VOLUME 9 • ISSUE 1 • APRIL 2015 • COMPLIMENTARY
TEE ‘EM HIGH, LET ‘EM FLY SAVE BIG ON GREENS FEES AT CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.COM KICKING OFF THE BIGGEST YEAR IN NW GOLF HISTORY WA’S 10 TOUGHEST HOLES
NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS @cascadegolfer cascadegolfer.com
Making Chambers Bay An exclusive interview with ROBERT TRENT JONES, JR.
Celebrating our PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #1 Seattle,WA
STOREWIDE SAVINGS through the entire month of April! APRIL 2015
SAVE SOME GREEN with the new See page 16 for details!
Departments 4 8
PUBLISHER’S PITCH SHORT GAME
• The biggest year in NW golf history • What’s in, what’s out in local golf • Stay and play at Gamble Sands • Rife Golf goes local • SG Extra: CG Cup, Players Card, Match Play, Oh My!
RENAISSANCE MAN Architect, artist (and poet!) Bobby Jones gives CG a glimpse inside the ropes at Chambers Bay. BY BRIAN BEAKY
ON THE COVER Robert Trent Jones II’s first sketching of the 15th green at Chambers Bay bears striking resemblance to the hole the world’s top golfers will play this June. We go in-depth with the world-famous designer on his illustrious career, Chambers Bay and the 2015 U.S. Open, starting on page 32.
20 TEEING OFF
Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush
22 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• Our favorite new flatsticks • Nike Vapor, TaylorMade R15 and more
26 RISK VS REWARD Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club | No. 18
52 TRAVEL BAG
Sweet home Alabama
54 SAVE SOME GREEN
Peninsula’s finest (and dryest) spring bets
Golf’s least wanted
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 6-7 | 28-31 | 56-57
PRAY FOR PAR In preparation for the U.S. Open, we sought out the 10 toughest holes Washington has to offer. BY CG STAFF
JUST WIN, BABY Former Husky Nick Taylor quieted the doubters with a win in just his third PGA TOUR start. BY STEVE KELLEY
THIS PAGE The unmistakable summit of Mt. Baker rises behind the sixth green at Mount Vernon’s Eaglemont Golf Club, one of the newest additions to the 2015 Cascade Golfer Players Card — our biggest and best yet. STORY ON PAGE 15.
APRIL 2015 APRIL
Volume 9 • Issue 1 • APRIL 2015
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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Evolving with the times — CascadeGolferDeals.com is a bold step forward
or nearly a decade, Cascade Golfer has followed the unique patterns, trends and interests of golfers throughout the state of Washington. I believe in my heart that we are a reflection of the sport of golf here in the Pacific Northwest and, most assuredly, in the Puget Sound region. Golf changes. It evolves. It’s a process, and we in the local golf industry are all instruments in a symphony that plays together to create the sweetest sound we can for our golfers. During this ride, we have done our best to bring our unique 100,000-plus audience of golfers the news, views and offers you can use. We saw a group of golfers that had an interest in fun, two-person tournaments and launched the Cascade Golfer Cup, which has since spawned other one-off tournaments in different parts of the state, our Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships and a number of other events. It’s a lot of work, but it’s exciting to be at the forefront of our local golfers’ needs. It feeds our soul. Now, with our popular Players Card entering its third year (see page 15 for full details on this year’s savings), we are teaming with our long-standing partner, Puetz Golf, to launch an all-new website, CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com, that will bring you unbelievable weekly greens fee savings. Each week, users will receive one e-mail offer from us — a heavily discounted round at a local course, a half-price-or-
better stay-and-play package to a Northwest destination, product savings from Puetz or the like. If you’ve used other websites that offer hugely discounted deals to restaurants and experiences throughout the region, then you’re familiar with the concept. We’re bringing that idea to golf. This is NOT about racing to the bottom in price. It’s merely an effort to make the deal-offering platform effective for golfers and, just as importantly, golf courses. Courses that take advantage of our large database, magazine, and state-of-the art web service will take control of their offers and pricing. Expert course managers will be able to place exciting offers through us so that expert consumers – that’s you, the reader of this magazine and recipient of our e-mailed offers – can connect with their course and enjoy a fantastic round of golf, at an affordable rate, and hopefully come back again and again. There are other companies that do deals, but NONE in this marketplace can offer our level of service, backed by the good names of Puetz Golf and Cascade Golfer. We are excited. Our first offers are being lined up now and trust us, they’re outstanding (see our ad at right). We are evolving. Golf is evolving. You, the consumers, are evolving. Enjoy the all-new CASCADEGOLFERDEALS. com and this first issue of 2015. And as always, TAKE IT EASY!
ADVERTISING & MARKETING STAFF VICE PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR OF SALES Kirk Tourtillotte
SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Johnny Carey, Josh Nantz FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100 email@example.com
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2015 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 2015 2015
The World Is Watching As The Biggest Year In Northwest Golf History Kicks Off .... Now
n just two months’ time — let me say that again for emphasis: TWO ... MONTHS! — the world’s best golfers will be landing at Sea-Tac and making their way down south to Chambers Bay for the 2015 U.S. Open. And for the first time since at least the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee, the Pacific Northwest — and even more specifically, our own little corner of it here in the Puget Sound region — will be the center of the global golf world. The sun-dappled surface of Puget Sound, the million different shades of green in our trees and the towering beauty of Mt. Rainier — all of it will be on display for the world to see, as we finally receive our much-deserved moment in the sun. As Washingtonians, we’re far too humble to admit it, but we’re fiercely proud of this area we call home. We’d never be so bold as to try and convince people around the country that we have it better than anyone, preferring to keep that little secret to ourselves, but when we see ourselves on TV in June, and hear broadcasters, PGA TOUR stars and others marveling at the natural beauty and peacefulness of our region, it’s going to be sweet vindication for every Washingtonian who has ever traveled out-of-state only to be told we “brought the rain with us.” Provided it’s not 50 degrees and raining all week, of course. Whatever the weather may bring, Cascade Golfer will be there every step of the way, taking our readers beyond the who-what-where of the U.S. Open that you’ll be able to find in any national or international publication, and instead getting to the heart of the experience from our perspective — that is, from the perspective of the Cascade Golfer reader. We don’t need to tell you who won the tournament, or who was leading each day — instead, we’ll
be focused on what the tournament was like for you, the fan and Northwest resident. We’ll be sharing stories from the gallery, talking to fans walking around the grounds at Chambers Bay, and even observing the Fox television broadcasts to hear the things they’re saying about our courses and region. If you want to know who made an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole, turn on “SportsCenter.” If you want to know the best places on the Chambers Bay grounds to catch your favorite players in action; hear what PGA TOUR stars have to say about the Pacific Northwest and the 12th Man; or about the amazing encounter a local boy had with his favorite Tour player; or about guys like Ryan Moore and Nick Taylor playing in front of home crowds; or about what it’s like for University Place resident and PGA TOUR caddy Michael Greller to return to the course that gave him his start (“Higher Education,” CG, Aug. ‘14); or about the subtle differences in the way Chambers Bay plays for the pros, versus how it plays for the rest of us the other 51 weeks of the year; or how the 2015 U.S. Open might permanently alter the landscape of Northwest golf; then Cascade Golfer — and especially our website, CascadeGolfer.com, and Facebook page (“Cascade Golfer”) — is the place to be. Oh, and in typical Cascade Golfer style, we’ll be giving out prizes throughout the week to readers on the grounds and those following along online, and in the months leading up to the tournament through both our magazine and website — including, in our June issue, tickets to the 2015 U.S. Open itself, where you’ll have a front-row seat to the biggest moments in the history of golf in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the year we’ve been waiting for, and as the Seahawks say, “the separation’s in the preparation.” We’re ready to go — and we’re hoping you’ll come along, too. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Seattle Munis Put Finishing Touch On Recent Changes
or years, the practice options for Seattle golfers have been limited. There’s the terrific Puetz Seattle range on the North side of the city, and Interbay for those close to downtown. Beyond that, there’s been ... well ... not much, outside of a few small golf course ranges, many of which use limited-flight balls or restrict golfers to irons and wedges only. Starting in 2015, though, that’s no longer the case. The long-awaited double-deck range at Jackson Park finally opened in January, featuring 50 heated, lighted stalls and full-flight practice balls, meaning golfers can now blast away on the range with their brand-new drivers for as little as $6 for a small bucket. The project, which began in late 2012 with the re-routing of holes 10, 11 and 18 to accommodate the new driving range (and the subsequent swapping of holes No. 7, 8 and 9 with 16, 17 and 18, for a stronger finish), concluded in January with the
Congrats to winners of December’s CG Swag! RAKE Sand Wedge Ed Kellison • Edmonds opening of the new range. It’s the first step of a long-term plan by Premier Golf and the City of Seattle to ramp up the amenities at the North Seattle muni, including a new clubhouse, cart paths and future course changes to add back length lost to the driving range project. Less than two months later, Seattle’s other favorite muni — Jefferson Park, on Beacon Hill — answered with a beautiful new home of its own, including an identical driving range to its North Seattle sibling, plus a brandnew clubhouse, full-service pro shop, practice greens, banquet facilities and a sit-down restaurant (with an express window, of course, for golfers on the go). Bellevue Golf Course, another Premier Golf property, is expected to open its brand-new driving range later this spring. In other words, Seattle golfers ... there are no more excuses. Put the clubs in the car and head to the range — golf season is coming fast, and it’s time to get ready.
Clubhouse Golf Center Barry Johnson • Edmonds Mega Palm Springs Stay-and-Play Walt Nelson • Snoqualmie DIDN’T WIN? DON’T WORRY — THERE’S MORE TO WIN IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE!
• 2 Hours at Clubhouse Golf Center: Page 12 • RIFE Switchback Putter: Page 13 • CG JACKPOT — 3 Incredible Twosomes! Page 46 Enter to win at CascadeGolfer.com and follow us on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) for even more giveaways and contests!
Coston Goes Pro
e’ve become accustomed to seeing the Home Team ranks swell over the years, as the UW golf programs and whatever’s in the water down in Pierce County have been funneling young upand-coming stars to the PGA and LPGA Tours for the better part of a decade. This year’s newest Home Teamer, though, is neither a college golfer nor a South Sounder — nor, frankly, is he a particularly young up-and-comer. Fifty-nine year-old Jeff Coston, the longtime director of instruction at Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club in Blaine, tied for third at the PGA TOUR Champions Tour qualifying tournament in November to earn fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour in 2015. Needing to finish in the top-five to guarantee himself a Tour card in 2015, Coston birdied the final two holes at Orlando’s Orange County National Golf Center to leap from sixth to third, five shots back of winner Frank Esposito and just one stroke above the fully exempt cut line. “I’ve been doing this a long time,” Coston said afterward. “I’m 59 from the neck up and 32 from the neck down, so it means a lot, honestly. It was nice to birdie those last couple of holes; it will be something CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
I’ll remember forever.” A regular on the local tournament scene — he has won four Washington Opens and two Northwest Opens, and is a 12-time Pacific Northwest PGA Senior Player of the Year — Coston has made almost annual appearances at the Senior PGA Championship, and played in six Champions Tour events in 2014, including the hometown Boeing Classic. He last played full-time on Tour in 1988, as a member of the PGA TOUR. Coston says he plans to play a busy schedule in 2015, but will maintain his teaching academy at Semiahmoo. “My people that I teach are really, really important to me,” he says. “I’ve been at Semiahmoo for 20 years and every year I go there, I’m thankful for that job. But I’m thankful for this, also. “I’ve been known to be able to spin some plates,” he adds with a smile. “I’ll keep them all spinning.” APRIL 2015
SHORT GAME Elk Run closes its doors
n October, just as golfers were swapping their crewneck polos for sweatshirts and Seahawks jerseys, King County officials announced that they had bought out the lease on the “Donut Hole” — a 160-acre parcel of unincorporated land in the Maple Valley area that includes, among other things, nine holes of Elk Run Golf Course, a popular, family-owned course that’s been a favorite of locals and bargain-hunters alike. The city’s plans to build a new Tahoma High School on the site left Elk Run owners Roy Humphreys and Daryl Connell with two options — operate Elk Run as a nine-hole course, or close up shop. “(And nine hole golf courses) are just not economically feasible,” Humphreys told The Covington Reporter’s Rebecca Gourley. The golf course and restaurant officially closed its doors on Oct. 19, with the city planning to break ground on the new school in the spring. Housing, business and park space are all considered to be options on the table for what was, until just a few months ago, one of the Maple Valley area’s most CG-friendly tracks, packing affordability and value into one 18-hole circuit. Elk Run’s closing continues a curious recent trend of
growth at the top of Washington’s golf market — think new higher-end courses at Salish Cliffs, Rope Rider and Gamble Sands — and contraction at the bottom, with Elk Run joining Sumner Meadows (2013), Flowing Lake (2013) and Tall Chief (2011), among others, on the list of so-called “little guys” that have shuttered their doors. “How many current golfers began playing as a kid on cheap, generally easy and fun courses?” asks Jeff Shelley, editorial director at Cybergolf.com and an expert on golf economics in the Northwest. “Sadly, many of those are now gone and all that’s left are more difficult and costlier layouts. I’m happy for the success and attention given to Chambers Bay, Gamble Sands, Salish Cliffs, Rope Rider, et al, but am very concerned about the future of golf with the demise of these entry-level courses. Beginners are not likely to return if they have to spend a lot of money and time getting their butts kicked in what can be a very difficult game.” So, this summer, play those fun rounds at the big courses, for sure — but don’t forget to support the little guys, too. They may seem like relics of the past, but they’re central to developing golf’s future.
SHORT GAME When they open in 2016, the new cottages at Gamble Sands will sit just downhill from the No. 1 fairway, with a beautiful view of the Columbia River valley.
STAY DRY AND HIT ‘EM HIGH — ON US!
he spring can be the trickiest season for golfers in the Northwest — at least the other three seasons, we generally know what to expect. So rather than roll the dice on the weather this spring, head into Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center and spend two hours playing some of the world’s top courses — on us! You can bring your own clubs and hit real balls on a floor-to-ceiling simulator, while catching the Mariners, Sounders or the NFL Draft on one of the Clubhouse’s big-screen TVs, and enjoying food and drinks from the bar — day or night, rain or shine! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
Gebbers’ Gamble Paying Off
t’s been just over six months since the veil was lifted at Gamble Sands, David McLay Kidd’s new links course on a ridge above the Columbia River in Brewster, about a half hour north of Chelan. And if there’s a single negative review out there, we haven’t seen it. Golf.com named it America’s Best New Course in 2014, calling it “the most enjoyable, player-friendly course to open since, well, maybe ever.” Golf Digest agreed, also placing Gamble Sands atop its “Best New” list and ranking it fourth among all courses in the state, behind only Sahalee, Chambers Bay and Aldarra. “What makes Gamble Sands distinctive is its cele-
bration of fun,” wrote Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten. “It has moments of hit and giggle, of running to the crest of a hill to see where you went, of watching a ball trundle sideways down a slope, nearly always without concern that disaster awaits. This isn’t Golf for Dummies, it’s Golf for Ordinary Golfers, for those who play expecting pleasure, not penance.” Every player we’ve talked to who has made the trip across the Cascades — including those in this office (“Heavenly Sands,” CG, Aug. ‘14) — has come back raving about the course’s playability and character, with mounds that guide balls back to fairways and greens, reachable par-4s, entertaining par-3s, large sandy wastes and 360-degree views. Each hole offers multiple angles of attack, allowing players of different skill levels to chart different paths from tee to green, each with equal likelihood of success. If you can’t have fun playing Gamble Sands, then you might need to take up a different sport. The only disappointment we’ve heard is that golfers can’t stay closer to the course — at three-plus hours from Seattle and more than two from Spokane, many golfers making the trip want to stay the night and squeeze in a second round before heading home. But the closest lodging is in Chelan, more than 30 minutes away. Starting next year, that will no longer be the case — the Gebbers family, which owns the course, as well as the land on the opposite side of the river that could one day become a second 18-hole layout — is starting construction in 2015 on a series of cabins to be built just downhill from Gamble Sands’ No. 1 fairway. The five units, which will contain 40 rooms, will be on par with the high quality of the course, and will include a separate structure for meetings and events. “We wanted to preserve the sweeping views on the golf course, so that the lodging component wouldn’t take away from the natural beauty of Gamble Sands,” says general manager Dave Christenson. “It’s going to be a wonderful view!” Gamble Sands expects to open the new cabins in 2016, and will post progress on the construction to the course website, GambleSands.com, throughout the summer. Of course, the best way to stay abreast of the progress is to drive across the mountains and play Gamble Sands for yourself — whether you spend the night in Chelan, or turn right around and come home, it’s a round well worth the trip. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Rife Settling Into New Bellevue Home
n 2011, we introduced you to Innovex Golf, the then little-known golf ball manufacturer owned by Bellevue businessman Ben Zylstra, which had just burst onto the scene with a new ball — the E-Motion — that had cracked Golf Digest’s Hot List, right alongside the top new offerings from Bridgestone, Callaway and TaylorMade. At the time, Zylstra told us, “It’s like Eastern Washington getting to play Division-I for a season, and winning the national title.” Well, it turns out Zylstra’s brand had a little more staying power than your traditional mid-major. By the end of the year, Zylstra had acquired Florida-based Rife Golf, makers of some of the world’s most popular putters, and begun the process of relocating the company’s headquarters to the Bellevue offices of Innovex. Over the ensuing three years, Zylstra and his staff have grown Rife (the Innovex name has now been completely phased out) into one of the fastest-growing short game brands in the market. In addition to Innovex’s
award-winning balls (now sold under the Rife brand) and the putters that made Rife the most popular flatstick on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour as recently as the mid2000s, the company has begun expanding its brand into wedges, gloves, bags and more. “We want to be known as more than just a putter company,” says Spencer Kraker, Rife’s Development and Sales Director. “We want to be a short game company. It’s a natural progression.” Rife’s corporate headquarters currently sit just a few blocks from the Bellevue Puetz Golf store where Zylstra, a graduate of Bellevue Christian High School, held down his first job in the golf industry as a teenager. Soon, the company plans to relocate to a larger office nearby from which they can launch their new line of clubs. “There’s been a strong uptick in sales the last few years, so things are certainly growing,” says Kraker. “We’re really excited about our new wedges, and can’t wait to get them on the market.”
ENTER TO WIN A RIFE SWITCHBACK!
he folks at Rife certainly know how to make an entrance. To celebrate the roots they’re throwing down here in the Northwest, Rife has set aside one brand-new Rife Switchback putter exclusively for a lucky reader of Cascade Golfer! Enter to win today at cascadegolfer.com!
Play a round at Pebble Beach or St. Andrews! Join our Spring Golf Leagues! • Over 50 PGA courses to choose from! • Great food and drinks from our full bar • Largest indoor golf center & sports bar in WA state • Corporate and Private Parties • Watch your favorite sporting events on the giant screens • Online Tee Times
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Gamble Sands, Gold Mountain (Olympic) Join Cascade Golfer Cup Field
Gold Mountain (Olympic) • No. 16 Photo by Rob Perry
Region’s biggest amateur tournament series returns with over $100,000 in prizes
y just about any measure, last year’s Cascade Golfer Cup was the most exciting in series history. A record number of players participated in our seven events held throughout the Puget Sound region, building to the closest finish in Cascade Golfer Cup history — several teams entered the final tournament with a chance to hoist the trophy and lay claim to the grand-prize package, and the winner wasn’t decided until a single-hole scorecard tiebreaker at the final event of the year. The challenge to the two-person teams who compete in these events each year is simple — have fun and play well, regardless of handicap, and you’ll have a good shot to finish in the money. The challenge to us each year is harder — how to continually up the ante on a tournament series that consistently ranks as the most popular amateur team tournament series in the Northwest? For 2015, we’ve decided to turn the dial up to 11 on our usual course lineup, and take our players to the top tracks in the state, from April’s opener at Salish Cliffs, right on through September’s finale at White Horse. Four of the seven courses in this year’s Cascade Golfer Cup lineup appeared in our most recent ranking of the state’s top-10 public courses, while another — the all-new Gamble Sands in Brewster, which will host our fifth event on Aug. 1 — is merely the Best New Course in America, as rated by Golf Digest and Golf.com, and will almost certainly crack our “Best in State” rankings when they come out again later this year. While the 2015 season will mark the first in which the Cascade Golfer Cup will not visit Chambers Bay — you may have heard that they’re hosting another big-time tournament in June, in advance of which they are significantly restricting play this spring — we’ve replaced it with
the only other course to receive first-place votes in our 2013 rankings, the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain. A regular presence on the CG Cup schedule prior to 2013, the Cup will return to John Harbottle’s peninsula gem on July 11. We’ve decided to give Salish Cliffs — recently named one of the top-10 Casino Courses in America by Golfweek — the honor of kicking off our series on Apr. 25, and added summer events at Gamble Sands (with discounted lodging available for CG Cup players) and Puyallup’s Classic Golf Club (Aug. 22), the course that groomed Ryan Moore into the PGA TOUR star that he’s become. We’ll also make stops at Washington National (May 16), McCormick Woods (June 13) and White Horse (Sept. 19), with each event offering teams the chance to win trips to Bandon Dunes, Palm Springs, Vegas, Central Oregon, Mesquite (Nev.) and other great destinations, twosomes and foursomes to the best courses in the Northwest, plus golf clubs, shoes, bags, carts and dozens of other great prizes. You’ll also earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup and the overall grand prize, the 2016 Summer Golf Package — up to 20 twosomes to our favorite courses throughout Washington state, including all seven CG Cup courses, plus Wine Valley and other great tracks. Each event is played in fun team formats, including best ball, scramble and stroke play, and awards prizes to the top-15 net and top-10 gross teams, meaning nearly half of the 64 teams in the field are guaranteed a prize. Handicaps are carefully vetted, and the formats are varied such to give every team a chance — indeed, past winners have reported handicaps ranging from 0 to 28, while our 45 tournaments all-time have been won by a remarkable 40 different teams, including six new winners
2015 Cascade Golfer Cup Schedule Apr. 25. . . . . May 16. . . . . June 13. . . . July 11. . . . . Aug. 1. . . . . . Aug. 22 . . . . Sept 19 . . . .
Salish Cliffs Washington National McCormick Woods Gold Mountain (Olympic) Gamble Sands The Classic White Horse
See CascadeGolfer.com/Cup for details! in seven events in 2014. In fact, the overall Cascade Golfer Cup champions last year — Sivakumaar Nagalingam and Sridhar Raman — didn’t win a single event, while the runners-up, Manesh Mittal and Nikhil Patel, didn’t even join the series until event No. 3. There’s free beer, free coffee, a post-round meal, tee prizes, hole prizes, fun formats and chances to win rounds of golf and other goodies throughout each round. Play in just one event, and you’ll understand why more than 400 golfers make the Cascade Golfer Cup the No. 1 priority on their tournament schedule each year — it’s fun, it’s fair, the courses are fantastic and the prizes simply can’t be beat. So grab your father, brother, sister, mother, best friend — or, frankly, any golfer you enjoy spending the day with and can count on to come through in the clutch — and log on to CascadeGolfer.com/Cup for full details. We’ll be at Salish Cliffs on Apr. 25, and we hope that you will be, too. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Apple Tree Resort
2015 Players Card Apple Tre Resort e
CG Players Card Offers Nine Rounds — Including Salish Cliffs! — For Just $225
Leavenworth Golf Club
Highlander Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
Highlan de Golf Clu r b
here aren’t very many courses in the state of Washington that you can play for just $25. Sure, there are a couple of munis here and there, and maybe some of the smaller mom-and-pop places in out-of-the-way pockets of the state, but even in a state with as many great golf values as ours, $25 is a tough nut to crack. So, what if we told you there was a way to play Salish Cliffs this year — the No. 6 Casino Course in America, with a peak summer greens fee of $99 — for an average cost of just $25? And also Apple Tree, which tops out at over $75 in the summer months? And Eaglemont, Port Ludlow, Highlander, Leavenworth, Cedars at Dungeness, Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls, too? There is — and just as you’d suspect, it has the Cascade Golfer name all over it. The 2015 Cascade Golfer Players Card is packed with $539 in golf value, including greens fees at Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree, Eaglemont, Port Ludlow, Highlander, Cedars at Dungeness, Leavenworth, Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls, plus a free bucket of balls at the Puetz Golf Seattle range. We’re not going to charge
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
Eaglemont Golf Course
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Salish Cli Golf Clu ffs b
Eaglemo Golf Co nt urse
Bucket Snoqualmie Falls of Balls Golf Course
Leaven wo Golf Clu rth b
Mt. Si Golf Co urse
Apple Tree is one of nine greens fees included on the 2015 CG PLAYERS CARD, available for just $225. you $539 for it, though — in fact, we’re not even going to charge half that. All it takes is $225 — an average of $25 a round — and you’ll be teeing it up at some of our favorite courses around the state this year. Salish Cliffs and Apple Tree each appeared in our most recent ranking of Washington’s top public courses, while Eaglemont, in Mount Vernon, annually ranks among the state’s most enjoyable tests. Highlander, in East Wenatchee, is rocketing back up the list after a beautiful redesign of its back nine in 2013, and paired with nearby Leavenworth makes for a fantastic 36-hole trip. Likewise, playing Port Ludlow and Cedars at Dungeness is one of our favorite ways to spend a summer day, and Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls make a fun pairing for a day when
you’d prefer to stay close to home. Pay for these rounds one at a time, and you’d spend a total of $539. Heck, just play Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree and Eaglemont alone at their peak times in 2015, and you’ll have spent more ($236) than you would have if you had just bought the card — but you won’t have six more rounds in your back pocket waiting to be used. CG Players Cards are limited to the first 200 golfers to come knocking on our door — via CascadeGolfer.com, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org — and in four years, we’ve never failed to sell out. Act fast to lock in your savings this summer, because like our blustery spring weather, the 2015 Cascade Golfer Players Cards won’t last much longer.
539 in golf for only $225
2015 Players Card Good for one 18 hole greens fee at all nine courses!
Apple Tree Resort
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Eaglemont Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Highlander Golf Club
Leavenworth Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course
Bucket of Balls
9 Rounds of golf for only $225 CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
To Purchase or for more information visit
Cedars at Dungen ess
cascadegolfer.com APRIL 2015
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hen we ask people why they don’t play more golf, we almost always receive one of two answers — time, and money. Time is a tough one — you can play more quickly, but if you’re stuck behind the guy who needs six practice swings, the incessant plumb-bobber or the group that spends 10 minutes looking for every lost ball, there isn’t much you can do. Money, though? Money we can help with. Over the years, we’ve dedicated tens of thousands of words to saving money at golf courses near and far — we even have an entire section, “Save Some Green,” dedicated to finding the best values among our favorite tracks. But you know what? That’s just not good enough. This year, we’re taking things to the next level with all-new exclusive e-mail offers just for readers of Cascade Golfer. Think half-price rounds, heavily discounted foursomes, stay-and-play packages, huge savings from Puetz and other great deals, all exclusive to our readers. Our first deal is a perfect example — unlimited golf on any day of the week, anytime between now and Sept. 30, at the outstanding Resort at Port Ludlow for you and a
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OVER $100,000 IN PRIZES! April 25th
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Salish Cliffs Season Opener
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CG Match Play Championship Turns Up The Heat
he NCAA has the The Road to Indianapolis, site of April’s Final Four. We have The Road to Salish Cliffs. Over the next six months, as many as 128 golfers will tee it up in head-to-head match play battles at courses throughout the Pacific Northwest in the hopes of being one of eight to reach the quarter-final weekend of the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships in September. Why the quarters, you ask? Because each of those eight golfers will be invited to Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Shelton for up to three rounds of golf on us, with the semi-finalists receiving an overnight stay at the adjacent Little Creek Casino Resort … all for free! Of course, the championship weekend at Salish Cliffs — featuring quarter- and semi-final matches on Sept. 11 and the championship match on Sept. 12 (plus a thirdplace match for the semi-final losers) — is just a small part of the prize package awarded to players throughout the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championship. For starters, every single player that enters the event
Salish Cliffs Golf Club • No. 18
(at a cost of $75) will receive a 2-for-1 round at Salish Cliffs. In other words, enter the tournament, and stink up your first-round match, and you’re still taking home $75 in prizes, equal to your tournament entry fee. Win a match, and you’ll take home another prize — plus another for every match you win thereafter, including rounds of golf and more, with the prize value increasing for every subsequent round. Make it all the way to the finals, and in addition to an overnight stay at the Little Creek Casino Resort and three rounds at Salish Cliffs (quarters, semis and finals) — a package valued at $470 — the Cascade Golfer Match Play Champion will take home a stay-and-play package to sunny Las Vegas, while the runner-up will console themselves with a sweet prize of their own. Tournament entry is just $75, and includes your entry fee and, should you qualify, all rounds of golf from the quarterfinal round through the finals. In early rounds, players will be grouped into pods based (as best as pos-
sible) on location and skill level, and will schedule their own matches. You can play at your home course, or at another mutually agreed-upon venue, whatever works best for you. Beginning in May, players will have roughly 28 days to complete their match for each round and report their scores to the tournament director. Best of all, the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships is open to any player with an established handicap (all handicaps will be carefully vetted), and all matches will be scored in a net format. That means that whether you’re a 2, a 12 or a 22, you could be the one holding the trophy at Salish Cliffs later this summer! For any golfer who hasn’t experienced the thrill of match play, and for those who know it all too well, the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championship is a ride you won’t want to miss. Register today at CGMatchPlay.com, or contact Simon Dubiel at email@example.com to learn more!
CASCADE GOLFER MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP The Road to Salish Cliffs
• Open to first 128 golfers • Net Matches (must have handicap) • Matches played locally • Tournament is bracket style
• $75 entry • All entries get a 2 for 1 to Salish Cliffs • Prizes to top 64 • Final 8 played FREE at Salish Cliffs
For more information or for results go to 18
Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush regularly breaks 90 — in more ways than one A CG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
How long have you been playing golf? “I’ve been playing since I was seven or eight years old. I’m left-handed, and my dad struggled at first to make me play right-handed, but I couldn’t do it, so eventually he caved and bought me some left-handed clubs, and the rest is history. We started playing at a local nine-hole municipal course. It was something that my brothers and I did together, and something we still do today.”
for that one shot, and then turn your full attention to the next one. The mental mindgames you play with yourself are definitely similar across both sports.” As a baseball player, when do you find time to hit the links? “As a reliever, it’s hard for me to play a lot during the season, because it always seems like when I have time, I don’t have energy, and when I have energy, I don’t have time. It’s a constant battle. But I always play in our annual Cystic Fibrosis Mariners Care Golf Tournament out at Snoqualmie Ridge, and once the offseason starts, then I definitely have more time to get out there and work on my game. Actually, I played yesterday down here in Arizona and sunk a nice 45-foot birdie putt, so that was pretty cool. There are so many great courses in this area, so it’s nice to get out and play some of the pro-caliber courses while we’re here.”
Do you stay in town here in the offseason, and if so, where do you like to play? “Yeah, I do, actually. I’m a fan of Newcastle, and actually had the chance to play Seattle Golf Club a couple of times. That’s a very nice course. I’ve played up at Harbour Pointe, Echo Falls ... that might be it right now.” No Chambers Bay yet? “No. I’ve been trying to get down to Chambers, but I know they’re only open on the weekends right now while they’re getting ready for the U.S. Open, so maybe I’ll try and get on there in the offseason. Maybe I can pull a few strings.” As a Maine native, how do the courses here compare to those you grew up around? “There are definitely more courses to choose from here in the Northwest. There are a couple of courses up on the ski-resort mountains in Maine, though, that are only open in the summer, and are just amazing courses. They’re super-tough, but they have great views, really challenging fairways. The more challenging a course is for me, the more I enjoy it. I always want to challenge myself.” Do you have a favorite spot to go on a golf vacation? “Number one, Ireland.” How many times have you been there? “Zero. [laughs] I’ve looked up a couple of week-long vacations, where you get to play four or five courses, and it’s No. 1 on my list. I haven’t really traveled too much to play golf, but I think once baseball’s all said and done, I’ll definitely attack that.” How’s your golf game? “I just got a brand-new custom driver and threewood, a Ping G30. That seems to be the one issue I have 20
in my bag, being able to hit my driver straight. But when I tested out the G30, it made a world of difference; I was still hitting it long without having too many bad misses. And a couple of years ago I bought some custom Miura irons as well; I love ‘em. I went in to a club fitter and was able to hit a bunch of different clubs on the Trackman and see what was working for me and what felt best. I’m pretty much in love with my three-iron. It goes the straightest and I usually hit it about 250-260.” What kind of scores do you shoot? “I’m usually going to shoot anywhere around 86-90. I’ll be competing against my older brother the rest of my life, because he already has three hole-in-ones, and I don’t have any. So I have some catching up to do.” Is there any crossover, athletically, between baseball and golf? “I definitely see similarities, not only physically but mentally. When I’m pitching, I need to remember to stay closed before I let the ball go, which is just like letting the hands stay back before the hips open up in the golf swing. And on the mental side, you have to focus on each pitch and take things one pitch at a time, which is just like golf. You have to do what you need to prepare
Who did you play with? “Dominic Leone, one of the other relievers, and Tajuan Walker, I played with both of them yesterday. They’re both good golfers. They’re the ones I probably play with the most, but over the next couple of weeks, we’ll see who all makes it out to the course. Depending on everyone’s schedule, it’s sort of random from day-today who’s willing to go play, but there aren’t too many days you’ll find me saying no.” Who’s the best golfer on the team? “The best right now is Joe Saunders. I think he’s like a 2-handicap.” There’s as much optimism for the coming Mariners season as there has been for any in a long time. Do you feel that as a player or is it just business as usual? “It’s definitely nice to hear the expectations, but you’ll hear from our manager, if you haven’t yet, that for us it’s all about preparation, about getting ready for game one. We can’t look too far ahead. It’s a long season, so we’re just going to take it one game at a time and enjoy the ride until the playoffs come.” Alright, well, get in as much golf as you can between now and the time you head back to Seattle, and we’ll get you out on the course sometime in October. Or even better — let’s say November. “Yeah, let’s go with November, for sure.” CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
RISK vs. REWARD Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club
Hole No. 18 Par 5 503 yards (Birch tees) The Setup: At only 503 yards from the tips, the closing hole at this fun and challenging track puts getting home in two in play for golfers of many skill levels. The dog-leg right only comes into play for the long hitter, but you will want to stay off the far-right side to avoid cutting off your approach angle. The approach shot plays slightly downhill, with water guarding the left side of the green and a bunker leaving a nasty lie for anything sprayed right. This hole can can make or break your round.
The Risk: The vast majority of players will hit driver off the tee given the forgiving fairway, but plenty of fools will be over-
By Simon Dubiel
ly aggressive with their second. The downhill approach, with the beautiful Hood Canal and Olympic Mountains in the background, begs you to challenge it, but the risk is high. Water surrounds the entire left side of the green, which also creates a dicey third shot for anything hung out to the right. Buyer beware!
Time to raise the ante. If you grip it and rip it, a pot of gold awaits. A precise shot is required, but you won’t rake in the chips by folding on fifth street. If you are a little nervous, take a little off and leave yourself a great chance to get up and down. Short is a great leave, and depending on the pin position, missing right is not horrible either. Just don’t go left!
If you hit a solid tee ball you are likely left with somewhere in the 200-250 range. With less than 250 yards in, downhill, layup is hardly in our vocabulary. Remember, the thrill is in the ride, not the destination. Time to get frisky. FORE? Not today. FOUR is more like it. Write it down and circle it. Let’s go dancing.
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18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
obert Trent Jones, Jr. — “Bobby,” as his family and friends have always called him, in deference to the elder “Bob,” whose reputation was already blossoming when young Bobby came along in 1939 — has designed more than 270 courses in his lifetime. They span 32 states and more than 40 countries, and include some of the most recognizable courses in the world — Princeville, Poppy Hills, Spanish Bay, Cordevalle, Poipu Bay and dozens more. But in a career spanning almost exactly 50 years, he has never seen anything quite like Chambers Bay. “I remember the day we received the RFP [request for proposal] from Pierce County, we looked it up on Google Maps and immediately went, ‘Whoa, look at that!’” he says, of what was at the time an abandoned sand and gravel pit in the little-known Tacoma suburb of University Place. “It was all on sand, it was right on the water. Where many people saw a degraded piece of property, I saw great opportunities for golf sculpture.” Indeed, when Jones finally saw the land in person for the first time, he “was like Michelangelo walking among
ROBERT TRENT JONES, JR., THE 2015
U.S. OPEN IS A SYMPHONY 50 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Photos courtesy Robert Trent Jones II
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
the Carrara marbles,” he recalls. “Golf architects will kill for pure sand. I knew immediately, from having done Spanish Bay 20 years before with Tom Watson, that this could be a special place.” There was just one problem. While Jones had a vision of a pure links golf course to rival those his father had grown up playing on the windswept shores of the United Kingdom, the RFP had requested a different vision — 27 holes, to be exact, parkland-style, to be squeezed in as tightly as could be between the bluffs to the north and east, the railroad tracks to the west, and a sewage disposal plant to the south. It would have been a perfectly good course, beautiful even, and probably one of our region’s best — but to Jones, whose passion for golf is rivaled only by his passion for the arts, it was like being given the opportunity to conduct the London Philharmonic, then asking them to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Jones’ mind stirred with the notes of a much grander symphony, one the whole world would want to play. RTJ II Design Architects submitted a 27-hole design that met all of the county’s requirements. They also, how-
ever, offered an alternate vision — an 18-hole golf course where holes weren’t wedged tightly together but instead sprawled across the landscape, with fescue fairways, just one tree, and enough leftover space for massive, scenic sand dunes, public parks and walking trails that could double as staging areas for a potential championship tournament down the road. At the conclusion of their presentation, RTJII’s bid presenters offered bag tags that read, “Chambers Bay — Site of the 2025 U.S. Open.” They beat it by 10 years.
hat story — and the legacy of the man behind it — was about all I knew about Bobby Jones when I arrived last summer at Kauai’s Prince Golf Course, considered by many (including Jones himself) to be one of his master works. The first person I saw was my playing partner for the day, general manager T.J. Baggett, who regretfully informed me that he wasn’t going to be able to join me — Robert Trent Jones, Jr., who owns a home in nearby Hanalei, had just dropped by for lunch, and T.J.
Jones’ vision of the 14th green at Chambers Bay shows significant thought put into every slope of the green and its surrounds.
couldn’t break away. “Do you want to meet him, though, before you go out?” he asked. “Sure,” I replied, “that would be great.” We chatted for a few minutes, as I asked Jones for tips on navigating The Prince for a first-timer, and he asked my opinion on another of his Kauai designs, Poipu Bay Resort, which I had played the day before. When I mentioned that I was from the Seattle area, I could see his eyes light up. As his salad sat uneaten, we talked at length about Chambers Bay — about preparations for the Open, my personal experience with the course, and that controversial new bunker on 18. (“In my opinion, it’s not really in keeping with the course aesthetic, but that’s OK,” he says. “We can just fill it in after the Open.”) We parted ways after a much longer conversation than I had initially anticipated, and I headed to the first tee with a memorable encounter to tell my friends and family about. The next day, after coming back from the beach, I saw a voice mail on my phone from a number I didn’t recognize — “Brian, it’s Bobby Jones,” the message began. “I don’t know if you’re still in town, but if you are, I’d love to buy you a mai tai this evening and talk some more.” For an hour that evening, my wife and I sat enthralled in a local bar, The Hanalei Dolphin, as Jones shared stories from his career and expounded on topics ranging from literature to history to musical composition, revealing fascinating insights into golf course design that touched on poetry, humor, classical symphony and the game of chess. At Hakodate Onuma Prince Golf Course, in Hokkaido, Japan, Jones designed a green structure that precisely mirrored the slopes of the mountain whose beauty provides the hole’s stunning backdrop. Another time, to clear his mind, Jones meditated on a series of rocks in sand. At the end of his long meditation, a monk asked what he saw — “I see a bunker with rocks in it,” Jones replied. Sure enough, his next course featured a bunker with large rocks, an inside joke only he would understand. Most interesting, though, was his answer to my ques-
tion about his penchant for difficult opening holes — the first hole at The Prince course is one of the most notorious in golf, while the first at Chambers Bay can be a brutally long and challenging par-4. “To me, a golf course like is a symphony,” he said. “And the greatest symphonies get your attention right away. At Chambers Bay, we call upon the strings early, the trumpets late and the woodwinds in between. The course has a narrative structure, just as a full symphonic work would have. And just like everyone at the symphony will have their own favorite melody that they’ll be whistling on the way out, so will everyone who plays one of my courses have their own favorite hole.”
By the time we’d reached the bottom of our mai tais, I saw Jones in a new light. The poetry, the music, the golf courses — they’re all just different variations on the same theme; a passion not for art, exactly, but rather for beauty, simplicity, creativity, order and authenticity. In talking about encountering Chambers Bay for the first time, Jones referenced Michelangelo walking among the Carrara marbles; my conversation with Jones had been like thinking I understood art from reading a book about art history, then walking for the first time into the Sistine Chapel. It was clear that Jones sees the world through a much more vibrant lens than most of us, which of course begged the question, “Where did all of this come from?”
ones was born in Montclair, N.J., in 1939, just before the U.S. entered World War II. As Jones tells the story, his father used a baby rattle to teach young Bobby how to grip a golf club, carefully positioning the newborn’s fingers around the handle of the small wooden toy. With his career on the rise, the elder Jones traveled for much of the time, crafting golf courses in one part of the world or another, and leaving Bobby and his brother, Rees, to be raised largely by their mother, Ione. She was the practical one, who instilled both boys with a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation for hard work, traits that would pay off when both ultimately were accepted to Yale University. Their father, though, was the shooting star, the one with the audacity to dream of things that didn’t yet exist, and the genius to make them a reality. As the boys grew older, it became clear that Bobby, in particular, shared both his father’s ambition and artistic eye. When the elder Jones was home, he’d take the boys out to the golf courses he was working on and let them work an excavator or help shape a bunker. They played together every chance they had — Bobby became a state champion at Montclair High and played competitively at Yale, representing the United States in an international junior championship. Golf, at the time, though, was hardly a high-profit endeavor. Rather than pursue a professional career, Jones traveled across the country to Stanford University to study
law and pursue a career in public service. About the same time, his father began working on Spyglass Hill Golf Course at Pebble Beach, and offered his eldest son the chance to apprentice his design. Dissatisfied with law school, but in love with the West Coast — “The East is where good fences make good neighbors,” he says, “while the West is where land wars are fought over any fences at all; being open is fundamental” — Jones jumped at the opportunity to stay and work in his new home. A second apprenticeship, at Mauna Kea, soon followed, and before long, Jones had convinced his father to open a West Coast office — with Bobby in charge, of course. “The game, at a high level, was spreading West,” Jones recalls, “and my job was to go and find work.” Find work he did — to the point that, in 1972, Jones decided to break out on his own and start his own company, RTJ II Golf Course Architects, headquartered in Palo Alto. Free-thinking, liberal California was a perfect fit for Jones, and its influence soon began to show up in the golf courses that, for the first time, bore his name and his name only. Where the elder Jones was notorious for making longer, tougher courses — after winning the 1951 U.S. Open at RTJ’s recently remodeled Oakland Hills Country Club, Ben Hogan famously quipped, “I brought this monster to its knees,” immediately making a star out of the man who had crafted it — the younger Jones quickly
After initially pursuing a career in public service, RTJ II joined his father in the design and construction of Spyglass Hill in Pebble Beach (left); years later, he would put his own stamp on Pebble with The Links at Spanish Bay, Jones’ first (but not last) foray into links architecture (below).
built a reputation for designing holes whose challenge lay not in length or excessive hazards or bunkering, but in choosing the angle of attack that best suits the conditions, pin placement and skill level of the golfer, then executing that plan. Likewise, where younger brother Rees accepted commissions from numerous country clubs up and down the East Coast, crafting the land into whatever shape he desired, Bobby sought out opportunities to design public courses, and allowed the land to speak for itself, adapting his style accordingly. “The very best courses are those where nature has provided the canvas; my job is to discover her secrets and reveal them,” he says. “I try to design golf courses that will fascinate people so they’ll want to play them many times and learn the depths and meanings of the courses’ stories, their subtext, their poetry.” Of his style, Jones says that it’s “complex, eclectic, and wide ranging — like a jazz musician — like Waller or Gillespie. It’s got hints of Tillinghast, McKenzie, and Ross, but it’s still my own.” Where does it all come from? I asked myself of Jones’ unique personality on that day at The Dolphin. The answer, of course, is from everything — from his father’s idealistic self-confidence and his mother’s strong pragmatism; from an East Coast childhood and a West Coast adulthood; from an upbringing that taught the val-
ue of a formal education, yet also demonstrated the significant rewards to be gained from life experience, from launching one’s self head-first into the unknown, with nothing but the vision to dream and the tenacity — at times, stubbornness — to achieve it. Jones’ 270 courses span 40 countries over six continents — and if you don’t think that he won’t be the first to bid when the RFP goes out for a course on Antarctica, then you vastly underestimate his ambition. Many are ranked among the very best those countries have to offer, some among the very best in the entire world. As he sips his mai tai on this warm Kauai afternoon, however, only one course is on his mind, one that he matter-of-factly calls one of his few “master works” — and one that, in just a matter of weeks, will be squarely on the mind of the entire golf world.
f Jones is the composer of the symphony that is Chambers Bay, then Mike Davis is the conductor. The USGA’s Executive Director, it’s up to Davis to decide how to interpret Jones’ work — where to place the tees and pins, and how to shape each hole to best challenge the world’s top golfers this June. Long before shovels were ever put in the ground, Davis — at the time the USGA’s Director of Rules and Competitions — was in close conversations with Jones and his
Sidebar Photo by Marvin Miller
Jones (at left) at Chambers Bay with 2010 U.S. Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein and Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein.
team of architects, helping to craft a course that would be worthy of a U.S. Open. Like Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, Davis shared Jones’ vision from the start, and has had a heavy hand in the many changes that have occurred since the course first opened in 2008. Some of those changes — like removing the second, shorter green on the fifth hole; expanding waste areas in certain parts of the course; and altering the green surfaces on the 1st, 7th and 13th holes — are permanent, part of what Jones calls the constant evolution of a golf course. (“They’re still making changes to Augusta National,” he notes.) Others, like the addition of acres of rough that were not part of the original design, and that pesky bunker on 18, could potentially be rolled back once the Open passes through. “The players are the musicians,” Jones says, continuing the analogy from earlier. “After the Open, they may want to play something a little easier than Beethoven’s Fifth. I would probably recommend that, in the players’ interest, they remove some of that rough, if not all of it. We just did that at Poppy Hills, and it’s been extremely popular. If it’s firm and fast, then it’s fun. You’re not going to lose golf balls, and you’ll also keep pace of play moving — and that’s the future of our game.” The immediate future, though, is the Open, and every change — both permanent and otherwise — has been made with this one week in mind. Listening to Jones talk about the Open, you can see how his vision will play out. The first few holes will serve as the prelude, allowing golfers to sample the movements to come — the tall dunes at No. 1, the large waste bunker at No. 2, and the Redan-style green at No. 3, where golfers begin to learn that Chambers Bay’s greens are not always best attacked head-on. The fourth hole, a par-5 that will play as a par-4 during the U.S. Open, is where the players will have to
make their first significant strategic decision. “Suddenly, you see the vast, sandy wastelands defending the shot,” Jones says. “If they play the direct line, they can cut off 50 yards, but they’ll have a very uneven lie. If they play to the left, where there is a flat lie, they’ll have added distance and a more difficult approach angle to the green. Now, suddenly, the whole thing about tactics comes into play, and the character of the course comes alive.” The fifth hole has undergone some of the most significant changes. Gone is the intriguing second green, which was meant to be played occasionally as a short par-4. (“It was interesting, it was kind of funky, but it wasn’t anything the players ever fell in love with,” Jones says.) In its place, the fairway has been significantly narrowed, with waste areas and rough expanded on both sides to pinch the fairway at the 300-yard mark and force players to think before pulling out driver. “The Bubba Watsons of the world will certainly have to think off the tee,” Jones says of No. 5. “We’re not telling him he can’t hit driver, it just has to be a perfect driver. When the ball lands on the hard, fast fescue, it will roll another 30 yards, and if it’s off by just one or two percent, it’ll roll right into the sandy waste. “Most of the young ‘limberbacks,’ as I call them, have just extraordinary swing mechanics and are so athletic and focused, that on a tee shot they just hit it as far as they can,” he continues. “That will not work at Chambers Bay. You have to think on the tee itself.” If you’re looking for the holes that will separate the contenders from the rest of the pack, Jones says to keep your eye on the four-hole stretch from No. 4 to No. 7. All four will be tough par-4s, with the seventh likely to the prove the toughest. A cape hole, with a fairway that bends left to right around a large, sandy waste, it’s a hole that will dare players to cut off as much of the bunker
THE OPENING The fortunes of governance favored Loyal John Ladenburg Friends and kinsmen flocked to his ranks Young followers were a force that grew To a mighty team. So, his mind turned to golf building He handed down orders For men to work on a great golf course Meant to be a wonder of the world forever. Far and wide through the world, I have heard His invitation to challenge his new course And soon it stood there Finished and ready, in full view: Chambers Bay Was the name he set upon it And there his utterance was law. And from now on every day Hear the din of the loud banquet, The guitar being struck and the Clear song of a skilled poet, Telling the heroes of our game, And of man’s beginnings in this place How the Almighty had made the earth Of towering mountains and gleaming plain Girded with tall trees and vast waters To adorn his splendors. And through the landscaper’s art Quickened our walk with play And let us breathe fresh. Now let us struggle in the royal and ancient way Playing with club and ball our game of golf. Come now, join us in pleasure upon our holey fields. And at the round’s end A place of refuge with hearth ablaze Beckons the weary who struggled With man and nature on the plains below. Then let the chefs of cuisine have their way In merriment to finish this play-filled day. We are the wisest to enjoy life’s short holiday At the great links of Chambers Bay. By Robert Trent Jones, Jr. — June 20, 2007
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as they can to avoid playing a long second shot uphill to a two-tiered green. Players who hit the ball too far, though, could wind up playing their second from either of two large, grassy hummocks, or from the far side of the fairway, either way resulting in a blind shot to one of the trickiest greens on the course. “You have to get over the sand, but also stop your ball from running through the fairway behind the hummocks,” Jones says. “Again, it’s about distance and control, not just distance. “If you get through those four holes in one- or twoover par, you’ve done well, even at championship level,” he adds. “If you’re at even par, you’re ahead of the field.” The next six holes represent the woodwinds, a softer interlude where golfers can win back some of the strokes they might have dropped — the par-5 eighth, the par-3 ninth (which, with a new lower tee, can be played as a drastically downhill par-3 or a slightly uphill par-3), the par-4 10th (“The hole that everyone falls in love with,” Jones says. “It reaches your golfing soul.”), the par-4 11th, the reachable par-4 12th, and the par-4 13th. That’s when golfers will start to hear Jones’ trumpets blare. “Now, you’re up on top of the course, and this is where the game really begins,” Jones says. Fourteen is a majestic downhill par-4 played over “Bobby’s Bunker” in the middle of the fairway, to a green that slopes right to left. Fifteen is the Kodak moment, a postcard-perfect par-3 that can play anywhere from 100 to 200 yards — the latter distance using a tee built east of the tee at No. 12, requiring golfers to tee off over the No. 12 tee box. Sixteen will play as a drivable par-4, challenging golfers to skirt the sandy waste to the right, while No. 17 is the toughest par-3 on the course when played from the lower tee, requiring a 200-yard carry over sand to a challenging green — particularly when the pin is tucked along the railroad tracks on the right side, as it will likely be on Sunday. That brings golfers to the 18th tee box, which will be set up some days as a par-4, and others as a par-5. The hole has undergone significant changes in recent years, with waste bunkers drawn in to pinch the fairway in the pros’ likely landing zones, and the tee box extended to a full 100 yards. “Part of the reason we wanted to put the tee forward there and play it as a par-4 on some days is that Mike
Davis said that a U.S. Open has never been won with a birdie on the 72nd hole. (In fact, Bobby Jones won the 1926 U.S. Open with a 72nd-hole birdie, the only time a player has ever birdied 18 to win by one stroke.) So I’m just guessing that he wants that to be a par-4 on Sunday, for that reason.” The last obstacle players will face is the one that gave Jones the most heartburn, the one that flew in the face of his entire design philosophy — the bunker that Chambers Bay caddies have come to refer to as “Chambers Basement.” It’s 11 feet deep, sits 80 yards from the 18th green, and will be a nightmare for any player who finds it — but will certainly make for riveting television. “I’m an artist, and I’m a professional, so when we have these debates, I voice my opinion, but essentially, he’s the client, when it comes to the Open, and I think he’s done a spectacular job,” Jones says of Mike Davis. “The only place we didn’t agree was on that bunker. We built it four or five feet deep, and he said, ‘Double it,’ so we went to eight feet and he said, ‘Add more.’ There’s a famous picture of him and me in the bunker, and I have my thumbs down, and he has his thumbs up. “The point is, we don’t always agree, but he’s the emperor, and I’m just the emperor’s sword.” Jones says that he’s most interested to see how players handle the uneven lies they’ll face on the new tee boxes, and to “watch their face when they realize that a hole is 100 yards different today than it was the day before.” He gives the European players — particularly reigning champion Martin Kaymer — an edge, given their experience on fescue, but says that any player who has made a point of studying the course in the months before the tournament, and playing multiple practice rounds, will have a significant advantage over those whose first glimpse of Chambers Bay comes the week of the Open. “I heard that Graeme McDowell was going to play Bandon Dunes in preparation for Chambers Bay, and I thought, ‘Why would you do that?’” he says. “I recall that David Chung, a Stanford player, made a point to study the course and ask me for advice before the 2010 U.S. Amateur, and he did very well. (Chung lost in the finals to Peter Uihlein.) You have to learn how to play Chambers Bay.” He’s also hoping for a little wind — and maybe even a splash of rain — just to see how the changing weather
affects the decisions that players must make on every single shot. “I’m hopeful to see players think on every tee,” he says. “They have to choose the right shot, commit to it, and then execute it — or I’m in their backswing.” Like any great composer, Jones will be in the front row throughout the week, eager to see how the world’s greatest players of his unique kind of music interpret his carefully crafted notes. “To have the USGA acknowledge this course as worthy of our National Championship — it’s the first wholly original course since my father’s Hazeltine National in 1970 to host an Open — is something I’m very proud of. I expect to enjoy everything about it.”
od must have a sense of humor. It’s the only way to figure, really, that the crowning achievement of Jones’ solo design career — what he calls “an Academy Award for a life’s work” — comes with a tournament that, at least by reputation, is more RTJ than RTJ II. It’s the elder Jones who is supposed to craft the long, challenging courses, those that would be deemed worthy of hosting the U.S. Open, known primarily for being
the toughest golf tournament in the world. Perhaps, though, that’s what makes this tournament so meaningful for Jones. A U.S. Open — that famous 1951 affair at Oakland Hills — made the elder Jones’ career, and launched the era of “bigger, longer, harder” courses. At the age of 75, this year’s U.S. Open won’t so much make Bobby Jones’ career as it will validate what he’s been trying to prove for 50 years — that a golf course designed for the public, that is affordable, that
allows the land to shape the holes, and that challenges golfers mentally much more than it does physically, can host America’s greatest golf championship. “My father’s remodel of Oakland Hills was a game-changer,” Jones says. “What I hope is that many people will see that Chambers Bay is another paradigm shift for the game. As an Open, it’ll either be mimicked, or mocked, or both, but I’m confident that it’s going to be a real eye-opener.”
Too Tough to Tame Want to know what it’s like to play in the U.S. Open? These 10 terrifying holes will give you a taste.
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
VERY MAJOR HAS A UNIQUE QUALITY.
At The Masters, it’s the wondrous beauty, history and mystique of Augusta National — the impeccably manicured fairways and greens, the white sand bunkers, the pine-needle rough, the impossible-to-get tickets, the myriad rules and regulations, the memories of unforgettable shots, the ghosts of legends past and, of course, the smooth tones of CBS’ Jim Nantz, reminding us each year that “the azaleas are in full bloom.” At The Open Championship, it’s the battle of man vs. nature — the hip-high grass, the incessant rain, the postage-stamp greens, the man-eating bunkers, the crashing ocean waves and, most significantly, the punishing wind that alters the way the game is played, with line-drive tee shots and bump-and-run approaches to hard, sloping greens. If Chambers Bay can steal just some of that Open Championship magic this year, it could be a U.S. Open for the ages. For the PGA Championship, it’s the opportunity to see
Echo Falls Golf Club
your local club pro tee off alongside Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, while the top pros vie for one last chance to add a major to their resume before the close of the year. And at the U.S. Open, it’s the courses themselves. No tournament tests professional golfers like a U.S. Open. USGA officials grow in the rough, speed up the greens, stretch holes from tee to green as far as they can, turn to the world’s best players and say, “OK, now try to beat that.” When birdies are so hard to come by, every single shot feels fraught with drama — drop just a stroke or two, and you may never get them back. In thinking about this year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, we started debating the holes we thought would challenge professional golfers the most — the long, par-4 first with its right-to-left sloping fairway; the narrow sixth and its smallish, tightly bunkered green; the massive seventh and its steep uphill approach; the long, narrow eighth; the tricky, downhill ninth; the tight, windswept 16th; the always-frustrating par-3 17th (we don’t care what the scorecard says, from the lower tee, it’s the
toughest par-3 on the course). Then, of course, the conversation shifted away from Chambers Bay to other tough holes around the region, and we asked ourselves — if we were building a U.S. Open course using holes from golf courses throughout Washington state, which holes would we include? We’re talking U.S. Open-worthy holes here, which means anything less than the toughest holes in the state — the long par-4s, the deadly par-3s, the double-dogleg par-5s — need not apply. To make sure we were considering a wide enough range of opinions, and weren’t just biased by the toughest holes at our favorite tracks, we cast a line out to some of our contributors from around the state, and also asked our readers to chime in via our Facebook page. The holes that ultimately made the cut are the ones we shudder just thinking about, the holes we dread from the moment we schedule our tee time, and those that elicit a sigh of relief on those rare occasions when we can write a par on the scorecard. These 10 holes are too tough to tame.
Snohomish No. 17 Par-4
hile we didn’t bother to specifically rank these holes 1-10, the position of Echo Falls No. 17 on this list is no coincidence. When polling our office and various other contributors, no hole was mentioned by more people than this treacherous par-4. On a course that’s not even 6,000 yards from the tips, with just one other par-4 longer than 370 yards, it can be shocking for a first-time visitor to Echo to stand on the tee and stare at a pin 460 yards away, with water guarding everything short and right. Crush your driver 280 yards and you’re still looking at 180 to the pin, with only the tiniest margin for error. The only bit of good news? One of the prettiest par-3s in the region is only a double-bogey away.
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Shelton No. 14 Par-4
ou’ll notice soon that many of these holes share a common DNA — long par-4s, with trouble around the green. That’s certainly the case here, where a benign tee shot is followed by one of the more daunting second shots in the state. It’s 437 from the tips, but almost no one goes back there, where Salish plays to over 7,200 yards; from the two shorter tees, it’s 383 and 414, which seem more doable until you catch sight of the large ravine that cuts off the smallish green from the rest of the hole. The fairway is wide, so put everything you have into that drive, then hope you’ve bitten off a big enough chunk to make your approach more palatable. If you’re not sure, just lay up and play for five. It may not be four, but it sure beats seven.
University Place No. 7 Par-4
f the 18 holes at Chambers Bay that the USGA considers U.S. Open-worthy, we think No. 7 proves toughest. Currently 482 yards from the tips, it will play over 500 for the big boys in June. A left-to-right, cape-style hole, the question off the tee is how much of the sandy waste area to the right you’re willing to take on? The more you cut off, the shorter your second shot will be — which is critical, as the approach is steeply uphill, over two large mounds, to a two-tiered green. Anything short will funnel 40 yards back down the hill — perhaps even into the waste, if you’re unlucky. Our advice is to add a few clubs and hit it long — you’re better off three-putting from the back of the green than watching your ball roll back down the hill over and over again.
Druids Glen Golf Club
Covington No. 3 Par-3
hile par-4s and par-5s are typically the most challenging holes at most golf courses, we didn’t want to completely ignore our region’s daunting par-3s. And when considering which to include, the question quickly became which of Druids Glen’s four par-3s to include first? All four are tough: two with forced carries over water, a third with a steep downhill drop that, along with the wind, make club selection mere guesswork, and a fourth that tips out at a mere 233 yards. Ultimately, we went with No. 3, which is every bit as beautiful as it is brutal. Usually played around 175 yards, and carried entirely over water, there’s only one place to miss — short right, where if you’re lucky you’ll find the small strip of fairway. Miss anywhere else, and tee up your third. Photo by Rob Perry Photo by Rob Perry
Rope Rider Golf Club
Roslyn No. 7 Par-4
rom the moment it opened in 2011, Suncadia Resort’s Rope Rider course has been one of our favorites. We’re always having the time of our lives — right up to the point where we step onto the tee at No. 7. By far the longest par-4 from the white tees at 423 yards, and second only to the downhill 13th from the blues (444 yards), it’s also unusually tight at a course where most fairways are more open. Misses left find the trees, while a miss right will put you on the side of Tipple Hill, a relic from the property’s coal-mining days and no place from which to try and hit a 180-yard approach.
Washington National Golf Club
Auburn No. 6 Par-4
erhaps the only course that merited as many different responses as Chambers Bay was Washington National, where the tricky par-4 10th and its bisecting waste area, the long par-5 14th, the hazard-strewn par-5 17th and even the deceptively simple par-3 fifth were all put up for consideration. We went with the sixth, though, yet another long par-4 with plenty of trouble around the green. Long tee shots down the left side can find the water, so it’s better to stay right, from which a 150-175 yard approach shot needs only to avoid a lake and multiple large bunkers to give yourself a shot at par. If playing Washington National is like taking a college course, No. 6 could well be its final exam.
The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge
Redmond No. 3 Par-5
hen it came time to cut our list of tough holes down to 10, just one par-5 made the list. The epic par-5s at MeadowWood in Spokane and Desert Canyon in Orondo were on the table, as were the tough front-nine closers at Bear Creek and Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, and even the tricky 12th at Jackson Park. But when push came to shove, all were shoved right out the door — except one. A ridiculous 566 yards from the white tees, and 613 from the blues (and unlike most other 600-yarders, not even an inch downhill) it’s also littered with trouble, with water running the length of the left side and cutting across the fairway three times, the last just short of the green, thwarting what are often 200-yard approaches. We’ve said many times in this feature that par is a good score — on this hole, just making six feels like a miracle.
Palouse Ridge Golf Club
Loomis Trail Golf Club
Pullman No. 13 Par-3
Blaine No. 17 Par-4
hough not the longest par-3 at Palouse Ridge, No. 13 certainly seems like it. Always played into a strong prevailing wind, you’re guaranteed to need at least a hybrid off the tee. And if you miss the green, good luck getting up and down, as No. 13 has one of the more contoured greens on the entire track. Though my time was short as a college golfer at WSU, I played this course many times, and this was the only hole I never birdied. — Johnny Carey
full 449 yards from the blue tees and 403 from the whites, Loomis Trail’s 17th hole requires everything you have off the tee box — only, the fairway is bisected by one of Loomis’ ubiquitous creeks at 263 yards (from the whites) with trees left and bunkers right. Golfers have to make a tough call — do you have enough left in the tank to carry it, or do you lay up and pull a long iron for a 200-yard second shot? Either way, a par is well-earned.
Dakota Creek Golf & CC Custer No. 1 Par-4
t quiet, back-road, out of the way, no frills, unadorned, honest-to-goodness, Mom-and-Pop courses, you tend not to find 415-yard par-4s that shoot dramatically uphill between rough, rocks and trees about 40 yards apart, which play more like 460 yards and should come with a par of six, maybe seven. But that’s what you get at Dakota Creek, an otherwise lovely course in rural Whatcom County. This hole would be considered stern at the U.S. Open, and certainly gets your attention early. — Tony Dear
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When former Husky NICK TAYLOR won his first PGA TOUR event in November, everyone was surprised — everyone, that is, except those who know him best
tanding on the first tee at Kapalua this past January, with the warm zephyrs gently blowing across The Plantation Course and the reflection of the sun glinting diamonds off the Pacific Ocean, Nick Taylor must have taken a moment to think about his journey to this tourney and all of the switchbacks and setbacks and championships and chunks he has navigated to get there. Taylor, like every other golfer invited to this first event in the 2015 calendar year, had accomplished one of the most difficult tasks in sports. He had won an event on the PGA TOUR and qualified for this Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
By Steve Kelley
All of us who have played a sport at any level have fantasized about a moment like this. What must it be like settling into the batter’s box at Yankee Stadium? Or waiting under a punt in the Rose Bowl? Or hunkering over a putt at Augusta? And what must it feel like to understand that you’re a champion; to know you’ve faced the monstrous pressure of your profession and succeeded? On the first tee at Kapalua, Taylor absorbed his moment. “Kapalua was one of those moments where I could kind of pinch myself,” Taylor said in early February, taking a week off from the Tour after playing four consecutive weeks. “It kind of made everything that I’d done sink in
a little more. I’d love to go back. That’s for sure. It was a great week.” Taylor, 26, earned the right to play in the event by winning the PGA TOUR Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., last autumn, in his fourth-ever start on the Tour. “It gave me a lot of confidence in my golf game,” he said of his win in Jackson. “I definitely need improvement, but when I compare myself with the top players in the game, I know the gap isn’t that wide. [The win] gives me motivation to get better, but also gives me confidence to know that I’ve already been through this once, so there’s CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
no reason I can’t do it again.” Unless your name is Rory, Phil or Tiger, the transition from amateur golf to the PGA TOUR is far from seamless. Rookies in the National Football League or National Basketball Association often talk about the speed at the next — and highest — level of their sport. But in golf it isn’t the speed, it’s the unrelenting demand on your skills, your nerves and your will. It’s every week, every hole, every shot against every other great player in the game. There are no breathers in this game. Every week, it’s you against the best. The Tour is so deep now that it seems as if every weekend there is a different pack of hungry professionals competing for a championship. “The longer you’re out here, the more you realize you need some breaks along the way,” says Taylor, who finished tied for 29th at Kapalua. “You obviously try hard every week, but some weeks, things pop at the right time and you get some momentum going, or certain weeks the bounces go a certain way, or you’re not reading the greens well, for whatever reason. You try to learn from your mistakes. But if you do the things you can do well consistently, you’re going to be in contention a lot.”
aylor came into the professional game advertised as one of the new, young lions. As an amateur in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, he finished 36th. His tournament included a 65, the lowest round by an amateur in a major. He was the No. 1 amateur in the world, a superstar at the University of Washington. In 2010, he won the Ben Hogan Award, college golf’s Heisman Trophy. He graduated that year, but his ascension to the PGA TOUR turned into an extended grind. Taylor, who came to Washington from Abbottsford, B.C., spent four years on the PGA’s Canadian Tour. Last year, on the Web.com Tour — the PGA’s equivalent of baseball’s Pacific Coast League — he struggled through the summer and fought even to keep his Web.com Tour card, finishing the regular season ranked 69th overall. To those who follow him from afar, the PGA TOUR seemed as far away as ever. “At the end of the Web.com Tour, I played 13 weeks in a row,” Taylor says. “It was definitely a reality check. It was stressful, to say the least.” Stressful, but not crushing. Even though, week-toweek, he wasn’t getting the results he wanted, Taylor felt his game coming together, felt his confidence rising. He believed he had found some magic in his putter. Under the excruciating stress of the final day of the Web.com Tour Finals at TPC Sawgrass — a tournament comprised of Web.com Tour players and those outside the top-125 on the PGA TOUR, all competing for one of just 25 PGA TOUR cards — Taylor shot a seven-under 63 to climb into a tie for 21st place. The Tour card was finally his. Just months later, in Jackson, Miss., Taylor came into the final round of the PGA TOUR Sanderson Farms Championship four strokes behind the leader, veteran John Rollins. Taylor was playing in just his third PGA TOUR event of the season, which thanks to the Tour’s wraparound schedule, had given him practically no chance to rest after his 13-tournaments-in-13-weeks whirlwind. Some 2,000 miles away, in Seattle, Washington men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond was in church, sneaking peeks at the leaderboard on his phone. Something was happening in Jackson and Thurmond knew, “I’ve gotta get home.”
Taylor became the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur during his collegiate career at Washington, before turning pro in 2010. He raced to his house and turned on The Golf Channel. “I’d never been in that situation, ever,” Thurmond says. Taylor’s putting was as smooth and rhythmic as cool jazz. He was hitting fairways and one-putting practically every green. All of the potential that Thurmond first saw in him when Taylor was a high school sophomore was being fully realized. “I was so proud of him,” Thurmond says. “He stayed in rhythm, was clear-headed and was in complete control.” Taylor birdied 13, 14 and 15. He needed only 24 putts on his first 17 holes. He one-putted 10 of his first 16 greens and took a three-stroke lead into the anti-climactic 18th. Shooting a 6-under 66 on Sunday, he won the Sanderson Farms Championship by two strokes. The odd-looking bronze rooster trophy looked as beautiful to him as the British Open’s claret jug. “It was surreal,” Taylor said at the time. After the win, he told Thurmond, “It definitely couldn’t have happened without you.” “He’s a special person,” Thurmond says. “He’s very humble. He has the overwhelming support from everyone who knows him. I love all of our guys, but to me, Nick is the purest Husky.” Taylor was the first Canadian-born citizen to win on Tour since Mike Weir in 2007. He was the first Husky to win since George Bayer in 1960. “It’s pretty cool to be the first Husky in such a long time,” Taylor says. “It means something to me. But I think in the next five years you’re going to see a lot more guys out here. Alex Prugh is very close. Cheng-Tsung Pan is playing very well for Washington. I think there’s hope for a lot more guys to be out here soon.” Looking ahead can be professional suicide in golf. Lose focus and you lose money. But every once in a while, Taylor will think about this coming June and the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, and wonder what wonders might be in store if he were to qualify. “It would be a great homecoming,” he says. “So many people could come down from Vancouver and Seattle. Yes, I think about that. That would be very special.”
here was the notion that, prior to Jackson, Taylor had been scuffling on the minor tours. His best finish on the Web.com Tour had been sixth place. His biggest
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payday prior to Jackson was a check for $21,718. But that notion didn’t factor in the level of talent he faced each week and the inevitable lifestyle adjustments that needed to be made. “I think the idea that he has struggled is overplayed,” Thurmond says. “Four and a half years after he left Washington, he won on the PGA TOUR. I wouldn’t call that an epic struggle. I think when you’re No. 1 in the world (as an amateur), everyone has great expectations for you. Nick probably put great expectations on himself. But I never had a doubt he would succeed. He has such a big heart, an inner belief. He never lost sight of his confidence.” Two years ago, just to get an up-close look at Taylor’s game and to see if the rumors of his struggles were real, Thurmond caddied for him at the Pearl Open in Honolulu, featuring players from the Asian tours as well as amateurs and pros from the mainland. Taylor played well and stayed in contention through the tournament’s three rounds. “The real art in this game is to take the losing and retain your confidence,” Thurmond says. “The biggest skill is getting over failure. My role with Nick now is to be his friend and remind him of the times he’s played well. After the Pearl Open, I told him, ‘Man, nothing’s wrong with your game. It’s in good shape.’ I knew he was going to be fine.” The win in Jackson was worth $720,000, but more importantly, it earned Taylor a tour exemption through the 2016-17 season. “Going into that week, my biggest priority was to play well enough to get into as many events as I could on the West Coast Swing,” he says. “Then to go from that to knowing I can play in all these great events now, potentially for
the next three years, is a huge relief off my shoulders. It’s taken me a long time to realize what’s happening. It’s pretty cool going to events that I’ve watched on TV, and have guys I’ve watched say, ‘Hi.’” After finishing tied for 59th in the PGA TOUR Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Taylor was ranked 18th on the Tour’s money list at $839,765. It’s a list loaded with young lions such as 24-year-old Brooks Koepka, 23-yearold Hideki Matsuyama, and 21-year-olds Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Jordan Spieth, players who fearlessly stalk the leaderboard week after week. In the first 11 official events of this season, there were six winners under the age of 29. The reservoir of great golfers continues to deepen. “It’s definitely not college anymore. It’s tough,” Taylor says. “But to be honest, I think the Web.com Tour has helped a lot of guys out here. Sure, there are the outliers like Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods who come right out here. But in the history of the Tour, how many guys have GOL F gone right out of college and been successful? I don’t pro want to speak for guys like Justin Thomas, but I think if G you ask them they’ll all say their year on the Web.com Tour definitely helped them feel more comfortable. It helps you get used to the lifestyle.” It’s a lifestyle that led Taylor to the first tee at Kapalua, where the breezes off the Pacific seem to carry with them MI the promise of endless opportunities. NU TE Fro S mS eatt Steve Kelley spent more than three decades covering sports for The Seattle Times. He last wrote about caddy Michael Greller in the August 2014 issue of CG.
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By Brian Beaky CG Editor
t some point in their lives, every golfer must play Hawaii. You have to play Palm Springs. You have to hit Phoenix, and Vegas, and the Carolina sandhills. And, if you’re lucky, Scotland, Ireland and Pebble Beach. Each destination is overflowing with beautiful golf courses, thrilling holes and enough green to overhwhelm your senses. They’re also, however, overflowing with golfers, which drives up greens fees and clogs up tee sheets. It’s Economics 101 — increase demand for finite resources, and everybody pays the price. That’s why we’ve been casting our net the last few years to find the next great golf destination — one with preferably just as many outstanding courses as those
RTJ Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove (Crossings Course) • Mobile, Ala.
other well-known locales, but with far fewer crowds, and greens fees that stay mostly in double digits. And that’s when we found Alabama. Perhaps the state’s most well-known, and well-traveled, golf getaway, is the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a sprawling collection of 26 courses that takes golfers to nearly every corner of the Yellowhammer State. Many start down south in Mobile, where the otherwise roughly rectangular state makes its desperate jag towards the Gulf of Mexico, like a thirsty elm extending its roots towards a nearby river. Just 13 miles west of Mobile is Magnolia Grove, whose Crossings course was named one of the Top-50
Courses You Can Play by readers of Golf World magazine. Like Augusta National’s pine-needle rough or Bandon Dunes’ sandy slopes, new crushed-oyster waste areas add an iconic touch, while the marshlands, creeks and ever-present pine trees require solid shot placement. Head northeast on I-65 and you’ll find yourself in Greenville, home to RTJ’s Cambrian Ridge. Few courses in southern Alabama offer elevation changes like those on Cambrian Ridge’s Sherling Nine, which starts at its highest point before dropping down to the shores of Sherling Lake. The combination of Cambrian Ridge’s Sherling and Canyon Nines ranked third in Golf Digest’s “Best New Courses” list in 1993, and with greens fees as low as $65, annually ranks among its most affordable as well. Truthfully, nearly all of the RTJ Trail sites merit the “affordable” moniker, with most falling into a range between $50-$85 for 18 holes. The gem of the RTJ Trail is Grand National, tucked between the college towns of Auburn and Opelika. Jones said of the site when he saw it that it was the “single greatest” site for a golf course that he had ever seen. So, naturally, he built three of them — the Lake course, the Short Course and the crown jewel of the RTJ Trail, the Links Course. Ranked among America’s Top-100 Resort Courses and home to numerous professional and collegiate events, the Links will finally add the prestige of a PGA TOUR stop in 2015, when it hosts an all-new Tour event in July. Other must-plays along the RTJ Trail include the Judge Course at Capitol Hill, just outside Montgomery (with 14 consecutive water holes, the longest such stretch in the state), Ross Bridge in Hoover, and one of the Trail’s newest designs, The Shoals, near the Tennessee border. The website alabama.travel is a good resource to start planning your trip, while rtjgolf.com/trail showcases golfand-lodging packages that will let you put together your own trail experience, whether you prefer to stay close to the coast, or explore the many outstanding rewards to be found in Alabama’s interior. There’s something a traveler learns quickly in the South. Whether it’s the sandy coastal courses or the tree-lined tracks of the central highlands; a po’ boy or the shrimp gumbo; RTJ or Tom Fazio; there are no bad choices. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let your heart carry you where it will. You may well end up being carried away, but you’ll always find your way home. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
SAVE SOME GREEN HOME SWEET HOME BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
Lipoma Firs Golf Course • Puyallup
ne of the benefits of being a golf magazine editor is having the chance to visit golf courses around the country, and compare them to those in our neck of the woods. And year after year, after visits to the Southwest, the Gulf Coast, the Midwest and Hawaii, among others, I keep coming back to the same conclusion — nobody has it better than we do. Don’t get me wrong, each of those destinations are fantastic to visit, provided you hit them at the right time of year — the warm weather and beautiful courses of the Southwest, the incredible value of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the top-quality tracks of the Midwest and the unrivaled scenery of Hawaii. But compared to all of those venues, we have something they don’t — the Southwest has our quality by lacks our value, with almost any great round priced in triple digits in all but the hottest of seasons; the Gulf Coast has our value but lacks our climate; the Midwest lacks our beautiful scenery; while Hawaii has more amazing courses than anyone, but good luck finding one for under a Benjamin. Of all of the places I’ve traveled, only the Pacific Northwest hits the sweet spot — dozens of amazing golf courses; the unmatched natural scenery of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, the Cascades and Olympics; a peak playing season with temperatures hovering between 65-90 degrees for 6-7 months; and rates that only in the rarest of circumstances ever rise above $75, even on a pristine summer weekend. And to those who would counter with, “But what about the winter?” we offer up two of our favorite values on the Olympic Peninsula, Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course and White Horse Golf Club. Not only are both highly enjoyable golf courses, they both hold up excellently year-round, with strong conditions in the midst of those gray winter and spring days, and rates that at times make a round of golf almost more affordable than a day out at the Cineplex. Travel this year to play some of golf’s great destinations. But never forget how good we have it right here at home.
APRIL 2015 APRIL 2015
White Horse Golf Club • No. 15
Photo by Rob Perry
White Horse KINGSTON
This section of the magazine is certainly going to miss John Harbottle. The Tacoma native, who gifted us Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course and Palouse Ridge, among others, died suddenly in 2012 just weeks after unveiling his most recent success — the renovation of Kingston’s White Horse Golf Club. The original design, by Cynthia Dye McGarey, had fantastic bones — rolling fairways cut from a dense Northwest pine forest; unique and memorable holes that included uphill, downhill and sidehill shots; and some of the best eye candy in the region. The only problem was, it was too hard — both figuratively, in the sense that a mid-handicapper was lucky to break 100; and literally, in that balls landing in the center of the green would often roll all the way off the back, down a slope and out of bounds. Needless to say, not many golfers were excited to shell out $75 to lose 10 balls and shoot 105. The magic of Harbottle’s effort at White Horse, however, is that he managed to strip away those elements that confounded and frustrated golfers, while allowing the course’s best qualities to have their day in the sun. In some cases, that’s meant literally — Harbottle tore out over 200 trees (mostly around the green complexes) to provide more light and air to the greens and tee boxes and promote a healthier, more player-friendly surface. He also stripped out 62 bunkers, softened green approaches and leveled many
fairways in the areas where mid- and high-handicappers are most likely to hit. It’s an effort that has not gone unrewarded — in 2013, White Horse climbed all the way to No. 9 on Cascade Golfer’s list of the state’s top public tracks, and with two more years for golfers to have made the trek to Kingston to play the new design, it’s highly possible that it will better that ranking when the 2015 list comes out later this year. Greens fees that were slashed nearly in half, to as little as $26 in the offseason, and around $50 in the summer, have also helped increase White Horse’s profile. As one of the state’s driest courses, it’s best played in winter or spring, when so many other tracks are soggy at best, underwater at worst. You’ll walk away with at least one new favorite hole and enough left over in your wallet to enjoy a drink in White Horse’s new clubhouse. Clink your glass for John Harbottle — he may be gone, but as long as courses like White Horse and the Olympic are around, he will never be forgotten.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,010 - 7,093 (72) RATES $26-$44* TEL (360) 297-4468 WEB whitehorsegolf.com * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Gold Mountain (Olympic) • No. 15
Photo by Rob Perry
Gold Mountain (Olympic) GORST
We tell out-of-town visitors all the time — if you only have time to play one round in the Seattle area, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, play the Olympic Course. Sure, Chambers Bay is the headline-maker, and Newcastle has some amazing views, but no course in the region hits the CG sweet spot — quality, scenery and value — like the Olympic. John Harbottle’s Palouse Ridge might merit higher national rankings, but for our money, the late designer did his finest work across the massive footprint he was given to work with in this Douglas fir forest just outside Bremerton. Harbottle likes giving golfers of various skill levels multiple means to attack a hole — challenging skilled golfers to take on bunkers or water hazards to open up chances at birdie, while giving mid- and high-handicappers a fair reward for well-struck shots, with mostly open landing areas and green approaches. In any ranking of the state’s best holes, the struggle is never whether to include one from Olympic, but which one — the reachable-in-two par-5 sixth; the beautiful par-5 ninth; the downhill, par-3 12th; or any of the four best closing holes outside of Chambers Bay, including perhaps Washington’s prettiest par-3 (No. 16) and it’s No. 1 risk-reward par-4 (No. 18). But again, there are many courses in Washington with memorable holes, and many that, like the Olympic, host USGA and NCAA tournaments. Not many of those, however, can be played for as little as $20 in the offseason, and as little as $40 even in the peak summer months. The next time you have a friend in town, take them to Gold Mountain. The ferry ride will be good for their soul, while the golf will be good for their wallet.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,220 - 7,168 (72) RATES $25-$50* TEL (360) 415-5432 WEB goldmountaingolf.com * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
S G O L F
FALLS C O U R S E
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Online Tee Times and Web Specials Available at snoqualmiefallsgolf.com 425-441-8049 or 425-222-5244 Only good for 4 players with same day tee time. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Expires 12/31/15. APRIL 2015
POST GAME They’re The Worst
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
othing ruins a good round of golf like a bad playing partner. We all know the types — the guy who won’t shut up, the one who insists on keeping the music on in his cart while you’re trying to hit, the guy who’s never ready when it’s his turn, or the one who insists on plumb-bobbing every putt, despite the fact that he has no idea how to actually do so. And yes, I’m using masculine pronouns here because, let’s be honest — most of the women we play with have none of these issues. Ladies, you’re the best. Here are a few of the characters we’re most hoping to avoid (and to avoid being) this year:
THE SLOW PLAYER
THE AMATEUR TOUR STAR
THE AMNESIAC SAVANT
THE WANNABE GOLF PRO
THE NON-STOP TALKER
The Volcano is unquestionably the most common of these nefarious types. Identifying marks include red face, broken and missing clubs, indentions in the fairways and greens, and a wide circle devoid of any other players. Look, it’s tempting — and sometimes, we’ll even admit, temporarily satisfying — to shout a curse or throw a club. But it never helps your next shot fly any straighter, and can in fact drag down everyone you’re playing with. Keep it up, and before long, you’ll be playing alone.
The Amnesiac Savant has the uncanny ability to remember every shot taken by one of his playing partners, but often struggles to remember his own. He’s particularly poor at tracking penalty strokes, and upon missing short putts, often retroactively refers to them as “gimmes.”
First and foremost, if you’re an actual golf pro, continue on to the next note — this one’s not meant for you. The Wannabe Golf Pro doesn’t actually know that much more than you – but he sure thinks he does. From “Keep your head still!” to “Keep your head still!” he’s full of “useful” advice, particularly as it relates to the one thing he knows for sure – “Man, you’ve just gotta keep your head still.” The worst of these types may even start tinkering with your setup and backswing if you let them, which turns a fun day out into an unwanted lesson. Here’s a simple rule for Wannabe Golf Pros – don’t give any advice you weren’t asked for. And keep your head still.
While all of these characters frustrate their own playing partners, only The Slow Player manages to annoy everyone on the course. He’s never ready to hit, takes five or six practice swings (just to hit his shot straight into the “No Carts” sign 10 yards in front of his ball), wanders off through the bushes looking for abandoned balls, and refuses to pick up, no matter how many shots he’s taken. Golf is a long enough game as it is – take no more than two minutes to find your ball, then check your yardage, choose a club, limit yourself to one practice swing, and let it rip.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s perfectly fine to have a beer on the course – that’s why they drive that beverage cart around in the first place. But if you’ve had so many that you’re swearing up a storm, not paying attention when it’s your time to hit, loudly chattering away while your partners are hitting — or worst of all, making a fool of yourself with the cart girl (Yeah, she’s totally into you) – you’ve gone too far.
There are worse characters out there, but none of them are as likely to be smacked in the mouth by their playing partners as this one. Whether it’s talking through your drives, “whispering” while you’re trying to putt, or just yammering away between shots about what he “should” have done on that last hole, or how he’d be even par if he just hadn’t hit all those bad shots, The Non-Stop Talker just won’t ... shut ... up. You don’t have to be a mime out there, but there’s a time for talking, and there’s a time to be quiet and respectful. Know which is which.
While many of these characters will make his fellow golfers angry or frustrated, this guy’s always good for a laugh. You’ll know him on the first tee, when he insists on playing the tips, then shanks his drive out of play. He uses a rangefinder for every shot, takes multiple practice swings, examines his putt from every angle (usually right before three-putting), plays only with the latest equipment, and dresses himself like Rickie Fowler. His suit of superiority is impenetrable – even when you’re signing for five strokes fewer at the end of the round.
A sibling to the Amateur Tour Star, this guy’s always biting off more than he can chew. Whether it’s attempting ridiculous shots from behind a tree, underneath the lip of a bunker or in some cases, underwater, he’s an expert at wasting everyone’s time with his poor decisions. His signature move is to insist on holding off on hitting his three-wood from 300 yards out when the group ahead is still on the green — “Just in case I really get a hold of one, bro” — then slicing it into the hazard.
A sibling to The Slow Player, Mr. Oblivious is the coup de grace, the King of All Bad Partners. On the tee box, he stands right across from you and fidgets with his club or tries to engage another player in conversation. Playing the hole, he just plays his own ball from tee to green, without paying any attention to where you are, or helping to find lost balls. He walks in your line, never replaces divots or ball marks, never rakes bunkers, hits into the group ahead, and spends most of his time staring at his cell phone, until someone finally tells him it’s his shot. If you’re stuck with Mr. Oblivious …we’re sorry. If you are him … have you considered taking up tennis?