Departments 6 PUBLISHER’S PITCH
22 PUETZ IN THE BAG
56 SAVE SOME GREEN
10 SHORT GAME
• PING’s new bling • New bags, shoes, rangefinders
26 MATCH PLAY MADNESS
• Find what works for you
• • • • • •
Cascade Golfer Cup tees off Golf inventors get creative Big changes at Gleneagle Husky golfer gets Big Break Top local junior golf programs SG Extra: CG reader gains global fame
• Readers pick the Sweet 16
28 RISK VS REWARD
• Bellingham’s north stars
61 PRACTICE TEE 62 POSTGAME • Play all day
• Suncadia – Rope Rider, No. 1 Like Us on Facebook @cascadegolfer Cover photo courtesy Doubleback Winery. Design by Robert Becker.
Rookie Again NFL quarterback turned Washington winemaker Drew Bledsoe tees it up at Tetherow with our Go-2-Guy Jim Moore
Barth’s New Bear From Desert Canyon to Bear Mountain Ranch and beyond, Don Barth is reshaping golf in Central Washington
The Best of Central Oregon We pick the best — and expose the best-kept secrets — in the Northwest’s No. 1 golf destination.
THIS PAGE: John Fought’s $3.75 million overhaul of the Glaze Meadow course at Black Butte Ranch is just one of the reasons we’re putting a Central Oregon trip on the calendar this summer. STORY ON PAGE 46
JUNE 2012 2012
Volume 6 • Issue 2 • JUNE 2012
GOLFER I cascadegolfer.com
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The best hot dog I ever ate: Arnie and I thought I’d share something this month from my wayback machine — my interview and hot dog with Arnold Palmer. It was August 1990, and I had just moved back to Seattle after graduating from Baker University in Kansas. I was fortunate to be hired as the editor of a start-up golf magazine called Northwest Golf, covering the sport in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. My first-ever business trip was to drive to Portland, spend four days and cover Peter’s Party – the Fred Meyer Challenge. Peter Jacobsen ran the coolest ProAm anywhere at the time, chock-full of top-50 golfers, golfing legends, and other celebrities — Nicklaus, Norman, Stewart, Stadler, Couples, Irwin, Zoeller, Azinger, Wadkins … and that was just the tip of the iceberg. So, there I was, green and out of school, and right in my very own field of dreams, smiling like James Earl Jones walking into the corn. As I strolled into the media tent, I saw Arnold Palmer standing nearby. I may have been a golf media rookie, but I thought, I’m going for it — sure, he probably won’t give me the time, but it’ll be a thrill either way. “I’d be happy to,” he said. “But I have one little problem. I’m starving! Do you mind if I eat a little something while we talk?”
Needless to say, that was just fine with me. I offered to get him something from the media tent, but he said he’d grab it himself and meet me by a nearby umbrella. About two minutes, later, The King appeared — carrying not just one hot dog, but two, plus two bottles of water. Arnold Palmer, perhaps the world’s greatest golfer, was bringing me lunch. “Not sure if you like mustard or ketchup,” he said, “so I got you both.” I couldn’t contain it any longer — I laughed and completely broke professional character. I literally couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Arnie knew it, too, and went out of his way to make it easy for me. With hot dogs in hand and a mustard stain on my notepad, we spoke. I could have asked him questions for days … in all, he gave me a good 20-25 minutes at that umbrella. Although I have been around Arnie twice more, I never again had that kind of time with him. This is the first I’ve ever written about it and, tapping the keys now, I can’t help but think that his friendliness and welcoming nature gave me the confidence and comfort in knowing that our idols are just people, too, who enjoy a good hot dog and the chance to share stories, just like the rest of us. Enjoy the summer weather, and TAKE IT EASY!
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2012 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
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS OF APRIL’S ENTER-TO-WINS!
2-DOZEN INNOVEX BALLS Jack Swenson • Renton RIFE BELLY PUTTER Mark Stewart • Woodinville PRONGHORN STAY AND PLAY Tim McMannon • Seattle DRUIDS GLEN TWOSOME Gloria Van Dusen • Federal Way DON’T WORRY IF YOU DIDN’T WIN — there’s plenty more where that came from. From an entry to the Pacific Amateur to a Central Oregon stay-and-play and rounds at the region’s top tracks, let us take care of your golf this summer: TWOSOME AT DRUIDS GLEN Page 10 VIP PASSES TO THE BOEING CLASSIC! Page 19 TWOSOME AT SALISH CLIFFS Page 26 TWOSOME TO TETHEROW Page 39 BLACK BUTTE RANCH STAY-AND-PLAY Page 51 FREE ENTRY IN THE PACIFIC AMATEUR! Page 55 TWOSOME AT PORT LUDLOW Page 56 10
SHORT GAME Stallard, O’Neill Win CG Cup Opener at Chambers Bay
reg Stallard and Jim O’Neill showed up at Chambers Bay in April looking forward to a fun round in the 2012 Cascade Golfer Cup Opener — a chance to play one of the country’s top municipal courses in a fun tournament format, with the promise of an additional free round to use later in the year. They left with a whole lot more. Nineteen- and 13-handicaps, respectively, Stallard and O’Neill fired 86 and 82 at Chambers, earning 52 Stableford points and the title of Cascade Golfer Cup Opener champions. “Just one of those days that everything clicked well,” Stallard said afterward. In addition to the tournament trophy, Stallard and O’Neill won a stay-and-play vacation to Mesquite, Nev., and earned 1,250 points towards the seasonlong Cascade Golfer Cup, which will see one talented team take home the Summer 2013 Golf Package — 20 twosomes of golf at the state’s top tracks, including Desert Canyon, Prospector, Apple Tree, Wine Valley and more. The CG Cup Opener at Chambers Bay was the first of seven events being contested throughout the region this year as part of the Cascade Golfer Cup, the largest and most popular amateur tournament series in the Northwest. Held in fun, team-scoring formats at only the best courses in Western Washington — including Chambers Bay, Washington National, Gold Mountain Olympic and more — the Cascade Golfer Cup gives players of all skill levels the chance to compete in net and gross categories for over $100,000 in stay-and-plays, rounds of golf, golf clubs, apparel and other great prizes. True to the spirit of Cascade Golfer, the 14 Cascade
Golfer Cup tournaments held since the start of 2010 have produced 13 different net champions. And if you needed further evidence that truly anyone can compete in the Cascade Golfer Cup — the top-15 teams at Chambers Bay included one player with a 33 handicap, and another with a 2 (low-gross winner Kevin Lamair, whose gross 67 was the envy of the field), plus just about everything in between. In addition to prizes for the top-15 net and top-5 gross teams, hole contests and other prizes and giveaways, this year’s CG Cup events (including May’s Cascade Golfer Challenge at Washington National, which took place after our print deadline) have featured the ING Challenge (modeled after the PGA Tour’s Kodak Challenge), where players compete for the lowest total Stableford score on seven pre-designated holes throughout the year for the chance to win a stay-and-play package to Las Vegas. Tournament play will continue throughout the year at McCormick Woods (June 16), Druids Glen (July 21), White Horse (Aug. 18) and Gold Mountain-Olympic (Sept. 8) before wrapping up back at Chambers Bay for the 2012 CG Cup Championship, Sept. 29. Field sizes are limited to the first 64 teams per event, so visit CascadeGolfer.com and click on the cup to sign up today!
GET IN A PRACTICE ROUND AT DRUIDS GLEN PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
What better way to prepare for the July 21 Cascade Golfer Cup event at Druids Glen than by getting in your own pre-tournament practice round? Well, how about playing one for free? We’re putting one CG reader and a friend on the course at Druids for free this summer, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today! cascadegolfer.com
THE SWEET SCIENCE OF … TEES?
t their core, Carlo Costantini and Vincent Lupo are science guys. So when a friend wondered aloud how much of an impact a non-level tee had on a good drive, they took that question to the lab — not just any lab, but San Diego’s Golf Laboratories, where all of the industry’s big boys go to test their clubs, balls and accessories before they hit the market. “We were shocked at the results,” Costantini says. “Our studies showed that if a traditional tee was teed up as little as one-sixteenth to one-fourth of a inch askew in any direction, it resulted in anywhere from nine to 34 yards of shorter distance.” Realizing that they might be on to something big, the duo set to work developing a tee that could be placed perfectly level, every time. Their resulting product, the On The Level golf tee, features a level built right into the head of the tee. There are also guides painted on the stem to guarantee consistent depth. The thinking goes — and the science supports it — that the golf swing has enough variables already. If you can eliminate any of them — in this case, tee height and level — you’ve made striking the ball cleanly and
consistently that much simpler. And while it’s not a selling point the company markets, since no long-term testing has been done, the tees have thus far proven remarkably durable … Costantini says he’s taken about 1,000 hits on his first tee. That science — which is laid out in convincing detail on their website, OnTheLevelGolf.com — has been the company’s best asset. Just 18 months after first being asked the question about level tees, Costantini and his partners have seen sales take off as golfers have bought in fully to the benefits of a level tee. “It’s so surreal. It’s come from a concept that we weren’t sure we even believed in a year and a half ago, to where we have science that truly supports everything, and everybody and their mother wanting this product,” he says. “The golf tee is one of the few things that hasn’t evolved in 100 years. You look at steel to graphite, you look at dimple patterns on golf balls, you look at the oversized club heads. Everything has evolved except for the tee. “We truly believe that this is technology that is here to stay.”
FIVE ROUNDS OF GOLF FOR $129? WE’RE IN
Cedars he advent of summer is a beautiful White Horse Druids Glen of Dungeness Golf Club thing for a Northwest golfer — longer Golf Course days, drier courses and, of course, that cool ankle-high tan line that proves to everyone that we’ve been hitting the links. However, summer also brings with it peak-season greens fees. Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if there was some way to lock in greens fees earlier in the year, that Mt. Si Highlander Golf Course Balls of ket we could use all summer long? Buc Golf Club And thus we created the 2012 Cascade Golfer Players Card. For just $129, Players Card holders receive a free greens fee at White Horse, Druids Glen, Cedars at Dungeness, Mount Si and Highlander, PLUS a bucket of balls at Puetz Golf and a free glove from Ballard’s POW Gloves. Priced individually in the summer, the rounds alone top out over $250 — with the card, though, you’ve locked in a greens fee of barely $25 a round … and pocketed some other freebies as well. Only 200 were printed, and fewer than 50 remain, so show that you’re a savvy summer golfer and pick yours up at CascadeGolfer.com today!
Camaloch Golf Course
We’re in the Puget Sound “Sun Belt”, we get less than 20 inches of annual rainfall, AND, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 (exit 212). Early Bird
Weekdays 18 holes $24.00 9 holes $24.00
Prime After Times Noon
7am-1:52 pm 2pm-4:52 pm 5pm-Close
$31.00 $24.00 $12.50 $24.00 $24.00 $12.50
(Senior/Junior 62 & over – 17 & under, Incl. Active Military)
18 holes 9 holes
$24.00 $18.00 $12.50 $18.00 $18.00 $12.50
Weekends 18 holes $27.50 9 holes $27.50
$37.50 $27.50 $15.00 $27.50 $27.50 $15.00
Cart Rental (Per Rider) $12.50
$12.50 $12.50 $7.50
GLENEAGLE SOARS AGAIN
s recently as 2010, Gleneagle Golf Course in Arlington — once a hidden gem for golfers on the North end — had fallen into disrepair. New general manager Mike Simpson — a longtime resident of the area who remembered how good Gleneagle could be — knew something had to be done. “When we first came to this facility, it really needed some attention,” he recalls. “We needed to invest more in the course, and really put together a whole new maintenance philosophy. And we needed to reconnect with the local community.” Starting in June 2011, Simpson oversaw a total overhaul of the Gleneagle grounds — a new groundskeeper was hired; bunkers were emptied, repaired and refilled; the driving range was cleaned up and reopened; the pro shop was upgraded; over 1,000 feet of new drainage was installed and the cart fleet was entirely replaced. In addition, a local community member contributed $14,000 towards the purchase of new tee signs, ball
washers and trash cans, and construction has begun on a new chipping green with a sand bunker. “We’re really dedicated to showing people that we care about this course and we want it to be the best it can,” Simpson says. Of course, rebuilding the course is just step one — step two is convincing golfers to return to Gleneagle after its grand re-opening this June. To that end, Simpson has made sure that customer service is secondto-none, and has spread the word about the course’s new look and low rates — topping out at $44 with a cart in the summertime, and as low as $29 per player for foursomes that show up together. “It’s been a long process,” he says, “but to go from a course that was about to be shut down, to a course that the local community wants to invest in and be a part of is a big change. “Hopefully people will see how much we’ve raised the quality of the facility — and we’re not finished. Whatever needs to be done, we’re doing it.”
SHORT GAME UW’s Alvarez Gets Big Break
t seems like no matter what channel you turn to lately, golfers with local ties are making headlines. First came Kyle Stanley’s heartbreak-to-glory week on the PGA Tour in February, then Ryan Moore’s new local RMG Group golf venture in March, then Fred Couples’ Friday charge at the Masters and Andres Gonzales’ Nationwide Tour win in April. Just when we thought the news might quiet down in May, former University of Washington women’s golfer Anya Alvarez debuted May 14 on the 17th season of The Golf Channel’s “Big Break” program, this one held at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. A four-year letterwinner at Washington and an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick in 2011, Alvarez broke into the professional ranks after making the cut at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, and has been playing on the Symetra Tour (formerly the LPGA Futures Tour, equivalent to the men’s Nationwide Tour) in 2012. Thousands of aspiring golfers apply for the chance to compete on “Big Break,” which has become a fixture on The Golf Channel with its promise of exemption to an LPGA Tour event for the winner, and prime-time
exposure for the entire cast. Alvarez, though, is motivated by a greater goal — to help children avoid the pain of abuse that she herself experienced as a child. A national spokesperson for the KidSafe Foundation, Alvarez has appeared on “Dr. Phil” and CBS’s “Early Morning News” to raise awareness of the issues of child abuse and teen dating violence, and was nominated as a teenager to appear in “Seventeen” as a “young woman changing the world.” “If I can get through to just one parent or child through my association in golf, then my dreams are coming true,” Alvarez says. You can root for the former Husky on “Big Break: Atlantis,” airing Mondays on The Golf Channel at 6 p.m.
SIMPLY THE BEST
ften, the best inventions are the simplest — like the wheel, or the spoon. Renton golfer Jeff Werre, though, worries that his invention might be too simple. “People see it the first time and they think, ‘It’s just a piece of metal. I’d never use that,’” he says. “So I say, ‘Just humor me. Take one out on the course today and use it, and if you don’t like it, give it back.’ “I haven’t had one turned back to me.” Werre’s invention, the Golf Club Stand, is as simple as its name would suggest — a forked metal stake that stands a little over two feet high, against which golfers can lean their clubs when hitting from the fairway or green. To any golfer who has ever left a wedge behind on the green, walked out to the fairway only to realize you’ve brought the wrong club, or (a Northwest favorite) tried desperately to find a dry patch of ground on which to set a club you’re not using, the advantages are obvious. To that list Werre adds not having to bend over to pick clubs up off the ground, which helps relieve stress on his back and knees. It fits easily in a golf bag and is so lightweight as to barely be noticeable. Werre built the first prototype for his brother after the latter lost a club at Renton’s Fairwood Golf and Country Club. When the two went to play their next round, golfers who saw it asked, “What is that thing? And can you make one for me?” After manufacturing dozens of Golf Club Stands in his Renton garage for friends, family and others, Werre found a local manufacturer to mass-produce them. Currently, they are sold online at TheGolfClubStand.com and in golf shops at Lake Wilderness, Fairwood, Echo Falls, Redmond Ridge and Maplewood. “It’s been great,” Werre says of the Golf Club Stand’s out-of-nowhere success. “Whether it stays a hobby or becomes something big, we’ll see. But I believe in it, and I believe that anyone who puts one in their bag just once will never want to take it out.”
WIN PASSES TO THE CANYON CLUB The par-4 14th hole at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge is one of the best holes on the entire PGA TOUR Champions Tour, as players have to decide — do I rear back and let it fly high over Bear’s Canyon to the reachable green below, or do I lay up to the right and play for birdie? For the players, it’s a classic risk-reward moment — but not for us. We’re removing all the risk by giving one Cascade Golfer reader two VIP tickets to the first two days of the Boeing Classic, the region’s only PGA TOUR event, including a pair of Canyon Club Party Passes with which they can bear witness to every heartstopping success … and every scorecard-ruining failure. Included with the Canyon Club Party Pass is access to one of the Boeing Classic’s most exciting on-course vantage points, the Canyon Club, located between the 14th green and 18th tee, plus one free beverage (beer, soda, water), access to upgraded concession areas and most importantly, that comfortable seat in the shade to watch legends of the game like Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer and Nick Price make the most exciting drive on TOUR. Follow along with all the latest updates to the field at boeingclassic.com, and log on to the allnew CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win!
Bookmark The All-New CascadeGolfer.com
f you haven’t been visiting our all-new website, CascadeGolfer.com, you’ve missed out on two months of news, features, golf course profiles, golf tips from local pros and special offers on greens fees, golf clubs and more — all exclusively available through the website. What else did you miss? In April, you missed your chance to see Masters champion Bubba Watson dropping lines like, “Tweet, tweet, I want my birdies all day long / Let the bogeys go and say hey oh, la la la le la le hey!” in a music video with fellow “Golf Boys” Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane and Hunter Mahan. You also missed our recap of “the mustachioed one” Andres Gonzales’ wire-to-wire win at the Nationwide Tour’s Soboba Classic, with excerpts from his infamous Twitter account (and, since it truly deserved it, a photo gallery of that incredible handlebar ‘stache). We also had bi-weekly voting updates in the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness, exclusive deals at local courses like White Horse and Gold Mountain, the latest news from the PGA Tour, and weekly tips from the top teaching pros at Oki Golf, Chambers Bay and other local experts. Plus, of course, a full archive of past issues, highlights from April’s Cascade Golfer and links to our enter-to-wins, Players Card, Cascade Golfer Cup events and much more. Be a part of the Puget Sound’s No. 1 source for news and features of interest to local golfers — check out CascadeGolfer.com today!
STAY CONNECTED Want to be the first to know about exclusive one-day-only deals, breaking Northwest golf news and more? Like “Cascade Golfer” on Facebook or follow Cascade Golfer on Twitter for exclusive savings, web-only giveaways and special offers! cascadegolfer.com
North Shore Golf CourSe
The Dog Ate My Masters Tix
BriNG 3 Play for free
(4 for the price of 3) * Must present coupon Valid Monday thru Thursday — All Day Friday, Saturday & Sunday — After 1p.m. Expires July 21st 2012
I Tee times - (253) 927-1375 or (253) 838-3660 Restaurant - (253) 927-7439 4101 North Shore Blvd NE,Tacoma WA 98422
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t’s a seemingly impossible story to believe. Seattle native Russ Berkman, a frequent player in Cascade Golfer Cup events, lucked out in this year’s Masters lottery, earning the right to purchase four tickets to Wednesday’s practice rounds at Augusta — a dream come true for just about any golf fan. Three friends from around the country planned to meet Berkman in Myrtle Beach the Sunday before the tournament, play golf for two days on the Carolina coast, then drive to Augusta to walk the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. The day before he was to leave, Berkman put his tickets safely in his iPad case, and headed to the store for some last-minute supplies. When he came home, his heart nearly stopped. The iPad case was open. The tickets were gone. On the floor were four chewed-up strings, and nearby, one satisfied-looking Swiss Mountain Dog, 9-year-old Sierra. “I freaked out,” Berkman says, realizing Sierra had eaten all four tickets. “I didn’t know what to do.” After using a safe chemical mixture to force Sierra to spit up the chewed-up pieces, Berkman spent the next two hours huddled over his kitchen table, piecing the tickets back together one at a time — part of a flower here, a corner of a sand trap there … “it was like a big puzzle,” he says. By Saturday night, Berkman had restored 80 percent of the tickets. Along with his receipt and a photo of the original tickets he had taken the week before, he thought he had enough evidence to convince The Masters to reprint his tickets — since they would no doubt want proof that he hadn’t simply sold the originals. There was one problem — the Masters’ ticket office was closed until Monday morning, and Berkman would be meeting his buddies in Myrtle Beach on Sunday. “There was no way I was going to say anything to those guys if I didn’t have to,” Berkman says. “I even considered buying four more tickets online (at a cost of about $3,000), as a backup, but I felt like I had a pretty good case.” The only thing that worried him was the legendary Masters mystique. It’s nearly impossible to get tickets in the first place; Berkman imagined it had to be at least as hard to get them replaced.
So it was that two days later, Berkman slipped away from his buddies on the golf course in Myrtle Beach to make one of the most anxious phone calls of his life. After telling his story, he was instructed to wait by the phone for a supervisor to call back. Berkman waited, playing another hole as his buddies griped about the fact that he’d spent the entire morning on the phone instead of focusing on the golf. Then, it rang. “Are you the one with the hungry dog?” laughed a friendly female voice from the other end of the line. “Well, Mr. Berkman, I’m sorry for everything you’ve gone through, but we’ll be happy to reprint your tickets.” Berkman felt a wave of relief, and at that point, thought his adventure was over — it turns out, it was only just beginning. As he had worked feverishly to piece together the chewed-up pieces of tickets on Saturday night, Berkman had sent photos of his progress to friends, including fellow Cascade Golfer Cup regular Justin Mentink. Mentink, in disbelief, forwarded the photos to his sisterin-law, ROOT Sports anchor Angie Mentink, and to KJR Sports Radio’s Mitch Levy. On Tuesday morning — a day after confirming that the tickets could be replaced — Berkman went on the air in Seattle with Levy to tell his unlikely story. A few hours after the interview aired, news reports appeared on websites for the USA Today and Yahoo Sports, spreading Berkman’s story to the world. By the time he and his friends returned to their cars after watching Wednesday’s Par-3 contest, he had voice mails from ESPN “SportsCenter,” CNN “Headline News,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and many more. “It was ridiculous,” he says. “Somehow it had spread like crazy.” Berkman took advantage of the opportunity to do “SportsCenter” and “Good Morning America,” using each interview as a chance to praise the generosity and understanding of the Masters staff. “My image of Augusta had been one of snootiness, but my personal experience was one of classic Southern hospitality,” he said. “Those ladies were so nice, so helpful and so supportive.” “But if I didn’t take that first picture, with the serial cascadegolfer.com
… No, Really
Seattle native Russ Berkman (above, left, holding his first-place trophy from the 2010 Cascade Golfer Challenge alongside playing partner Mark Sandwidth) became famous in April when his dog ate his four tickets to the 2012 Masters (Opposite, left to right: The original tickets; the aftermath.
numbers on the tickets, or make the dog puke, I don’t think they would have been that flexible,” he adds. “They would have thought I sold them. I was lucky that I was able to show them exactly what happened.” No matter how implausible it may have seemed.
IN THE BAG REVIEWS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PUETZ GOLF SUPERSTORES
and equipment news you can use
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
hope you bought your PING i20s this spring — after the 2012 Masters, you might not be able to find a PING product on the racks at any golf shop in the country. To say that the company, founded in the 1960s by Ballard-born UW alum Karsten Solheim, had a good week at Augusta is like saying that Mark Zuckerberg had a good idea when he created Facebook. First and foremost, of course, a PING pro won the green jacket, with Bubba Watson hitting one of the most memorable shots in Masters history with his Tour-W wedge — a 155-yard, pull hook from the pine straw right of the 10th fairway, through an opening in the trees and onto the front of the green, 10 feet from the hole. If you’re in the market for a wedge you can shape shots with, I think you’ve found it. Not only was Watson’s shot not the most memorable of the day, however, it wasn’t even the best PING shot — both of those honors fall to Louis Oosthuizen, who blasted an S56 4-iron 255 yards into the hole for an albatross on the par-5 second hole, a shot that is already being called one of the greatest in golf history. A green jacket, a 1-2-3 finish, and two shots that are guaranteed to be a part of every Masters montage for the rest of time … needless to say, PING hasn’t had to do any convincing to get golfers flocking to the stores to try their clubs the last two months. In addition to a win for PING, Bubba Watson’s victory was a sign (in bright neon colors, no doubt) that the Tour’s youth movement is officially in full swing. Watson is practically the polar opposite of golf’s “old guard” – he’s never had a lesson, his hair flows down to his shoulders, and he’s certainly the only Masters champion ever to grab a microphone and rap about birdies on the 16th tee in Phoenix with his fellow “Golf Boys,” Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane and Hunter Mahan. His emotional embrace with Fowler and Crane on the 10th green following the playoff (a sight you practically never see among fellow players) had to be the first time in Masters history that a pink-and-white ensemble, two bright yellow shirts and a green hat and pants ever shared Augusta’s grandest stage. And as the Tour goes, so do the manufacturers follow – in addition to the bright-orange grips of the Cobra AMP, TaylorMade debuted its greenand-purple RocketBallz (RBZ) driver this year, while practically every major shoe manufacturer is rolling out the casual-fit styles and youthful colors and designs that even classy-style veterans like Tiger Woods have come to embrace. Of course, most casual players don’t care if a driver is orange, green or pink – if it flies long and straight, we’ll take it. That’s why we’ve split the difference and picked out some products to recommend this month that are not only reflective of the latest manufacturing trends, but also have a proven ability to keep your golf balls on the short stuff. After all, looking good is important — but nothing looks as good as a circle on the scorecard.
Cobra AMP Driver PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $249.95
f all of the new clubs to debut at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in January, none grabbed the attention of attendees like Cobra Puma’s new AMP driver. It helped, of course, that it was the only club on the show floor with bright-orange grips, a sleek silver-and-black shaft, a silver crown, black face and black-and-orange sole. But the buzz wasn’t just about the club’s appearance, inspired by the company’s new partnership with trendsetting Tour pro — and recent PGA Tour winner — Rickie Fowler. In fact, most of the talk after the show was about the AMP’s performance – especially at limiting (or, for more moderate slicers, completely eliminating) the dreaded slice. Designed primarily with mid-to-high handicappers in mind, the AMP favors a high draw on a neutral setting (which can be adjusted two degrees, open or closed). Its large face, deep center of gravity and unique elliptical sweet spot counteract low-heel and high-toe hits, which Cobra testers found were mid-handicappers’ most common misses. Results in the Cobra labs were so promising, in fact, the company has also released fairway woods and irons using the same basic principles — and, of course, featuring the same eye-catching color combinations. Your playing partners will certainly have something to say about those grips when you pull the AMP out on the first tee, but as each successive drive goes right down the middle, all they’ll be asking about is where they can get their own.
IN THE BAG Adams Golf a12 OS Irons/Hybrids PUETZ GOLF PRICE $899.95 (Executive set $499.95)
F SCOR4161 Wedges PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $149.95 individual; less if buying more than one
n putting together its annual Hot List, Golf Digest tests hundreds of clubs, golf balls, accessories and other equipment before handing out its coveted gold, silver and bronze medals. It’s no surprise that the major manufacturers — with their millions of dollars in R&D, PGA Tour pros, and hundreds of designers — typically dominate the list. A quick perusal of this year’s winners in the wedge category reveals the usual suspects — Titleist, PING, Cleveland … and SCOR4161. Haven’t heard of SCOR? Honestly, neither had we … or just about anybody else, for that matter. Much like Karsten Solheim’s PING Golf, SCOR was a small, local company until hitting on a big idea that rocked the golf world — for Solheim, the offset hosel and cavity-back Anser; for SCOR, progressively-weighted, uniquely-shaped wedges that offer unprecedented flexibility in shotmaking. For starters, SCOR offers wedges in every loft from 41 degrees (your typical 9-iron) all the way to 61 degrees (a lob wedge), allowing players to find the exact lofts to fill gaps in their bag. In addition, the wedges are progressively weighted, with lighter heads in the lower lofts to allow for greater variety in shot-shaping, and feature a V-shaped sole with a low-bounce leading edge for tight lies, and a highbounce heel to easily cut through a bunker.
or years, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore refused to accept any endorsement opportunities from equipment manufacturers, wanting the freedom to use the equipment he felt was best for him as opposed to being limited to a specific manufacturer. It says a lot, then, that for many of those years, his choice was Adams Golf — Moore played Adams’ drivers, fairway woods and hybrids during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, before taking the full endorsement plunge with the company in January of 2011. What is it about Adams’ clubs that convinced Moore to give up his former freedom? For one, no company has devoted as much time and money to the development of hybrid technology as Adams. Once viewed as a crutch for high-handicappers, hybrids are now common in bags from Allenmore to Augusta National, as players of all abilities reap the benefits of the easyto-hit clubs. In addition to traditional long-iron hybrids, however, Adams’ new a12 OS set incorporates “Transitional Hybrids” that bridge the gap between traditional hybrids and cavity-back short irons, with each club in the set slightly less hybrid shaped than its numerical predecessor — picture the classic “evolution of man” graphic, showing the ape becoming gradually more and more human-like, and you get the idea. The end result is the easiest-to-hit hybrid/iron set ever made — and a lot more fairways and greens in regulation.
PING’s not just ruling the club manufacturing world this year — they’ve also released some of the most popular new bags, completely redsigned for 2012 to be lighter, better-looking and longer-lasting than the competition. Here’s a few we’d be happy to put in our trunks this summer:
PING Hoofer C-1
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $189.95
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $149.95
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $199.95
hree-way full-length dividers minimize club entanglement, while PING’s new backpack-style straps are more comfortable and breathable than their retractable predecessors, and connect to a “Leg Retention System” that keeps the legs tight when on your back. And even with increased pocket space, the C-1 is lighter than previous Hoofers at just under five pounds.
he 4-series is the lightest of PING’s new stand bags at just under four pounds, yet still manages to incorporate all of the new features that PING has added to their line this year. The thicker, more comfortable straps and Leg Retention System make for an easier carry, while new leg stops keep the bag from slipping on slick surfaces, like a garage floor or smooth cart path. puetzgolf.com
ING has also added a handful of new cart bag styles to its line, none more impressive than the Pioneer. A 14-way top minimizes clubheads clanking together and keeps shafts separated for easy extraction. Eleven pockets provide space for everything from rain gear to rangefinders, while the rain hood and more durable, nylon material hold up well in our often less-than-ideal conditions. JUNE 2012
PING Nome Adjustable Belly Putter
IN THE BAG
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $299.95
Dead Aim Putter PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ith the recent run on belly putters in the wake of Keegan Bradley’s PGA Championship win last year, one issue has consistently arisen — standard belly putters are about 42 inches in length, but there’s no such thing as a standard golfer. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, and just as with drivers and irons, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Sure, you can get your putter custom-fit, but that takes time and money that many golfers would just rather not spend. That what makes PING’s all-new Nome 405 adjustable-length belly putter the most fascinating new club we’ve seen this year. Rather than the typical 42-inch shaft, the Nome 405 features a locking clamp and wrench by which golfers can set the shaft length anywhere from 37.5 inches to 46.5 inches — find what works best for you, lock it, and leave it. The shaft has already been USGA-approved and made its PGA Tour debut earlier this year at the Shell Houston Open, before hitting golf shops in May. Best of all, if you try it out and decide you don’t want the extra length? Slide the Nome 405 down to its shortest setting, 37.5 inches, and you have a putter just barely longer than your standard 36-inch flatstick.
$149.95 ($179.95 with laser)
n golf, sometimes the best advice is just to keep it simple. Dead Aim Putters has proven that axiom this year with a putter that simply, yet effectively, isolates and negates the three prime causes of a missed putt — alignment, aim and an inconsistent stroke. To position your eyes directly over the ball, shift your head until the white line on the top panel lines up with the line on the bottom panel, visible through the holes. Then, move your hands forward or back until the white dots appear in the center of their respective circles — congratulations, your clubface is now perfectly square to the ball, and your head and hands are in the correct position at address. In addition to helping with alignment, Dead Aim offers an optional laser attachment that can be used to improve your aim and stroke — align the laser at a target, then practice keeping it aligned throughout your swing.
FLAGS FOR OUR FATHERS LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT WAY TO SAY THANKS TO DAD THIS FATHER’S DAY? Help him zero in on the flagstick and turn those pars into birdies with a state-of-the-art rangefinder — then he’ll be the one thanking you.
SkyGolf SGXw PUETZ GOLF PRICE
with Father’s Day promotion
kyCaddie’s SGXw cruised to a gold medal on Golf Digest’s Hot List with HoleVue, RangeVue and IntelliGreen technologies to calculate precise distances to greens, hazards, bunkers, landing areas and more, and the ability to connect wirelessly to the SkyGolf network from any WiFi hotspot. And while it’s usually $499.95, SkyCaddie’s current Father’s Day promotion knocks off $100 and includes a free 1-year Birdie Membership (including unlimited access to course maps and more), car charger and carrying case — a $175 value in all.
Bushnell neo+ PUETZ GOLF PRICE
plus $50 rebate
he neo+ doesn’t have the full-color screens or 3D graphics of many other GPS devices — which, for those of us who still haven’t figured out all the buttons on the TV remote, can be a good thing. Small and lightweight, the neo+ is among the easiest GPS rangefinders to use — turn it on, find your course, and neo+ does the rest. Distances are given to the front, back and center of each green, with the ability to add four custom points on each hole, plus a shot-distance calculator to track your shots and help with club selection.
IN THE BAG
rom flannel shirts to Birkenstocks with socks, we Northwesterners aren’t particularly well known for our fashion-forward sensibilities … except when it comes to golf shoes. Seattle’s Fred Couples helped launch the stylish shoe craze when he debuted the Ecco Street Premiers at the 2010 Masters, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore has been the face of TRUE Linkswear and its lighter-than-air footwear, while UW grad James Lepp’s high-tops and Vans-style Kikkor shoes have injected the word “awesome” into the golf shoe
ECCO Biom Hybrid PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Nike Golf TW 13
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Since ECCO first rolled out its street styles a few years ago, golfers have been split — some prefer the performance of the Street Premiers, while others like the natural feel and comfort of the BIOMs. So naturally, ECCO has combined the best qualities of both into one shoe, the BIOM Hybrid, merging a lightweight, comfortable (and water-repellent) upper with a high-tech outsole that offers a natural “ground”-style feel and excellent traction and performance.
TRUE Links Tour isis / Tour phx PUETZ GOLF PRICE
vernacular. And just as the national public did with grunge and lattes, so are national footwear makers following our lead — from golf heavyweights like Nike and Ecco to fitness-oriented footwear makers like Puma and adidas, nearly every major manufacturer is ditching the stiff-lace and hard leather look for a more comfortable and stylish shoe this year. Just do our image a favor — remember to take off your socks before slipping back into the Birks when you’re done.
Few golfers have as iconic a style as Tiger Woods — from the Nike hat, to the red shirt/black pants combo on Sundays, to those slick black Nike loafers, Tiger’s style has changed little since he took over the Tour in 1997. This year, though, even Tiger hasn’t been able to resist the new shoe movement, swapping the hard-leather classic TW’s for a tennis-shoe style shoe called the TW 13, to be released in June. The half-high top and thick laces add a little basketballstyle flair to golf footwear, while the black-white-red color combo remind you just whose shoes you’re walking in.
TRUE Linkswear put new twist on golf shoes in 2010, with lightweight shoes designed to increase contact with the ground — creating more stability for the golfer and leading to the feeling of playing practically barefoot. They’re also incredibly comfortable, which has us excited for two of TRUE’s newest additions to its Tour line, the “phx” and “isis.” Named for its new Arizona headquarters, the phx is a water-resistant hybrid shoe that looks as good in the clubhouse bar as it does on the course. The isis, meanwhile, is specifically designed to the contours of a woman’s foot, with the same water-resistant uppers, ergo-traction sole and stylish designs as its male counterpart. phx
adidas PureMotion / CrossFlex PUETZ GOLF PRICE
One of the most high-tech golf shoes ever made, Puma’s new Super Cell Fusion ICE is also among the best-fitting and best-performing shoes on the market. The new patented S2Quill spike and Swing Speed Chassis Pro will impress you with how well they keep your feet firmly planted throughout your swing (no matter how hard you swing it — trust us, we’ve tried), while the cool colors will impress your playing partners as well.
PureMotion: $119.95 CrossFlex: $99.95
The first thing you’ll notice about adidas’ new PureMotion shoe is the lack of spikes, but the technology that golfers will find most impressive are breathable, waterproof mesh and roomier toe box that gives your toes room to curl and grip down for maximum traction. The Crossflex, meanwhile, is based on adidas popular running shoes, with a specialized shape that conforms to the human foot and “zonal traction elements” that provide grip on a variety of surfaces, in all our inclement conditions.
Puma Super Cell Fusion ICE Limited Edition PUETZ GOLF PRICE
HOW SWEET IT IS BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ere hours after postal workers began stuffing the Spring issue of Cascade Golfer into mailboxes across the state, votes began pouring in at CascadeGolfer.com in the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness, our year-long, 32-course bracket contest to pick the best golf course in Washington state. On the first day alone, we fielded votes from Seattle to Spokane, Pullman to Port Townsend, Vancouver to … well, Vancouver. Twenty-four hours later, votes were still coming in faster than we could count them. By the time we finally closed the voting on May 1 so that we could include the first-round results in this issue, more than 11,000 individual votes had been logged online, with voters as far away as Spain, Argentina, Japan and Ireland weighing in on our Evergreen State gems. Even one of our local PGA Tour players put in his two cents (and he — along with several other voters who responded to the “Who’d We Miss?” question online — thinks the Links at Moses Pointe deserved a place in the bracket). In the end, four first-round matchups were decided by fewer than 100 total votes, and one remained unsettled until the final hour of voting, when sixth-seeded Eaglemont rolled in a 25-foot birdie on 18 for the upset, finishing with just seven more votes than three-seed Lake Padden. No course received more votes overall than Semiahmoo, which outdistanced even Chambers Bay in the total voting — though none of the four top seeds had any trouble with their first-round opponents. The second round, though, could be a different story — not only do all of the top seeds face strong challengers, but the No. 2 vs. No 3 games (or in Eaglemont’s case, No. 6) should be some of the most hotly contested of the entire year. What do you prefer? The big views of Newcastle’s Coal Creek, or the challenge of Washington National? The rolling plains of Palouse Ridge, or the mountain scenery of Suncadia’s Prospector? To help you choose, we’ve posted game capsules of all eight matchups to CascadeGolfer.com, highlighting our favorite qualities of each of these truly sweet 16 tracks. Just as with the first round, we encourage readers to vote with your hearts — some might pick the more scenic course, others the more difficult, others the best value. No two golfers use exactly the same criteria to rate a course — all that matters is what’s important to you. Voting for the Sweet 16 will remain open throughout the month of June, and we’ll give one voter drawn at random a twosome of golf to first-round winner White Horse Golf Club. Readers can vote once per day, and every vote enters you to win that killer twosome of golf. So, we’ll put the question to you once again — what’s the best course in Washington? It’s up to you — log on to CascadeGolfer.com and make sure your favorite tracks finish on top!
WIN A TWOSOME TO SALISH CLIFFS! The all-new Salish Cliffs, Gene Bates’ Circling Raven follow-up that opened last fall just outside Shelton, missed making the Match Play field on the basis that it was too new for inclusion — after all, if the majority of our readers haven’t had the chance to play it yet, we can’t very well expect them to be able to vote on it merits. So, we’re going to do something about that by sending one CG reader and their favorite playing partner to check out Salish Cliffs’ salmonsafe fairways and greens this summer … on us! LOG ON TO CASCADEGOLFER.COM FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
Round 1 Spring
First-round voting results in red.
Sweet 16 Summer
Gold Mountain — Olympic 78.0%
1 Gold Mountain — Olympic 8
Gold Mountain — Cascade 22.0%
Resort at Port Ludlow 51.7%
4 Resort at Port Ludlow 5
Trophy Lake Golf & Casting 48.3%
White Horse Golf Club 51.0%
PENINSULA 3 White Horse Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness 49.0%
McCormick Woods GC 82.6%
2 McCormick Woods GC 7
Alderbrook Golf Club 17.4%
Chambers Bay 87.6%
1 Chambers Bay 8
West Seattle Golf Course 12.4%
The Home Course 58.4%
4 The Home Course 5
Druids Glen Golf Club 41.6%
Washington National 63.9%
CENTRAL SOUND 3 Washington National
The Classic Golf Club 36.1%
Newcastle — Coal Creek 76.7%
2 Newcastle — Coal Creek 7 26
Newcastle — China Creek 23.3% cascadegolfer.com
MATCH PLAY MADNESS CG readers pick the best course in Washington, bracket-style Round 1 Spring
First Round of Voting Received 11,000 Votes! Elite 8
First-round voting results in red.
Semiahmoo Golf & CC 88.4%
Snohomish Golf Course 11.6%
Kayak Point Golf Course 53.5%
Avalon Golf Links 46.5%
Lake Padden Golf Club 49.6%
Eaglemont Golf Club 50.4%
Loomis Trail Golf Club 70.3%
Harbour Pointe Golf Club 29.7%
Wine Valley Golf Club 73.8%
Highlander Golf Club 26.2%
Desert Canyon Golf Club 56.5%
Bear Mountain Ranch 43.5%
Prospector at Suncadia 57.2%
Apple Tree Resort 42.8%
Palouse Ridge Golf Club 66.8%
Indian Canyon Golf Course 33.2%
1 Semiahmoo Golf & CC
Final Four Winter
4 Kayak Point Golf Course
NORTH 6 Eaglemont Golf Club
2 Loomis Trail Golf Club
CHAMPION AT CH
S S E N D A
1 Wine Valley Golf Club
4 Desert Canyon GC
DESTINATION 3 Prospector at Suncadia
PRINT YOUR BRACKET AND VOTE ONLINE
2 Palouse Ridge Golf Club
RISK vs. REWARD Suncadia Resort — Rope Rider
By Simon Dubiel
Hole No. 1 • Par 5 • 499 yards (Blue Tees)
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
Set in the shadow of the Swiftwater Cellars winery, the tee shot at Rope Rider’s first hole is one of the most memorable in the Northwest. Your tee box not only affects the yardage you play, but your elevation drop as well. As unforgettable as the tee shot is, however, it’s the approach that will make or break your score. Water guards the green down the left side, while a large bunker will catch anything right. As with most good holes, a good shot is rewarded, while a poor shot is paid for, dearly.
Like many golfers, I personally like to “get into the swing of things” in my round before becoming too daring with my shot selection. Driver/3-wood with my first two shots is not what I typically have in mind. Sure, getting off to a great start is always fun, but there is nothing worse than putting up a 7 or 8 out of the gate. Water dampens my spirits, as do double bogeys. And triple bogeys. And reaching into my bag for a new golf ball before I’ve even put one on the green.
You’ve split the fairway with your tee shot and now sit just 220-240 yards from the green. Sure, the water left is ominous, but if you can stay to the right, you’ll at worst be in the trap, or looking at a little 30-yard chip. The little guy on your shoulder is talking — actually, he is tweeting. His name is Birdie, and he is telling you that this might be your only shot all day to be under par for the round.
Final Call: You’d have to have spent the first half of the day on Swiftwater’s deck sipping Syrahs to make the bold choice here. As any good tournament poker player will tell you, you can’t win it on the first hand, but you sure can lose it. Same with ol’ No.1 at Rope Rider. Driver, 7-iron, sand wedge is about the easiest GIR you’ll ever see, all but locking down a birdie or par to start your round off right. We apply the KISS method — Keep It Simple, Stupid. PRESENTED BY
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Nineteen years after going No. 1 in the NFL Draft,
IS ON TOP OF THE WORLD ONCE AGAIN — making world-class wine, scoring birdies at Tetherow and living life on his terms.
BY JIM MOORE
he first time I talked to Drew Bledsoe was the last time I had talked to him, during his senior year at Walla Walla High School. The year was 1989, and I was covering high school football for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I remember sitting in the office, trying to come up with the newspaper’s all-state prep football team. I was about to select Richland’s Nate Holdren as the quarterback on the team when someone asked me: “Have you checked out the kid’s numbers at Walla Walla?” “The kid” was Bledsoe, and his numbers blew away Holdren’s. I changed the pick and called Bledsoe to congratulate him. I remember only one thing from the interview – how respectful he was. “Thank you very much, Mr. Moore,” Bledsoe said. At that time, I was 32, and Bledsoe was the first person to ever call me Mr. Moore. I followed Bledsoe throughout his football career, and especially
early on when he played at Washington State. As a WSU alum and passionate Coug, I loved the Drew Bledsoe years, watching him stand tall in the pocket, firing passes here, completing passes there. If you ask Bledsoe about his favorite game ever, He’ll tell you about the 1992 Apple Cup, the so-called Snow Bowl, when he passed for 259 yards as the Cougars upset the fifth-ranked Huskies, 42-23, in a whiteout at Martin Stadium. Drafted as the No. 1 pick overall by New England in ’93, Bledsoe played for 15 years in the NFL in New England, Buffalo and Dallas, passing for nearly 45,000 yards before retiring in 2007. I’d seen him play in person at Washington State and countless times on TV in the NFL. I’d also seen him at Cougar functions and games after he retired, but I had not actually talked to him since that first phone call more than 20 years ago.
o it was that I pulled into the parking lot at Bend’s Tetherow Golf Club on a windy spring morning with an assignment to play 18 holes with Bledsoe, and learn more about two other sides of one of region’s most famous athletes — Bledsoe the golfer, and Bledsoe the winemaker. The 23 years in between have turned us both a lot grayer, but otherwise, Bledsoe is just as respectful as I’d remembered him — and just as talented in everything he does, from raising kids to making award-winning cabernet at his new winery in Prosser, Doubleback. He’s not a shabby golfer, either — a 6-handicapper, to my 13. We played a $5 Nassau that he won easily, despite giving me advice on every tee box — where to hit it, what to avoid — advice it must have seemed like I ignored, given that most of my shots went precisely where he said not to hit. Bledsoe, on the other hand, hit it a mile — as you’d expect from a guy who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in the neighborhood of 230 pounds. I’ll bet his drives average 300 yards in benign conditions, and the rest of his game is pretty good, too — his putting stood out to me because he has a nice, smooth stroke. Bledsoe didn’t take up the game of golf until his sophomore year at Washington State, when he took a golf class. He didn’t really like it.
“I just wasn’t very good,” he says. He started playing more frequently with his buddies, however, making bets and drinking beers, and soon it became a lot more fun. One of his good friends is Oregon alum Ben Crane, one of the best putters on the PGA Tour. I asked Bledsoe if Crane ever gave him putting tips. Bledsoe said that Crane would go to the putting green at the Portland Golf Club at night, using lights from the parking lot. He wouldn’t go home until he
Bledsoe joined Go-2-Guy Jim Moore at Bend’s Tetherow Golf Club, where the former NFL quarterback is a member.
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made 300 consecutive 5-foot-putts – 100 from left-toright, 100 from right-to-left and 100 straight in. If he missed, he’d start all over. “If I did that, I’d be there all night,” I said. “Me, too,” Bledsoe replied.
e made small talk as we played, with Bledsoe sharing stories from his playing days and his thoughts on the recent NFL Draft and the many changes surrounding Washington State football. He likes the hiring of Mike Leach at WSU, but feels bad for outgoing coach Paul Wulff – a sentiment shared by many. He thinks former quarterback Trent Dilfer is doing a nice job as an ESPN commentator, but wonders about some of the others. I asked him if he had any interest in getting into broadcasting himself — he’d be good at it, given how articulate he is. He said no, though; for the most part, he avoids anything that might conflict with his four kids’ games on the weekends. Forget any of the football achievements — along with his with his wife, Maura, the kids (Stu, 14; John, 13; Henry, 11; and daughter Healy, 9) are his greatest joy. All ski and mountain bike near their home in Bend, and are all straight-A students. He said that almost every morning, Henry wakes
him up at 6:30 so they can play catch before he goes to school. He might be too tired to get up, but he gets up anyway. I couldn’t resist asking about the recent NFL Draft, where quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III went No. 1 overall to Indianapolis, and No. 2 to Washington, respectively. It was reminiscent of 19 years ago when Bledsoe was taken No. 1 overall by the Patriots, and another quarterback, Rick Mirer, went No. 2 to the Seahawks. “It’s pretty cool when you get taken first at recess, then to have it happen in the NFL draft…” Bledsoe said. “That was crazy. We went to New York City for the draft. It was the first time my family had flown anywhere. I’d never been east of the Mississippi.” Until then, Bledsoe was like most college kids, with hardly a penny to his name. He remembers calling the bank as a student and having the automated lady tell him that he had a “negative seven dollars in my account.” But after the Patriots paid him his first installment on his signing bonus, he called the automated lady again and will never forget her voice. “’[You have] one million and one-hundred-twentyfive thousand dollars [in your account],’” Bledsoe recalls her saying. “I called my brother and told him he had to call that number to hear her say that.”
e played the black tees – his choice, not mine – and finished on the 577-yard, uphill-intothe-wind, par-5 18th. The way I was playing, it felt like an 877-yard hole, but Bledsoe had no trouble reaching the green in three. Afterward, we had lunch in the clubhouse, and I thought it was cool that Bledsoe went around to every table to say hello to various friends and acquaintances. He appears to be just “Drew” here, not Drew the legendary quarterback, and I get the feeling he likes it that way. He is Drew the legendary quarterback, though — eighth all-time in the NFL in passing yards (more than 19 Hall of Famers, including Dan Fouts, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly and Johnny Unitas) and fifth in completions, with two Super Bowl appearances and four pro Bowl selections. Bledsoe returned to New England for the AFC Championship Game last year to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. It was the first game he’d been to since he retired. It brought back those football memories. “When they played the national anthem, the hair stood up on my arms,” he said. “I could feel the adrenaline. For so long, the anthem meant it was go time.” Later in his career, he made a conscious decision to appreciate every moment as a football player. He would grab rookies in the tunnel before they ran onto the field and say to them, “How cool is this that we’re getting ready to play a football game!?!?” “Unless I land on the moon someday, it will be the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” he recalls. Despite the overwhelming statistics, the NFL Hall of Fame has yet to call Bledsoe’s name. Bledsoe, though, has no regrets — sure, he wishes a play or two had gone differently. But he was a four-time Pro Bowler, he has a Super Bowl ring and he’s sitting here at Tetherow — and mountain biking and hiking with his kids — with no lingering injuries or pain. “Taken as a whole, I’m happy with it,” he says.
In its first year of production, Bledsoe’s Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon was named top-100 in the world by Wine Spectator. “It’s like making the Pro Bowl as a rookie,” he says. 38
Bledsoe (with wife, Maura) says that co-founding Doubleback Winery was an easy second career choice after his hometown, Walla Walla, became a premier wine destination over the last decade.
nlike many former players who struggle after their careers end, Bledsoe planned for the transition. He’s involved with an investment company, and he has good financial advisers that have helped him avoid money drains in a sputtering economy. His biggest venture, though, is in the wine business, where Bledsoe and his childhood friend, Chris Figgins, have partnered to make world-class wines at Doubleback Winery in Prosser. “When I retired, I knew I needed something to keep me engaged,” Bledsoe says. “My wife and I had a passion for wine when I was playing ball. The more I learned about it, the more interesting it became. “My little hometown became one of the premier wine regions in the world, and my next-door neighbor is one of the best wine-makers in the world. [Having him there is] like having Peyton Manning or Tom Brady as a quarterback if you’re starting an NFL franchise.” In the first year of production, Doubleback’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was named as one of the top-100
wines in the world by Wine Spectator. Asked where that rates with his football accomplishments, Bledsoe said: “I don’t know, but it’s way up there. It’s like making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.” This year, a bottle of Doubleback Cab costs $89 and is available at doubleback.com. “To make truly world-class wine, it’s expensive,” Bledsoe said. “We have two to three tons of grapes per acre. With a cheaper wine, you have six to seven tons. You don’t get the same complexity and quality of fruit.” A few hours after we talked, Bledsoe planned to drive to Walla Walla to meet with Figgins. He’ll sometimes listen to music while he drives, but on longer trips, he’ll kill the time by listening to books on tape. He never tunes into sports-talk stations. But, he keeps tabs on what’s going on in the NFL and remains a loyal Coug. “Seriously?! How am I supposed to fly on this?” Bledsoe tweeted in April, showing a photo of a Horizon Air Washington Huskies-themed plane. He said it’s tough living in Bend because he’s surrounded by Ducks and Beavers, but his kids are Cougar fans, so he’s raising them right. They’re looking forward to going to their summer home in Montana, where more rounds of golf and outdoor activities await in Whitefish. “We have a ton of fun together,” he said. “It’s an amazing luxury I have, the free time to spend with them.” Bledsoe tweeted the other day that he can’t believe that one of his kids (Stu) is going to be in high school next year. But then, Bledsoe — now 23 years removed from our first conversation — just turned 40 himself, an age at which you’re not really old but not really young anymore. Maybe it’s his new career choice, but fortunately, the kid from Walla Walla is aging not like an old quarterback, or a golfer, but like a fine Washington wine. In addition to Cascade Golfer, Jim Moore also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo. Jim appears weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on “The Kevin Calabro Show” on 710 ESPN Seattle or 710Sports.com. He has also launched a weekly Northwest Golf Show on the podcast page of 710Sports.com.
WIN A TWOSOME AT TETHEROW Want to walk in the footsteps of Drew and Jim and Tetherow? We’re giving two Cascade Golfer readers the full Tetherow experience with a free twosome at Tetherow this year. Sorry, Bledsoe not included. To enter to win, log on to CascadeGolfer.com today!
BACK IN THE
With His Recent Acquisitions Of Desert Canyon And Bear Mountain Ranch — Plus His Two Other 18-Hole Courses — Don Barth Has Pushed All-In On The Future Of Central Washington Golf
would attract golfers from throughout the state, and put Central Washington on the map as a golf destination. Owned, designed and built by PGA pro Jack Frei (now deceased) it boasted the longest par-5 in the state — a 690-yard monster with a green hung along a canyon rim overlooking the flowing Columbia River. Everything about Desert Canyon was extravagant, from a gorgeous pro shop with waterfalls in front, to a full-sized restaurant. According to Frei, the greens averaged 10,000 square feet — each. The 18 holes
were divided into two nines, “Desert” and “Lakes.” Desert Canyon was rated Best in Washington by one publication and received accolades from many others. It even had its own PGA Tour pro, Rick Fehr, on its resume. Don Barth, the Central Washington developer who owned Alta Lake and the nine-hole Rock Island Golf Course, worked with Frei on the planning, and says he tried to discourage the expenses involved in the luxuries — but the owner would not budge. These, among other factors, would lead to Frei’s financial demise, and with cascadegolfer.com
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
esert Canyon Golf Resort in Orondo, just north of Wenatchee, opened to great fanfare in 1993. At the time, the only 18-hole courses north of Wenatchee and a goodly distance south were the Wenatchee Country Club and the nine-to-18 converted Three Lakes course. A second nine at Alta Lake, in Pateros, would open later that year, giving the region another 18-hole track. Desert Canyon, though, was to be the course that
BY BOB SPIWAK
he truth is, Barth had been burned on a Central Washington investment before. In 2005, Barth partnered with investor Jerry Schofield to build a resort course on the slopes high above Lake Chelan, one that would attract locals and Western Washington residents alike. The two men split their investment 50/50, but it was Barth who headed up the construction of what would become Bear Mountain Ranch, teaming with Robert Yount on the design and overseeing all aspects of the course’s creation. “My whole family worked on that project,” he says. “It was a part of me, something I love to do.” After opening, a course rater from the USGA testified that Bear Mountain was the most scenic track he had seen in the lower 48 states. That is not hyperbole — it’s an opinion shared by many. Bear Mountain Ranch sits 1,600 feet above Lake Chelan, in the foothills of the towering Sawtooth Mountains. The fjord-like lake, deep blue and over
Desert Canyon Resort • Orondo
PHOTO BY JOHN R. JOHNSON / J2GOLFMARKETING.COM
it, Desert Canyon’s. A lot, says Barth, was bad timing. Desert Canyon was heavily into real estate, homes and lots that were not selling. Over the next few years, course quality began to deteriorate, and rounds played diminished. General Electric Capital Corporation held the mortgage, and the course reverted to it. Homestead Golf, of Lynden, was the next owner. They began improving course condition, moved the pro shop to the restaurant building and built a hotel adjacent to the driving range. During Homestead’s tenure, however, the housing and real estate market finally took its fateful collapse, and another default followed. With the course on the block, Barth was tempted to buy it. “I really wanted to get in on that,” he says, “But I couldn’t afford it.”
60 miles long, is in view from seven of the front nine holes, punctuating the snow-clad Sawtooths and Central Cascade Mountains. The course moves away from the lake on the back nine, but on the 16th tee, the highest point on the course, the great panorama is in view, and the vista is as spectacular as any in the state. After two years, however, the partnership between Schofield and Barth went awry — Barth declines to specify why, but after the 2007 season, Schofield exercised a buyout option in the deal and bought out Barth’s ownership share. Barth had mostly designed and built the course himself, and the parting was hurtful. The experience still haunts him.
Bear Mountain Ranch • Chelan
“[Bear Mountain Ranch] was like my baby,” Don Barth says of the course helped design and build before being bought out in 2007. “I hated to part with it.” “It was like my baby,” he says of Bear Mountain Ranch. “Jerry had the option to buy me out, and when the real estate market went under, he exercised his option. There were no hard feelings, but I hated to part with it.”
ean and silver-haired, Barth looks to be in his fifties, but laughingly declines to reveal his age. He has three children; daughters Heather Neff — who, with her husband Dean, owns Nefarious Cellars, a winery just outside Chelan (see sidebar on page 43) — and Elizabeth, an assistant volleyball coach at Central Washington University (and an experienced heavy equipment operator); and son Parker, the PGA Professional at Alta Lake. Originally built with nine holes and double greens in 1974, Barth bought Alta Lake 10 years later, just two years after emigrating to Pateros from Olympia with his wife, Susan, and three young children. Barth fairly glows speaking about his family. “Elizabeth was born here,” he says with a nod toward the living quarters above the Alta Lake clubhouse. “All the kids were involved in the course and they worked. They changed [irrigation] pipes, mowed, cut cups, worked in the clubhouse as well as the motel.” So what does a guy do when he has all that help at home? Designer-constructor Barth sought to widen his geographic horizons. In 1988, he leased the nine-hole Rock Island course, eight miles south of Wenatchee, designing and building a second nine in 2011. “It took 18 years to get the town to want it [and] JUNE 2012
ith ownership of two of North Central Washington’s five 18-hole courses — and a design credit on Bear Mountain Ranch — Barth already had left a large footprint on the region. So it was that when Puyallup couple Randy and Lyn Anderson considered investing in Desert Canyon in 2011, they knew precisely where to turn. The Andersons had visited Alta Lake for years, staying in the motel adjacent to the golf course and spending long days getting to know the Barths, as the two families’ children played together on the course and surrounding property. Once “horse people,” they
“Many people remember what [Desert Canyon] was like when it opened in the nineties, and we want to bring it back to that condition,” says Barth, who bought the course in 2011. “We’re widening the fairways and filling in a lot of the sand, dirt and rocks with turf to make it a more fun and pleasant experience.” Desert Canyon Resort • Orondo
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
two years to build,” he says of the rebuilt Rock Island. “Elizabeth was doing all kinds of work on that project, from driving the dump truck to operating an excavator. “I guess I’m a little bit nuts,” he laughs, “I like creating things.” By instituting the two new nines on Rock Island and Alta Lake, golfers’ preference for 18 holes was underscored. At Alta Lake, rounds played jumped 500 percent in the first year — not counting those played as stay-and-play packages with the motel, or additional rounds played by golfers who take advantage of dawnto-dark deals. At Rock Island, a total of 24,000 rounds were recorded in 2010, when the course had only nine holes. There is little doubt the number will jump dramatically when the count is in for the first full season of 18 holes this year. “It’s something the Wenatchee Valley really needed,” he says.
QUE SYRAH, SYRAH
Bear Mountain Ranch • Chelan
PHOTO BY JOHN R. JOHNSON / J2GOLFMARKETING.COM
D became more interested in golf and golf courses. During one recent visit, the Andersons offered to partner with Barth in the Desert Canyon sale. Not long after — June 15, 2011, to be exact — Don Barth had added a third 18-hole course to the collection. “I wasn’t expecting to buy Desert Canyon ... it took 18 years just to get another nine holes at Rock Island,” he says. “But having worked with Jack Frei [on the original Desert Canyon opening], when it became available, I saw a great opportunity.” Barth has plans to make the course more userfriendly, and to speed up play. A tough track, especially on the Desert nine, he wants to make the experience more enjoyable to short hitters and what he terms “average” golfers. There are a lot of places on the course that are played as waste areas, which frustrate many mid- and high-handicappers — the majority of golfers. When the winds blow, as they do often quite vigorously, the sand from the desert can further bollix golfers. Barth says there will be more grass and less rocks and sand in the coming year, or perhaps sooner. “Many people remember what the course was like when it opened in the nineties, and we want to bring it back to that condition,” Barth says. “We’re widening the fairways back to their original widths and filling in a lot of the sand, dirt and rocks with turf to make it a more fun and pleasant experience.”
n the four years since being bought out of Bear Mountain Ranch, Barth had expanded Rock Island to 18 holes, increased rounds at Alta Lake and had now taken ownership of one of the state’s most acclaimed destination tracks. Still, though, the loss of Bear Mountain Ranch — a course he had himself designed, and his family had built — ached. When contacted last October by his former business partner, Jerry Schofield, about re-purchasing the course, Barth’s interest was more than piqued. The financial specifics have not been revealed,
“I’m not worried about the economy,” Barth says, having expanded his Central Washington golf empire from two to four courses in the last 12 months. “People still want to golf, and they’re not all going to Palm Springs. Seattle golfers can drive here. [I’m glad] I was able to do it.” but much of the investment in Bear Mountain Ranch was in the surrounding real estate, with the housing recession no doubt affecting Schofield’s bottom line. However, after more than six months of careful research, planning and negotiation, the chance to regain Bear Mountain Ranch was one Barth couldn’t refuse. Together with the Andersons, the same couple who joined him in the acquisition of Desert Canyon, Barth purchased a 50-percent share of the course he had once built, signing the final paperwork in May (the Andersons owning the other 50 percent). For Barth, it was like welcoming back a member of his family. “I was just thrilled to get it back,” he says. Barth has plans for all four courses — Alta Lake, Rock Island, Desert Canyon and Bear Mountain Ranch — to be “joined at the hip,” as he portrays it. The idea would include seasonal memberships, a broader fee spectrum than that already in place, and a Players Club membership that will entitle the owner to discounted greens fees at each of the four courses. Barth noted that Bear Mountain and Desert Canyon greens fees will be higher priced than Alta Lake and Rock Island, because the former pair require a cart.
on isn’t the only member of the Barth family playing an important role in one of Central Washington’s fastest-growing industries. Heather (Barth) Neff was raised on her father’s Alta Lake Golf Course — literally, as the family made its home above the Alta Lake pro shop. From the time she was seven years old until she left for college, Heather would head onto the course after school, change the water patterns of the sprinklers, then squeeze in 18 or 36 holes before dinner. However, while her brother, Parker, chose to follow their father into the golf business, Heather had other plans. “Dean [Neff] and I met in 1996 while he was managing the orchard that adjoins my family’s golf course,” she says. “We figured out on our very first date that we wanted to be in the wine business. It’s a lovely way to spend your life.” The two married shortly thereafter, and in 2004 — after three years spent honing their skills in the Willamette Valley — invested their life savings to purchase a plot of land on Lake Chelan’s southern shores, where they planted grapes and began construction of what has become Nefarious Cellars. From a humble start (Heather spent the first year working up the hill in the pro shop at Don’s Bear Mountain Ranch while Dean ran the tasting room), Nefarious has grown into — while not the largest — certainly one of the most outstanding wineries in the state. Heather makes the whites and Dean the reds, with an annual production of about 2,000 cases a year. Wine lovers come from across the state to taste Nefarious’ Syrahs and Rieslings, which are sold from the winery itself, and at wine shops in the Seattle area. Recently, as Don Barth moved to reacquire Bear Mountain Ranch, Heather took one of her sons up to the course, which she hadn’t returned to since Barth was bought out in 2007. The golf course runs across a slope directly above Nefarious — indeed, the Nefarious vineyards and distinctive red barn-style winery are visible in the background of many of Bear Mountain’s photos. It’s similar to the way in which the Barth family’s Alta Lake course abuts the Neff family orchard in Pateros, the spot where Heather’s childhood in golf transitioned to an adulthood in wine. “[My son] had so much fun, he wanted to know, ‘When can we go golfing again?’” she says, then gives a small laugh at the obvious answer: “‘Anytime, I guess.’” — Brian Beaky JUNE 2012
PAR-FECT PAIRINGS There’s no better way to finish off a great round of golf than by sipping a Syrah at an incredible Washington winery. With a tip of the hat to Don Barth’s Bear Mountain Ranch, and Heather (Barth) Neff’s Nefarious Cellars, here are a few of our other favorite pairings on the Cascade Golfer Wine Trail:
Lake Chelan CG • Chelan
Chelan • LAKE CHELAN GOLF COURSE & HARD ROW TO HOE
A fun and fair layout for low- and high-handicappers alike, with panoramic views from the north side of Lake Chelan, the modest rates ($40 in the summer) at Lake Chelan Golf Course leave you plenty of green left over to spend down the road at Hard Row to Hoe, one of our favorite stops on Lake Chelan’s northern shores. If you can choose between the Burning Desire Estate Cab Franc and the Syrah, good luck to you … we always leave with both.
Yakima Valley • CANYON LAKES GOLF COURSE & KESTREL VINTNERS
Kennewick’s Canyon Lakes is a big golf course with challenging greens, elevated tees and friendly, laid-back staff. You’re guaranteed to leave the course in the perfect frame of mind to enjoy the amazing reds at Kestrel Vintners, about a half hour west in Prosser, where you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single bottle not to love.
Walla Walla • WINE VALLEY GOLF CLUB & L’ECOLE NO. 41
Wine Valley is the No. 1 seed in the Destination Region of our Match Play Madness for a reason — 18 of them, actually. If you can resist heading right back to the first tee for another 18, head down the road to L’Ecole No. 41. Sign your name on the chalkboard bar in the old schoolhouse that serves as the winery’s tasting room and sip the 2009 Estate Cab Franc as you toast a weekend you won’t forget.
Neither is a walkable venue. There will be a reduced rate for college students, punch cards and other changes as well, all planned to be implemented once Barth gets this whirlwind 12 months behind him. In the last year, Barth has expanded one course and purchased two others, essentially adding 45 holes to what had been a 27-hole personal enterprise.
ne could call Barth’s a Horatio Alger story. From small beginnings at Alta Lake, he has garnered a quartet of fine courses, including two of the state’s most highly rated tracks. He’s filled, in large measure, the golf gap that existed in North Central Washington. With his partners, the Andersons, he’s overcome a recession that saw 157 courses around the country go under in 2011 alone, to invest heavily in golf in Central Washington. “I’m not worried about the economy,” he says. “People still want to golf, and they’re not all going to Palm Springs or the Caribbean. Seattle golfers can drive here, and now we have four highly rated courses to offer. “[I’m glad] I was able to do it.” Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he’s back to being a fanatical golfer. Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world, and is a frequent contributor to Cybergolf. Spiwak lives in Mazama with his wife and several pets, next to his fabled ultraprivate Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.
bout 40 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon, Little Lava Lake sits quietly among Cascade Mountain peaks. Only 20 feet at its deepest point, and less than a quarter-mile square, it’s barely one-fourth the size of Seattle’s Lake Union, hardly a prime candidate to shape the cultural and economic development of the Pacific Northwest. Yet, that’s precisely what it has done. For, from Little Lava Lake flow the headwaters of the Deschutes River, which makes its way lazily east through the mountains, building in size and strength as it collects rainwater and snow runoff from the mountains and reservoirs before turning north past Sunriver, Bend and Redmond on its way to merge with the mighty Columbia. The river defines the climate and the lifestyle of the wide swath of Central Oregon through which it cuts, carving deep gorges in the landscape and providing the basis of life for the elk, salmon and bald eagles who populate the river valley, and the descendants of the Native Americans and pioneers who made their homes along its life-sustaining banks. Travelers on the Oregon Trail would often follow the river north to the Columbia to bypass the Cascade Mountains, or ford the river at a key bend just east of Mount Bachelor — a point that soon became known as the “Farewell Bend,” and later, Bend.
BY BRIAN BEAKY
ust as it did 150 years ago, the river’s northeasterly course still serves as a guide for Central Oregon travelers — only, today’s adventure-seekers come in search of birdies and eagles of a different sort. Between the Sunriver Resort on the Deschutes’ southeastern flank, north through Bend to Redmond and Sisters sit more than two dozen incredible golf courses and world-class resorts that have turned the Deschutes River Valley from a pioneering outpost to one of the top golf destinations in the world. “We get everything from groups of golfers who want to play 36 holes a day for a week, and never play the same course twice, to families who want to play in the morning, then have the afternoons off to go shopping, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, you name it,” says Tommy Berg, concierge and manager of the Central Oregon Golf Trail, which helps book golf, lodging and recreational activities for Central Oregon visitors. “Golf is a major draw, but it’s just one of many opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors.” Indeed, the sheer volume of golf and lodging options can make planning a visit to Central Oregon overwhelming for even the most experienced golf traveler. Furthermore, each area of the valley offers a unique experience, ranging from the bustling hub of
Bend to the quaint downtown of Sisters, to the fullservice family resorts of Sunriver, Eagle Crest and Black Butte Ranch. That’s where Berg comes in. A PGA professional, longtime Bend-area resident and expert on the region’s many courses, he can help plan a Central Oregon vacation that is the perfect fit for a golfer’s budget and interests. Want to play only the “best of the best”? Berg will set you up with tee times at Brasada Canyons, Tetherow, Pronghorn and Sunriver’s Crosswater course. Want to stretch your golf dollar as far as it can go, playing courses that offer a world-class experience at a more budget-conscious rate? Berg has you covered there, too, with rounds at Black Butte Ranch, Aspen Lakes, Widgi Creek, Quail Run and other great tracks with mid-range greens fees — and can help you save even more with twilight and early-bird tee times. To help narrow your choices this summer, we’ve identified a few our favorite Central Oregon hotspots — from the Sirens-like allure of the beautiful but challenging holes at Tetherow, to the all-new waterpark at Sunriver Resort, and every eye-popping, mindblowing spot in between. “Up at Crooked River, you’re standing in a mountain gorge, looking down over the river in all its beauty,” Berg says, “while up in Sisters, you feel like you can practically reach out and touch the mountains. “It’s truly a world-class destination.” cascadegolfer.com
FROM WHERE TO STAY TO WHERE TO PLAY, WE’VE TEED UP OUR FAVORITES IN CENTRAL OREGON THIS YEAR
OPPOSITE: The Ridge Course at Eagle Crest. THIS PAGE (clockwise from top left): Pronghorn’s Nicklaus Course, Tetherow Golf Club, Sunriver’s Woodlands Course, Aspen Lakes.
BEST FAMILY DESTINATION SUNRIVER RESORT
From a private marina on the Deschutes River (with canoes, rafting and other river activities), to horseback riding, a full-service health spa, a nature center with one of the nation’s largest telescopes, 35 miles of hiking and bike trails — and of course, 63 holes of unbelievable golf — it’s quite simple to park your car upon checking in at Sunriver Resort and forget about it for the rest of your stay. And that’s not even including the all-new SHARC aquatic center opening Memorial Day weekend, featuring a lazy river, waterslides, spray pools, Jacuzzi spa and an indoor/outdoor pool (with a separate pool and spa for adults-only). Also new this year are all 18 greens at Sunriver’s famed Crosswater golf course, named one of America’s 100 Best by Golf Digest. Home to the final round of the Pacific Amateur, the 2013 PGA National Championship and countless other events, Crosswater is the gem in the resort’s crown, a course where the challenge lies as much in not being distracted by the scenery as in the wetlands and trees that surround the holes. Two other championship courses — the Meadows and Woodlands — offer their own unique experiences, but it’s the resort’s other course, the par-3 Caldera Links, that ultimately pushes Sunriver to the top of the “family destination” list. Designed by none other than Bob Cupp himself, Caldera Links is Cupp’s family-friendly pairing to his Crosswater course, with holes that feature championship quality without the challenge. Kids under 11 play for free, while juniors 12-17 are just $10. And for the hours in between recreational activities, the resort features 250 hotel rooms and roughly 300 homes and condos for rent, with enough variety to match just about any budget and desired level of luxury — and of course, any number of additional family members begging you to take them along for the trip.
BEST NEW COURSE
BLACK BUTTE RANCH — GLAZE MEADOW
BLACK BUTTE RANCH
At a time when many economists are preaching “save,” Black Butte Ranch, the full-service family resort near Sisters, has instead decided to invest, pouring $3.75 million into a total overhaul of its Glaze Meadow course that has shot it to the top of any Central Oregon visitor’s list of must-plays this summer. “[John Fought] has essentially created an entirely new course, yet it has a completely unmanufactured feel, as if it were simply cut right out the landscape,” says GM Scott Huntsman. “It’s truly remarkable.” While Glaze Meadow is tucked among the thick Ponderosa pines at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, Black Butte’s other 18-hole course, Big Meadow, features a more open layout, with wider fairways and larger greens. The renovation has made the two a perfect complement to one another, and fun “high mountain” alternatives to the more traditional high-desert styles of the region. A key component of the Glaze Meadow redesign was the addition of five sets of tees — essential for a resort that prides itself on being one of the region’s top spots for vacationing families. Black Butte further caters to families with a twilight playing rate of just $60 for a family foursome teeing off after 4 p.m., plus other amenities like horseback riding, bike trails, waterslides, indoor and outdoor pools and more — all set among the thick Ponderosa pines at the base of the Cascades, giving Black Butte a quieter, more secluded feel than many other area resorts. Unlimited golf packages start as low as $99 a night, including overnight accommodations and as many holes as you can play between sunrise and sunset. And with Central Oregon’s best new course in its fold, we’re betting that’s going to be a lot.
Eagle Crest Resort | Ridge Course
BEST TWILIGHT VALUE
EAGLE CREST – RIDGE
There’s a lot to do in Central Oregon, and unless you’re staying for a month, not nearly enough time to do it all. Even playing 36 holes a day can get expensive, and you’ll miss out on all the other recreational activities the region has to offer. Unless, that is, you get creative. One way to fit 36 into your day – and still have time to hit the pool, or float down the river – is to pair an earlymorning round at one course with a twilight round at a second. Teeing off before 8 a.m. will let you take advantage of early-bird rates at most courses, and will have you back by the pool in most cases by 12-1 p.m. Then you can tee it up again after late-afternoon twilight rates kick in to save even more. That’s a particularly excellent time to head up to Eagle Crest’s Ridge Course, which drops from a peak rate of $74 all the way to $49 after 3 p.m. A self-proclaimed “driver’s dream” for its wide fairways and elevated tee boxes, the Ridge also features some of the best par-3s in the region – most notably No. 3, a long, slightly downhill shot to a well-protected green. So long as you can hit a long iron arrow-straight, you’ll be fine. That low rate will also leave you plenty left over to pick up a new dozen and come back the next evening to check out the resort’s other 18-hole track, the Resort. And if you’re bringing the family? Eagle Crest also features the region’s No. 1 short course (the par-63 Challenge Course) and its top putting course, plus the full host of resort amenities.
BEST-KEPT LOCAL SECRET WIDGI CREEK
Guidebooks are great, but when it comes to travel, nobody knows their hometown like the locals. And when you ask around in Bend, there’s one course that locals recommend more often than any other – Widgi Creek. There are plenty of reasons – the tight fairways, challenging greens and riverside scenery certainly among them — but most of the reasons can be found in golfer’s wallets. While out-of-town visitors are focused on playing the courses with the most stars in the golf magazines, locals are focused on value – and no course in Central Oregon gives as much bang for your buck as Widgi. Summer rates peak at $75 for prime morning tee times (8-11 a.m.), and drop about $10-$15 every 2-3 hours thereafter, to a twilight (4-5:30 p.m.) rate of $39 that is less than half the rate of most Central Oregon tracks. And if you can squeeze in 18 between 5:30 p.m. and that 9 p.m. sunset? $25. Located just outside Bend, flush against the Seventh Mountain Resort and the Deschutes River, Widgi is also friendly to your handicap. It’s a decent test at 6,400 yards from the blues and all you could want at 6,900 from the back, but might be most fun from the whites, where two of the par-5s and even a few par-4s become a fun riskreward opportunities, giving you the chance to add an eagle on the scorecard to the ones soaring above. 48
ROAD HOLES BEST CENTRAL LODGING
SEVENTH MOUNTAIN RESORT
To make the most of your time in the Deschutes River Valley, it makes sense to choose a place to stay that is centrally located – and if it has discounted rates at the top courses in the region, plus a host of activities for the entire family, so much the better. In other words, you want to stay at Seventh Mountain Resort. Just seven miles outside of Bend and less than three miles from Tetherow and Widgi Creek, Seventh Mountain Resort is the perfect central hub from which to explore the region’s many recreational offerings. In addition to onsite rafting, horseback riding, hiking, swimming and other activities, the resort partners with Tetherow, Widgi and Pronghorn for discounted rates, giving you the chance to play all three at a significantly reduced cost. And while you’re out playing some of the region’s most unforgettable holes, your family can be making memories of their own at the resort, which has undergone a $20 million upgrade over the last decade. Tucked among the pines of the Deschutes National Forest, and located directly on the banks of the mighty Deschutes River, Seventh Mountain is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking trails, biking trails, lava caves, geocaching and the closest access to Mount Bachelor of any resort in the region. “You get that removed feel being in the Deschutes National Forest, but you have all the amenities of the resort at your fingertips, and can be downtown shopping and dining in just 10 minutes,” says Vanessa Berning, the resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “There’s no other location quite like it.”
MOST CHALLENGING COURSE TETHEROW GOLF CLUB
Like an artist paints his canvas, so has David McLay Kidd seemingly painted occasional spots of green onto the stark high-desert landscape of Tetherow Golf Club, the result equal parts golf course and work of art. Of course, while that natural, minimalist philosophy – also on display at Kidd’s previous Oregon effort, Bandon Dunes – makes for stunning beauty, it also creates unique challenges. Wildly uneven surfaces in the place where a green is supposed to go? Leave it.
Black Butte Ranch | Glaze Meadow
WIN A CENTRAL OREGON GOLF GETAWAY! Seventh Mountain Resort | Bend
Thick desert scrub on all sides of the fairways, which most courses would bulldoze to create a second cut of rough? Leave it. Tetherow’s fairways are broad, but stray off of them, and you’ll be lucky to find your ball – if you even dare reach into the prickly bushes that frame each hole. Large greens with roller-coaster contours make club selection and iron precision key, as a miss of just 5-10 yards on your approach can mean the difference between a two-putt and a four-putt. The course builds to a peak at No. 17, quite possibly Oregon’s best par-3 outside of Bandon. The tiniest green on the golf course is tucked into a bowl at the base of a shallow ravine, appearing like an island green in a desert sea. The surrounding slopes allow golfers to play the ball in from seemingly every angle, kicking a short iron off the hillsides and letting it roll breathtakingly towards the pin. So, to summarize, all it takes to succeed at Tetherow are straight drives, accurate irons and great putting, and an ability to focus amidst stunning desert scenery. That’s not so hard, right?
Our friends at Black Butte Ranch don’t want you to miss out on the chance to enjoy all that Central Oregon has to offer. They’re giving you the chance to enjoy stunning Cascade mountain views and incredible golf with a package including two nights accommodations in a Black Butte Ranch condo and two rounds of spectacular mountain golf for two, including cart and range balls! Play Big Meadow, the allnew Glaze Meadow, or both, enjoying resort amenities like the Lodge Restaurant, day spa, five swimming pools, horseback riding, tennis, miles of biking paths and more. To enter to win, visit the all-new cascadegolfer.com today!
Lost Tracks G.C. | Bend
BEST COURSE UNDER $75 ASPEN LAKES
While most of the region’s courses ship in sand from other regions – a costly process that also runs the risk of introducing non-native pests, builders at family-owned Aspen Lakes instead built theirs from naturally available resources, crushing red cinders from the property into a fine sand to create the course’s iconic red bunkers. What that commitment to preserving the natural environment means to golfers is breathtaking natural scenery, abundant wildlife and greens fees that run lower than many of the other tracks of equal quality in the region. A natural setting means less effort required to keep it in tip-top shape, savings that are passed on golfers in the form of greens fees that never get above $75. And for as many birdies as there are in the trees, there are opportunities to put just as many on your scorecard. The first is a nearly reachable downhill par-4 for big hitters, while other holes require significant length – take the epic 454-yard par-4 15th – and still others reward a mix of draws and fades, bold plays and conservative approaches. “There’s a little something for everyone,” says Berg. “It’s a lot of fun.” As you watch the eagles soar above the lake left of the 12th green, you’re reminded just how much of the Central Oregon golf experience is owed to an incredible environment — and appreciate a locally-owned course that is making an active effort to give back.
GOLF WORLD PACIFIC AMATEUR GOLF CLASSIC It’s not just the chance to play a minimum of 54 holes on a list of courses that read like a who’s-who of Central Oregon golf — Brasada Canyons, Eagle Crest (Ridge), Lost Tracks (pictured above), Bend Golf & Country Club, Quail Run and both of the resort courses at Sunriver. Nor is it the possibility to play in a championship round at Crosswater; the $200 gift bag; the Masterslike Par-3 competition; the hole contests and skills competitions; or even the nightly dinners at clubhouses and restaurants throughout the region. No, what keeps us — and 600 other golfers from across the nation — coming back to the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic year after year is the feeling, just for a few days, of what it’s like to be a pro. Players in the Pacific Amateur — scheduled this year for Aug. 26-31 (tournament play begins Aug. 28) — are seeded into flights based on gender, age and handicap. After three 18-hole rounds on courses throughout the region, the top two players in each of the 32 flights advance to the final round Aug, 31 on Crosswater’s fabulous new greens, where galleries follow the players around as they compete for the coolest trophy in Northwest golf. 52
Don’t Forget The Follow Through Central Oregon Golf Trail centralregongolftrail.com | (541) 728-3727
Brasada Canyons Golf Course | Powell Butte With so many flights, there’s literally a place for everyone, from scratch golfers looking to break 70, to 20-handicappers happy to break 90. (Case in point? Reigning overall champ Wade Bittle played to a 14 in the tournament final last year.) When it’s all said and done, and you’re kicking back on the deck at Crosswater, sharing stories with your buddies about your amazing shots — and agonizing lipouts — you’ll realize that having lived like a pro for a week, it’s a feeling you’ll never want to let go.
BEST HIGH-END EXPERIENCE PRONGHORN
There’s little that can be said about Pronghorn that wasn’t said already in our April issue, in which 710 ESPN radio host and CG writer Jim Moore detailed his memorable weekend playing the Nicklaus and Fazio courses, rafting down the Deschutes River with his wife and kids, and soaking in the setting sun from the back deck of his private villa. The fact that Moore was able to find 2,000 words to describe Pronghorn is a feat in and of itself — most visitors simply leave the club speechless. Pronghorn is the Four Seasons of the Central Oregon vacation scene, with luxurious accommodations, fivestar restaurants and — of course — two of the most unforgettable courses you’ll ever play. Best of all, you don’t necessarily have to fork over the three-digit greens fee – though, it’s more than worth it if it’s within your means. Stay-and-play packages through the resort website start as low as $299 in peak season, including a night’s stay in a Pronghorn suite and golf on the Nicklaus — a rate barely higher than the room night alone. Bring your A-game — and a camera.
MOST SCENIC COURSE
There’s no shortage of eye candy in the Deschutes River Valley. Brasada Canyons, though, calls the mountain views, canyon vistas and memorable bunkers of its Central Oregon companions, and raises with dramatic par-3s, pristine greens and a combination of challenge and playability unmatched by any other course in the region. Routed across canyons and ridges atop Powell Butte, just east of Bend, Peter Jacobsen’s design showcases the full glory of Central Oregon golf, with elevated tees and sprawling holes against the backdrop of views that extend for miles in almost all directions. By spacing the holes apart, a golfer gets a feeling of complete isolation on each hole, allowing you to focus on the glimmering, white-sand bunkers and spongy, pristine fairways and greens. The back tees, stretching to nearly 7,300 yards, provide enough of a challenge for any golfer, bringing long forced carries and strategically placed fairway bunkers into play, and forcing longer approaches to tricky greens. Three other men’s tees ranging from 5,400-6,500 yards, however, give golfers of all abilities the chance to succeed, while a 4,700-yard forward tee allows the entire family to have fun together. As you’re standing over your second shot on the riskreward par-5 18th, wondering if you have enough left in the tank to get home in two, take one last look around at all the beauty of Central Oregon golf … the mountains, the valley, the trees and – far across the plain – the Deschutes River flowing north to the Columbia. There’s a reason people have been packing their belongings and coming to Bend over 150 years – they’re hopeful travelers in search of the good life, and in Bend, the good life is the only life there is.
Central Oregon Golf Association covisitors.com | (800) 800-8334 Aspen Lakes Golf Course | Sisters aspenlakes.com | (541) 549-4653 Black Butte Ranch | Black Butte Ranch blackbutteranch.com | (866) 901-2961 Brasada Canyons | Powell Butte brasada.com | (866) 373-4882 Eagle Crest Resort | Redmond eagle-crest.com | (855) 682-4786 Juniper Golf Course | Redmond playjuniper.com | (541) 548-3121 Pacific Amateur Golf Classic pacamgolf.com | (888) 425-3976 Pronghorn Club | Bend pronghornclub.com | (866) 372-1003 Seventh Mountain Resort | Bend seventhmountain.com | (877) 765-1501 Sunriver Resort | Sunriver sunriver-resort.com | (866) 482-3909 Tetherow Golf Club | Bend tetherow.com | (541) 388-2582 Widgi Creek | Bend widgi.com | (541) 382-4449
WE’RE SENDING YOU TO THE PACIFIC AMATEUR It’s fun to read about the Pacific Amateur — but it’s a lot more fun to play in it. And if you can play in it for free? Oh, boy. This summer, we’re on the hunt for a Cascade Golfer reader with the chops to represent CG at the West Coast’s most exciting amateur tournament — the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic, Aug. 26-31. We’ll take care of your entry fee — all you have to do is get yourself to Central Oregon and let fly in the high desert heavens of Bend, Sisters and Redmond, with the chance to qualify for the final round at Sunriver’s world-class Crosswater course. To enter, fill out the entry form at the all-new CascadeGolfer.com; we’ll draw a winner in July, giving you plenty of time to fine-tune those approach shots before teeing it up in August. ENTER TO WIN AT CASCADEGOLFER.COM TODAY! cascadegolfer.com
SAVE SOME GREEN
SWEET SUMMER SAVINGS BY TONY DEAR
ur primetime golfing window in the Pacific Northwest is just about to open, so we trust you are making plans to get in as much golf as you possibly can. That means regular weekend play at your home course, weekday leagues, and the odd trip out of town for a weekend golf trip with buddies — or perhaps even an evening visit to a course that’s new to you. In the summer months, our corner of the country is among the best places in the world to play golf, and we need to take advantage of those glorious 75-degree days when we try to squeeze a 53rd or even 54th hole in before the sun gets too low in the sky to see which way the ball went. However, green fees tend to go up in summer — you want to play more, but you may also have to pay more. One way to have your cake and eat it, too, is to extend your reach just a little bit outside your hometown — the extra hours make driving an additional 30-45 minutes each way more feasible, while the savings in time and money compared to most popular Puget Sound courses can often be significant. If you do hit the road in search of an enjoyable game away from home, however, you need to make it count. What a horrible missed opportunity it would be to find yourself with an unexpected free day for golf, only to end up playing a total goat track. We’ve singled out just two of several courses near Bellingham in Whatcom County — just 90 minutes north of Seattle and barely an hour from Everett — that are worth the drive and, equally important, readily affordable. Enjoy.
ENTER TO WIN A TWOSOME AT PORT LUDLOW! Of course, there are incredible golf day trips all over the Puget Sound region. One of our favorites involves hopping on the Mukilteo-Kingston ferry and heading over to Port Ludlow for a twosome on a sunny summer afternoon. If fact, we like it so much, we’re going to give you the chance to do the same, with a free twosome at Port Ludlow Resort! The ferry’s on you, but the birdies are on us, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win!
Lake Padden Golf Course
Besides democracy, the rule of law and compound interest, municipal golf might just be Man’s greatest-ever idea. It is profoundly just that everyone on the planet has the opportunity to play the greatest game and hit a small ball around an open area and into a four-inch deep hole regardless of their race, gender, age or economic status. Of course, not all municipal golf courses are created equal. There are great municipals — perhaps the three greatest are Torrey Pines, 15 miles north of San Diego high above the Pacific Ocean; Bethpage Black, in New York, which hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens; and the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is…well, the Old Course at St. Andrews. But, despite being open to the public, these municipals can at times be difficult to make tee times on, and 18 holes can be rather expensive. Arranging a tee-time at the typical American municipal is usually a good deal easier — and a lot more affordable — but then your typical “muni” isn’t much good, hastily laid out on a dreary expanse of redundant land that is utterly devoid of character and charm. The ideal, surely, is a course that not only costs little to play, but is located in a beautiful place and designed with great skill and care. Lake Padden is such a course. Opened in 1971 and designed by Washington State University extension agent Roy Goss, along with former Rainier Country Club superintendent Glen Proctor, it is part of the 900-acre park of the same name. It sits in a heavily wooded area between the lake and 1,785-foot Galbraith Mountain and (not surprisingly, given how good it is) attracts well over 50,000 rounds a year. With that amount of traffic and Bellingham’s cold, wet, and often snowy winters, you’d expect the course to be in average condition at best. Superintendent Scott McBeath and his team, however, do an outstanding job maintaining Lake Padden at a level comparable with that of Bellingham Golf and Country Club a few miles further north. There are many good holes, but the most memorable are the short, uphill fourth with its heavily contoured green (just stay below the hole with your approach) and the near right-angle dogleg par-4 15th. Some people might question the wisdom in driving 90 miles from Seattle to Bellingham to play a $27.60 (weekday) municipal. But the wise golfer will make the trip, and often.
BEST HOLE The 15th may measure only 381 yards, but within that short space some sound decision-making and solid ball-striking will be necessary if you are to have any hope of walking away with a par. The hole moves downhill from the tee and makes a sharp turn to the right at about 200 yards. Seventy-five-foot pines guard the elbow of the dogleg, meaning only those hitting it far and high can shorten the hole by going over the top. Most avoid the trees by aiming left, but in doing so risk finding the pond that separates the 15th from the par-5 13th.
YARDAGE 5,458-6,575 RATES $27.60-$34.96 WEB lakepaddengolf.com TEL (360) 738-7400 56
PHOTO BY JOHN JOHNSON
Homestead Golf & CC LYNDEN
The William Overdorf-designed Homestead Golf and Country Club (it opened in 1993 as Homestead Farms Golf Resort) was always a fun round with a handful of notable holes, but since Lynden businessman Bill Robins bought the place in May 2010 and set about making a series of significant upgrades, it has become even more appealing. Robins is the son of a raspberry farmer who built the nine-hole Raspberry Ridge course on Hannegan Road, near the small town of Everson, in 1984. Bill, Sr., leased the course to his son beginning in 1991, then sold it to him in ’95. In 2001, Robins and his wife Deja moved to California and leased the course to the Olsen family, who ended up purchasing it early in 2010. That gave Robins the necessary time and capital to move forward with a deal for Homestead Farms, which had been on the market for over a year. The Robins became the owners in May 2010, changing the facility’s name and quickly getting to work on the improvements they felt were necessary. The restaurant was totally remodeled, re-opening as the Reserve in January 2011. The fitness center has seen some changes and the course itself has benefited greatly from new drainage. And, in an effort to make it more family-friendly than before, a number of bunkers have been filled in and forward tees built. The changes are by no means complete, however, with further course upgrades planned for the near future. One thing that won’t change, though, is the challenge and thrill of the par-5 18th hole, whose island green can still be hit in two shots … and missed in three.
BEST HOLE The 525-yard 18th is not only the best hole at Homestead, but one of the best in Whatcom County, if not the entire state. The hole bends to the left with the corner of the dogleg protected by a pond which power hitters should have little trouble carrying, putting them into position to hit the green in two. Those than do cut the corner will face 220 yards or so to a green ringed by a few yards of apron that, in turn, is surrounded on all sides by water.
YARDAGE 5,570-6,927 RATES $45-$55 WEB homesteadgolfclub.com TEL 855-TRUE-GOLF cascadegolfer.com
S G O L F
FALLS C O U R S E
Something for everyone!
• 2 Championship 18 hole courses • A nine hole executive course • Pro shop exclusive TaylorMade/adidas products • Covered driving range with chipping and putting practice • New this year: The Gregg Rogers’ Golf Performance Center
10402 Willows Rd NE Redmond, WA JUNE 2012
Bubba Watson is Teaching Us a Valuable Lesson
BY BRENT ZEPP PGA Director of Instruction • Chambers Bay
any of you may know that Bubba Watson has never had a golf lesson in his life and truly has a homemade swing. Now, I am not suggesting that you swing like Bubba, and I am not suggesting to stay away from those crazy PGA professionals just because they may give you the, “This is going to get worse before it gets better,” lesson. However, the lesson to be learned from Bubba is that your swing is genuine, and what may help you may not help someone else. Many times I am on the range giving a lesson and I can see a nearby golfer leaning in and listening, searching for the magic words for a better golf game. There are some important fundamentals that must be intact for a consistent solid golf swing, but the fact of the matter is that the quickest way to improvement is staying true to who you are and the swing you have developed. If you have always had a slow, smooth rhythm, then don’t feel the need to speed up your swing because someone tells you that is what you need. Maybe you have always tried to die putts right at the hole, and one afternoon while watching the PGA Tour on television, you hear the announcer say, “When you are inside of five feet, always putt with authority and take the break out of the putts.” You are both right and
both wrong, all at the same time. Humor me for a moment and visualize a few famous golf swings. Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, John Daly and Bubba Watson … what do they all have in common, besides winning major championships? Truly genuine golf swings. The next time you are at the range, take a moment to think about your swing and what makes it your swing. When you take your next lesson, have a conversation with your instructor about what makes your swing truly your swing. If you embrace your genuine swing, those fundamental changes that you need to make are going to be so much easier to accomplish, which will give you more time to practice the art of being you. Brent Zepp is a Class “A” Teaching Professional at Chambers Bay in University Place. A Puyallup native and graduate of the San Diego Golf Academy, Brent emphasizes keeping the game fun and simple and focusing on the fundamentals of the swing. To set up a lesson, contact the golf shop at (253) 460-4653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play The Day Away
BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
hese days, it seems nobody has as much time to play golf as we’d like — between work and family demands, just finding a few hours on a Saturday morning to slip out of the house for 18 holes at the local muni can be a Herculean effort. And pairing up those rare moments of free time with a sunny day? Good luck. That’s why when the summer months come — with their 16 hours of sunlight, 80-degree temperatures and gentle Sound breezes — we like to take advantage of a day away to pack in as much golf as possible. Last year, we recommended our favorite 36-hole pairings in the state, courses in close proximity that make for a day you’ll never forget when paired together in one 36-hole binge. (“Let’s Play Two,” June 2011 CG — if you missed it, check it out in the Features archive at CascadeGolfer.com.)
The truth is, though, you don’t even have to get in your car between rounds to enjoy 36 holes (or 54, or 72, or … well, you’ll see) at great Washington golf courses. In addition to tracks like Avalon, Eaglemont and Gold Mountain Olympic that offer special rates for All-Day Play — as much golf as you can fit in between sunup and sun-down — several other courses offer replay rates that are far lower than their regular greens fee. So if you’re a golfer like us, who just can’t handle putting the clubs back in the trunk when there’s still six hours of sunlight left on a sunny summer afternoon, check out the deals at some of these top tracks. As Seattle rappers Blue Scholars say on their epic tribute to the Emerald City, “Ain’t nothin’ better than the summer in the Northwest.” We’re going to make the most of it.
“The Devolution of Golfer”
Avalon Golf Links
Eaglemont Golf Course
goldmt.com | 206-464-1175
avalonlinks.com | 800-624-0202
eaglemontgolf.com | 800-368-8876
whitehorsegolf.com | 360-297-4468
Recently named the No. 2 “Best Value” in the U.S., behind only Bethpage Black, Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course is offering all-day play this summer for as little as $42 (M-Th, $46 Friday, $60 Sunday). Forty-two dollars! If there’s ever been a good reason to skip work and play from dawn ‘til dusk, we’re pretty sure this is it. Just don’t tell our boss.
An all-day rate of just $63 (weekends, $53 M-Th) gives you the chance to enjoy all 27 holes at Avalon — twice, with time left over for another 18. With three unique nines coursing through woods and wetlands just north of Skagit County’s endless fields of tulips, there’s hardly a better way to spend a summer day.
It’s almost unfair that Skagit County golfers get two courses with great allday rates, but that’s what they have, with Eaglemont also offering the chance to go ‘round and ‘round its recently re-ordered 18 holes for just $67 on weekdays (M-Th), $77 on weekends (F-Sun). Afterwards, grab a drink on the deck of the all-new ridgetop clubhouse and soak in the 360-degree views.
One of the region’s top tracks — and, along with Gold Mountain and Eaglemont, a CG Match Play Madness first-round winner — became a little easier on local golfers this year with John Harbottle’s well-received redesign. It’s also one of our favorite spots to spend a summer day with peak fees around $56 and a $25 replay rate.
JUNE 2012 JUNE 2012
White Horse Golf Club