VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2012 • COMPLIMENTARY
PING’S NEW BLING OLYMPIA’S ANDRES GONZALES IS THE PEOPLE’S PRO SEARCHING FOR HEMINGWAY AT SUN VALLEY RESORT NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
FRED COUPLES RETURNS FOR 2012 BOEING CLASSIC THE PGA TOUR IN SEATTLE — WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?
Is Wine Valley the Best Course in the State? Our readers voted; we headed east to find out
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Departments 6 PUBLISHER’S PITCH 10 SHORT GAME • • • • • •
Salish, Rope Rider turn 1 CG Year-End Bash Cool new gadgets Innovex/RIFE scores a win SG Extra: Like father, like son And more!
20 PUETZ IN THE BAG • Tour drivers a step up • Design your own club • Ladies sets
24 MATCH PLAY MADNESS
57 PRACTICE TEE
• Readers pick the Elite 8
• Free your mind, and the rest will follow
28 RISK VS REWARD
• Apple Tree Resort, No. 18
• What rules would you change?
48 ROAD HOLES • Pining for Papa at Sun Valley Resort
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 8-9 | 29-33 | 56
52 TRAVEL BAG • Golf on island time in Maui
54 SAVE SOME GREEN • Avoid peak-season pitfalls
THIS PAGE: The 10th hole at Trail Creek, part of Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort. STORY ON PAGE 48 Cover photo courtesy of Wine Valley • Design by Robert Becker.
ENTER-TO-WIN Look for your chance to win throughout this issue!
26 34 4
Best Of The Best? Wine Valley is “elite”— but is it the best? We had to find out.
Enjoy The Show Fred Couples headlines Champions Tour’s return to Seattle this month
AUGUST AUGUST 2012 2012
PGA Tour In Seattle What would it take? And is it worth it?
Gonzo For Gonzales Andres Gonzales has the golf world a-Twitter
Volume 6 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2012
GOLFER I cascadegolfer.com
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A Brother In Need Is A Brother Indeed n our June issue, I had such a ball reliving my lunch interview with Arnold Palmer — and enjoying some much-appreciated reader feedback — that I thought I would spin another yarn. One of my most memorable stories from 30 years playing and covering the game of golf is the time I helped one of the greatest American golfers hit a tournamenticing $100,000 shot. Unlike Arnie, Lanny Wadkins doesn’t come up quite as often in discussions of the game’s greatest. But he should — Wadkins is 31st in all-time PGA Tour wins with 21, won a PGA Championship, is tied for most wins by a Ryder Cup player and captained the U.S. team in 1995. The dude is a true heavyweight. In the 1990 Fred Meyer Challenge in Portland, Lanny was paired with his PGA Tour-mate and brother, Bobby. As a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, I was well aware that Wadkins is a fellow brother who starred at Wake Forest, and I proudly wore a cap with the Greek letters of our organization throughout the week. Since the Wadkins brothers were in the lead, I followed them every step of the way on the final nine holes of the day. On a crucial hole, Lanny hooked his tee shot into some trees. I ran to where the ball was lying and stood right next to it.
As the Wadkins brothers approached Lanny’s ball — with the duos of Fred Couples-Lee Trevino and Curtis Strange-Greg Norman pressing in second place — Lanny was clearly not happy. He considered his options — punching out sideways, or drawing a hard, low 2-iron through a tight gap of trees 200 yards forward. Wadkins wanted to go for it, but the caddy was saying no. With their debate in a deadlock, he looked right up at me, saw my Kappa Sig hat, and said, “Well brother, what do you think?” I was blown away. I quickly answered, “A brother in need is a brother indeed. I think you got this.” Without flinching, he grabbed his 2-iron and slammed a low, drawing worm-burner that pierced the gap and rolled right up to the green’s edge, from where he would make birdie to ice the lead. After hitting the shot, he made eye contact with me and gave me an affirming head nod. I was grinning from ear to ear, and walked behind him as if I were his swing coach, and not just some schlub who plays from the white tees. I never saw Wadkins in person again, but it’s certainly one of my favorite stories. If any of you readers have something along these lines you wish to share, send your story to me at email@example.com. Enjoy the late-summer sun and, as always, 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
Rope Rider, Salish Cliffs Exceeding Expectations
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS OF JUNE’S CG SWAG! VIP PASSES TO THE BOEING CLASSIC! Jim Rankin • Issaquah TWOSOME AT SALISH CLIFFS D.J. Esary • Brier TWOSOME AT PORT LUDLOW Brent Craig • Seattle TWOSOME AT DRUIDS GLEN Art Hoff • Steilacoom
Salish Cliffs Golf Club • Shelton
TWOSOME TO TETHEROW Susan Martensen • Gig Harbor BLACK BUTTE RANCH STAY-AND-PLAY John Berge • Bainbridge Island FREE ENTRY IN THE PACIFIC AMATEUR! Jeff Vig • Tacoma
THIS ISSUE’S PRIZES Of course, it wouldn’t be Cascade Golfer if we didn’t have even more great swag to give away in this issue — from as much golf as you can play in two days at Sunriver, to free clubs, twosomes of golf and Boeing Classic tickets, there’s plenty more to win this fall. Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
RIFE PUTTER AND TWO DOZEN BALLS Page 13 STAY-AND-PLAY TO SUNRIVER RESORT Page 16 MEET SANDY LYLE AT THE BOEING CLASSIC Page 35 STAY-AND-PLAY TO SUN VALLEY RESORT Page 49 TWOSOME TO APPLE TREE Page 54 TWOSOME TO KAHLER GLEN Page 54 TWOSOME TO ALLENMORE Page 54 10
PHOTO BY BRIAN OAR
ast year, we dedicated several pages to the opening of two new tracks, Salish Cliffs in Shelton and Suncadia Resort’s Rope Rider. Truth be told, they barely needed an introduction — they are both that good. And more than just the local media are starting to pay attention. Salish Cliffs, Gene Bates’ follow-up to Circling Raven, was named the fourth-best course in the state by Golfweek, and the “most anticipated opening in the United States” by Fairways + Greens. And when you step onto the first fairway, you can immediately understand why. Bates’ course, an amenity of the Little Creek Casino Resort just north of Shelton, is as well-maintained as any public course in the state, and golfers are loving it. “The response we have heard from golfers is very positive,” says head golf professional David Kass. “That is always a lot of fun. They love playing off the bentgrass surfaces that run from the teeing ground to the fairway and onto the greens.” According to Kass, the number of players that have made the loop is about where course management hoped it would be when they opened last September. A brief sampling of Cascade Golfer readers on Facebook drew unanimous raves for the course, with many calling it their new favorite in Western Washington. And although it is not inexpensive (peaking at $99 on summer weekends, including cart and range balls), Kass says many golfers are making it a point to come back more than once. “It’s great to see golfers returning to play again and again, often times bringing three or even seven golfers that have never played Salish Cliffs,” he says. Golfers have shown a similar level of enthusiasm for
fellow rookie Rope Rider, one of three courses at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. The course, which our Cascade Golfer Cup players had the chance to preview last July, two weeks before its official opening, is a fantastic track that does a wonderful job of being fun for all players, yet challenging for the best golfers. “The golf course has truly lived up to its billing as playable for all ages and abilities,” says Director of Golf Brady Hatfield. “The course can play to a four-hour pace on a Saturday, filled with leisure golfers, then can turn around and host a U.S. Open qualifier that yields a winning score of only one under-par. That is much easier said than done.” Rope Rider is also a great complement to its older sibling, Suncadia’s Prospector course. More open than Prospector, Rope Rider’s fairways — similar to Salish Cliffs — are guarded by tall fescue grasses. With Prospector hit hard by the winter weather, Rope Rider was asked to carry the bag at Suncadia, and it’s proven to be quite the caddy. According to Hatfield, Rope Rider in May nearly tripled the amount of play that was projected — more, in fact, than the combined projection for both resort courses, and more than Prospector’s total for the same period in 2011. Clearly, Northwest golfers have wasted no time in heading 80 minutes east on I-90 to check out Washington’s newest mountain gem, just as they’ve wasted no time driving the other direction for a chance to play Salish Cliffs. Both are worthy trips — ones we’ve already made once this year, and with a few sunny months still left on the calendar, are sure to make again. As Salish Cliffs’ marketing flyer says, “Some drives are just worth making.” — Simon Dubiel cascadegolfer.com
Poker, Prizes And Pebble: The 2012 CG Year-End Bash
t Cascade Golfer, we don’t like to do anything halfway. When we take the day off to play golf, we make sure to play 36 and squeeze every hour of sunlight we can from a beautiful Seattle afternoon. When we give out prizes to readers and Cascade Golfer Cup players, we don’t mess around with pro shop credit and twosomes to uninspired courses — we send players to Hawaii, Malaysia, Palm Springs, Vegas and other top destinations, and give out twosomes and foursomes to Northwest icons like Chambers Bay and Pumpkin Ridge. So when we plan a party to celebrate the passing of another amazing golf season, you’d better believe it’s going to be the party of the year. On October 6, Cascade Golfer will host the secondannual Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash at the Muckleshoot Casino, where we’ll toast the end of the golfing year in the Puget Sound region the best way we know how — with an Awards Banquet honoring the top teams from the 2012 Cascade Golfer Cup, a No-Limit Hold ‘Em “Duffers and Bluffers” Poker Tournament and live Final Four voting in the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness, our yearlong bracket contest to crown the state’s No. 1 course. And just for good measure, we’re sending one lucky golfer home with one of the coolest prizes we’ve ever seen — a three-night stay at Pebble Beach Resorts, including golf at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the granddaddy of them all, Pebble Beach itself.
Let’s start with the trip to Pebble — because we know that has your competitive fire burning. Every golfer who plays in a Cascade Golfer Cup event earns one entry to the Pebble Beach drawing. Golfers can earn an additional entry by picking up a free Muckleshoot Casino Players Card, and more entries for points earned by using the card to play at the casino tables and games. The more you play, the more entries you earn, and the better your chances of teeing it up at Pebble next year. The prizes won’t just be limited to Cascade Golfer Cup players, however. We’ll also be conducting live voting throughout the night for the Final Four and Championship rounds of the Match Play Madness, and every golfer who votes will be entered to win a dream six-night, sixround stay-and-play to Mexico. And do you think we’ll stop there? No way — we’re capping the night with the second-annual Cascade Golfer “Duffers and Bluffers” Poker Tournament, a No-Limit Hold ‘Em throwdown featuring cash prizes and thousands in rounds of golf, golf merchandise and more. To register for the poker tournament, visit cascadegolfer.com or e-mail email@example.com. Every Cascade Golfer reader is invited to join the fun — and we have a hunch even non-golfing or pokerplaying friends and family can find plenty to keep them busy inside the Muckleshoot Casino. The 2012 golf season has been one to remember — join us Oct. 6 and help us send it out, CG-style.
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More News, More Views
e’re proud to send Cascade Golfer to your home four times per year. But we’re betting you don’t just golf four times per year, once each in the spring, summer, fall and winter. That’s why we launched the all-new CascadeGolfer.com in April to give our readers the “Northwest news and views you can use” at the times you can actually use them — that is to say, whenever you’re feeling the itch. In the first few months alone, we’ve posted over 100 pieces, including deals from Puget Sound courses, tips from Northwest teaching pros, exclusive sales on Puetz Golf products, weekly polls and Cascade Golfer’s uniquely local take on the Puget Sound golf scene. Just want the highlights? Sign up to receive our weekly e-newsletter and be kept informed of the latest course specials, local news of interest and Puetz Golf club sales on a week-to-week basis — it’s like getting a mini-CG in your inbox, 52 times a year. We’re also engaged in daily conversations with readers on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@cascadegolfer), soliciting ideas for new features, giving away twosomes to top Northwest tracks, or just reliving our best shots from a glorious summer weekend. After all, if you’re anything like us, you’re thinking about golf 365 days a year — so why wait three months for another Cascade Golfer? Bookmark the site, sign up to receive the e-newsletter or, best of all, like Cascade Golfer on Facebook. We promise to make it worth your while. cascadegolfer.com
SHORT GAME Whistle While You … Swing?
ne of the most common problems in the golf swing is casting, when golfers release their wrists at the top of the swing and accelerate too quickly on the downswing, leading to mis-hits and reduced power. To help his students learn the proper lag at the top of their backswings, Interbay pro Casey McMullin built a training device that was essentially two clubheads taped together — the increased weight of the head created a natural lag at the top of the swing that helped students develop the proper motion. One day, he heard a little “whistle” as the device was swung, caused by the tiny gap between the hosels of the two clubheads. “I thought, ‘That’s interesting,’” he recalls. “I realized it would be neat to have a little attachment that would let you know when your swing was going the fastest.” It wasn’t long before McMullin had developed the Swing Whistle, a small training device that attaches to the hosel and emits a high-pitched whistle when it reaches its highest speed. According to McMullin, who has been teaching golf
for eight years, both at Interbay and Ballard High School, the clubhead should accelerate through the ball, meaning one should hear the whistle at, or just before, impact. When a golfer releases their wrists too early, the club accelerates too quickly and the whistle is heard on the downswing. That means that the club is traveling its fastest well before hitting the ball, resulting in “overswinging” and a loss of distance and control. “The clubhead should be very relaxed, and loose during the swing, which lets the club accelerate to the ball,” he says. “Once you understand proper clubhead speed, the golf swing is a lot easier.” McMullin has initially produced about 3,000 “Swing Whistles,” which have been retailing for $19.99 at Puetz Golf, Premier Golf Centers and on McMullin’s website, swingwhistle.com. He also took them to golf shows in Seattle and Vancouver, where he says golfers and golf pros alike were eager to take them out to the range. “Sales have gone really well, really fast,” he says. “I just had to get the word out there, and people saw the value of it. It’s a no-brainer.”
Rife/Innovex Scores Win
ellevue-based Innovex Golf has had a whirlwind year. Truthfully, the craziness started in January of 2011, when Golf Digest gave Innovex’s V-Motion Tour ball — designed to maximize distance and workability — a silver medal on its annual “Hot List,” a recognition that owner Ben Zylstra compared at the time to a Division-II school winning the BCS Championship. The honor broke Innovex through the golf world’s glass ceiling, with orders pouring in faster than they could be filled. Business went so well, in fact, that late last fall, Innovex expanded its brand with an acquisition of RIFE Putters, long the No. 1 putter on the Champions Tour and a favorite of many PGA Tour professionals. “We are very excited about this,” said Zylstra, who first broke into the golf world as a teenager working in Puetz Golf’s Bellevue location. “RIFE is a very classy brand and is highly regarded in the industry and in the marketplace. Innovex has been selling golf clubs as well as golf balls, and we will be working on the redesign and re-branding of all these clubs. Right now, though, we will focus on our golf balls plus the RIFE putters.” In May, PGA Tour pro Matt Kuchar gave the new company its first big win, using his RIFE Island Series Barbados belly putter to claim a two-stroke victory at The Players Championship, often called golf’s “fifth major.” Kuchar also tied for third at The Masters, and led all PGA Tour players in stroke average entering June’s U.S. Open. Check them out for yourself online at rifeputters.com.
Come out to the New Gleneagle! Improvements Include:
• club repair • Fully stocked pro shop • driving range • Brand new cart Fleet • Improved maintenance standards • restaurant, Bar & Grill open late
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Free Cart rental with paid Greens Fee.
Win One For Yourself! With PGA and LPGA Tour wins under their belt this season, it’s a good time to jump on the RIFE/Innovex bandwagon. In fact, the local company is celebrating their success this year by giving one CG reader a RIFE Tour Model Golf Club and two-dozen Innovex V-motion balls … for free! Enter to win online at cascadegolfer.com!
Cart rental is per person. Must present coupon. One coupon per visit. Not valid with any other promotions or discounts.
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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
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Our Favorite No-Frills GPS
t’s a common sight around Cascade Golfer headquarters to see a CG staffer trying out some fancy new swing trainer, or gathering opinions on a new glove, shirt or other product. Longtime CG readers who visited our offices would recognize the Prodigy and Pure Stroke putters, the PSP “Little One” iron, and a whole host of On the Level golf tees, POW golf gloves, Innovex balls and more. Only a few of these ever make it into the pages of Cascade Golfer, and even fewer become staples in the golf bags (or in Ballard-based POW’s case, on the hands) of CG staff. And perhaps no product has caused as much of a stir as the new “I’m Caddie” rangefinder. Originally released in Asia last year, the I’m Caddie made its North American debut at January’s PGA Merchandise Show, and was one of the most talked about new products of the year — no small accomplishment in a room with literally thousands of other new devices each vying for media and golf industry attention.
After taking one out to the golf course, we can understand why — the I’m Caddie is, quite simply, one of the easiest-to-use GPS rangefinders we’ve ever tested. Small enough to clip onto your hat, or fit comfortably into your pocket, it comes pre-loaded with over 40,000 courses worldwide. Just turn it on when you arrive at the course, push the button when you’re standing your ball, and the I’m Caddie tells you your yardage to the center of the green. That’s it — no waiting for images to load, or for satellites to be in range. The result is immediate, and in our limited testing, impressively accurate. Certainly, there are other (more expensive) GPS rangefinders that will give you more data — front and back of the green, pin placements, distances to hazards, hole flyovers, etc. But for the golfer who just wants to know the most important basic fact — distance to the green — quickly, and simply, the I’m Caddie is an ideal choice. Included in the box are simple (as in, about 30-second) setup instructions, plus a USB cord that connects to your computer to both recharge the unit, and download free updates. The battery lasts about 13 hours — enough time for 36 holes, or even 54 on a beautiful Seattle summer day. You can even custom-style the I’m Caddie, with four different “skins” that can be snapped on and off to match your personality (we’re rolling the black/ orange combo). Check it out at iamcaddie.com, or just keep an eye out for CG staff at your local course this summer. It’s one product we’re definitely taking with us. cascadegolfer.com
Stay And Play...
… And Play … And Play
n our spring 2011 issue, we highlighted the deepening relationship between our region’s oldest residents — Northwest Indian tribes — and one of our fastest-growing economies, golf. Whether building their own courses (Circling Raven, Salish Cliffs) or purchasing existing ones (Cedars at Dungeness, White Horse), Northwest tribes are merging golf and gaming to become major players in our state’s recreational economy. One more such relationship has developed in Spokane between the Kalispel Tribe’s Northern Quest Resort & Casino and the many highly-acclaimed daily-fee courses in and around the Lilac City. Located just outside the Spokane city limits in Airway Heights, the Northern Quest has long been a favorite with locals and travelers alike — a AAA Four-Diamond resort with Las Vegas-style gaming, 14 restaurants and the largest TV east of the Cascades, a 30x10-foot behemoth that’s become the home-awayfrom-home for Coug fans when the team is on the road. Recently, though, the Northern Quest has become popular with a new kind of gamer — one whose idea of a risk/reward proposition is rolling the dice on a short par-4, as opposed to rolling the dice at the craps table. Partnerships with Palouse Ridge, the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Spokane County have given golfers a wide range of stay-and-play opportunities, each offering significant savings when booked online than if you tried to book them separately. Been itching to play Palouse? For just $201 per player, the Northern Quest offers overnight accommodations, a round of golf with cart, range balls, a sleeve of Pro V1s, a $25 spa credit and a $10 voucher for food at the course. The Spokane muni package — featuring golf at Hangman Valley, MeadowWood or Liberty Lake (each of which have graced the pages of CG) — starts at just $79 with all the same add-ons (less the Palouse food voucher, of course) while the Coeur d’Alene Resort package starts at $280. What’s more, with all three packages, the casino will match your first $20 of table play with $20 of their own. It’s not like playing with house money — it is playing with house money. To learn more, call 877-871-6772 or visit northernquest.com.
SHORT GAME Honeymoon In Vegas Unlimited Golf At Sunriver?
Yeah, we thought that would get your attention. That’s exactly what we’re giving away to one lucky reader this month — a three-day, two-night package to Oregon’s Sunriver resort, including one round per day at the famed Crosswater course and unlimited golf from sunup to sundown at the three resort courses, Woodlands, Meadows and the par-3 Caldera Links. Visit CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
Husband-and-wife team Kevin and Lori Chisman win Central Washington Shootout, Vegas golf vacation
t turns out, winning a prize at this year’s Central Washington Shootout was easier, statistically, than making a four-foot putt. Indeed, 23 of the 38 teams at this year’s event — a 54-hole celebration of Washington golf held over three days at Suncadia’s Rope Rider and Prospector courses, and Orondo’s Desert Canyon — walked away with at least one prize, ranging from stay-and-plays to Central Oregon, to golf shoes, golf clubs, and rounds of golf to Chambers Bay, Wine Valley and other top tracks — all adding up to more than $10,000 in prizes. No team left happier than the husband-and-wife duo of Kevin and Lori Chisman, whose three-day net total of -25 in the best-ball tourney earned them the title of Central Washington Shootout champions and a four-night, four-round golf vacation to Las Vegas. The couple were a model of consistency, failing to win any of three individual events, but placing high enough each day to finish nine shots clear of the field when three-day scores were tallied. Each day featured a different format and different
winners, with prizes for the top-15 net and top-five gross teams daily. In addition, the weekend featured 18 hole contests and a putting tournament on Desert Canyon’s par-72 putting course, plus post-round awards parties all three days. Even the teams that didn’t win a prize walked away with something to be proud of, including a TaylorMade golf towel, ball markers, three meals, plenty of Michelob ULTRA and a one-year subscription to Golf Digest … and Keith Stevens even notched our first-ever Central Washington Shootout hole-in-one (for an always-cool net zero). In fact, we had so much fun this year, that we’re already looking forward to 2013 — but can we top a weekend with 23 winners, four champions, and a holein-one? You bet we can — after all, a four-footer is no sure thing. Next year, we’re going to make winning a prize a mere tap-in. Be the first to know about the 2013 Central Washington Shootout, and other Cascade Golfer events, by e-mailing tournament director Simon Dubiel at email@example.com!
Like Father, Like Son — Unfortunately For Us
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
ver since I was old enough to pick up a golf club (which, according to baby pictures my dad likes to show visitors to his home, was about a week after I came home from the hospital, still swaddled in blankets), my dad has dreamed of playing with his son in a big-time golf tournament. Now, “big-time” is a subjective word, of course. In my dad’s dreams, I’m sure we were playing practice rounds together at Augusta as I prepared for my Masters debut. As the years went by, however, and it became clear that the PGA Tour was not in my future (at least not on THAT side of the ropes), that dream shifted to merely a local tournament or club championship, an opportunity for us to tee it up together and go after a big prize — father and son against the world. By the time I was old enough to where that dream could potentially become reality, though, life intervened — I moved away, went to college, married, had kids … before we knew it, 15 years had passed and we still hadn’t ever played that tournament round together. All of which is what made this year’s Cascade Golfer Challenge at Washington National so exciting. It just so happened that my dad had scheduled a visit on the same weekend in May that we were hosting the tourney — Maybe, I thought, this is our big chance. Sure, we wouldn’t be eligible to win anything, but just the opportunity to roll off the tee with the field, stress over each little stroke, high-
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
five each other when we started to make a run, and then quietly compare our scores to the field afterward would be a thrill. The winners could have their trip to Bandon Dunes Resort — we’d have made a memory to last a lifetime. As it was, we weren’t the only father-son combo in the field. Throughout the three years of the Cascade Golfer Cup — our year-long tournament series featuring over $100,000 in prizes — several father-son teams (and fatherdaughter, husband-wife, brother-brother and just about every other family combination you can imagine) have participated, a testament to golf’s ageless quality and its unique ability to connect golfers across generations. There are few other sports where a 75-year-old man can play fairly alongside his 33-year-old son — for all of its many frustrations, golf truly is the game of a lifetime. Though as close in age to 100 as he is to 50, my dad remains a 10 handicap — lower than I, currently a 17 in the prime of my golfing life, will likely ever be. The week prior to the tournament, he shot his age at his local club, a feat that only a tiny percentage of golfers will ever experience — the odds of an average golfer shooting his or her age (finishing with an 18-hole score lower than your current age in years) are roughly comparable to the odds of any golfer making a hole-in-one at some point in their lifetime.
CG CUP HEATING UP Just three events remain in the 2012 Cascade Golfer Cup, our year-long amateur tournament series played in fun, team-scoring formats on the top courses in the state. Scored in net and gross formats, and with prizes awarded to up to 20 of the 64 teams at each event, every golfer with an established handicap has a chance to win! Teams also earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup title and 2013 Summer Golf Package, featuring 20 twosomes at the best courses in the state! And just for fun, we’re also going to treat one lucky team to three days and 54 holes of golf at Pebble Beach — the more events you play in, the better your chance to win! The series comes to White Horse on Aug. 18 for the Puetz Golf Shootout, then heads to Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course on Sept. 8 before wrapping up Sept. 29 with the CG Cup Championship at Chambers Bay. To learn more, email Simon Dubiel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to CascadeGolfer.com and click on the Cup! 18
So, naturally, I expected Dad to carry our team in the best ball event — a bogey golfer, I’d likely have my share of pars and maybe a birdie (or two, if I was really lucky), but Dad’s straight-down-the-middle consistency would be the solid foundation of our team effort.
e opened strong — bogeys on the par-5 first were followed by pars at the second, each of us narrowly missing birdie putts. It all fell apart from there, though — after our two pars on No. 2, we combined for just seven more, total, the rest of the way, spending nearly as much time looking for balls in the bunkers, water hazards and Washington National’s famed waste areas as we did on the fairways. Actually, had the tournament been a scramble, we might have been in good shape, combining the old man’s arrow-straight drives with my more consistent approaches. Instead, we were stuck playing our own balls — while I’d hunt for my drive in the waste, Dad would chunk his approach into the bunker, and we’d each end up with a bogey — or worse. The thing was, though — we didn’t care. Sure, we’d rather play well than play poorly, but the tournament itself was almost secondary to the time we were able to spend together — five hours alone on a beautiful golf course, basking in the sun of a Seattle summer day and bonding in the best way we’ve ever known how. Like many fathers and sons, my dad and I have never been particularly good at communicating with each other about our feelings — a trait exacerbated by the fact that, for most of the last 25 years, we’ve lived in separate states, seeing each other only a few times a year, and talking on the phone with only a little more frequency. Only on the golf course are we completely at ease. It’s no coincidence that nearly all of my most vivid memories of time spent with my father are set on a golf course — the first time he ever saw me make a birdie, and nearly teared up with pride; the hundreds of times we rose before dawn so I could tag along to his weekend club Nassau, soaking up lessons on golf etiquette from the age of 7 to 18; the sense of anticipation I’d have when he walked out of the men’s lounge at the end of those rounds, searching his face for a hint of a smile that might indicate we’d had a winning day. To this day, the smell of cigar smoke transports me instantly to those crisp July mornings, walking down a fairway with my father’s bag over my shoulder as the tangy odor from his cigar wafts back towards me. Now, we’ve made another memory — our first tournament together. We didn’t come anywhere close to winning anything — nor could we have accepted it if we did. But as my dad lit his cigar on Washington National’s elevated 12th tee, he turned to me and smiled: “You don’t know how much it means to me that we had the chance to do this,” he said. “Actually, Dad, I think I do,” I replied, letting that familiar scent waft under my nose, and feeling, just for an instant, that longed-for connection between a father and son that only golf has the power to make. cascadegolfer.com
EVERGREEN’S ELITE BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
fter a first-round largely devoid of upsets, we speculated in June that the second round of the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness — our online bracket contest to crown the best course in Washington — would be different. Indeed, three of the top eight seeds were toppled by CG readers voting at CascadeGolfer.com, and a fourth — No. 1 overall seed Wine Valley — survived by the slimmest of margins, trickling in the side of the cup for a win over fourth-seed Desert Canyon by less than one-half of one percent. While Wine Valley’s comeback meant all four No. 1 seeds advanced, only one of the four No. 2s — Loomis Trail — will be joining the Elite Eight field, as McCormick Woods, Palouse Ridge and Newcastle’s Coal Creek each went down in defeat. Voting in the Elite Eight is open now at CascadeGolfer. com, with the Final Four courses to be revealed in live voting Oct. 6 at our Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash at the Muckleshoot Casino. Online voters will be eligible to win a twosome of golf to one of our Match Play tracks, and every golfer who votes in person Oct. 6 will be eligible to win a six-night, sixround dream trip to Mexico! Golfers can vote once per day, so bookmark the bracket at CascadeGolfer.com and vote frequently to make sure your favorite course comes out on top — and so do you!
Round 1 Spring
Voting results by round in red.
Sweet 16 Summer
Elite 8 1
Gold Mtn. — Olympic 78.0%
1 Gold Mtn. — Olympic 67.7% 8
Gold Mtn. — Cascade 22.0%
1 Gold Mountain — Olympic 4
Port Ludlow 51.7%
4 Resort at Port Ludlow 32.3% 5
Trophy Lake 48.3%
White Horse 51.0%
PENINSULA 3 White Horse GC 65.1%
Cedars at Dungeness 49.0%
3 White Horse Golf Club 2
McCormick Woods 82.6%
2 McCormick Woods GC 34.9% 7
Chambers Bay 87.6%
1 Chambers Bay 73.7% 8
West Seattle 12.4%
Home Course 58.4%
1 Chambers Bay 4 The Home Course 26.3% 5
Druids Glen 41.6%
Washington Nat’l. 63.9%
CENTRAL SOUND 3 Washington National 57.0%
The Classic 36.1%
3 Washington National 2
Newcastle (Coal) 76.7%
2 Newcastle — Coal Creek 43.0% 7 24
Newcastle (China) 23.3% cascadegolfer.com
MATCH PLAY MADNESS CG readers pick the best course in Washington, bracket-style Round 1 Spring
Voting results by round in red.
Elite 8 Fall
Kayak Point 53.5%
Lake Padden 49.6%
Loomis Trail 70.3%
Harbour Pointe 29.7%
Wine Valley 73.8%
Desert Canyon 56.5%
Bear Mtn. Ranch 43.5%
Apple Tree 42.8%
Palouse Ridge 66.8%
Indian Canyon 33.2%
1 Semiahmoo 73.2% 1 Semiahmoo Golf & CC
Final Four Winter
4 Kayak Point GC 27.8%
6 Eaglemont GC 47.3% 2 Loomis Trail GC 2 Loomis Trail GC 52.7%
MAT CH PL AY
ADNESS 1 Wine Valley GC 50.4% 1 Wine Valley GC 4 Desert Canyon GC 49.6%
3 Prospector 54.2%
PRINT YOUR BRACKET AND VOTE ONLINE AT
3 Prospector at Suncadia 2 Palouse Ridge GC 45.8%
SIXTEEN HOURS, 36 HOLES, 558 MILES AND ONE BURNING QUESTION — IS WINE VALLEY THE BEST GOLF COURSE IN WASHINGTON?
One Day In The W
e’d covered 558 miles over 16 hours, and still nothing had been decided. “Is Wine Valley the best golf course in Washington state?” It was a question that had been put to me by friends, readers, co-workers … just about everyone who had made the trek across the state to Walla Walla to check out Wine Valley since it first opened in 2009. And it was a question that myself and Cascade Golfer Tournament Director Simon Dubiel had set out to answer earlier that day, journeying across the state for the mother of all day trips — four-and-a-half hours out, and another four-and-a-half back, separated by 36 holes of truly incredible golf. It was fantastic — but was it the best?
hat was a question I’d wanted to answer for nearly three years. While seemingly everyone I knew — CG writers, photographers, friends — had played Wine Valley (and unanimously declared it among their favorites, anywhere), I had not. Mostly, it was an issue of time. Wine Valley shares a lot in common with the Syrahs and Cabernets being made in the dozens of wineries that line the highway from Yakima to Walla Walla — it’s best enjoyed at a leisurely pace over two or three days, mixing morning golf with afternoon visits to the world-class wineries that have put Washington wines on the tables of connoisseurs across the globe. Life, though, doesn’t always work that way — between work deadlines and family commitments, I’d been trying to fit that long weekend into my summer schedule for two years and failing repeatedly, watching season after season roll by without having teed it up at Wine Valley. Finally, I’d had enough. If I couldn’t make a long
weekend work, I’d just have to do it all in one day — after all, we have 16 hours of sunlight in the summer; might as well make the most of them. And if I was going to drive that far for golf, you can be darn sure I was going to make the most of my trip by playing twice. Thirty-six holes, 558 miles, one incredible day. Could we do it? We were going to find out.
o it was that I stood in my driveway at 5 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning in late May, waiting for Simon to pick me up and start our day. I’m sure I looked quite the fool standing alone in the pre-dawn darkness, dressed only in shorts, a short-sleeved shirt and flip-flops amidst a heavy rain, my golf clubs next to me in the driveway. To the neighbors, it probably seemed I was trying to bring on summer by sheer will, but I knew better — in just 90 minutes I’d be over the pass and driving through Washington’s Inland Empire, where the sun shines 300 days a year and 36 holes of what I had been promised was unbelievable golf awaited. Over the next few hours, it seemed all of America was spread out before us — the temperate rainforest of Western Washington, the still snow-covered slopes of the Cascade Mountains, and the green, semi-arid steppes of the Columbia River basin. For much of the drive’s second half, we passed a seemingly endless row of Washington’s most highly-rated wineries, clustered together amid expansive vineyard acres at various points along the highway — Airfield Estates, Kestrel, Milbrandt, Snoqualmie, Bookwalter, L’Ecole No. 41, Woodward Canyon … the urge to stop the car, even at 8 a.m., was strong. We pulled into the Wine Valley parking lot shortly before 10, having made great time. As we approached the pro shop, it was hard to contain the smiles on our faces — before us were 18 holes of what appeared to be golf heaven, perfectly trimmed fairways and greens rolling off
into the distance as far as we could see. Knowing how far we’d come – and how ambitious our plans were for the day – GM John Thorsnes pointed us to the free coffee in the pro shop, gave us a little local knowledge (“play the angles”) and sent us out to the first tee. One look down the fairway was all we needed to know we were in for a unique experience — two large, natural bunkers bordered a generous fairway, which merged seamlessly with the second fairway coming back up the hill. The challenge at Wine Valley isn’t off the tee – nearly all of the fairways are wide open, what little rough exists is trimmed short, and the long native grasses that frame each hole only come into play on severe mishits (and even then, it’s not too difficult to find and play your ball, at least in the early part of the season). While it’s relatively simple to keep your tee shot on the short stuff, however, placement is key. Not only do the fairway undulations put a premium on finding the power slots and level lies, but each of Wine Valley’s greens offer multiple means of attack. Typically fronted by a bunker on just one side, your best bet on most is to run the ball on from the apron on the other side and use the natural undulations of the green to guide the ball to the pin. Otherwise, you’re left carrying that bunker to massive greens that are quite possibly the firmest and fastest — and thus, the most difficult to hold — we’ve ever played. Reaching the green, too, is only half the battle — literally, in the case of Simon, who shot an 88 in the afternoon round with 44 putts, reaching 12 greens in regulation and failing to record a single birdie. Neither of us had ever seen a golfer record half their shots on the greens, and we likely never will again. The size, speed and undulations of the greens lead to putts you simply don’t attempt anyplace else — turning your back to the hole and putting up a slope 90 degrees cascadegolfer.com
BY BRIAN BEAKY
right of the pin to try and feed the ball back down; tapping a 12-footer a mere 4-5 inches in the hopes that it will stop near the hole; or intentionally over-hitting a putt to run it past the hole, letting the slope bring it back to the pin. “The design shouldn’t tell the golfer how to play the hole,” I recalled designer Dan Hixson telling us back in 2009, when the course first opened. “It should reward any well-executed strategy.” Over the next 36 holes, we came to learn exactly what Hixson meant. On the 185-yard eighth hole, I aimed 25 yards (yards, not feet) left of the pin and came as close as I ever have to a hole-in-one, landing the ball just left of the green and letting it run back to a large slope that funneled the ball leftto-right, coming to rest a mere 12 inches from the hole. The gasp that we both let out as the ball disappeared behind the pin – only to emerge a split-second later on the other side – was as much in surprise at how far the slope had carried the ball as to how close it had come to falling in. Faced with a short approach to a punch bowl-shaped green at the par-5 seventh later in the day, I elected not to try to carry the ball to the pin and risk leaving it short, but rather to punch an iron right past the pin and up the slope, from where it rolled backwards down to base of the bowl for another short birdie putt. For fun, we proceeded to putt balls to all sides of the punch bowl, just to try out the seemingly endless ways of getting the ball to the hole. Similar to Bandon Dunes, or even Chambers Bay, Wine Valley challenges golfers to play a different style of golf, one where the simplest path to the pin is not always the most direct one. That’s not to say that the course is tough — in fact, it’s a perfect combination of forgiveness in the areas where mid- and high-handicappers struggle (keeping the ball in the fairway, and hitting greens) and challenge in the areas where scratch golfers excel (attacking pins, cascadegolfer.com
and putting). A 15 handicap could easily shoot 85 with good ball striking, while a scratch golfer could just as easily shoot 80 with a lousy day on the greens. It’s not particularly easy, nor particularly hard; it’s simply unique — and a heck of a lot of fun.
ut was it the best course in the state? That was the question we had set out before dawn to answer, and the question we debated for much of the drive back through the Tri-Cities, Yakima, Ellensburg and the snow-capped Cascades. Only Chambers Bay offers a similar true links golf style with its broad fairways, bump-and-run approaches, large bumpy greens and natural-edged bunkers. Only Suncadia’s Tumble Creek and Sahalee Country Club offer similar conditioning, with fairways so perfectly manicured that just taking a divot feels like vandalizing a work of art. And only the great Central Washington courses — Prospector, Desert Canyon and Bear Mountain Ranch chief among them — offer the same sense of exhilaration, of complete immersion in a getaway golf experience unlike any other. As we pulled back into the driveway, we knew we couldn’t dance around the question any longer — after 16 hours and 558 miles, it was time to make the call. “So, what’s it gonna be?” Simon asked. I reflected on the day, thinking back on the holes we’d played, the shots we’d hit and the fun we’d had crisscrossing the state for two unforgettable rounds of golf. “If I was given the choice tomorrow to play any golf course in the state, I think I’d pick Wine Valley,” I said. “It’s just so much fun.” “Me, too,” said Simon. As I pulled my clubs out of the trunk, I found myself already missing the experience, and longing to return. “Want to go back tomorrow?” I said, only half-joking. Simon smiled. “Definitely. Only this time, you’re driving.” AUGUST 2012
RISK vs. REWARD Apple Tree Resort Hole No. 18 • Par 5 • 489 yards (Blue Tees) By Simon Dubiel The Setup:
The 18th at Apple Tree is almost an afterthought, as it follows perhaps the state’s most iconic hole, the apple-shaped island green. By the time you hole out, though, it is one you won’t forget. The first of two risk/reward plays comes off the tee — water guards the majority of the left side, but the hole can play much shorter than its 489-yard length if you play along the water’s edge to the “finger” of the fairway. Your second shot is no piece of cake, either, substantially uphill to a green fronted by a massive crushed-brick bunker that will collect anything short. As with most great risk/reward par-5s, eight is just as easily made as four.
A 220-240 carry to the “finger” of the fairway leaves the golfer with maybe 200 yards to the green. You likely have not had a chance to have an eagle putt all day, and here is the opportunity to do so. A miss on your approach should still leave you with a shot at getting up and down, especially if you can avoid that bunker. Regardless of what your scorecard looks like through 17, hit this last bet and you’ll be smiling at the 19th hole.
The Risk: You know that “Uh-oh” feeling that can hit you instantly after you swing? Yeah, it can happen here. Pull your drive to the left, and you get to tee it up again. And even if you steer your drive to safely, a poorly struck second can put you right back in the water, or playing out of the apple bunker. The yardage on the scorecard may not be intimidating, but the number you write down might be.
How many times have you tried to make the smart play and ended up regretting it? No way we’re laying up off the tee when there’s a generous landing area for the driver. Pop it 265 over the water and you’ll likely find yourself with less than 200 in. There is no way to eliminate the risk, so why eliminate the reward? Tell your golf partner you’re pressing that Nassau. Driver. Hybrid. 25-footer for eagle. That’s a parlay worth betting on.
ENJOY THE SHOW
Fabulous finishes, a spectacular setting and family-friendly atmosphere have made the Boeing Classic No. 1 in the eyes of golf’s Hall of Famers
n the moments after Russ Cochran holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the 54th and final hole to force a playoff in the 2011 Boeing Classic, someone turned to tournament executive director Michelle DeLancy and asked, “Do you ever get tired of all of these playoffs?” The playoff was the third in the seven-year history of the event, including the largest playoff in the history of the PGA, Champions or LPGA Tours, a seven-man affair in 2007. DeLancy surveyed the more than 30,000 fans packed around the 18th green at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge — part of a record crowd of 81,000 that turned out to watch the world’s top Champions Tour pros compete over three days last August — cheering with arms raised, many already sprinting back towards the 18th tee to be
AUGUST AUGUST 2012 2012
BY BRIAN BEAKY
in the front row for the playoff between Cochran and 1989 British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia. “Are you kidding me?” she said. “Look at all of these people, and how excited they are. This is fantastic.” Still less than a decade old, the Boeing Classic has become one of the highlights of the annual golf calendar for the game’s legends, including players like Bernhard Langer, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price and of course, Seattle’s own Fred Couples. The tournament won the prestigious President’s Award in 2010 as the most well-run event on Tour, then claimed an even higher honor last year — the Players Choice Award, given to the tournament voted the favorite of the players themselves. “When they’re putting their schedules together, the players I talk to always say they make sure to include the Boeing Classic,” DeLancy says. “They rave about the hospitality they receive from the community — volunteers and spectators — and the beauty and challenge of the golf course. “And they love hearing that crowd roar.” That crowd is one of the largest — and most enthusiastic — on the Champions Tour. The tournament’s attendance figure of 81,000 in 2011 was among the highest on Tour, even topping some PGA and LPGA Tour events. “The players have told us that it feels like a major,” DeLancy says. “The crowds are big, and loud, and they really love that.” Nowhere does the fervor reach a higher pitch than at
the course’s signature 14th hole, a dogleg-left par-4 over a yawning chasm known as Bear’s Canyon, after course designer Jack Nicklaus. Bold players have the option to try to carry the canyon from the highly elevated tee and play directly to the green below, a 280-yard carry as the crow flies. And spectators have a front-row seat to every gut-check shot from the Canyon Club, a VIP skybox rising high above the green featuring exclusive food and beverage offerings, big-screen TVs and an outdoor patio overlooking the action. The source of the loudest roars — and deepest groans — on the golf course, the Canyon Club is one of the most exciting, and popular, viewing locations on the entire Tour circuit. It’s also an element that, DeLancy says, highlights another unique aspect of the Boeing Classic. “We’ve found that a lot of people come for non-golf reasons,” she says, noting the amenities, atmosphere and scenic views from the Canyon Club as one of those. “Families who want to spend a fun day outside together, military personnel who want to be a part of our annual Military Appreciation Day, and other people who just want to get out and do something fun and unique. “Once you’re there, there are so many different things you can do.” And more than that, the activities change from one day to the next. Friday is Kids Day, featuring face painters, ice cream, professional mascots from local sports teams and a fun putting course. All kids are admitted free with a paid adult, and can either walk the course with mom and dad, or hang out in the event tent by the 18th green enjoying golf-themed activities. Sunday, meanwhile, is Military Appreciation Day, cascadegolfer.com
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Dates: August 20-26, 2012 Location: TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Field: 78 Champions Tour professionals Format: 54 holes of stroke play with no cut Purse: $2 million • Par: 72 | 7,264 yards Television: Aug. 24-26, The Golf Channel THE SCHEDULE
Aug. 20 - Seahawks Rumble at the Ridge Aug. 21 - FREE Youth Clinic feat. Sandy Lyle Aug. 21 - Practice Rounds Aug. 22-23 – Korean Air Pro-Am Aug. 24 – First Round, Kids Day Aug. 24 – Grapes on the Green Wine Tasting* Aug. 25 – Second Round Aug. 26 — Final Round, Military Appreciation Day * At The Golf Club at Newcastle TICKETS
Daily: $20 • Weekly (Aug. 20-26): $60 Tournament (Aug. 24-26): $40 Kids under 14: Free with paid adult Seniors (60+): 50-percent off general admission prices Passes also available to VIP Club sections; see boeingclassic.com for details. VOLUNTEERS
Volunteers receive $300 in value, including merchandise, meals, parking and shuttle preference, and two weekly admission passes, plus tickets to special Volunteer Appreciation Party. Details at boeingclassic.com. where the course is lined with over 1,400 American flags and the event tent is converted to a “Patriot Outpost” featuring free food and beverages for military personnel. The day begins with a military flyover and ends with the champion plucking his ball from the cup beneath the 18th pin, topped by an American flag of its own. There will also be a free Youth Clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 21, where recently-elected World Golf Hall-of-Famer Sandy Lyle will conduct a free lesson for hundreds of kids from throughout the region, plus the Seahawks’ annual “Rumble at the Ridge” featuring former players and local celebrities on Aug. 20, and the two-day Korean Air Pro-Am on Aug. 22-23. “Things are happening; it’s going well,” says DeLancy of the build-up to the 2012 event, noting that the Pro-Am sold out in April, the soonest ever. Volunteer registration is also soaring through the roof — last year, for the first time ever, DeLancy had to cut off
the total number of volunteers at just over 1,000, just to ensure that there was something for everyone to do. “It’s a good problem to have,” she says, noting that the Players Choice and President’s Awards are direct reflections of the enthusiasm and support of fans and volunteers, who have helped lift the Boeing Classic to the upper echelon of Champions Tour events. “The community has always been such a big supporter of this event. The feedback we get from players is that they love coming out here, and that we take care of them, and the weather’s great, and the people are so nice.”
bout 15 minutes after Cochran holed his clutch putt to force the playoff in 2011, it was Calcavecchia’s turn to thrust his arms skyward, calmly knocking in a two-foot birdie for his first-career Champions Tour win. It was also the first-career win for his caddie, a local Boeing employee (and friend of Calcavecchia’s) who stepped in when Calcavecchia’s wife (his regular
caddie) couldn’t make the trip. As the two embraced on the green, and the crowd let out its roar of appreciation, DeLancy allowed herself a moment to marvel at just how far the Boeing Classic has come from its roots just seven years ago, when few local golf fans knew much about the Champions Tour, and the city of Snoqualmie was just a gas-up spot for visitors to the falls. Now, the city is one of the fastest-growing in the entire state, and the Champions Tour’s popularity is as high as it has ever been, buoyed significantly by the addition of Couples in 2010 — a popularity evident by the size of the crowd packed on the slopes of the bowl around the 18th green and in the skyboxes above. DeLancy reflects for a moment, then turns her mind back towards the present, and the future — the 2012 Boeing Classic, after all, is right around the corner, and if the first seven are any indication, there’s going to be much to look forward to.
MEET MASTERS CHAMP SANDY LYLE AT THE BOEING CLASSIC! Provide four kids a golf experience of a lifetime at the Boeing Classic Emirates Youth Clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 21. The four participants will meet and take a photo with World Golf Hall of Famer and 1988 Masters Champion Sandy Lyle, prior to taking part in the one-hour clinic conducted on the driving range at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. You’ll also receive four Tournament passes to enjoy the tournament competition, Aug. 24-26. Whether they already love golf or are just getting in to the game, don’t miss out on providing some lucky kids with an amazing experience! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win! cascadegolfer.com
Pursestrings CG digs deep to learn just what it would take to bring the PGA or LPGA Tour to Seattle — and whether or not it’s worth it. The answer might surprise you.
ere in the Northwest, we love our own, as every region does. We celebrate golfers who were raised in the Puget Sound region — they are our native sons and daughters, and they make us proud to be from this corner of the world. But their triumphs take place somewhere else, not here. We cheer for them in absentia. Take Fred Couples, the greatest golfer the Northwest has ever produced. His early days in Seattle are legend, a cock-sure teenager who learned the game at Jefferson Park and collected fists full of dollars in skins games against golfers twice his age. At age 18, playing in tennis shoes, Couples won the 1978 Washington State Open, defeating former PGA pro Don Bies. Then he was gone. He went to Houston for college, followed by 30 years on the PGA Tour, making his name and fortune in places far from home. He didn’t play in a professional tournament here again until the 1998 PGA at Sahalee Country Club, then returned one more time in 2002. It was a thrill when he began making regular appearances at the Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic in 2010, but Northwest fans were deprived of watching Couples in his prime. We also didn’t see much of his predecessors, or contemporaries. Arnie, Jack and Gary were just images on a TV screen, and none of today’s stars — Phil, Tiger, Rory, Bubba — seem to be in a hurry to play Northwest courses.
BY BOB SHERWIN
As a region, outside of the annual Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, we have become the PGA Tour’s equivalent to the Siberian Swing. When Sahalee hosted the 1998 PGA, it was the first PGA Tour major held in the Northwest since 1944, a year when all the good players were in a different kind of bunker. We’ll get another one in 2015 at Chambers Bay — a full 17 years later, or enough time for an entire generation to grow up having never seen a PGA Tour player in their prime.
he question is — why not? This is an area rich in golf tradition, rich in glorious golf courses and an abundance of high-caliber native sons and daughters. The Puget Sound region can be proud of its contribution to the Tour, including past PGA Tour players Couples, Bies, Ken Still of Tacoma and Kermit Zarley of Seattle and budding stars like Ryan Moore of Puyallup and Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor — a list that more than doubles if you include Oregon and Eastern Washington. There’s the potential future stars like Andres Gonzales, Michael Putnam and the rapidly-growing list of pros produced by the nationally-acclaimed UW program, like Nick Taylor, Richard Lee, Alex Prugh, Troy Kelly and sib-
lings Brock and Paige Mackenzie. “There’s no question. Seattle can support an (annual PGA) event,’’ says Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour Executive Vice President of Communications & International Affairs. But it’s complicated. It would take a tremendous groundswell of support, commitment, money and leadership to bring a regular PGA stop to the Northwest. At the present time, those elements are not in the mix. Then there’s the issue of whether it’s worth it, since Portland already has a thriving LPGA event (the Safeway Classic, at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club) and Seattle has a highly successful Champions Tour event, the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Why mess with those? How would a PGA event fit in around them? “It’s not necessarily an upgrade,” says Chuck Nelson, who helped bring the Boeing Classic to Seattle in 2005 as the event’s original executive director. “I do like to think big, and a PGA event here would have a lot of advantages. But I’m not sure how much better it would be from a really, really good Champions event to a ordinary, maybe even second-tier, PGA event.’’
o examine whether it’s a good idea to pursue an annual PGA stop in the Northwest, you have to ask the fundamental questions of what, who and when — which are fairly straightforward — then the more complex questions such as where, how and especially, why. cascadegolfer.com
PAGE 37 PHOTOS COURTESY USGA
TO BEGIN WITH, HERE’S
WHAT WHO WOULD BE PART OF IT:
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT AND
A PGA event features — ostensibly — the world’s best golfers, generally a field of about 120 with an average purse of about $5.5 million, of which the winner receives around $1 million. That’s about four times the payout of the average Champions Tour event — and is equivalent to the cost hike in event management, sponsorship, etc. Just about everything quadruples. When you’re bringing the big boys into town, it takes big-time money. Those two questions are directly related to the, WHEN? The Northwest has a much narrower time frame for a PGA event than most places. You can’t hold it the first five months of the year, or the final three months. That’s why Hawaii, California, Florida and Texas take over from January until June. The weather is uncertain here during those months, and even June can be dicey. Chambers Bay, in mid-June 2015, might be one of the colder U.S. Opens. So what we are left with is a mid-June to September window, and currently, that is closed tight. “You have to have a date, a sponsor and a geographic flow. There are a lot of factors,’’ Votaw says. “Right now, there is not an opening on the schedule.” The best this region could hope for, at least initially, is a second-tier event, a tournament held the same week as a major or a World Golf Championship event. Such secondary events — such as the True South Classic in Mississippi on July 19-22 (opposite the British Open) or the Reno-Tahoe Open on Aug. 2-5 (opposite cascadegolfer.com
the WGC-Bridgestone) — have a reduced purse, but also a depleted field. There are precious few headliners — not enough to draw mad spectator support.
WHERE? “Private clubs with a real estate component have the most interest, because they use that (the tournament) to sell lots,” says Matt Allen, general manger at Chambers Bay. “Most of the tournaments are on private courses. That’s part of the equation, finding membership willing to take that on on an annual basis.’’ Indeed, this year the PGA Tour schedule includes 23 country clubs. Public courses Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach that host annual events — as well as majors — are among the exceptions, and are also exceptional. Sahalee’s membership stepped up to take on the 1998 PGA Championship and the 2002 NEC Championship, but those were both one-time events. The best location in Seattle probably is the one already being used by the Boeing Classic – TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. It’s challenging. It can be stretched to accommodate the younger, longer hitters. It’s already connected by contract to the PGA. It has the infrastructure, experience and know-how to put on an outstanding event. And its membership has voted consistently to keep the Boeing Classic, despite the annual disruption to member play. But having two tournaments on site likely would not be acceptable to membership, and would require a rather awkward flip-flop from Champions to PGA. There also are quite a few houses on the site, which may limit the larger crowd flow. AUGUST 2012
For the same reason, few public courses have enough room to handle the crowds, while also providing a significant challenge to the pros. Chambers Bay, at 7,800 yards, is the most logical, but does management want an annual event after 2015? “I think the primary driving factor is how it affects our relationship with the USGA,’’ says Chambers’ general manager, Matt Allen. “If it affects it negatively, then it’s off the table. If it didn’t, then I think it comes down to whether it’s a meaningful positive financial benefit to the course. “If the Open gives us exposure and the maturity of the course comes together,” he continues, “then I’d rather just be busy serving golfers before pursuing anything else.’’ From 1980-1999, membership at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent cleared the way for the LPGA’s Safeco Classic on its course. The members agreed to give up playing the course for three weeks in the prime summer season while the infrastructure – bleachers, parking, etc. — was set up, and the club turned about $100,000 profit on the annual event. Greg Manley, the head professional at Meridian Valley, said there is a ‘”semi-active” group trying to get the LPGA to return. “From Meridian Valley’s perspective, to start up an LPGA event would not be very difficult. It would take roughly $3 million to $5 million,’’ Manley says. “For a PGA event, though, my guess is about $15 million to $20 million.” It’s a good guess. Nelson, crucial to the startup of the Boeing, said a major sponsor for a PGA event would be
Private courses, like Sahalee Country Club (above, at the ’98 PGA Championship), would have to close for up to a month every year to host an annual PGA Tour event. on the hook for as much as $20 million. “In the big picture, it’s all about the title sponsor. That’s the most critical piece,” Nelson says. “And it’s not inexpensive. It can be $10 million, $12 million, $14 million
for the naming rights. Then there’s the (hosting) in the skyboxes. You fly in guests and customers for the event. They need to be housed, fed and given gifts. I’d say it would be $18 million to $20 million for a PGA event.”
WHICH BRINGS US TO,
“It begins with the sponsor,’’ said the PGA’s Votaw. “A lot of courses can raise their hands and express interest in holding an event, but can’t unless there’s sponsorship.’’ Seattle has some big-timers on the world corporate stage: Microsoft, Amazon, Paccar, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, Weyerhaeuser, Nintendo and Tully’s. But none has had a long history of sports sponsorships. Portland also has some major companies: Nike, adidas, Willamette Industries, Louisiana-Pacific, U.S. Bank, Umpqua Holdings, Columbia Sportswear and Freightliner Trucks. Nike and adidas are an integral part of the golf business, but none have stepped into the title sponsor role. It took a perfect storm to help the Boeing Classic get off the ground. The course at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, finished in 1999, is part of a network of TPC courses around the country linked with the PGA. Part of their partnership is the option to host a professional event at some point, if the members are so motivated. “Ownership reached out in 2004 to let the PGA know that they were ready for a tournament to come here,’’ said Michelle DeLancy, the Boeing Classic’s current executive director, who has been with the event since its inception. That’s when Seahawks President and CEO Tod Leiweke, who was formerly an executive for the PGA Tour, became involved. He enlisted Virginia Mason as the host and beneficiary of the tournament. His group next approached Alan Mulally, at the time Boeing’s execu-
The field at the Boeing Classic (above) features major champions and golf legends — something a second-tier PGA Tour event might not be able to match. tive VP (and, importantly, an avid golfer) to commit as a title sponsor. Just four months before the inaugural 2005 event, Boeing was on board. “We literally started from scratch,’’ Nelson said. “We had a year to get ready with virtually no infrastructure. Tod used the barn-raising analogy. We had one paid employee – me. A lot of pieces fell into the right slots. We had 50,000 to 60,000 [fans] for the week. Those were great
numbers for the Champions Tour. “One of my proudest moments was the time Tom Kite was coming over to the 10th tee,’’ Nelson added. “It’s a Saturday and we had great weather, great crowds, the tents are all set up and everything’s well built and he says to (then Champions Tour President) Rick George, ‘Now this is what a golf tournament should look like.’” Today, the tournament draws more than 80,000
S G O L F
C O U R S E
spectators for the week. In seven years, more than $3.7 million has been raised for various charities. More than 1,000 volunteers show up to facilitate the crowd flow. In 2010, the event was given the President’s Award, symbolic of the most well-run tournament on the Champions Tour, and in 2011, the players themselves voted it their favorite event of the year. The Pro-Am sells out early. Skybox space sells out early. “Boeing, we feel, is the best title sponsor on any tour,’’ DeLancy said. “They take care of their clients. They take care of the players. Over the years, their clients have gotten really involved.’’
o, if the Boeing Classic is so well-sponsored, wellrun and well-supported, WHY would anyone mess with success? It would take about four times the sponsorship money, and an exponential increase in volunteers, infrastructure, parking space and spectators. It would take a title sponsor similar to Boeing that was willing to put up at least $15 million a year, and a number of lesser sponsors to help with the Pro-Am, vendors and transportation. The course would have to be one that tests today’s technology-enhanced Tour players. Sahalee is tight and tricky, but may not be of sufficient length. Aldarra’s membership has no interest in hosting an event. TPC Snoqualmie Ridge likely wouldn’t want a second tournament. And Chambers Bay’s Allen says, “It’s unlikely we’d be a candidate.’’ And most importantly — would a second-tier PGA Tour event, requiring four times the effort and expenditure, yet likely missing many if not all of the top players in the world, actually be better than the most popular event on the Champions Tour? “It would take a lot more money (than the Boeing Classic),’’ Nelson said, “and I’m not sure it would be that much better.’’ At least now, with the Boeing, we finally get to see Fred Couples every year. Bob Sherwin is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer. A veteran of the Seattle Times, he also freelances for the New York Times and Associated Press, and is the co-founder of Northwest golf website GolfersWest.com.
MAN, AMAZING STORY BY BRIAN BEAKY
PHOTOS COURTESY ADAMS GOLF
It takes a lot more than 140 characters to understand Olympia’s
ANDRES GONZALES, the Northwest’s most entertaining touring pro
t started, as so many things do, over drinks at a bar in Las Vegas.
@TigerWoods My name is Andres Gonzales and I am a rookie on tour. I like elephants.
It was February of 2011, and Gonzales — a graduate of Olympia’s Capital High School — was a PGA Tour rookie looking to have a little fun. An old friend told him about Twitter, and how you could interact with celebrities. Gonzales was intrigued. “She said, ‘You’re a funny guy, you should make a name for yourself by being funny on Twitter to get people to follow you,’” he recalls. “She said, ‘You should tweet Tiger.’” A few minutes later, that first tweet was sent, followed shortly by a second:
@TigerWoods And my favorite color is green. Of course, Woods didn’t respond — but some of his 2.3 million followers did, as well as some of their followers, and other golf movers and shakers. With every successive tweet in Tiger’s direction (Another sample: Anybody
have a pill that will give me six pack ABS while sitting in my hotel room doing nothing @TigerWoods how you look like that?!?), Gonzales’ followers increased, passing 1,000 in April, then exploding in June when a column by Rick Reilly ran on the front page of ESPN.com the week of the U.S. Open.
“The man is more fun than a boxful of puppies,” said Reilly in his column, the headline of which cited Gonzales’ Twitter slogan: “Half man, half amazing.” In the year since, Gonzales’ unique wit, fearless charm, accessible personality and Kenny Powers-esque appearance has made him a fan favorite at nearly every Tour stop he’s played, whether on the PGA Tour in 2011, or the Web.com Tour (formerly known as the Nationwide Tour), where he’s played in 2012. He often grants fans’ ticket requests, leaving envelopes at will call. He exchanges jokes with Masters champions (Bubba Watson), U.S. Open legends (Lee Janzen) and world No. 1s (Luke Donald) as if he’s known them all his life. And rain delays or long waits at airports become Twitter question-and-answer sessions, where no topic is off the table, from his largest-ever bar tab (“More than I want to say”), to his favorite beer (“Mac & Jack’s IPA”), NBA Draft predictions (“Who cares?!?! Seattle Sonics are no longer”) — even his thoughts on Scandinavian death metal (for the record, he’s not a fan). From a small following of a few hundred friends and family just 18 months ago, Gonzales today has over 20,000 followers, his appeal rooted in an honesty, humility and openness that gives golf fans the distinct impression that they can relate to Gonzales, that he’s “one of them” — similar to the relationship that developed between fans and golf’s original “man of the people,” John Daly, in the early ‘90s. While it has driven his popularity to heights few Web.com Tour golfers achieve, @Andres_Gonzales has, however, threatened to overshadow Andres Gonzales himself — a hard-working, highly skilled professional golfer who would much rather make a name for himself by beating Tiger Woods on the golf course then by joking around at his expense online. “He may act like he’s just out there having a good time, but don’t kid yourself, he definitely cares,” said golf course architect John Harbottle, in an interview just weeks before his sudden death of a heart attack in May. Like Gonzales, Harbottle was a member at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, and tracked Gonzales’ development as a player, and a person. “Even when we’re just playing together at Tacoma, he absolutely wants to win,” said Harbottle. “Nobody gets to where he is as an athlete without that kind of competitive spirit.” Gonzales confirms Harbottle’s assessment. “Whatever people want to write about me is great, whether it’s Twitter, or anything else,” he says. “It’s been fun to have so many people know who I am. But my whole goal is to be known for golf.”
hat task became easier this April, when Gonzales broke through on the golf course with a wire-towire win at the Soboba Golf Classic. It’s easy to layer all kinds of storylines onto Gonzales’ win, most notably the one where he proves himself as a golfer capable of more than just being funny in 140 characters or less. But to do so would require the assumption that Gonzales has ever felt he has something to prove — an
assumption that would be patently false. “I was proud of myself — not because of anything I proved to anyone, but in the way that I handled myself mentally, leading wire to wire,” he says of the win. “As long as I’m playing good golf, people can write whatever storylines they want. Doing well on the golf course is what’s satisfying to me.” Most satisfying of all, the win put $135,000 in Gonzales’ pocket and all but assured a return to the PGA Tour in 2013. Should he win twice more this year, Gonzales can earn an immediate “battlefield promotion” to the big Tour, while finishing atop the Web.com money list (he was fourth as of mid-July) will guarantee him entry to the 2013 Players Championship and other exclusive PGA Tour invitationals. Gonzales says that he’ll return to the Tour a much stronger player — both physically and mentally — than he was during his rookie season in 2011. “It’s definitely nice to know that I’m most likely going to go back to the Tour next year,” he says. “When I went last year, I was just so excited to be there. I spent way more time at the course than I usually would, practiced a lot more, and kind of got away from my usual routine. At a certain point, I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ Once I went back to my regular routine, I made 90 percent of my money in the second half of the year. “I’m excited to go back.”
he week following his win at Soboba, Gonzales was back at his home in Lakewood, enjoying the company of his wife, Kristin, and their puppy, a 20-pounds-and-growing Great Dane. Many of Gonzales’ tweets reflect his passion for the Pacific Northwest, to which he returns as often as the Tour schedule allows — for a week, or two, before heading back out on the road. There’s perhaps never been a more talented threesome of teenagers knocking it around our Puget Sound tracks than the Gonzales-Moore-Putnam group that frequented Tacoma Country and Golf Club (where all three are members) and other local courses in the area in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Ryan Moore, in particular, was — and continues to be — a big influence on Gonzales. As Moore dominated the Northwest junior circuit like only Fred Couples had before, Gonzales had a front-row seat to the show, observing the way his friend practiced, prepared, studied, and handled himself under pressure. Moore convinced Gonzales to join him at UNLV in 2002, then turned pro following the 2004-05 season, leaving Gonzales as the undisputed No. 1 for the first time in his amateur career. “When I was in school with Ryan, it felt like I was playing for second place every tournament,” says Gonzales, who indeed finished second to Moore at the 2001 Washington State High School Championships. “When Ryan left [UNLV], that was kind of when I felt like, ‘OK. It’s my turn.’ “That’s certainly not a good way to think, but the kid was just dominating.” Gonzales took over that senior season, following up a successful summer in 2005 with another strong
We get it — the Twitterverse is not for everyone. But if you’re looking for a daily dose of humor, follow @Andres_Gonzales for nuggets like these:
@TigerWoods hey I have a question. Why you ducking me? Let’s put a peg in the ground at get after it. #missyourface @TigerWoods afternoon skins game in Athens, GA on Sunday. Make the trip. I’ll cover your green fee...I know a guy!! @TigerWoods i had a dream last night that we played a round together. Obviously a dream, you were way taller than me. Anything better than playing fetch in the house with a dog on wood floors? I don’t know who is more entertained...me or the dog. I was picked last in the @PGATour rain delay charades game. Obviously people don’t know I was the lead in my 3rd grade thanksgiving play. Hey @TigerWoods, I heard jack used to dunk basketballs. I don’t buy it. Youre thoughts?
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year. When it came time to turn pro in 2006, Moore was there for him once again, to lend advice, or merely the encouragement every rookie sometimes needs. “He’s been a good, loyal friend, just constantly encouraging me and really believing in my game,” says Gonzales, who notes the two speak every couple of weeks. “It’s encouraging to have somebody at that level have confidence in me and encouraging me to keep doing it, and that I’m good enough to make it.” Gonzales says he’s not sure what’s in the water in the Tacoma area that has produced so many outstanding golfers in recent years, including himself, Moore, Michael Putnam and Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley, all of whom are under 30 years old, and three of whom have PGA or Web.com Tour wins under their belt. “It definitely helps each one of us to see each other doing it, and pushes us to want to be better than each other,” he says. “I think it helps younger kids also, who might be in college right now, or junior golfers out at Tacoma [Country and Golf Club] who might see Michael or Ryan or I out there a fair amount, believe that they can make it. “I don’t think there’s that much difference in golfers throughout the country in terms of actual potential ability,” he adds. “It’s just getting it in your mind that you can do it, and then putting in the time and practice to make it happen. Any encouragement you can get is big.” Gonzales returned home in May for the Washington Open, donating all of his fifth-place winnings to
the tournament’s charitable beneficiary, Camp Korey. Charity is close to his heart — particularly research into a cure for pancreatic cancer, which claimed both his wife’s grandfather in 2002, and his own father in 2007. Last year, Andres and Kristin Gonzales hosted the first-annual Andres Gonzales Charity Golf Tournament in Tacoma, raising just under $60,000 to support pancreatic cancer research. This year’s event, featuring Gonzales and several other Web.com Tour pros, is scheduled for Sept. 7. More information will be made available as the date approaches at Gonzales’ website, andresgonzalesgolf.com. “We were really proud of it,” he says. “Especially for a first-year event. Hopefully this year we can do even better.”
hen Gonzales does have the chance to come home, he says he can usually be found with Kristin, either on his couch in Lakewood, or sipping a glass of wine at La Petite Maison, a French restaurant in Olympia owned by their friends. Gonzales met Kristin when he was 12, a time when he was recovering from a broken neck suffered when diving into a too-shallow lake near his Olympia home. She went to Tacoma Baptist, and he went to Capital, but the two continued dating for the next decade, then married shortly after he finished his college career. “She’s always understood my passion and enjoy-
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ment of golf,” he says. “She’s been a godsend. There’s not too many women who could handle their guy being gone as much as we are gone. My family — including my parents and siblings — have been nothing but encouraging to me. If I stopped playing golf tomorrow, I’d still be good in their eyes.”
n June, when Tiger Woods rallied to win the Memorial, Gonzales was among the first to congratulate him.
NOW AVAILABLE AT
@TigerWoods proud of you big guy!!
PUETZ GOLF al
Now that he’s winning again, does Gonzales think Tiger is more likely to respond? “No, I don’t think he ever will,” Gonzales says. “He definitely knows about it. From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t want to tweet back because he doesn’t want to end it. “At some point I’d like to meet him and play golf with him and get to know him,” he adds. “I get along with everybody. We need to be paired together on a Sunday, that would be great.” It stands to reason that Gonzales and Woods could cross paths next season, when Gonzales makes his return to the PGA Tour. Should they end up paired together, it may well be one of the most talked-about pairings of the entire PGA Tour season. But will the media write about Gonzales’ chance to actually beat Tiger, or just the Twitter? “I want them to say whatever they want to say
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about me,” he says. “I’m happy with my life, and trying to play better and love my family and just enjoy myself. If I can project that to other people, then whatever they say, I’ll be happy with.”
ROAD HOLES The addition of Elkhorn Golf Club at Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort has golfers following in the footsteps of Hemingway
BY TED ANDERSON
ne feels it immediately upon entering the property — Sun Valley Resort has a sense of place. It comes from many sources, starting with the Alisters who have frolicked here since the Sun Valley Lodge became America’s first destination winter resort in 1936, including U.S. presidents, business titans and Hollywood superstars. It emanates from the ice rinks and mountain slopes where Olympic stars regularly entertain, compete and recreate. It resounds through the village walkways, shops and restaurants, which are immaculate, yet without pretense. It is perhaps most palpable, though, through Ernest Hemingway. The legendary “Papa” hunted, fished, and wrote at Sun Valley, penning much of his 1939 novel on the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls, from the balcony of Room 206 in the Sun Valley Lodge. Guests frequently request the “Hemingway room” — writers seeking inspiration, or fans and history lovers curious to make a connection to one of the 20th century’s most talented and enigmatic authors, and the small Idaho community where he chose to rest his soul. One can see Hemingway’s final home, where he spent the last two years of his life, from the elevated and spectacular fifth tee at Sun Valley’s White Clouds course. His words — engraved on a memorial bust overlooking the namesake stream that borders a fairway on the Trail Creek course — capture the essence of Sun Valley: “Best of all he loved the fall. The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods. Leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills. The light blue windless skies. Now, he will be a part of them forever.” And, of course, Hemingway is, having ended his life in Ketchum — just outside Sun Valley — in 1961.
Elkhorn Golf Club • Sun Valley, Idaho
ut Sun Valley is not about the past, or resting on its considerable laurels. It is very much a place of the present, particularly as a golf destination. And with 45 holes — all designed through the Robert Trent Jones, Sr., architecture pedigree — it is constantly evolving. Last summer, Sun Valley purchased Elkhorn Golf Club, an 18-hole joint design from RTJ Sr. and his son, RTJ II. Shortly before that, Sun Valley added a new, elegant clubhouse, a 25-acre practice facility, and an 18-hole putting course called Sawtooth (inspired by the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains), all amenities that earned the resort recognition from Golf Digest as one of the top-75 golf resorts in North America. Noted golf course photographer Brian Oar has traveled the world to play some of the most iconic tracks on the globe. But he considers Sun Valley one of the best. “Even when it was just the Trail Creek and White Clouds courses, it was still one my favorite places to go spend a long weekend and just completely unwind,” he says. “But now that they’ve added Elkhorn? In my mind, that makes it truly a world-class golf destination.” Elkhorn was the last collaboration between the legendary father-son golf course design team. “Senior” designed the hilly front nine, while “Junior” designed the back, which follows a creek and has a water hazard on every hole but one. Over 7,000 yards from the tips, and with large greens
and over 100 bunkers, Elkhorn insists that players be “on” to score well. The seventh is a particular treat — a straightforward par-5 that can easily be reached in two shots. Aim slightly right on your tee shot and add an extra club or two for your approach, as the green is elevated dramatically. The clubhouse, practice facility, attention to detail, décor and landscaping whisper “country club,” while the hospitality of the staff makes every player feel like a member. Sun Valley’s signature course, Trail Creek, has beautiful “bones” that date to the 1930s. It’s a lovely, classic-style design that has stood well the test of time, thanks in part to a deft restoration and enhancement by RTJ II. With a full complement of stream carries and strategic bunkers well positioned to catch errant shots, Trail Creek plays across its beautiful, watery namesake seven times on the front nine alone. Coupled with views of surrounding mountains and prevailing crystal blue skies, one can become easily distracted … to the detriment of one’s score. The sixth hole provides a good example. Only 147 yards from the back tee, this short, uphill par-3 seems relatively tame. But a precise tee shot is imperative, thanks to a left-to-right crosswind, the need to stay below the hole as the green slopes severely from back to front, and all kinds of trouble short. The nine-hole White Clouds is the youngest of the three courses, having opened in the fall of 2008. The creation of longtime RTJ II lead architect Don Knott (who also cascadegolfer.com
IDAHO’S SPARKLING GEMS
hese other top Idaho tracks can’t claim a Hemingway connection, but they’re inspiring plenty of gushing prose from journalists and golfers worldwide:
Coeur d’Alene Resort | Coeur d’Alene cdaresort.com
built the Links at Spanish Bay and National Golf Club in New York), White Clouds is a course that truly lives up to its name. A 3,605-yard, 9-hole Alpine style course, it bobs and weaves along mountain ridges, and includes an array of eclectic holes, no two remotely alike. The long, par-4 eighth hole is memorable for its view, its sinewy brawn and its 210-foot elevation drop from tee to fairway. Measuring a U.S. Open-like 523 yards from the tips, tee shots stay in the air seemingly forever — Knott estimates that the combination of the elevation change, the altitude and the ensuing run-out on the downhill slopes should allow even moderate-length hitters to blast drives of 300 yards or more. One needs to favor the right side of the fairway due to a severe right-to-left pitch. The second shot plays downhill
and should also favor the right side of a large, undulating green. It’s a beautiful beast, for sure, but one that — when successfully navigated — makes for an unforgettable golf experience.
f course, Sun Valley was never conceived as a golf destination. When W. Averill Harriman, chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, built the original lodge in 1936, his goal was to make it the “American Shangri-La,” a high-mountain getaway where celebrities of the day could bask in the natural beauty of the region while enjoying restaurants, activities and culture to rival those in Hollywood or Palm Springs. Built to be one of the pre-eminent resort destinations on the continent, it has never ceased aspiring for this dis-
WIN A TRIP TO SUN VALLEY! Want to follow in the footsteps of Hemingway — or just play an incredible round of golf? Enter to win at CascadeGolfer.com and you and a friend could be enjoying an overnight autumn stay-and-play at the Sun Valley Resort, including lodge accommodations and a round of golf for two on any of the resort’s three courses, including the newly-added Elkhorn Golf Club. Only one package will be given away, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com today to put your name in the mix! cascadegolfer.com
The floating green at Coeur d’Alene Resort is one the great architectural achievements in golf history, a fivemillion pound, 15,000-square foot island connected to the mainland only by a series of underwater cables by which its distance from the shore can be adjusted. For a golfer, it’s a “bucket list” moment, whether you hit the green, or find the water. My wife, though, counts Coeur d’Alene Resort as one of her favorite vacation spots — and she has never so much as laid eyes on the floating green. She cherishes watching the sunrise over the lake, getting massages in the Coeur d’Alene Resort & Spa, and our at-least-once-a-trip dinner at Beverly’s, the resort steakhouse, overlooking the lake and surrounding mountains. Stay-and-play packages start as low as $222 per player, including lodging, two rounds of golf, dinner at Beverly’s or another resort restaurant, and more. And if your spouse doesn’t golf, so much the better — that’s 36 holes for you, and one more chance to try to hit that green.
Circling Raven Golf Club | Worley circlingraven.com An amenity of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort in Worley (not to be confused with the Coeur d’Alene Resort and its floating green, 40 minutes north), Circling Raven is likely one of the largest golf courses you’ll ever play, covering 620 acres and featuring eight miles of cart paths. It’s also one of the best — split fairways, risk/ reward par-4s, elevated tees and an uncanny sense of solitude all make for one of the more memorable rounds of golf you’ll ever play. The recently-expanded resort and casino adjacent to the course —including a luxury spa, several restaurants and deluxe accommodations — caters to a diverse clientele, as evidenced by stay-and-play packages that start as low as $249 in peak season for accommodations and two rounds of golf. AUGUST 2012
ROADHOLES HOLES ROAD
Hemingway writing in Room 206 at Sun Valley Resort. PHOTO COURTESY SUN VALLEY
tinction, even as it has remade itself over the decades into an Alpine golf heaven. The Sun Valley Pavilion, a world-class outdoor concert space, hosts the Sun Valley Symphony Series each summer, featuring sitting members of the leading philharmonic orchestras in the United States. And of course, there are hundreds of hiking and biking trails, several resort swimming pools, year-round ice rinks, and more. The golf clubhouse restaurant is a popular eatery, with duck tacos and Kobe beef burgers – the only place on the property these succulent choices are offered. The historic Trail Creek Cabin, meanwhile, is where Hemingway and his mates spent much time, eating and drinking late into the night while sharing stories of their worldwide travels.
un Valley never let the lure of big dollars sway it into selling prime parcels of its ample, wondrous acreage for real estate. Hence, the elevated land remains pristine, breath-taking and for everyone’s enjoyment. Sense of place is everything at Sun Valley. It’s why people have been coming to Sun Valley for generations, and why one of the 20th century’s most famous travelers — one who frequented the Spanish countryside, sipped coffee at Paris cafes, and felt the sea breezes of Havana and Key West — chose it above all others for his final home. Standing in the Ketchum cemetery and staring at the marker which reads “Ernest Miller Hemingway,” the maple leaves whispering in a gentle summer breeze as the setting sun casts a deep orange glow across the valley, it’s easy to see why Hemingway came, and more poignantly, why he never wanted to leave. For more information visit sunvalley.com/golf. Ted Anderson is a freelance golf writer. This is his first contribution to Cascade Golfer.
awaii H Heaven in
Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course • Westin Maui Ka’anapali Resort & Spa
reat golf and travel experiences tend to derive from three sources of inspiration. Courses that challenge the soul and spirit. Locations that leave indelible impressions. And lastly, the people that make the travel memorable. I’ve been fortunate to experience life-long memories via this game, but admittedly the three areas I mentioned above don’t always line up perfectly in my crosshairs. My recent trip to Maui however, delivered that unique trifecta during my stay at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa at Ka’anapali. Truth is, I look back on this experience with the smile of a Cheshire cat and find that the company I was in — my business partner and our wives — felt and looked the same way. Located on the Northern coastline of Maui in the beach haven of Lahaina, the Westin and the Ka’anapali courses are certainly not hidden, as the resort is on many must-stay lists. The Royal and Kai golf courses, which we played, have been televised many times as hosts of Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, Tour events, Skins matches and The Big Break. If you watch golf, you’ve seen this place, even if maybe you didn’t know it. The resort was the major attraction of the week. The Westin puts everything at your fingertips. You are royalty when you step out of the car. The entrance has NO doors – it’s all open-air, whether it’s July or Christ-
BY DICK STEPHENS CG PUBLISHER mas Day. The grounds are a fruity, frothy cocktail of tropical wildlife paradise, mixed with decadent appointments topped off with total casual relaxation. I never felt overwhelmed but seemed to be smiling a lot; the place just soothes you. Although the resort can mesh nicely with linen suits and silk sundresses, to be honest, it’s more of a “kick back and just be you” type of place. The multi-pool complex is the centerpiece of resort, with lava rock formations, waterfalls, slides, poolside bars and food service. It’s family-friendly, for sure, but if you are sans kiddies, you are not over-matched. With special adult-only pools, spas and bars, you can find your own little piece of heaven in several spots. And, because the place is enormous, there are countless different experiences to be had, no matter where you decide to sit and relax the day away. The grounds are immaculate — if you wish to focus on the pools, water features and dozens of sunny or shady spots located throughout the resort, you will have plenty of options. But, this being an island in the Pacific, the Westin is also ready to host you on the beach for a day of sand in your toes with your very own lounge chair, umbrellas and attendants to take care of your every need. The resort also features a large pond which is home to tropical fish and flamingos, and a banyan tree where
thousands of birds put on a natural widlife show, filling the resort with amazing sounds and sights and providing much of the resort’s ambient sounds. The Westin has numerous connections to beach lifestyle activity, including catamaran excursions that launch right off the shore in front of the hotel, snorkeling, surfing, fishing and evening luaus. On-site local merchants, artists and boutiques can provide you with anything you would need to enjoy a day or a week. And for those who prefer to venture about, there are more restaurants, shopping and activity than you can possibly take in during one trip, making the Westin’s location ideal, for sure. The food and drink is also a star attraction. Leading off is Tropica, which is only open in the evenings, Wednesday to Sunday. This is a must reservation. Right on the beach and all outdoor and open-air, you sit among tiki torches and the setting sun. The staff let out all the stops for us as we sampled what was, for me, one the best dining experiences of my life. Tropica features daily catches of tuna and regional fish, Kona lobster, beef and chop selections and the freshest Hawaiian produce. The service and mood was breathtaking, and wine and mixology pairings are critical to making the most of the cuisine. The restaurant manager and staff are a big part of the experience as they help make great pairings and educate you on the local fare – makcascadegolfer.com
The Heavenly Spa treatment offerings are a must. View of the Tropica Restaurant at dusk.
ing sure that your palate is uniquely stimulated. Your senses are in full blossom during a 90-minute experience there. Tropica makes many lists of top dining experiences, and rightly so. Candidly, and my travelmates will attest, the scenery and dining environment right there on the beach is beyond overwhelming. The other cafes, lounges, bars and luau options are also firstrate, and are perfect for a snack or a more casual dining experience. If you never have experienced a luau, the Wailele Polynesian Luau at the Westin is a perfect opportunity. The show is fully Hawaiian and has Polynesian influence via Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand, and it’s performed by carefully trained native dancers. The show features fire knife dancers and delivers a true impact to round out the experience. With a three-course dinner, wide array of cocktails and local beers and soft drinks, there are many dining and bar options to suit the varying needs — you will not be hungry or thirsty here. Last but not least are the rooms and Heavenly Spa. There are rooms and suites to meet varying thicknesses of wallets, and vacationing there in the off-season can make a four-star stay quite affordable. The rooms are quiet and the Westin’s Heavenly Beds are tiptop — one of the signature elements of your stay. Our room was a suite with an ocean view where my wife and I relaxed with coffee and wine on the veranda each day. All the standard higher-end amenities that you would expect are available to the guests; WiFi is a staple in this day and age, and the signal was strong, both in the room and by the pool. With 759 rooms in two towers, you are in cascadegolfer.com
good company, but you don’t feel pinched. Being Northwesterners, I was pleased to see how committed the resort was to sustainable initiatives and green living, too. The spa, meanwhile, was 15,000 square feet of body bliss. Our wives were the focus of 80 minutes of attention and pampering, including sauna, steam, whirlpool and an ocean-view relaxation room. They enjoyed the signature full-body massage, which is customized especially for your needs using heat and a blend of essential oils — a service which can be enjoyed under an outside cabana with the sounds of the ocean or in a private massage room. Needless to say, our wives were an inch taller when they rejoined us. Voted one of the best spas in the Hawaiian islands and recently given high praise by Fodor’s and Conde Nast, there are numerous treatments to choose from. The outdoor cabana seaside massage, though, might take the cake. They offer a number of massage, skin, facial, water and relaxation offerings in the spa for individuals or couples alike. If you don’t wish to partake in decadent body treatment, you can also work out or use the yoga facility. They also feature complete salon offerings and appointments can be easily made. Just being in their environment is relaxing enough, but to pair a treatment and the Hawaiian surroundings is a life-long memory. And for the golfers, setting an appointment in the Heavenly Spa right after your round can be a great way to top off and regroup your muscles. You find can get information and make reservations at westinmaui.com.
Tower view of the pools.
The Wailele Polynesian Luau.
Look for part II of
“Heaven In Hawaii” in the December issue of Cascade Golfer, and on cascadegolfer.com!
SAVE SOME GREEN
PLAY MORE, PAY LESS BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
here’s no better time, and few better places, to be a golfer than summer in the Northwest. Long days where the temperature usually settles in around 7080 degrees, beautiful scenery, and dozens of incredible golf courses at our fingertips — plus the ability, within two hours, to be high up in the Cascade Mountains, golfing on the Washington coast, or playing through the fruit orchards of Central Washington. There’s truly no place like home. The only problem with the peak playing season is that there are thousands of golfers who think just like you, and can’t wait to pack our local fairways once the annual “June gloom” ends and the real summer weather kicks in. That can make for long rounds at the most popular courses, and high peak-season rates at the nicest tracks. So what’s a golfer to do? We have two different approaches, depending on how much time we have in our day, and how far we’re willing to go. The first, and most enjoyable is to get out of town — the most popular courses are the ones in the most populated areas … Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, etc. Just 60-90 minutes outside of those cities, though, are several fun and scenic tracks that offer the joint benefits of lower greens fees, and less traffic. Our resident Bellingham writer, Tony Dear, suggested two such courses in our June issue, and offers up a third this month. On weeks when we’re more squeezed for time and need to find a round within the immediate area, we avoid the weekends and the early afternoons and instead play at either the crack of dawn (at or before 6 a.m.) or late in the evening (5 p.m. or later). With the sun up by 5:30 most mornings, and out until at least 9-9:30, we can almost always fit in 18 holes, and typically in no more than three-and-a-half hours. That way, we can work golf in around a day at the office — while avoiding the busiest times of the day, and typically paying a reduced early-bird or twilight rate. And if you’re worried that your boss will balk at letting you shift your hours a bit to accommodate that before or after-work round? Invite him or her along — it’s amazing how quickly their attitude will change. Just remember to give them those three-foot putts.
NOTHING’S BETTER THAN FREE Want to know the most creative way to save money on your golf this summer? Win it for free from Cascade Golfer! We’re giving three golfers (and the playing partner of their choice) the chance to play 18 on us this fall, in three of our state’s fantastic golf regions. Play shots through the apple orchards at Yakima’s Apple Tree, let your drives fly high in the Cascade Mountains at Kahler Glen near Leavenworth, or bask in the glory of majestic Mount Rainer at Tacoma’s Allenmore. Enter to win today at cascadegolfer.com! 54
North Bellingham GC BELLINGHAM
Unless they caught a glimpse of the 2nd green or 3rd fairway from the driveway, it’s not uncommon for first-time visitors to North Bellingham to be within a couple of hundred yards of the clubhouse and wonder where on Earth the course is. As they turn into the property from Smith Road, about six miles north of downtown, they’ll think the place looks rather horizontal save for the odd dip in the ground. There aren’t any trees lining any of the fairways in a way that might suggest the position of any of the holes. Indeed, there are very few conspicuous landmarks anywhere. Unless it’s a glorious summer’s day, there will be very little to stir the golfer’s imagination. The newcomer may feel curious about the challenge that lays ahead, eager to discover why his buddy spoke so highly of the place, and why Cascade Golfer included it among its recommended values. The course starts making demands at No. 2, where a mid-iron or even a hybrid may be necessary to reach the wide, shallow green. Then again at No. 3, where a pull or hook off the tee will find the pond just to the left of the fairway. By No. 4, North Bellingham slips into top gear. A superb, dogleg-left par-4, No. 4 features a small lake on the left that must be circumnavigated. Those that know their golf architecture will see something resembling a classic “Cape” hole, leaving the player faced with a tantalizing decision of how much lake to carry. This early in the round, the tendency may be to bail out safe right, but that brings fairway bunkers into play. Take on a bigger carry to leave a short pitch approach — but you’d better catch it flush. Barring the par-5 sixth hole, which ducks, dives, heaves and weaves for 487 yards at the far northwestern edge of the property, the terrain remains, if not uniformly flat, then fairly level for much of the round. However, the designer, Ted Locke — who apprenticed under Canada’s Graham Cooke before establishing his own company in 1992 — made the best use of what undulation he could find, creating an engaging course that will hold your attention throughout. Summer rates went into effect June 1, and golfers who pay the regular 18-hole rate ($40-$50) will be welcome to play another 18 free of charge provided there is an available tee-time. All you pay for is the cart. And if the sky is blue, and formidable Mt. Baker is visible to the east, then so much the better. —Tony Dear
BEST HOLE There are certainly a few candidates — the par-5 sixth and the par-5 11th among them — but No. 4 is risk/reward at its finest. Ideally, I’d like to see it come much later in the round, but then the greatest Cape hole of all — the fifth at Mid-Ocean on the island of Bermuda — came early, too, so we won’t get too picky.
YARDAGE 5,160-6,816 RATES $40-$50 WEB northbellinghamgolf.com TEL (360) 398-8300 cascadegolfer.com
In 1968, the city of Bellevue hired David W. Kent to construct an 18-hole course for the then-relatively quiet Eastside community. Flash forward 44 years, and Bellevue Golf Course now sits merely a par-5 or two from the Microsoft main campus and has become a favorite spot for programmers and sales reps looking for a mid-day respite. Bellevue is managed by Premier Golf, which runs Seattle’s Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, West Seattle and Interbay, plus others in Everett, Maple Valley and Olympia. That allows Bellevue golfers to benefit from the Premier Golf Card, a free loyalty rewards program which grants discounts on greens fees and clubhouse amenities at each of its eight tracks. Many, if not most, of the golfers on Bellevue’s fairways are Premier Golf Card holders, there to take advantage of good rates on a round that will test you, but not break you. Long hitters, in particular, have plenty of chances to put low numbers on the scorecard — land your drive on the left side of the 488-yard, par-5 second and you’ll have a mostly clear approach to the green should you decide to go for it, while the 310-yard, par-13th is a tempting tease for a big hitter with a power draw. And for those of us just happy to keep our balls on the fairway? While trees line nearly every fairway, with a couple of exceptions, there’s plenty of room to start a shot off left and bring it back to the short stuff — good news for any golfer with a tendency to miss right … which, statistics say, is most of us.
BEST HOLE At the par-4 14th, it’s not the length that will get you, but the retention pond that lines the left side of the fairway. Big hitters have to either try a dangerous fade over the water to a narrow landing area, or swallow their pride and lay up short. Played well, it can make your round with a birdie — played poorly, you’ll rue a missed opportunity to score.
YARDAGE 4,978-6,048 RATES $20-$40 WEB bellevuepgc.com TEL (425) 452-7250 cascadegolfer.com
Free Up Your Putting
BY JAMES LEPP
or many golfers, putting is harder than it should be. Poor speed, bad rhythm, mishits, pulls, pushes, three-putts, and — yes — the dreaded yips, are only a few issues that any golfer can encounter. You may have tried solutions such as the claw grip, longer putters, teaching aids, or even putting with your wedge (a snapped putter can be tough on the wallet, but is often quite a relief, emotionally). When it seems as if you’ve tried everything, here are three unconventional tips that you have almost certainly not tried, which can help free up your putting:
TIP 1: TARGETLESS PUTTING
TIP 2: TAKE A DIFFERENT LOOK
TIP 3: WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS,
Sometimes, putting to a hole can cause apprehension, tension and poor strokes. Instead, practice putting to nowhere in particular — no target, no line, no distance; just stroke it. This will give you a sensation of what your natural rhythm and stroke should feel like. Go ahead and watch the ball to see where it goes, as this will help your brain correlate how you set up with how you swing, and where your ball ends up.
Obviously, targetless putting won’t work on the course. However, an excellent way to free yourself up while putting to a target is to change where you look when you putt. Many PGA Tour players putt while looking at the hole. If that feels awkward, try putting while looking just in front of the ball, and a little to the side. This should allow you to have peripheral awareness of your stroke, but disengages you from what you’ve always done (and that hasn’t been working for you!), giving you a great, freed-up feeling.
The key with this is to close your eyes as late as possible. Play around with the timing, from closing them just before you take the putter back to closing them as you’re about to make contact. Not only will this free up your stroke, but it will allow your powerful subconscious to take over. Essentially, you’re getting out of your own way!
CLOSE YOUR EYES!
James, 28, is a professional golfer, and won the 2005 NCAA championship while competing at the University of Washington. After winning twice on the Canadian Tour, he founded Kikkor Golf, a street-inspired golf footwear company. To learn more about James and Kikkor Golf, visit www.kikkor.com
If I Ran The Zoo... BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
s a Northwest golfer who makes it a goal each year to bring my handicap down to a certain number, I’ve long wished the USGA could factor weather conditions into its handicap formula. The official USGA handicap formula does include a factor for course difficulty, but it assumes that a course plays equally difficult regardless of conditions … an assumption clearly made by someone who doesn’t spend six months of their year trying to hold wet grips or carry a long iron through the wind and rain. That 175-yard approach is a lot easier in the 85-degree sun of an August afternoon than the 45-degree chill of a wet March morning — yet, as a golfer, we’re punished or rewarded equally for those shots. As we discussed this earlier this year (Yes, during a rain-soaked spring round — we fully embrace our regional bias on this specific topic), it brought to mind other changes we’d be in favor of making if we held the power for a day. We also put the question to the Cascade Golfer followers on Facebook and Twitter, and included some of your most creative suggestions below. Do you have a rule change you’d like to see? Join the conversation on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) or Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) and share your thoughts with like-minded golfers. We may not have the power to change things just yet, but we can certainly get the ball rolling.
Dodge the Divots
If the ball settles into a divot through the green, the player [should be allowed], without penalty, to place the ball within one foot of the divot, no closer to the hole. Golfers should fix their divots, but the reality is they don’t — and often can’t, especially from thin lies. Subsequent golfers shouldn’t be penalized by a result of the actions of golfers in front of them. While this rule would apply mostly in the fairway, there are occasionally divots in first cut of rough that come into play, though the player would have the option of playing from the divot (may, not must). — Stephen B. Levy, CG reader
An Idea for ESC Let ‘Em Play
[Get rid of] out of bounds on the golf course. If the ball is still on the golf course property, and playable, then it shouldn’t be out of bounds. OB should be lost or off of the golf course (someone’s yard). — Brett Brilhante, CG reader
On The Mark
[Allow golfers to repair] spike marks on the green. Just because some buffoon in front of you drags his feet on the green, you have to pay the price? Doesn’t make sense to me. — Jack Hutt, CG reader
AUGUST 2012 AUGUST 2012
Equitable Stroke Control, or ESC, refers to the maximum score that a golfer using a Handicap Index can post on any given hole. Currently, golfers with single-digit Course Handicaps can post no more than double bogey; golfers between 10 and 19 max out at 7, while golfers in the 20-29 range can post no higher than an 8. While the intent is certainly worthwhile — to make handicaps best reflect a player’s potential by limiting the impact of “blowup holes” — the concept of setting a maximum score on any hole means that a 15 handicap, for example, can post a total-blowup quadruple-bogey on an easy par-3, but is limited to double on a tough par-5. The Brits do it differently, using net double bogey — double bogey plus any strokes the player is receiving on that hole — as the limit for all players. A scratch golfer would typically be capped around double bogey, a bogey golfer around triple bogey, and a high-handicapper around quad, all of which seem reasonable. — Brian Beaky, CG Editor