. I’m not sure I had that attitude when I first got here 12 years ago. You can’t live and die on every shot.’’ It should be pointed out that Gove is not living hand-to-mouth. During his Tour career, he has won $2.1 million, although that’s sliced up pretty quickly by taxes, caddy fees, equipment and traveling expenses. Over the past three seasons, he has basically broken even. It’s his good fortune, however, to be playing during a time when tournament purses are gigantic, where one victory can set a player up for life. One Sunday payday can make up for 20 years worth of labor. Gove would love to experience that kind of good fortune, one time, but not simply as a strict monetary pursuit. “If you’re playing for the money, you’re in for the wrong reason,” he says. He wants sustained success — when that happens, the money takes care of itself. He wants to be among the top-125 or so on the Tour every year. More than anything, he wants to win. He wants to walk down the 18th fairway some Sunday afternoon in the final group with a shot at the prize. That’s the dream he’s chasing. “You have to have a belief in your ability,’’ he says. “And to win, you need to get a break or two somewhere along the way earlier in week. Anyone in the top four or five has had those breaks.’’ It’s been breaking bad for Gove early in his 2013 season. Desperate to build up his earnings to improve his playing status, he has yet to cash a check. He played in four tournaments during the first two months and missed the cut all four times, earning nothing. At the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in early February, he was poised to cash in. He opened with a 69 and was among the top 30 by the end of the first day. He followed that with a 71 for a two-day 140, a figure good enough most of the time to hover above the cut line. However, Pebble is one of the few four-round events that sets the cut line on the third day, not the second. Gove struggled to a 76 on that Saturday to miss the cut by three shots. Unfortunately for Gove, PGA Tour player status is never static. Roughly every six events, the Tour reshuffles priority, based on how the first-year players fared. When a player, such as APRIL 2013
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Gove, has not been competitive, other players who have had more success move ahead of him in the eligibility pecking order. As the summer progresses, it will be harder for him just to show up and play. At times, he may be sitting on the alternate list some Monday morning waiting for someone to drop out so that he can get in. Or, he may have drop down to a Web.com Tour event to win a check. “He has improved in a lot of areas in his golf game,’’ says Uncle Mike. “It’s just a matter of putting things together for that one week.’’ Jeff Gove has won before — three times on the Nationwide Tour. He won the Washington Open twice, including a record 11-stroke victory last May at Bellevue’s Glendale Country Club. “I had a lot of opportunities to play with some of the best players in the world in the ‘80s,’’ says Uncle Mike, “And Jeff struck the ball (in winning the Washington Open) like no one I’ve ever seen. “He’s got wonderful ability. Just what makes that guy out there a steady money-winner versus the guy you see five or six times then he’s gone, it’s hard to put a finger on it. It’s tough to determine what’s really holding someone back.’’ For Gove, inconsistent putting — particularly the intermediate putts — has been problem in the past. Last year, however, Gove worked with noted instructor and Lakewood native Brian Mogg in an effort to improve that area. His father, Gary Gove, admits that it’s hard to
by Golf Digest
see his son struggle to make enough money to pursue his dream. “You don’t know how tough it is for parents to watch,” he says. “[We] live and die with every putt.’’ Gove has finished sixth twice and has 17 finishes among the top-25 on the PGA Tour. He has made 73 cuts in his career, so he can be competitive with the big boys. “There is a reason he continues to do it,’’ his father says. “He believes he can do it.’’ Is it just a matter of time before he’s in position to win? Or is time running out? “I need to stay aggressive and focus on the things I’ve got to do,’’ Gove said. “I’ve got to compete on the first day like it’s the last day, instead of teeing if off Thursday and seeing how things unfold.’’ Gary Gove says he doesn’t talk much with his son about his game, not wishing to touch on any negatives. He admires his son’s doggedness, but what makes him most proud is the respect accorded him by his peers. Gove was not only voted the player representative on the Nationwide Tour, but also has been selected by the PGA Tour players to be on the influential Player Advisory Council. “He’s one of 16,’’ Gary Gove said, “and he’s the no-name.’’ Regardless of what happens this season, Jeff Gove’s competitive spirit will not be tempered. His goal is to make enough money and points to qualify for the FedEx Cup – and earn his Tour card for 2014. If not, it’ll be one more go around the Web.com. “If everything works out, in nine years I hope to compete on the (50-over) Champions Tour,’’ he added. “I feel very healthy.’’ That’s the thing about dreams, and those who chase them. When you believe in them, they can take you anywhere you can imagine.
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Bob Sherwin is the co-founder of Northwest golf website GolfersWest.com, and a freelance writer for the New York Times and Associated Press. He last wrote about the challenges of bringing a PGA Tour event to Seattle for the August 2012 CG. cascadegolfer.com
BRUTAL LOVE ‘EM OR HATE ‘EM,
THESE ARE TEN PAR-5S YOU’LL NEVER FORGET
hen it comes to Washington’s most par-fect par-5, it seems like just about everyone has an opinion. As often happens at CG headquarters, a planning meeting veered off course in January when somehow it came up that Salish Cliffs’ 18th hole — a fun, risk-reward par-5 with a drive out of a chute and a approach shot over water — might be the best par-5 in the state. “What about Trophy’s 18th?” someone said. “Or 17 at Washington National?” someone else added, setting off minutes of debate from all corners of the room. “Please, guys, stop, this is ridiculous,” someone finally interjected, seemingly ending the digression … until adding, “Desert Canyon’s sixth hole is 690 yards! You can’t beat that.” An hour later, we had all but forgotten what we planned to meet about. We also had an idea for our next feature.
INTRO BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR For most golfers, par-5s offer some of the best looks at birdie, a chance to go 2-for-3 on your way to the green and still end up with a look at the cup. They’re also often the best risk/reward holes, giving you that butterflies-in-the-stomach moment where you have to take account of your ability, your score, your lie — and of course, your tendency to second-guess yourself — and make that roundmaking (or breaking) call…to go, or not to go? We realized quickly that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the opinions of those within our walls — no matter how loudly and insistently those opinions were stated. So, we called a few friends throughout the local sports and entertainment scene to see who had an opinion. Kasey Keller did. So did Golden
Tate. So did Justin Smoak, Paige Mackenzie and Ryan Moore. Matt Thurmond, the Huskies’ head golf coach, was so excited, he tried to submit two holes as his favorite. It turns out when word gets around that someone is making a list of the state’s best par5s, just about everyone wants to put in their two cents. We narrowed the list to 10, with the only request that it be a hole on a daily-fee course — after all, what fun is it to read about an amazing hole you can’t play (or, in the case of Tate’s submission, at least one you can walk)? We also took the pulse of CG nation through our Facebook page and CascadeGolfer.com, and have included your top vote-getters on page 46. The 10 par-5s submitted by our CG Dream Team, and the additional selections made by CG readers, are beautiful, and brutal. And we can’t wait to play every one we can this year.
Paige Mackenzie LPGA TOUR GOLFER
Washington National, No. 17
“My favorite par-5 is number 17 on Washington National. I love risk/reward par-5s and this is a perfect example. You must hit two great shots to reach the green in two. The hole requires you to think off the tee and on the approach. It’s a great finishing hole because a lot can go right or wrong coming down the stretch. It is a perfect par-5.”
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ShowtimeTate
TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, No. 8
“I like ‘The Narrows’ not only because I’ve birdied it, but because it’s challenging — one must have distance control to score. There is also water to take into account towards the green. You can be bold and aim over the water from 170-200 yards out, or you can play it safe and stay right of the water.”
PHOTO BY JOHN JOHNSON
Kasey Keller SOCCER ICON
Indian Summer No. 5
“I know I’m breaking the rules by picking a private course, but this hole is just too good not to include. You start back in the woods, and tee off through the old growth forest to a supernarrow fairway. It’s narrow from tee to green, with water and 100-foot trees … there aren’t too many pars or birdies made there. Usually, if I play it well, it’s a sign I’ll have a good round. If I don’t, I’m probably going to put up a big number.”
Matt Thurmond UW GOLF COACH
Gold Mountain (Olympic), No. 11
“When you drive it into ‘go-range’ here you have to really think twice about it. The slightly elevated green is so tough to hit and the shortside chips, especially on the left, make for a difficult up-and-down. Then you see that crossbunker in the lay-up area and imagine the wedge shot you’ll have, and ‘going for it’ starts to look good again. This is one of a rare few par-five holes that averages over par in college tournaments.” PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
READERS WEIGH IN
e also asked for your help picking the state’s top par-5s — here are the four that received the most nominations on Facebook and CascadeGolfer.com: WASHINGTON NATIONAL, NO. 17 “Neither the tee shot or the second are that tough, but water’s always in play. An 8 is just as likely as a 4.” — CG reader Tom Stevens
Newcastle — Coal Creek, No. 17
“Between my limited chances to play in the summer and being distracted by the views, I’m not sure I’ve ever played a par-5 at Newcastle really well. But since my best chance to play there is in our annual charity golf tournament (to support CF research), I always have a great time. I love the course and being able to look over at Seattle, and always enjoy myself there.”
Justin Smoak SEATTLE MARINERS
APPLE TREE, NO. 18 “A hole that makes you think, ‘Do I take the shortcut, or play it safe?’ It will probably depend on the round you’re having, but I always go for the shortcut.” — CG reader Brandon Feist DESERT CANYON, NO. 6 “The green looks like it’s a mile away — in reality, it’s just a little less than half a mile (700 yards).” — CG reader Jake Mathewson TROPHY LAKE, NO. 18 “A beautiful golf hole with a wicked finish.” — CG reader Lance Kulman ALSO RECEIVING VOTES (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY): Alderbrook No. 18; Bear Mountain Ranch No. 18; Chambers Bay No. 8 & 13; Gold Mountain (Olympic) No. 9; Gold Mountain (Cascade) No. 18; Hawks Prairie (Woodlands) No. 13; Horn Rapids No. 12; Kahler Glen No. 9; McCormick Woods No. 9; Newcastle (China Creek) No. 10; Palouse Ridge No. 5; Prospector at Suncadia No. 11; Salish Cliffs No. 8 & No. 18; Wine Valley No. 7. PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
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Ryan Moore PGA TOUR GOLFER
The Classic, No. 7
“The tee shot requires some precision, with a narrow opening framed on the left by a tough fairway bunker spotted with native grasses
and OB trouble, and on the right by several pot bunkers, towering oaks and cedars. Hit a good drive and you’ve got a long shot into a picturesque, elevated green surrounded by bunkers. Avoid the oak 60 yards short of the green and you’ll be putting for eagle on this large, sloping putting surface. From start to finish, this hole requires great shot-making, with enough character that you’ll never play it the same way twice.”
CHEF & RESTAURATEUR @TomDouglasCo
West Seattle, No. 12
“I love this hole. The views from the hillside are second-to-none.”
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
John Fought GOLF ARCHITECT
Trophy Lake, No. 7
“If the seventh hole had a name it would most likely be, ‘Temptation.’ From the tee, the player must choose either the longer, safe route to the right or the shorter, narrower landing area on the left, because there is a mammoth bunker
located in the center of the landing area. The second shot affords a spectacular view of the mountains in the distance, but the approach requires intelligent shot-making and perfect execution to score well.”
SEATTLE’S GO-2-GUY @cougsgo
No. 9 at McCormick Woods
“McCormick Woods is one of the few courses where I love every hole. The ninth is cool because it’s one of those 90-degree, dogleg-left holes. You can cut off some of the
distance with a drive that hugs the left side of the hole. That could leave you with a flat lie and a second shot to the green for a possible eagle, or it could lead to disaster if you go too far left into the trees. If you don’t go too far left, you could still end up with an awkward sidehill or downhill lie for your second shot. The best bet is to hit it down the middle, but be careful ... if you hit it too far, you could find the woods. The second shot from that point is a layup with an easy wedge for a third to the green. It’s a birdie hole that I usually bogey.”
The Golf Club at Newcastle — Coal Creek, No.1
“From the tee, this par-5 offers one of the most scenic views of a major metropolitan city and mountain range in the United States. From the elevated tee shot to the challenging layup over wetlands to a green guarded by a meandering creek in front, this hole has your attention from the start in more ways than one.”
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
SAVE SOME GREEN
AMEN CORNER BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
Druids Glen Golf Club • Covington
ongtime readers of “Save Some Green” will have heard this before, but there’s no such thing as a “best” golf course. There are simply too many factors, most incredibly subjective, that contribute to a golfer’s experience at a course for any one course to be considered the best. Some golfers like the brown, natural tracks like Chambers Bay and Wine Valley; others prefer the country-club conditioning of a Trophy Lake or Washington National. Some relish a tough challenge, others just want to make a few pars and have fun. In truth, Washington’s golf courses are like Washington wine — there’s a varietal out there for everyone, at every price point. And when you find the one that you like best — then that’s the best, for you. When we’re out scouting our next round, there are three factors we typically consider — price, quality and location. In Western Washington, we’re blessed with dozens of great courses, many of which have reasonable greens fees, and many of which are just a short drive from our homes, no matter where in the Puget Sound region we live. Not as many, though, offer all three of those factors. When we find one that does, however, we simply say, “Amen.” That’s why — as the game’s best golfers prepare to hit Augusta’s famed Amen Corner this month — we’re paying tribute to one of our region’s own “Amen Corners,” a spot packed with courses that meet our “Amen” standard. A triangle defined roughly by Highway 18, Highway 167 and Highway 169, this little corner features many of our favorite “Amen” tracks, including Auburn Golf Course and Washington National Golf Club on its southern side, Lake Wilderness and Elk Run to the east, plus this month’s two “Save Some Green” choices, Covington’s Druids Glen and Renton’s Maplewood — not to mention country-club favorite Meridian Valley. There may be fewer azaleas than at Augusta National’s version, but our Amen Corner has everything we need to find our “best” round this spring.
Enter to win a free twosome to either of two great Access Golf courses — including Druids Glen in Covington or Willows Run in Redmond!
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
Druids Glen GC COVINGTON
I was 14 years old when my family relocated to the Seattle area from Colorado. I thought I knew mountains, but as I caught my first glimpse of Rainier towering above the horizon, I was awed into silence. The same feeling still comes over me every time my plane breaks through the clouds after a trip away, or driving south on I-5 on those clear summer days, when the mountain seems so close you could drive right into it. And no golf course showcases Mount Rainier quite like Druids Glen. There are others that are closer to the mountain, but none that can combine those humbling views with as fun and challenging a golf course as Druids. A front nine that plays largely on level ground — including two of the toughest par-3s you’ll find in the region — drops down a ridge after the turn, with excellent bunkering and a terrific combination of reachable par-5s, challenging par-3s and creative routing that makes nearly every hole unique. It also happens to be a good value, with greens fees that top out at $58 in April, and early bird, twilight and weekday rates that plunge as low as $22 (and even lower for Druids Glen members). Quality (check), location (check) and price (check) — few courses combine the three as well as Druids Glen, which is what puts it at the apex of this particular Amen Corner.
Don’t get too caught up in those views at No. 2, because the par-3 third hole has the ability to punish you for a lack of focus. A 170-yard carry over water from the whites (182 from the blues), a straight shot is a must — miss short or left, and you’re wet, miss right, and a bunker awaits, forcing a nervy sand shot with water behind the pin.
YARDAGE 5,354-7,146 RATES $31-$58 TEL 877-253-9286 WEB www.druidsglengolf.com
Maplewood GC RENTON
Owned and operated by the City of Renton, Maplewood is popular among locals for its variety of holes, its low rates, and the adjacent driving range and restaurant. One of the first things most newbies notice about Maplewood are the trees surrounding nearly every hole. Then, there’s the water. Ponds, creeks and streams come into play on at least 10 holes, including two par-3s where the shortest path to the pin carries directly over the wet stuff. That combination of water and trees — not to mention plenty of doglegs — requires most golfers to think one shot ahead throughout the round, a quality not often associated with muni layouts. The par-4 eighth hole, for example, is only 319 from the blues, but a drive that lands on the right side of the fairway requires a golfer to execute an awkward half-pitch, half-punch through a screen of trees to reach a green perched atop a large slope. The sharp dogleg left at the par-5 fifth makes for another challenge, with golfers who can get around the dogleg off the tee able to go for the green, while others will have to play it as a three-shotter. By the time you reach the 18th, a tempting little 276-yard par-4, you’ll know how you’ve been hitting ‘em — and exactly what that little circle on the scorecard would mean to your score. If you make it, toast yourself in the RiverRock Grill — if not, the covered, heated driving range will give you the chance to fix that drive.
The 467-yard, par-5 15th hole narrows towards the pin, with a hazard left and a bunker and large maple right. If you’re on the short stuff, then grab an iron or wood and go for eagle. If not, a good layup still leaves a strong chance at birdie.
YARDAGE 5,155-6,127 (par 72) RATES $16-$37 TEL 425-430-6800 WEB rentonwa.gov
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ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN KIMBALL
10 Bold Predictions For 2013 5 W BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ith all the excitement for the upcoming 2013
golf season, we felt like going out on a limb and making a few bold predictions of our own:
Local golf courses will report their best years since the recession. Maybe it’s last year’s 48 straight days of sun, or the recent mild winter, but it’s hard not to forecast an amazing summer for golf in the Northwest. Combine that with our region’s incredible courses, low rates and a growing economy, and this has the potential to be a special year for local golf.
Ryan Moore will be atop the leaderboard on Sunday at a major. It could come earlier, but keep an eye on the PGA Championship at Oak Hill — maybe it’s a product of the playing season he grew up with, but the Seattle native always seems to hit his stride in August, and is coming off his best pro season.
Tiger Woods will win a major … and Rory McIlroy will not. This prediction was more “bold” before Tiger’s big win in January, and Rory’s subsequent struggles in February, but our hunch is that Nike’s signing of McIlroy will spark Tiger’s competitive fire. And when Tiger’s fired up, watch out. As for Rory, here’s guessing his new sticks require a longer adjustment period. It’s also possible that he dominates like usual, but predicting Rory’s greatness would hardly count as “bold.”
Fred Couples will win the Boeing Classic. Fresh off his Senior British Open win and dominating his peers on U.S. soil, last year felt like the one — until that pesky back injury derailed Fred’s return just a few steps off the first tee. We say 2013 is the year Fred’s homecoming ends with him being crowned king.
The R&A will announce limits on golf ball performance. First it was driver heads, then wedge grooves, and now belly putters — we predict the R&A’s quest to preserve the game of golf as it was meant to be played will next zero in on the speed of golf balls. Maybe Coors Field has a spare humidor.
A plan will be announced for Washington’s own Bandon Dunes. This one’s pure speculation, but California and Oregon have incredible destination golf resorts on the Pacific coast, why not us? Rumors have swirled for years of an oceanfront golf resort in Washington, and when news breaks, we’ll be there, driver in hand.
A Puget Sound country club will open to limited public play. Maybe this one is just wishful thinking on our part, but we’re guessing that — like Oakbrook Country Club in 2012 — the wall will come down at one of our region’s wellknown private tracks, adding another amazing course for local golfers to enjoy.
The UW men’s golf team will win the NCAA championship. Coach Matt Thurmond has the world’s No. 1 amateur, Chris Williams, and its sixthranked amateur, Cheng Tsung-Pan. He’s had the UW on the cusp for nearly a decade — this is the year the Huskies bring home the hardware.
I will finally break 80. You thought predicting our own Bandon Dunes was bold? This is the boldest prediction of all — and probably the most unrealistic. But whatever that target number is for you, it’s that tease that keeps us coming back for more.
Almost all of these predictions will be wrong. The only one on this list you can take to the bank. cascadegolfer.com