10 SHORT GAME • • • • • • •
Swinomish goes all-in on golf Premier takes over Lynnwood New B.C. putter scoring with pros DiabloGolf.com goes to No. 1 First look at next Bandon Dunes Latest news from around the Sound SG Extra: Cup, Shootout, Card, Oh My!
22 PUETZ IN THE BAG
32 RISK VS REWARD
• Harbour Pointe Golf Club No. 8
PING i25, Callaway Big Bertha lead new driver class The top-performing rangefinders (laser and GPS!)
26 TEEING OFF
48 TRAVEL BAG
• Playing Alabama’s “Golf” Coast
50 SAVE SOME GREEN
• New M’s president (and CG reader) Kevin Mather steps to the plate
• Ease into spring with three local faves
54 POSTGAME • Just jokin’ around
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 8-9 | 28-31 | 52-53
Dream A Little Dream Want to know where to find us in 2014? Start by searching these 18 incredible holes.
ON THE COVER The all-new 17th hole at Highlander is on our must-play list this year. See the full list of tantalizing tracks starting on page 34.
APRIL2014 2014 APRIL
The Longest Yard Inside the life — and golf game — of Husky QB and NW golf pitchman Sonny Sixkiller.
THIS PAGE Apple Tree Resort joins the CG Players Card in 2014 — find out how you can play Apple Tree, Salish Cliffs and five other local courses for just $199, total, on page 18.
Volume 8 • Issue 1 • APRIL 2014
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 106,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound.
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P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, John Kimball CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony Dear, Craig Smith FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103 email@example.com
Spring is in the air and Masters memories aren’t ‘Fuzzy’ at all
he sweet smell of azaleas will soon be swirling about parts of the country. I love each major for different reasons, and major champions … well, they are VERY different. Each is unique, painting their own portrait in our minds of where and how they won. For this issue, I thought I would hum a few bars of a unique experience I had with a one-of-a-kind major winner – Fuzzy Zoeller, 1979 Masters Champion, 1984 U.S. Open winner and holder of 10 PGA Tour titles. Fuzzy was the headliner of the pro-am and auction dinner at the Merrill Lynch Invitational at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, and as the event producer, I was excited to meet him. The first time he ever played Augusta, he beat the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson and Irwin in historic fashion. As I awaited his arrival at the TPC clubhouse, his personality and colorful past had me doubly excited and a little nervous. Up pulled the limo, and before I could open the door, out popped Fuzzy, sporting a green, v-neck sweater, slacks, sunglasses (with his signature Bula loops attached), a Miller light in his left hand and his right extended in my direction. “Hello, sir, I’m Fuzzy Zoeller,” he said, before I could even say anything.
The Masters champ calling me “sir?” I was blown away. His entry reminded me of the final scene in “Stripes” where Bill Murray walks off a charter jet with his sunglasses and uniform on, a martini in hand and says, “A surprise party? I’ll tell ya’!” It was perfect. I got to hang with him the whole night and the following morning, and the guy was amazing with people, going out of his way to make it easy for others. A showman and conversationalist bar none, Fuzzy told stories of winning the green jacket in sudden death. He went shot-for-shot, painting a picture like we were really there. When I think of the Masters, I hear Fuzzy’s description of holing the clinching putt and throwing his putter in the air, saying he wasn’t sure if it ever came down. Major Masters magic. Although his clinic and round the following day was memorable, it was his incredible way of sharing his experience as a golfer and a fan of the game that I’ll never forget. Sure, that candid nature has gotten him in trouble a few times, but no one can take away what he is — a champion. Just thinking about it has me excited for Masters week, and a fresh shot at a new golf season. Enjoy it loyal readers and as always, TAKE IT EASY!
ADVERTISING & MARKETING STAFF
V I C E P R E S I D E NT / D I R E C TO R O F S AL E S Kirk Tourtillotte S A LE S & M A R K E T I N G Simon Dubiel, Johnny Carey FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2014 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. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
APRIL APRIL2014 2014
Swinomish Lodge And Casino Steps To The Tee With Golf Course Purchase
hen the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, owners and operators of the Swinomish Casino in Anacortes, purchased the nearby Similk Beach Golf Course last year, it was natural to assume that the tribe was simply following the recent trend of pairing a Northwest casino with a Northwest golf course. In reality, they were simply reclaiming the native lands taken from them by an Executive Order issued in 1873 by then-President Ulysses S. Grant. The fact that there was a beautiful golf course on the property? Consider it a bonus. “Honestly, it was about the land purchase first and foremost,” says Dallas Widmark, general manager of the Swinomish Lodge, adjacent to the casino property, just two miles from the golf course. “But certainly, the opportunity to add a golf course amenity to the casino and lodge was exciting.” Over the past few years, the Swinomish — about 10 miles west of Burlington on Padilla Bay — has undergone a significant expansion, turning its casino into a full resort destination. First came construction of a lodge, meeting spaces and restaurants in 2012, then a state-of-the-art Callaway Performance Center in 2013, and now the golf course — amenities that have put the Swinomish into any conversation of the state’s top casino resort destinations. “It’s a special place,” Widmark says. “And the more we can offer, the more people we can attract to share it with us.” Many new visitors are sure to be attracted by the golf course, since renamed Swinomish Links. A “hidden gem,” as Widmark calls it, on a narrow isthmus separating Similk and Fidalgo Bay, the course has long been a favorite of locals for its scenic views, open fairways and affordable rates. Outside the Anacortes city limits, however, it’s been practically unheard of — prior to the Swinomish tribe’s purchase, the course had no advertising budget, no marketing plan … not even a website.
To beef up their investment, the tribe has brought in Anacortes native Matt Atterbury, the longtime superintendent at Suncadia Resort, to oversee a re-conditioning of the course’s greens, collars, approaches and fairways, along with minor aesthetic changes to accentuate the property’s eye candy. Looking to the future, Widmark says plans include adding to Swinomish Links’ 6,177 yards, and finding more ways to maximize the fun and playability of the course. While the front nine plays along Fidalgo Bay to the north, the back nine turns south towards Similk Bay, each offering a unique set of holes and views. “It has some links-style traits, in that many of the holes have big, open fairways, with few trees,” Widmark says. “But there are also elevation changes, with wooded hills to the east and west and water on both sides … it’s a very interesting course, and a lot of fun. It’s playable, but it can still challenge you.” The casino and lodge have already begun offering stay-and-play packages online, which start at just $149 for a night’s stay and one day of unlimited golf at Swinomish Links. In addition to golf, guests can enjoy halibut and salmon fishing, whale watching and scenic views of Mount Baker and Padilla Bay. And, of course, plenty of slots, table games and poker, plus concerts, comedy shows and more. In future months, Widmark says the resort plans to move the Callaway Performance Center — including custom-fit Callaway equipment, lessons and a state-of-the-art, camera-assisted simulator — to the golf course, to create a true golf destination. “The golf demographic really fits the gaming demographic well,” Widmark says, a fact evidenced by the large number of golfers in town for last year’s North Sound Shootout who took advantage of the casino amenities between rounds. “It really meshes well with what we’re doing, and we’re excited about where it’s going to go from here.” cascadegolfer.com
Lynnwood G.C. • Hole No. 4
Premier Golf Adds Lynnwood G.C.
hristmas came early for golfers in Seattle’s North end, with the announcement just before Thanksgiving that Premier Golf would be taking over management of Lynnwood Golf Course, ending months of speculation as to the course’s future amid news of financial struggles. With Premier — who has an outstanding reputation managing municipal courses in Seattle (Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, West Seattle and Interbay), Everett (Legion Memorial and Walter Hall), Bellevue (Bellevue G.C.) and on the south end (Lake Wilderness, Lake Spanaway and Fort Steilacoom) — on board, golfers can expect to continue to enjoy Lynnwood’s little secret for years to come. The par-65 course has long been a favorite with locals for its speedy pace of play (a typical round takes little more than three hours) and surprisingly good challenge, with three par-3s longer than 160 yards, and more than half of its par-4s beyond 350, all lined by thick stands of Northwest firs.
Under the new agreement, which officially took effect Dec. 30 and will last for the next five years, Premier will handle the club’s business operations, including the clubhouse, pro shop and website, while the city will maintain responsibility for the course’s upkeep. In January, Premier launched a new website for the course — www.LynnwoodGC.com — which incorporates its online tee time feature, and Premier Club loyalty rewards card. Rates will remain the same ($30 weekday, $34 weekend) for 2014. “We are honored to be chosen by the City of Lynnwood to manage their wonderful golf course and look forward to working with The City of Lynnwood and the various stakeholders to ensure the continued success of Lynnwood Golf Course,” said Bill Schickler, President of Premier Golf. Premier Golf and the city of Lynnwood may be happy with their deal, but it’s North end golfers who are happiest of all, knowing that a strong local muni is in good hands.
AROUND THE SOUND
Jackson Park G.C. • Hole No. 3
f course, Lynnwood isn’t the only place Premier Golf has its hands full this spring. Last year at this time, Premier was hard at work renovating Seattle’s Jackson Park Golf Club in advance of building the course’s first true driving range, to be located between Jackson’s 10th and 18th holes. Following construction of a brand-new 10th green and re-routing of the 10th and 11th holes, along with a straight swap of holes 7-8-9 and 16-17-18, construction of the new range was slowed in the summer, preventing it from opening as planned in 2013. Progress is back underway at Jackson, however, with the range now slated to open in late summer or early fall. Additional course modifications – including lengthening existing holes to return course par to 72 – will likely be put off until at least 2015.
Construction is also officially underway on another project first mentioned last spring, a new clubhouse for sister course Jefferson Park, on Beacon Hill. The old clubhouse, built in 1970, has been torn down and the range closed, but Jefferson Park remains open for business during the construction process. The new clubhouse, which will feature a restaurant, pro shop and even a rooftop deck, along with a two-story, lighted driving range, should be completed just in time for Christmas. And not to be outdone, Bellevue Golf Course will also be getting a new range, to open hopefully next year. Do you know of ongoing upgrades or renovation projects at other Washington courses? Drop us a line at email@example.com or let us know on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) or Twitter (@CascadeGolfer)! APRIL 2014
SHORT GAME Northwest-Built Putter Turns “Pro”
ast April, we told you about the Clearball putter, the latest creation from Vancouver, B.C.-based Innovations Golf that was making a splash in the flatstick world. That splash has become a full cannonball. After a year of strong marketing and testimonials from teaching pros and top amateur golfers around the country, Innovations Golf was invited to showcase their putters on the practice green at the 2013 Thailand PGA Championship in December, and again at the King’s Cup (Asian Tour) in January. Forty different players at the two events tried the new Clearball Pro putter, and four of them have since put them in play in professional events. The putter has since been showcased at other tournaments, and was one of the featured products at the PGA Merchandise Show in January. “Several Tour pros who visited our booth were so impressed with our putter, especially the wide, two-inch
sweet spot, that they will start using it in tournaments,” said inventor Dennis Wong. That positive reception of the new Clearball Pro echoes the sentiment of golf instructors, amateurs and product testers from across the globe, who have written in their support to Innovations Golf since the original Clearball first hit the market in late 2012. Even some of the golf world’s top professionals have lent their unsolicited support to the Clearball: “Your putter is terrific,” wrote PGA TOUR Champions Tour player and 2001 U.S. Senior Open champ Bruce Fleisher. “It is easier to line up. It feels like [I] now can make putts.” “This is one of the best putters that I have seen in my 70 years in golf,” said Doug Sanders, a 20-time winner on the pro Tour with 13 top-10 finishes in major championships. “If I was playing with the Clearball putter, I would have
made that putt on the last hole of the British Open in 1970 to win.” What sets the Clearball and Clearball Pro apart from their competitors are the multiple alignment aids built into the club’s head. The most obvious are the white and red strips that bracket the ball-sized cavity behind the face — when the club is level, and your hands and head are positioned properly, the red strip disappears beneath the white, giving you confidence that you’re in the proper position. In addition, three white lines on the crown help square up the putter to the ball, while the grooved face insert promotes a smooth, consistent roll. “Feedback from customers over the past couple of years shows that the Clearball putter will improve your putting accuracy by twenty to fifty percent,” Wong says. To learn more, visit www.innovationsgolf.com.
DiabloGolf’s App Is Devilishly Good
hen we first introduced our readers to Bellingham brothers Pat and Tom Jentz in 2010, it was to mention their then-new website, DiabloGolf.com, which allowed golfers to pair up for a friendly wager with other golfers of similar skill. When we checked in with DiabloGolf again in 2012, it was to showcase the company’s new app, which added the ability to maintain an official USGA Handicap Index for less than a third the cost of other outlets. Two years later, we check in again … to discover that the Seahawks aren’t the only Northwest team to reach No. 1. What started out merely as a website designed to help Northwest golfers connect has since become the topranked golf handicap app in the United States, with over 125,000 users and a No. 1 ranking in its category in iTunes. Go ahead, open iTunes on your phone or computer and search for “golf handicap.” There it is. For the Northwest natives — and longtime Cascade Golfer Cup competitors — it’s been a whirlwind ride to the top.
“When we started DiabloGolf, we wanted to give golfers an easy way to connect with other golfers. It has since morphed into a tool that golfers use to post their scores while having a beer instead of searching for a kiosk, especially when they’re traveling,” says co-founder Pat Jentz. “We also noticed that golfers didn’t have a choice when it came to handicap service providers. We now provide golfers another option to choose based on their service needs. Our bread-and-butter is the golfer who plays mostly with his buddies or in casual tournaments and doesn’t belong to any one course.” The app’s popularity can be attributed to its simplicity. Using your phone’s GPS feature, the app quickly locates the course you’re playing, then allows you to enter the tees you played, and your score. DiabloGolf Clubs issue a USGA Handicap Index that is valid for entry in any local tournament or USGA-sanctioned event that requires a USGA Handicap Index — and at just $14.99 per year. And of course, the DiabloGolf USGA Golf Handicap Index Tracker still allows you to connect with friends via
social media, find tournaments in your area, and make new friends through its original “TeeVite” feature. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting a small, local business – and fellow CG readers, to boot. In fact, as an added bonus, Cascade Golfer Cup players this year will receive a free one-year membership to DiabloGolf, including a handicap and access to the site’s other cool features. To learn more, visit www.DiabloGolf.com.
• Great golf experience without the pressure • Over 40 world-class courses to choose from • Family friendly • Great food and drinks • Largest indoor golf center & sports bar in WA state • Watch your favorite sporting events on the giant screens
www.clubhouse-golf.com (425) 582-9813 3105 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Suite A, Lynnwood, WA 98036
Make Room For Another Oregon Coast Gem PHOTO BY BRIAN OAR
ince David McLay Kidd first pulled back the curtain on his oceanside links on the Oregon coast in 1999, golf course architects have been falling all over themselves to create “the next Bandon Dunes” (including Kidd himself, who invoked the name of Bandon Dunes when describing his new course, Gamble Sands, set to open this year in Brewster, Wash.). Perhaps the most likely challenger, though, comes in the form of Pacific Gales, a recently announced links course to be built … well, along the Pacific coast in southern Oregon, of course. Our own Tony Dear tracked down project manager Troy Russell to learn more about the planned development, just outside Port Orford, Ore., which has yet to break ground. We’ve pulled out the juiciest parts of that interview here; for the full details, visit Tony’s website, www.BellinghamGolfer.com.
And keep faith, Washingtonians. Our coastal gem will be here someday. Until then, we’ll just have to keep saving up for gas money. How aware of the site were you before becoming project manager? “I grew up on a farm east of Bandon. I first visited the Knapp Ranch [where the course will be built] some time during my teenage years on farm business. In ’97 at Bandon Dunes, Jim Haley asked me if there was anything like Bandon up or down the Oregon coast. I told him I knew of a place that was similar about 30 miles south.” How do you compare the sites? “There are obviously a lot of similarities. They’re both great coastal sites with a lot of natural sand. Of all the
courses at the Bandon Dunes Resort, I suppose Pacific Gales will be most like Bandon Dunes because they are both set on plateaus above the ocean. And the drop-off at the south end of Bandon Dunes resembles that at the north end of Pacific Gales. But the scenery is actually better here than at Bandon. At Pacific Gales, we have the Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the north, and the Port Orford Heads to the south. And due east is the Coastal Range and the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest.” What will the construction schedule be? “The best-case scenario is that we will be granted the required permits by late March, and we will be able to start work in April. We should have the south nine cleared and shaped by the middle of November, when we’ll shut down for a couple of months. We’ll get going
SHORT GAME again in February 2015 and build the north nine. We should be done by the end of June, when we’ll leave it to grow in over the summer. If all goes according to plan, the course might be playable, and we might be able to host some preview rounds, in September 2015.” Do you foresee any difficulties with the terrain and sand? “I don’t think so. A lot will depend on the weather. But the site isn’t as raw as Bandon Dunes was. And, because it’s a working ranch, some of the service roads are actually already there. So it should be a relatively straightforward build.” We were talking with David Kidd in the summer about his new course in Washington, and he said that the quality site, supportive owner and golf-only business plan made it an ideal job. This project sounds pretty similar. “It’s not often an architect, construction crew, or development team get the opportunity to create something like this. The site here is absolutely fantastic; it will be wonderful to build as good a golf course as we can without needing to be concerned with housing; and it’s a pleasure to work alongside the Knapp Family. It doesn’t get much better.”
Salish Cliffs Golf Club • Shelton, Wash.
Over $100,000 In Prizes On The Line In 2014 Cascade Golfer Cup
ead that headline again — that’s really what it all comes down to, right? No matter how much we pump up the seven fantastic courses we’ll be playing this summer, or the fun team-scoring formats, the free meal and beer at every event, or the net and gross scoring categories that give everyone a chance to win, what keeps players coming back to the Cascade Golfer Cup year after year are the incredible prizes we hand out at every single event. Stay-and-plays to Bandon Dunes, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Central Oregon, Mesquite (Nev.), Whistler and Arizona. Twosomes and foursomes to Gamble Sands, Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, Newcastle, Washington National, Trophy Lake, Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree, McCormick Woods, White Horse and more than a dozen other
fantastic Washington tracks. Golf packages to Portland, Idaho, B.C. and Bend. Plus drivers, hybrids, putters, wedges, golf bags, push carts and much, much more. The 2014 Cascade Golfer Cup tees off Apr. 26 at Chambers Bay, before heading to Washington National (Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship, May 17), McCormick Woods (DiabloGolf.com Classic, June 14), Salish Cliffs (Puetz Golf Shootout, July 12), the RMG Club at Oakbrook (Michelob ULTRA Open, Aug. 2), Mill Creek Country Club (Bridgestone Golf Invitational, Aug. 23) and White Horse (Cascade Golfer Challenge, Sept. 13). That’s four of the top-10 courses in the state as identified by CG readers and Northwest golf experts in our 2013 rankings of the state’s top public tracks, a private course, and two
The Ultimate Golf Border War
he country may not realize it, but around here, we know that there are few rivalries across all sports better than Washington vs. Oregon — whether it's Sounders vs. Timbers, Huskies and Cougars vs. Ducks and Beavers, or (sniff, wipe a tear) Sonics vs. Blazers, the battle for Northwest supremacy is a badge of pride for residents on both sides of the Columbia River. That's why we thought it would be fun to put together a golf tournament that decides once and for all — who's the best? It's the first-annual Cascade Golfer Match Play Championship featuring amateur golfers from Washington and amateur golfers from Oregon in a match-play bracket to decide state supremacy. The "Road to Salish Cliffs" concludes when the final four players from each state are invited to Salish Cliffs for the quarterfinal, semi-final and championship rounds this fall, with a killer prize on the line for the winner, plus other great prizes along the way. Sound like something you'd be interested in? Prepare to throw on your state colors by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more today. 16
Apple Tree Resort
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: 2014 CG Players Card Our Best Yet
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
14Card 0 2 s r e lay
Apple Tr Resort ee
P Highlander Golf Club
Leavenworth Golf Club
Highlan Golf Clu der b
Salish Golf CluCliffs b
Port Lu Golf Cludlow b
Mt. Si Golf Course
Bucket of Balls
Leaven Golf Cluworth b
Mt. Si Golf Co u
aise your hand if you’d like to play Salish Cliffs this year for an average cost of just $28. Now raise your other hand if you’d also like to play Apple Tree for that same average cost of just $28. Now, start jumping up and down if, in addition, you’d also like to play Port Ludlow, Cedars at Dungeness, Highlander, Leavenworth and Mount Si, all for that same average cost of just $28. Now, stop jumping around like a golf-crazed fool and get yourself to a computer or phone … because the 2014 Cascade Golfer Players Cards are going fast. This year’s card, our third, is — in our humble opinion — the best yet. For just $199, cardholders will receive greens fees at Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree, Port Ludlow, Cedars at Dungeness, Highlander, Leavenworth and Mount Si, plus a bucket of balls at the Puetz Golf Seattle range. Play just the first three rounds on the card — Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree and Port Ludlow — at their peak eligible
times, and you’re already in the black on the full-price greens fee, with four more great rounds still to come. Indeed, added all together, it’s $452 dollars in golf, for just $199 — now that’s a deal even the non-golfers in your household can get behind. What’s more, you’ll get to play some of the top tracks in Washington state. Both Salish Cliffs (No. 4) and Apple Tree (No. 12, also receiving votes) appeared in our 2013 rankings of Washington’s top public courses (CG, Aug. ’13), while Port Ludlow and Cedars at Dungeness represent one of our favorite 36-hole day trips in the state (“Let’s Play Two,” CG, Aug. ’11). Highlander, meanwhile, will no doubt be one of Washington’s top summertime destinations in 2014, with its brand-new back nine — including the all-new, treacherous par-4 17th, already one of the most visually stunning holes in the Evergreen State (see page 36) — to pair with
Cedars Dungen at ess
Bucket of Balls
its iconic par-3 ninth hole. And it’s a perfect companion to nearby Leavenworth, whether as a fun day trip, or as a stop on the way up north to check out David McLay Kidd’s new Gamble Sands in Brewster — a trip we know you’ll all be itching to make this year. And then there’s Mount Si, one of Western Washington’s best bargains, with its challenging back nine, roving elk herd and beautiful views of its mountain namesake. Of course, these courses can’t afford to release an unlimited number of rounds at these rates — which is why we’ve only printed 200 Cascade Golfer Players Cards in 2014, more than half of which have already been snapped up. So don’t delay — visit www.CascadeGolfer.com or contact Simon Dubiel at email@example.com to lock yours in today. After all, spring is right around the corner — and it sure does feel good to start the season ahead of the game.
2014 Players Card
7 ROUNDS OF GOLF FOR ONLY $199 A $452 VALUE Good for one 18 hole greens fee at all seven courses!
Apple Tree Resort
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
Highlander Golf Club
Leavenworth Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
Bucket of Balls
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EaglEmont golf Club Rated
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“Easily one of the top 5 public courses in Washington State” – Golf Washington Magazine.
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CG Rocks The Seattle Golf Show
ne of our favorite weekends of the “offseason” is the annual Seattle Golf and Travel Show, when we have the chance to meet our readers, try out the newest clubs, talk to staff at our favorite golf courses, experiment with cool new products and connect with those of you who make Cascade Golfer a regular part of your golf season. Thousands of CG readers and Cascade Golfer Cup players stopped by our booth to talk golf, including a handful of celebrities like Sonny Sixkiller and famed designer David McLay Kidd (Bandon Dunes, Tetherow), who autographed a copy of our December 2013 feature on his brand-new Gamble Sands course opening in Brewster later this summer. We sold a record number of CG Players Cards, passed out schedules for this year’s CG Cup and North Sound Shootout, and of course, gave away over 100 prizes. But, we weren’t just there to have fun — one of the best aspects of the golf show is a chance to connect with hundreds of Northwest golf courses and exhibitors to find out just what to expect this year. Here are a few of the most interesting things we learned: • Gamble Sands, certain to make every major “Best New” list in America in 2014, will open Aug. 2, just north of Chelan. Rates will be $130 to walk, $150 to ride, with tee time registration beginning in May. • The Home Course will host the final U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, July 14-19. The tourney is being discontinued after 2014 to make room for a new USGA four-ball event. Admission is free, and the 36-hole final should be fun to watch. • The 12th Man did well by the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, which needed just 36 hours to fill its 4,500 volunteer positions — a process USGA reps say usually takes five to six months. USGA members can buy tickets now; public tickets go on sale June 9. Want to stay up-to-date on the latest golf news? Make CascadeGolfer.com a weekly stop for tips, features, course reviews and more!
What’s your management style? Are you down in the manager’s office after every game, or are you more hands-off? No, that’s their space. That’s out of bounds for me. I might walk through there once a homestand, because I need to talk to somebody, but when they’re in there, it’s none of my business. My style is to stay as far away from Lloyd [McClendon] and the players when they’re doing their business as I can. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing you as Mariners team president? On the field, we need to win. I go around doing speaking engagements and people comment that our attendance is falling, and ask if I’m worried. The answer is yes, but it’s not like 1.8 million is a low number. It’s unbelievable! For a husband, wife and three kids to come to a game isn’t a cheap experience, and for them to invest that kind of time and money for the number of wins we’ve put up over the last decade is truly unbelievable. They’ve treated us better than we deserve. We need to start winning games. My biggest challenge is to help the organization find the resources that will help us put a better product on the field. Having said that, I think we have six to eight young players – Ackley, Zunino, Miller, Franklin, Smoak, Saunders, Walker, Paxton – who are going to have to turn a corner. It’s time. If we can just get half of them to have that switch click on and go, we could have the makings of a long run of very, very good baseball.
As President, what do you do specifically to help find those resources? I spent Tuesday with our team owners and recommended bumping our projected revenues a little bit. When we first set our budget, we didn’t know we’d be adding Robinson Cano, and since then, we’ve seen the turnout at FanFest, we’ve seen our season ticket purchases spike a bit, so we’ve conservatively bumped our attendance, concessions and merchandise revenues. Without being a Pollyanna, I pushed the owners to do a little more, maybe fill a hole or two on the roster before the season, figuring on those additional revenues down the road. And at that point, I turn it over to [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik] to determine where the values are and where that revenue can be best spent. The Seahawks just packed 700,000 sports fans onto the streets of Seattle, who now need an outlet for their energy for the next six months. What can you do to get them into Safeco Field? The excitement for the Seahawks was fantastic for this city and this region. The Seahawks winning helps me make my case to the owners, that what’s happening across the street should be happening here, and that if you put a winning product on the field – whether it’s football, soccer or baseball – this town is eager to get behind it and support it. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to slide in right behind them with a very competitive baseball team.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that the average fan has about running a baseball team? They think the President runs the baseball side of things. I touch on television, ticketing, marketing, finance, the stadium experience … all of those things fall under my bailiwick. And then I have Jack Zduriencik, who is in charge of the baseball side of the business. I think a lot of fans think the President is making player/personnel decisions, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks, Kevin. No, thank you. This was fun. Quick story about your magazine. Every fall, three buddies and I go off for a week and play 36 holes of golf a day. I used Cascade Golfer about three years ago to plan out all the courses we’d play – Wine Valley, Palouse Ridge, Desert Canyon, Prospector, Bear Mountain Ranch. We had a great time, and you saved me a fortune. Next time, I want to get over to the Peninsula.
RISK vs. REWARD Harbour Pointe Golf Club
Hole No. 8 • Par 4 • 296 yards (blue tees) The Setup: Let’s just say it — there is no easy way to play this hole. Regardless of the club you pull, one must carry the marshland that runs from the tee box to the fairway about 175 yards out. A pond guards the run-out 230 yards down the right side of the fairway all the way through the green. The green is centered between bunkers on both sides, the one on the right representing the only hope a slicer has to stay dry.
The Risk: Although the course gives you several scoring opportunities, it also has numerous holes where you just pray not to blow up.
By Simon Dubiel
This might be one of them. Going for broke with driver is a play for only the very skilled or very lucky. The pond right will sink anything off-target, while even the right side the fairway disappears after just 230 yards. There simply is no margin for error with your tee ball.
The Reward: “Harbour Pointe is a walk in the park,” said nobody, ever. Many times, golfers have sat on the tee box and thought, “This hole doesn’t look so hard,” only to be muttering to themselves 10 minutes later when they have carded a score two shots higher than they anticipated. The opposite can be said for No. 8. It is daunting off the tee,
but one good swing leaves you just a short upand-down for three. Even the bunkers are not a bad leave. Just don’t hit it in the pond!
Final Call: If you are going to go for the green, you’d better play it down the left side. Even then, your margin for error is extremely small. Sometimes, you have to lay down your hand and live to see another day. Unless your buddies dole out free mulligans, there are no rebuys in this game. Hit your 200 club, then your wedge, and be happy with your stressfree four. It is a lot better than tossing away your round prior to making the turn.
Wine Valley Golf Club
No. 1 Par 4 380 yards (Blue)
I Wine Valley
t takes two shots, maybe fewer, to discover the simple beauty of Wine Valley. Not its physical beauty (the surrounding Palouse, and distant Blue Mountains and Horse Heaven Hills take care of that) but the beauty that comes from relying on the natural terrain to build a fun and strategic course. The closer your drive gets to the well-positioned bunker on the right, the easier your approach shot will be. That’s classic design, and it sets the tone for a fantastic round of golf. — Tony Dear
No. 2 Par 4
he excitement is building for David McLay Kidd’s Gamble Sands, which opens later this year. There’s nothing so fun as a good, short par-4 – one that offers the chance of a birdie or eagle with a prudent, well-executed drive, but a six or worse to the rash. And if the wide, blue Columbia slices through the panorama, and snow-topped Cascades stand tall in the background, then you have a recipe for something very special. — T.D.
Gamble Sands Desert Canyon Resort
Par 5 632 yards (White)
T Desert Canyon
Rope Rider Golf Course
No. 1 Par 5 485 yards
here’s no question about it — when we asked our readers what hole they’re most eager to play in 2014, Desert Canyon’s infamous par-5 was the pick. Technically the sixth hole on Desert Canyon’s “Desert” nine, it’s almost always played 15th in your round, which gives you a few hours to anticipate one of the most exciting challenges in the state. At 600-plus yards from tee to green (though on a downhill slope), and tucked on the edge of a steep cliff dropping hundreds of feet to the Columbia River below, it’s a beautiful brute, with views extending for miles in all directions. — Brian Beaky
e list the white tee distance, because it’s the most commonly played, but to truly experience Rope Rider’s No. 1, you have to play it from the “Jake” tee, a championship tee box smack dab on the back patio of the Swiftwater Cellars winery, which houses Rope Rider’s pro shop. It only adds 50 yards to the hole, and sets up a thrilling elevated tee shot (before an often appreciative gallery of wine tasters), followed by either a 3-wood to the green (avoiding the water on the left) or an iron-wedge approach. Played from the whites, the lure of reaching the green in two, and starting off your round with an eagle, is devilishly tempting. — B.B.
Rope Rider cascadegolfer.com
No. 9 Par 3 202 yards (Sand)
hile Lone Fir, the iconic 15th, is Chambers Bay’s most photographed par-3, it’s the ninth that we find ourselves looking forward to the most. With the yawning canyon of sand swallowing anything short, and the wind blowing in off of Puget Sound, your best play is often to knock an iron to the front left apron, and let the ball run up onto the green and back to the hole. The tee box more than 100 feet above the green extends almost 60 yards, allowing greenskeepers to set the tees anywhere from 160 to 220 yards away. Bring a forecaddie, or some local knowledge, and let ‘er rip. — B.B.
Prospector Golf Club
No. 10 Par 4 375 (White)
P Prospector at Suncadia Hole No.
eople will tell you that Prospector’s 10th is gimmicky, that the landing area isn’t wide enough and slopes too much left to right, or that it doesn’t drain well enough in the spring. They’re wrong. Prospector’s 10th hole is nothing short of one of the most enjoyable par-4s in the state, a stunning beauty with an elevated tee shot that seems to hang in the air forever, backdropped by Cascade peaks, before dropping to the fairway (or, for big hitters, the green) below. It’s not particularly tough, either physically or mentally. It’s just straightforward grip-it-and-rip-it fun. — B.B.
Palouse Ridge Golf Club
No. 15 Par 4 345 yards (Blue) nlike almost every single one of Palouse Ridge’s challenging par-4s, the tee shot at the 15th doesn’t require you to be perfect. With a hybrid or wood off the tee, you can lose it as right as you want and still have a short iron in with your approach. Don’t get too comfortable, though — with three deep bunkers strategically placed across the fairway’s landing areas, you might as well just take out the big stick and go for the green on the tee shot. Besides, there aren’t a whole lot of chances to score at Palouse, so when the opportunity presents itself as it does on 15, seize it. — Johnny Carey
Highlander Golf Course
No. 17 Par 4 247 yards (Black)
hen the first images began leaking out from Highlander’s back-nine renovation in 2013, our first reaction was … how soon can we get to East Wenatchee? No hole captured our imagination in 2013 as much as Highlander’s new 17th, a short par-4 across a yawning canyon that rivals even its infamous par-3 ninth for drama and excitement. With just 40 yards of fairway (opposite 200 yards of nothingness) to collect any misses, you’d better be accurate no matter what club you choose. Play it off the hillside while you can; once the grasses grow out, this beauty will truly be a beast. — B.B.
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18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth APRIL 2014
READERS’ CHOICE We asked our followers on Facebook and CascadeGolfer.com for their “Dream 18.” Here were some of their top picks:
Washington National Hole No.
Chambers Bay No. 14 Chambers Bay No. 9 Chambers Bay No. 16
Washington National Golf Club No. 17 Par 5 488 yards (Blue)
ew par-5s offer as much risk and reward — not just on one shot, but on every shot you take. From the tee, you must play for the strip of fairway at the apex of a 90-degree left dogleg, with water all down the left and a bunker on the opposite side. Depending on where you are, your second shot must either find another narrow strip of fairway — this time with water on the right and O.B. left — or the green itself, surrounded by water and sand on all sides. On the tee, you can imagine any score from 3 to 8 — and that makes for an exciting hole. — B.B.
Desert Canyon No. 15 Echo Falls No. 17 Palouse Ridge No. 15 TPC Snoqualmie Ridge No. 14 Trophy Lake No. 7 Washington National No. 17 Wine Valley No. 7 Wine Valley No. 3
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club No. 11 Par 4 316 yards (White)
great short four that demands a good decision on the tee. How big a carry do you feel comfortable taking on, and how close to the green do you want to get? Wouldn’t it be wiser to hit a hybrid or safe iron to the acres (not really, but it seems like it) of fairway to the left and hit a full wedge approach? Decisions, decisions … the essence of great holes. — T.D.
11 PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
Wine Valley Golf Club
No. 7 Par 5 510 yards (Blue)
L Wine Valley
ike Chambers Bay, Wine Valley could have put a dozen holes on this list. When we dream of returning to Walla Walla this summer to play one of our state’s top tracks, though, it’s the bowl-shaped green at the par-5 seventh that captures our imagination. As with most shots at Wine Valley, your approach gives you plenty of options. Some might drop a wedge next to the pin, but we prefer to knock the ball past it with a short iron, then watch it come back down off the slope to settle next to the flagstick. Before moving to No. 8, give in to the urge to putt balls all over the green, and watch how playing the ball in from different angles provides often-surprising results. — B.B.
Bear Mountain Ranch
BEST “IN SEASON” VALUE MONDAY - FRIDAY Regular: 18 Holes $32 • 9 Holes $24 Senior (62+): 18 Holes - $24 • 9 Holes $16 SATURDAY & SUNDAY Regular: 18 Holes $38 • 9 Holes $24
No. 14 Par 5 518 yards (White) hen I close my eyes and picture a destination golf trip this summer, I see the 14th tee at Bear Mountain Ranch. The highest point on the course, the tee box at No. 14 affords views of several holes at BMR, one of the state’s most scenic courses, along with Lake Chelan and seemingly the entire Chelan valley. And that’s where the fun begins — a straight-downhill par-5 that gives back all the elevation gains of the previous two holes, it’s reachable in two for even a moderate hitter, provided you keep your drive in play and avoid the greenside pond. — B.B.
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No. 10 Par 4 360 yards (Sand)
he view from the ninth tee at Chambers Bay is surely one of the best on any course in the State, if not the country. The green sits nearly 100 feet below, and the bluegrey waters of Puget Sound almost reach the horizon to the west. Best of all, though, the dune-lined half-pipe of the par-4 10th lies between them. Hit a good drive away up the left half and you have an intriguing approach to a green backed by a huge dune. — T.D.
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
Golf Club at Harbour Pointe
No. 11 Par 4 335 yards (White)
ith the full 180-degree view of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island, golfers are reminded how good we have it here in the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. Another one of those risk-reward holes, you have the choice of either taking the driver up the right-hand side of the fairway and going for the green, or laying up with a long iron. The second shot is the most crucial. Make sure you take into account the club-anda-half difference caused by the steep drop-off from fairway to green — we’ve seen many approaches carry the green and end up out of bounds. Regardless of what you mark on your scorecard, this hole is one you wont forget. — J.C.
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
No. 18 Par 5 492 yards (White)
e’re a sucker for great finishing holes, and risk/reward par-5s. Put the two together and, well, you end up on lists like this. One of nearly a half-dozen holes at Salish Cliffs that we can’t wait to play again in 2014 (including the reachable par-5 first, short par-4 second and long par-3 third, perhaps the state’s best 1-2-3 combination), the 18th can be as easy or as tough as you make it. Knock your drive past the ridge 250 yards from the tee, and you’ll be in go-zone for the green. Getting there, though, is just half the battle — a two-tiered green makes putting tricky, while water and sand wait to catch any errant chips. — B.B.
PHOTO BY BRIAN OAR
Indian Canyon Golf Course
No. 16 Par 4 278 yards (Blue)
t’s tempting to look at the scorecard and think, “Drivable par-4, right?” Wrong. The 16th at Indian Canyon (formerly the 7th, before the course switched its nines in 2010) is one of the trickiest holes on the course, and one that rewards brains far more than brawn. From the tee box, only a sliver of the green is visible, as the tree-lined fairway bends first left, around a thick stand of pines, then doglegs right about 75 yards from the green. A power fade with the driver will find nothing but branches, so the smart play is to draw a long iron around the trees to the left corner of the dogleg, then make an easy wedge approach. Leave your first too short, though, or not enough left, and good luck getting home. — B.B.
Apple Tree Resort
No. 17 Par 3 136 yards (White)
I Apple Tree
t’s nice that Apple Tree Resort posts a sign at the 17th tee asking golfers to take just one shot each, presumably to maintain the pace of play. It’s also completely impossible to oblige. No golfer, when presented with the stunning view of that massive, apple-shaped green (complete with a leaf-shaped bunker on the “stem,” can hit just one ball and move on, as if it’s just another hole. Hit a couple, take a photo, and enjoy the moment. It’s one of the best in Washington state. — B.B.
Gold Mountain (Olympic) No. 18 Par 4 271 yards (Blue)
o matter how many times we play it, we still find ourselves at the start of every season itching to get back on the tee at Olympic’s 18th. From the elevated tee box, it’s merely a 250-yard (as the crow flies) poke to the green, setting up an enticing chance to close with birdie — or eagle. Of course, you’ll have to miss the pond that runs down the right side, bunkers short and left, and O.B. beyond the putting surface … but after four hours soaking in one of Washington’s most thrilling playing experiences, we always find ourselves feeling inspired for greatness. — B.B.
(Olympic) Hole No.
Palouse Ridge Pullman, Wash.
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PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
SIX Forty-five years after he became the face of the Washington Huskies amidst national racial tumult, Sonny Sixkiller is once again at the forefront of a cultural shift — in golf
ho is the face of golf in the Seattle area? The obvious choice, of course, is Fred Couples, whose passion and fondness for his hometown only seems to grow with each passing year. But, his busy schedule keeps Couples on the road for much of the year, and during the offseason, he makes his bed in Palm Springs, not the Northwest. He’s our favorite son, for sure, but it’s hard to be the face of Seattle golf when he’s only in town a few weekends a year. Ryan Moore would be a logical choice, with his Northwest roots and RMG Club courses, but he, too, hasn’t called the Seattle area home for more than a decade. The same goes for Paige Mackenzie, while those Home Teamers that do maintain their Northwest roots — Kyle Stanley, Richard Lee and Andres Gonzales
Brian Beaky • CG Editor among them — aren’t quite prominent enough yet to take the “face of Seattle golf” crown. Think hard enough, and it won’t be long before you might settle on a Seattle sports icon whose face has become almost synonymous with the Northwest golf scene … Sonny Sixkiller. There was a time when Sixkiller was known primarily for his outstanding college football career, during which he led the University of Washington from a 1-9 record his freshman year (in which he redshirted, per NCAA rules at the time) to a 22-10 record over the next three
seasons, crushing every UW passing record in the process. Sixkiller’s success led to a Sports Illustrated cover, songs recorded and sold throughout the city (“A guy came up to me at the Seattle Golf Show this year and sang the entire ‘Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller,’ he says. “It was amazing.”), and even a part in Burt Reynolds’ famous football classic, “The Longest Yard” (“He was a fan and asked me if I’d be interested,” Sixkiller recalls. “I didn’t have any acting experience, but I said, ‘Why not?’”). Ask anyone under the age of 35, though, and they’re just as likely to recognize Sixkiller from his ubiquitous commercials for Sequim’s Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course, which air seemingly around the clock on sports television and radio stations throughout the region.
Sixkiller and the Cedars at Dungeness have become so entwined in the local golf consciousness, in fact, that when Sixkiller shows up at the course — which he does often — many golfers he meets assume that he owns it. “It’s a lot of fun,” Sixkiller says of his relationship with the Cedars, owned by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, which also operates the nearby 7 Cedars Casino. “They asked me if I’d be interested in doing some ads for them, and I said that I wanted to do something that would benefit the community. I didn’t just want to talk about table games and slot machines. With the golf course, I get to talk about the beauty of the area, the quality of the course itself and the people there. Honestly, it’s a lot like the way I grew up — a small town with good people.” Being the “face” of something is nothing new for Sixkiller, but it’s a role he’s had to grow into over time. In 1969, when he arrived on the UW campus amidst the cultural and racial tumult of the late 1960s, his face — with its olive-toned skin and deep-set eyes, topped with wavy, jet-black hair — made Sixkiller a lightning rod for questions about everything from Native fishing rights in Northwest waters, to the Vietnam War, to civil rights, to the Kent State shooting. Overnight, he wasn’t just an 18-year-old kid leaving home for the first time to go to school and throw a football; he was a spokesperson for Native Americans across the country, expected to speak for an entire nation of people on some of the most sensitive topics in U.S. history. “I had no idea what to do or say,” says Sixkiller, whose parents were Cherokee Indians who moved from Oklahoma to Ashland, Ore., when he was just a baby, in search of higher-paying jobs. “I wasn’t raised in a Native American community. None of my friends were native, and they never treated me as if I were any different from them — I was just Sonny. So, there was definitely a shock when I suddenly found myself at the forefront of all of those issues, being asked questions about things that I honestly had no idea about. I had a hard time with that.” By the spring of 1970, Sixkiller was, in his words, “ready to bolt.” The media intensity, combined with a new offense that emphasized running the football, had him questioning his role on the team. A psychology professor provided counseling, however, while many of Sixkiller’s teammates provided support. “The senior captains, when I was a sophomore [in 1970] wrote a letter to the Seattle Times asking them to stop referring to me in racial terms, like the ‘Cherokee Chucker’ or things like that,” Sixkiller recalls. “I told them I appreciated them doing that. It was cool to know that they had my back.” Over the years, Sixkiller grew into his status as a role model for Native Americans across the country. It wasn’t until he traveled to speak at reservations across the Midwest in the mid-1970s, though, that he truly embraced it. “It was an eye-opening experience to go to reservations and see what life was like for Indians in the pre-casino days in places like South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Arizona,” he says. “It was terrible. Truthfully, it was terrible. But, through those experiences, I met some of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met in my life. I’d go there to talk to kids about
TOP TO BOTTOM: On the set of “The Longest Yard” with Burt Reynolds; the 1971 Sports Illustrated cover (“I initially didn’t want to do it,” Sixkiller admits); on the 15th tee at Chambers Bay with son, Tyson.
sports and education, and try to motivate and inspire them, but by the time I left, I was the one feeling like I had gotten something from the experience. It was very rewarding, and finally made me feel comfortable in the role I was in.” Thus it is today that Sixkiller is the most visible face of the most rapidly growing segment of golf in the Northwest, and quite possibly in the entire United States — Indian-owned courses. In the last 10 years, two of the Northwest’s most celebrated course openings — Circling Raven in Idaho and Salish Cliffs in Shelton — were the result of tribal investments, while both the Cedars at Dungeness and White Horse Golf Club have benefited from their purchase by local tribal interests. While money is the motivator behind most business ventures, Sixkiller says the impact of the Northwest tribes’ heavy investment in golf goes well beyond the cash register. “First of all, it employs Natives, and gives them the chance to learn about a business and make an income,” he says. “That helps tremendously. And it gives them a sense of pride in ownership. I talk to folks all the time who say, ‘Come play our course,’ or ‘Have you seen our course?’ Everyone has a sense of pride. It’s like a house — if you keep your lawn manicured and your house nicely painted, people have a better impression of who you are. It’s the same way for the tribes.” Down the road, Sixkiller sees another potential benefit — an increase in golf participation among the Native American community. Notah Begay, a fullblooded American Indian of Navajo and Pueblo descent, broke onto the PGA Tour in 1995. Almost 20 years later, though, he is still the only Indian in professional golf (now an analyst with The Golf Channel) — like his college teammate, Tiger Woods, the walls he knocked down have yet to produce the expected flood of minorities to the game. “I think it will certainly help,” Sixkiller says of the Native investment in golf’s impact on producing more Native golfers. “Don’t get me wrong, there are Native golfers and Native tournaments all over the country; we just don’t hear about them. To get to that next level, though, requires support at the school level, and the family level. Family means a lot to these kids, and I think there might be some who don’t pursue sports at a high level, or don’t go to college, because they have to stay home to support their family. “Plus, it costs money to have clubs. It costs money to pay greens fees. It even costs money to practice,” he continues. “That‘s tougher on minority kids and kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. If the Native courses can make it cheaper and easier for Native kids to pick up golf, I think it can have an impact.” Begay’s foundation, the Notah Begay III Foundation, was established in 2005 to drive more Native American youth to sports like golf and soccer, while Sixkiller has contributed to multiple Northwest tournaments that benefit youth and community programs throughout the region. The Renton 21 Club, of which Sixkiller is president, holds an annual tournament in July at Maplewood Golf Course, open to the public, which raises much-needed funds to support youth, Rotary and other community programs in Renton. In addition, his annual Sonny Sixkiller Celebrity Golf Classic, held
at the Cedars at Dungeness each summer, brings together dozens of Husky sports legends and other local celebrities to benefit the Olympic Memorial Hospital Foundation and the local Boys and Girls Club. While those commercials might suggest otherwise, Sixkiller says he doesn’t have nearly as much time for golf as he’d like. Some years he plays just twice, in the tournaments, while other years he might squeeze in up to 20 rounds over the summer months — “I’m not a wet-weather golfer,” he admits. Many of those rounds are at the Cedars, though he’s been known to frequent Harbour Pointe, Trophy Lake, Echo Falls and, of course, Washington National. Which begs the question — when he’s at Washington National, the self-declared “Home of the Huskies” with its carts named after UW legends, does he ride in the Sonny Sixkiller? “I’ve never asked for my own cart,” he says with a laugh. “I do get the Jim Owens from time-to-time, though (named for Sixkiller’s UW head coach), which I like.” Sixkiller often plays with his son, Tyson, who at 28 years old is the youngest of Sixkiller and wife Denise’s three boys. It’s not uncommon for Sixkiller to reflect back on his own upbringing, and wonder that he’s made it as far as he has. “We didn’t have much growing up,” he says. “I was lucky to have a mitt. I was lucky to have a basketball, and a football. Golf clubs? That was totally out of the question. “I can still see the faces of my classmates at senior
Sixkiller’s annual Celebrity Golf Classic at the Cedars at Dungeness has raised thousands for local charities, and draws Husky sports legends like Marques Tuiasosopo, Steve Emtman and Lincoln Kennedy.
Sixkiller also oversees a charity tournament each July at Maplewood G.C. in Renton. day, though, when they read off all the names of the seniors and where they were going to college,” he continues. “When they said, ‘Sonny Sixkiller, University of Washington,’ you should have seen all the heads turn and look at me. Nobody had any idea. For my mom and dad, it was a real sense of pride.” From a poor family in a small town in southern Oregon, Sixkiller has left a legacy that includes plaques in the American Indian Hall of Fame and the Husky Hall of Fame, appearances in film (“The Longest Yard”) and television (“Hawaii Five-O”), and the cover of Sports Illustrated. (“People still send them to me all the time,” he says. “I don’t know what they do with them, but I’m happy to sign them and send them back. I feel like I’m spreading the word about Husky football.”) And, at least for now, he’s become an unlikely ambassador for the growth and expansion of golf in the Pacific Northwest. “Having been able to do things that will endure time — there’s a definite sense of accomplishment to that,” he says. “But more than anything, I’ve stuck around and tried to be the best person I can for this school and this city. Because nothing I have done would have been possible without them.”
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2013 S. Cedar St. Tacoma, WA 98405
Restaurant now OPEN!
Tacoma’s newest dining venue, Smoke+Cedar, is now open. Famous Chef Gordon Nacarrato has created a menu to delight your taste buds while you watch the action non the 18th green. Located in the “Heart” of Tacoma offering Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner along with catering for your event, on-site or off.
Endless Fun in the Deep South BY TONY DEAR
here’s a very good chance you’ve never heard of Earl Stone. Though a handful of his 40 or so courses have been awarded four stars by Golf Digest, Stone flew under a radar that has no trouble identifying the profession’s leading lights, but which fails to pick up lifelong workhorses whose objectives are to build golf courses that provide amusement and recreation, rather than serve simply as a shrine to the man who designed them. Chad Leonard, the General Manager at Alabama’s Rock Creek Golf Club, says that what struck him most when talking with Stone was the man’s obsession with the game. “He was well aware of the trend in architecture to build tough courses,” Leonard says. “He never wanted his courses to be super-easy, but he was always conscious of the average golfer and his enjoyment.” What must justifiably be considered Stone’s best work is Peninsula G.C. in Gulf Shores, located on the north side of the spit of land that makes a valiant attempt to cut Mobile Bay off from the Gulf of Mexico. Besides being located adjacent to the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and offering a glimpse of Mobile Bay, the site didn’t have a great deal going for it before Stone arrived. Stone worked hard to find and create 27 memorable holes, dividing them up into the Marsh, Lakes, and Cypress nines. If you need a little sterner examination than that which Stone sets, head back toward Gulf Shores and the city of Foley, where you find Glen Lakes, a Bruce Devlin/Robin Von Hagge collaboration that has a little of everything – Florida Lakes, Links style and Carolina Lowcountry. The oldest course in the area is Gulf Shores Golf Club, which opened in the 1960s and was designed by Jay Morrish, who returned with his son, Carter, to revamp the old place in 2005. The plantation-style clubhouse is another of Gulf Shores’ fine 19th holes. Perhaps the best round on the Alabama coast, how48
ever, is Kiva Dunes, a superb Jerry Pate design that costs a little more than its neighbors to play, but at $92 is a bargain for so exceptional a course. The holes at Kiva Dunes run east-west or west-east, meaning they tend to play directly down or into the wind. “I knew the wind basically started out from the east in the morning and followed the sun as the day went on,” Pate says. “That certainly influenced the routing.” The Gulf Shores area has emerged as a legitimate golf destination in recent years, with nine top-notch courses, but in Alabama, it still plays second fiddle to a network of venues paid for by the state’s retirement fund – the radical, ground-breaking and incredibly successful Robert Trent Jones Trail, which now boasts 26 courses across 11 sites. The far south of Alabama, around Mobile Bay, is home to two of those 11 — Lakewood G.C., and Magnolia Grove, home of the Mobile Bay Classic on the LPGA Tour. Both of Lakewood’s Azaleas and Dogwoods Courses are cracking layouts sure to engage any golfer but, if forced to choose, you might opt for the Azalea Course, which possesses a greater number of first-rate holes. Magnolia Grove was the second course on the RTJ Trail and features 54 holes made up of the Crossings Course, which hosts the LPGA Tour; the Falls Course and the Short Course, the latter named by Golf Digest as the best par-3 course in the country. Roger Rulewich, who worked on both the original layout and a recent redesign, says the land had been mostly underdeveloped parkland owned by the City of Mobile that was donated to the Trail. “There were some surprising elevation changes given that it was so close to the coast,” he says. Magnolia Grove can be used as either the starting point for a journey north up the RTJ Trail, or for a trip east and south ending in Gulf Shores. In Alabama, no matter which direction you go, it’s highly unlikely you’ll regret your choice. To learn more, visit www.Alabama.Travel. cascadegolfer.com
SAVE SOME GREEN
EASE INTO SPRING BY CRAIG SMITH
High Cedars Golf Club • Orting, Wash.
any golfers in spring are like swimmers — they prefer to ease into the water the first few times, rather than dive or do a cannonball. So, rather than spend big bucks at a high-end, pedigreed course and finish with a bloodied scorecard, they look for affordable, interesting courses for the season’s initial outings. They have fun, round their games into shape and keep their golf budgets intact for those big destination splurges later in the summer. Several courses in the Puget Sound area meet that description, but we’ve picked three in the southeast region of Puget Sound, which has one of the highest concentration of value-priced courses in the entire region. Auburn Golf Course, Elk Run and High Cedars make for enjoyable outings, with a chance for decent scores, at a good price — the perfect formula for a successful spring round.
In the “Sun Belt”
New At The Golf Course Rockaway Bar & Grill
Great new Menu, Cocktails
Improved Website Book on line now!
Weekly Pro Shop Competitions Open to all
Prime Time Tournament Dates Available Call to inquire
Remember, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 exit #212, in the “Sun Belt” on Camano Island.
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Camaloch Golf Course
High Cedars GC ORTING
We all know the situation. You and three buddies decide to play golf, but the ability levels range from advanced beginner to one guy whose handicap index is threatening to enter single digits. So, where do you play where everyone can enjoy the outing? Consider High Cedars Golf Club in Orting, Pierce County. I call it the “Goldilocks” course for such occasions, because it’s “just right.” The beginner won’t lose golf balls and the good player will be challenged, especially on the contoured greens. The course, built in 1971 on the site of what was a bulb farm, is bordered by the Puyallup River, which doesn’t come into play. A large, forested hill rises behind the river with some eye-riveting mansions and large homes on top. General Manager John A. Benedetti calls High Cedars “a niche course.” “We’ve thought about toughening it up from time to time, but then we’ve talked to the golfers and they like it the way it is,” he said. With a slope rating of 113 from the white tees (6,260 yards), High Cedars is at the USGA “standard” rating for courses. High Cedars is easily walkable and popular with seniors. Probably no course in the state does more for high-school golf than High Cedars, which is the home for boys’ and girls’ teams from five different high schools. In addition to its 18-hole course, High Cedars has a par-28 executive course and a driving range. One of the treats of the place is its splendid views of Mount Rainier. One item of interest: The course record of 61 is held by former UW and NFL quarterback Billy Joe Hobert, who now lives in the Oakland area.
Auburn GC AUBURN
If you’ve ever gone to a class reunion and found yourself saying, “Wow, she didn’t look this good in high school!” you should reintroduce yourself to Auburn Golf Course. You might get a similar jolt. The old girl is looking good. The City of Auburn demonstrated its commitment to the course six years ago when it built a new clubhouse at a cost of about $4 million. The clubhouse has a restaurant, 150-seat banquet room for a variety of golf and non-golf events (including weddings), a pro shop and underground cart storage. Big improvements have come on the course, too, as nine fairways, 15 greens and 17 tee boxes have been rebuilt in recent years. The front nine at Auburn is in the valley floor. Five holes on the back nine deal with higher elevations, beginning with No. 11 that starts the climb. “There are more birdie holes on the back, but also more trouble if you’re not hitting it straight,” said Auburn pro Chris Morris. No. 15 is “The Cliff Hole,” a memorable, scenic par-4 with an 80-foot elevation drop to a fairway that doglegs right. The grade down is so steep that golfers in carts are warned repeatedly by large signs to keep their carts under control. It’s followed by a 175-yard par-3 where the tee shot must cross a pond and land on a green backed by a waterfall. It was selected as the 16th hole for Cascade Golfer’s “Dream 18” in 2009. The Green River flows on the other side of the road from the course. It doesn’t come into play, but is a nice sight from Auburn’s high points.
YARDAGE 5,474-6,314 RATES $26-$41 TEL (253) 833-2350 WEB auburngolfcourse.com
YARDAGE 5,295-6,647 RATES $22-$37 TEL (306) 893-3171 WEB highcedars.com cascadegolfer.com
Elk Run GC
Playing Elk Run reminds me of that unforgettable line from the movie “Forrest Gump” — “My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I hadn’t been on this Maple Valley course for several years and my enduring memory was of the scenic second shot on the par-4 ninth hole, where you shoot off a hill to a green protected by two ponds and two bunkers. FRESH IMPRINTS FROM THIS VISIT: • The dogleg left, par-5 first hole. Most opening holes are straight. This one isn’t, and it is a strong opening hole. • A deer roaming on the fourth fairway. • A splendid view of Mount Rainier from the seventh green, the highest point on the course. • The long, serene drive/walk through wooded wetlands from No. 16 green to No. 17 tee. If someone dropped you in the middle of it, you wouldn’t know you were on a golf course. • The tough hike to the 18th tee to play the tight risk/ reward finishing hole, a short par-4 where a lot of bets are settled. (The trek to the tee is a reason most Elk Run golfers take carts). Elk Run boasts that its nines are “distinctive.” Most of the front nine is on elevated, forested ground. The back nine is lower and features ponds and wetlands. “We give you two different looks,” said head pro Doug Eisele. One of the big ponds provides the water that guarantees that Elk Run is green when many other courses are turning brown in August. That late-season lushness is one more reason why a lot of golfers find this variety-packed course appealing.
YARDAGE 5,400-5,724 RATES $24-$42 TEL (425) 432-8800 WEB elkrungolf.com
Free Golf? Sign Us Up!
ust to show how committed we are to helping you swing your way into 2014, we’re starting off one lucky golfer and their closest golf buddy with a free twosome at Auburn Golf Course. So start thinking about how you’ll play that steep, dogleg 15th, and get ready to marvel at the beauty of the par-3 16th, because this one’s on us! To enter to win, log on to CascadeGolfer.com today!
INTRO BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
n 25 years on the golf course, I’ve learned that just about nothing is as valuable to a golfer’s game as a sense of humor. Golf can get downright dark at times … if you let yourself be sucked into that black hole of depression, you’re going to be in for a long day. It’s important, therefore, to be able to laugh off your bad shots, and remember that some days, you just don’t have it. With that in mind, we offer up a few of our favorite golf jokes, to help keep it light on the tee box or in the cart while waiting to take your next shot. Thanks to all the CG readers who submitted their favorites on Facebook or via e-mail, and remember — the vast majority of us are so inconsistent from round to round, that if you’re playing lousy today, it actually increases the likelihood that you’ll play great tomorrow, or maybe even on the next hole. After all, it only takes that one sweet shot …
A father put his daughter to bed, told her a story, and listened to her prayers: “God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless Grandma and goodbye Grandpa.” The next day, Grandpa died. The father thought it was a strange coincidence. A few months later, the father put the girl to bed and listened to her prayers: “God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy. And goodbye Grandma.” The next day, Grandma died. Several weeks later, when the girl was going to bed, the dad heard her say: “God bless Mommy and goodbye Daddy.” He couldn’t sleep. At the crack of dawn, he went to his office and stayed there all day, drinking coffee, checking his watch and counting the hours to midnight, jumping nervously at every sound. Finally, midnight arrived. He breathed a sigh of relief and went home. When he got home, his wife said, “I’ve never seen you work so late, what’s the matter?” “I don’t want to talk about it,” he said. “I’ve just spent the worst day of my life.” “You think you had a bad day,” she replied. “You’ll never believe what happened to me ... this morning, my golf pro dropped dead in the middle of my lesson!”
Three men were waiting to tee off when the starter walked up to them and said, “You see that beautiful blonde? She’s a good golfer and would like to hook up with a group. Can she play with you? She won’t hold you up, I promise.” They looked at each other and said, “Sure!” Just as the starter said, the woman played well. When they reached the 18th hole, she needed to make an 18-footer to break 80 for the first time. “Guys, I’m so excited about breaking 80 that I have to tell you something. I had a great time playing with you. If one of you guys can read this putt correctly and I make it, I’ll marry you!” All three jumped at the opportunity. The first one said, “I see it breaking 10 inches left to right.” The second said, “No, I see it breaking eight inches right to left.” The third man looked at the beautiful blonde, looked at the ball, and said, “Pick it up. It’s good!”
Milton was beginning his preshot routine, visualizing his upcoming shot, when a voice came over the clubhouse loudspeaker. “Would the gentleman on the ladies’ tee please back up to the men’s tee.” Milton remained in his routine, unfazed. A little louder: “Would the man on the women’s tee kindly back up to the men’s tee!” Milton raised up out of his stance, lowered his driver, and shouted, “Would the announcer in the clubhouse kindly shut up and let me play my second shot?”
For years, John Smith and Paddy O'Sullivan played a Saturday morning round of golf together. One day, however, John's wife, Jane, noticed that Paddy was no longer coming by to pick up her husband each weekend. Finally, she asked John, "Why don't you play golf with Paddy anymore?" John replied, "Would you want to play with a guy who regularly cheats, swears constantly, lies about his score, and has nothing good to say about anyone else on the course?" "Of course I wouldn't," Jane replied. "Well," said John, "Neither would Paddy O'Sullivan."