VOLUME 8 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2014 • COMPLIMENTARY
PING G30s CHANGE THE GAME
NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS cascadegolfer.com @cascadegolfer
HEAD OF THE CLASS A Tacoma teacher and a 21-year-old phenom are taking the Tour by storm
PLUS: GAMBLE SANDS • BOEING CLASSIC • BROCK HUARD
SHOE AND BAG
See page 24 for details
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #1 Seattle,WA
• FootGolf takes over • CG Cup makes turn for home • Play with pros in the Tacoma Open • Sun shines on North Shore • Golf’s confusing terms explained • Road To Salish Cliffs continues • Northwest pros rolling in 2014 • North Sound Shootout crowns champs • Stay and play in Spokane this fall
LEARNING ON THE JOB Tacoma’s Michael Greller and PGA TOUR phenom Jordan Spieth are more than just player and caddy — they’re good friends, too. BY STEVE KELLEY
16 TOP SHELF
31 RISK VS REWARD
• TPC Snoqualmie Ridge raises its game
• Gamble Sands No. 2
18 TEEING OFF
44 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Football’s in the air with QB Brock Huard
• Double your pleasure
20 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• PING G30 takes center stage • New iron sets add distance • Drivers, shoes and more
• A shot of Glenlivet hits the spot
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 24-29 | 48-49
HEAVENLY SANDS With David McLay Kidd’s all-new Gamble Sands set to open Aug. 1, we packed up the cooler and headed east for a whirlwind 36-hole day trip we won’t soon forget.
BOEING CLASSIC’S TOP-10 We celebrate our region’s only PGA TOUR stop’s 10th birthday by counting down the top-10 moments in Boeing Classic history. BY BOB SHERWIN
BY BRIAN BEAKY
ON THE COVER Eighteen months ago, Michael Greller (left) was a sixth-grade teacher in University Place, a part-time caddy at Chambers Bay, and a men’s club member at Gold Mountain. Then Jordan Spieth called with an offer to join him on the PGA TOUR, and Greller’s life has never been the same. STORY ON PAGE 32
THIS PAGE The par-3 13th hole at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge may not be as famous as its canyon-hole neighbor, but its views of Mount Si from the infinity green are some of the best in the region. STORY ON PAGE 16.
Cover photo copyright Getty Images. Used with permission.
AUGUST 2014 AUGUST
Volume 8 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2014
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 106,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound.
VARSITY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 4114 198th Street SW, Suite 5 Lynnwood, WA 98036 P: (425) 412-7070 F: (425) 412-7082 varsitycommunications.com
P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Kalii De La Rosa, Katie Erickson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Steve Kelley, Bob Sherwin FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103 firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalism world says kudos to CG’s Bob Sherwin
foundation of any good news source is the quality, clarity and accuracy of its information. While with today’s technology anyone can be a publisher, that doesn’t mean that you are automatically recognized as a legitimate source of news — frankly, that only comes with time, training and perseverance. And no matter if it’s TV, radio, print or digital, the foundation of journalistic talent and integrity will only be solidified if your audience keeps coming back for more. When we started Cascade Golfer in 2007, I knew that those who would write and edit for us would need to have real chops — chops via experience in reporting, feature writing and editing, and a love for golf journalism that comes through in their work. We reach 100,000 households each issue – that’s a Rose Bowl’s worth of readers holding us accountable, every time. Myself; our founding editor, Charles Beene; and the gent that has carried CG forward for the lion’s share of our eight volumes, Brian Beaky; are all cut from the same cloth – we trained and worked in this field long before we were lucky enough to help shape this magazine into what it’s become. Brian has a unique voice, both as writer and editor, one that respects history but focuses on the future. Golf is a mobile, finicky labor of love, and as a golfer, he gets that.
ADVERTISING & MARKETING STAFF
But every news source needs other voices to round out the coverage, voices that vary in tone and delivery. Fortunately for us and for you, the voices that carry Cascade Golfer’s news and views are true heavyweights in sports journalism. In Major League Baseball, Bob Sherwin is synonymous with top-rate reporting — he even has a vote for the MLB Hall of Fame. His career includes major contributions to The Seattle Times, San Francisco Examiner, MLB.com and The New York Times. Recently, Bob’s 2013 CG feature on UW alum and pro golfer Richard Lee (“The Road Less Traveled,” Aug. ‘13) was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists as one of the top-three Northwest sports magazine features of the year. Although Bob has a shelf of awards, it struck a chord for me as the founder of this magazine. It’s the first time we’ve tossed our hat in the ring for any kind of award, and it was a honor to know that our work stood up among the best of the best. Writers like Bob, Brian, Tony Dear, Steve Kelley, Jim Moore, Craig Smith and others make Cascade Golfer what it is. I tip my hat to Bob — and to you all, too. This is YOUR magazine and the voice of the Northwest golfer. Enjoy the long hot summer days and as always, TAKE IT EASY!
Book your tee time today!
VICE PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR OF SALES Kirk Tourtillotte
SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Johnny Carey, Josh Nantz FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100 email@example.com
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2014 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes.
• • • • •
Great golf experience without the pressure Over 50 world-class courses to choose from Family friendly www.clubhouse-golf.com Great food and drinks Largest indoor golf center (425) 582-9813 & sports bar in WA state 3105 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Suite A, Lynnwood, WA 98036 • Watch your favorite sporting events on the giant screens
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
AUGUST AUGUST2014 2014
SHORT GAME FootGolf, Puget Sound’s New Sports Craze
ou love soccer. You love golf. You wish they’d just get together already, but they’d never go for each other, right? Soccer is all loud and aggressive, while golf maintains a more proper decorum. It turns out, as Thales of Miletus first discovered in 525 B.C., and Paula Abdul reminded us more than 2,000 years later — opposites attract. FootGolf is a new sport combining two of the Pacific Northwest’s greatest sporting passions, soccer and
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golf. FootGolf players wear old-time golf attire (argyle socks, caps) and come to regulation golf courses, where FootGolf cups — 21 inches in diameter — have been constructed at various points along the course’s 9 or 18 holes. From that point on, the game is played similar to a round of golf, with the goal of guiding the ball into the cup in the fewest number of shots, while avoiding water hazards, bunkers and out of bounds. The only difference is that instead of attempting to perform the frustratingly complex action of striking a golf ball with a golf club, players kick a soccer ball instead. While forms of “soccer golf” have been played by soccer players as a training diversion for decades, the first formal FootGolf tournament was held in the Netherlands in 2009. Since then, the International FootGolf Association has been formed and currently claims members in 22 countries and 26 U.S. states. Not only is FootGolf significantly easier than a round of golf, it’s also cheaper — and much, much faster. A typical FootGolf round takes about 90 minutes to play (even less if you take a cart), and costs as little as $10.50 a round. And, perhaps best of all, it’s far more enjoyable in wet weather than either soccer — which can leave you cold, drenched and muddy — or golf, which after four-and-a-half hours of slippery grips and plugged lies can simply make you want to throw your clubs into the nearest hazard. FootGolf’s ease of play, low cost and quick pace have also made it popular with families, a fun alternative to an evening or afternoon of miniature golf or bowling. In May, Tacoma’s Meadow Park Golf Course became the first in the state of Washington to build a FootGolf course on its property, laying out 18 holes across its Williams Nine executive course. It was followed quickly by Gold Mountain, which established 18 FootGolf holes across the front nine of its Cascade Course, and Semiahmoo Resort, which rotates nine-hole FootGolf courses between its two award-winning championship tracks, Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club, and Loomis Trail, part of the ongoing rejuvenation of the Blaine resort. High Cedars, Fort Steilacoom and numerous other courses are reported to be quickly following suit.
“We see FootGolf as yet another wonderful addition to the countless recreational opportunities that are available to those visiting the Resort,” said David Sullivan, general manager of Semiahmoo Resort, Spa & Golf. “This summer will be an exciting time to experience the new Semiahmoo in its full glory.” At Meadow Park, more than 1,000 golfers came out to kick it around within the first month after opening the course, with even more expected as word spreads and the weather improves. Already, 12 tournament dates have been scheduled, and leagues are being formed. For golfers and soccer lovers, the benefits of the new game are clear. But it’s also been a boon for golf courses, who have opened their doors to a wider clientele and increased the hours within which they can do business. A rainy day might typically clear a golf course’s tee sheet of paying golfers. FootGolfers, though, turn out in just about any conditions — indeed, a recent rainy Thursday morning at Meadow Park saw a foursome of rain-gear clad FootGolfers headed for the first tee, even as “regular” golfers were calling in to push their tee times back a day. And those late-evening tee times, when golfers might try to squeeze in nine holes before dark, are also prime times for FootGolfers, who can easily knock out a full 18 holes after work on a weekday, or after 7 p.m. on a summer evening. At Semiahmoo, the course (routed across Loomis Trail on even-numbered days, and Semiahmoo on odd-numbered days) is open two days a week — Friday and Saturday — after 6 p.m., a direct attempt to attract some of the 2,100 youth soccer players living in the immediate area and their families for an evening of summer fun. Currently just nine holes each, Semiahmoo Resort plans to expand its courses to 18 holes next year. For everyone involved, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. “Everyone who plays it or has seen it has enjoyed it,” said Meadow Park course director Chris Goodman, in a recent interview with The Tacoma News-Tribune. “I was beyond excited after my first round, and the more people we brought out, the more excited I got.” To learn more, visit www.footgolf.net, or the websites of any of the courses listed above. cascadegolfer.com
Pieczatkowski, Belvoir Make It Rain In CG Cup Major
he forecast called for rain, but for most of the day on Saturday, June 14, there were blue skies and scattered clouds as 120 players made their way around McCormick Woods in the DiabloGolf.com Classic, the third of seven events in this year’s Cascade Golfer Cup — and the year’s first major, where point values were worth 1.5 times their usual amount. If there was any extra pressure on the field with the point values increased and the course set up to its usual challenging U.S. Open weekend format, however, it didn’t show in the scores posted by Eastside duo Erik Pieczatkowski and Clay Belvoir. Longtime CG Cup competitors, the pair fired a gross 67 and net 63 — including a chip-in eagle and five gross birdies — to sweep both categories at the event, winning a stay-and-play vacation to Central Oregon and becoming the 35th different winner in our 39 tournaments all-time. In all, a total of 40 players — nearly a third of the field — walked away with at least one prize at the tournament, ranging from stay-and-plays to Bend, Reno-Tahoe and Vegas, to twosomes and foursomes at Salish Cliffs, Gamble Sands and other top tracks, to clubs, push carts and more. One player even took home a $100 bottle of The Glenlivet 18, part of the year-long Glenlivet “Shot of The Day” contest at each event. Most importantly, though, each team in the field earned additional points towards the year-long Cascade Golfer Cup title and that sweet grand prize — 20 twosomes at Washington’s best courses, including
Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, Salish Cliffs and more. With three events to play — Aug. 2 at The RMG Club at Oakbrook, Aug. 23 at Mill Creek Country Club, and Sept. 13 at White Horse, the Cup is still anyone’s to win (Manish Mittal and Nikhil Patel won the July 12 Puetz Golf Shootout at Salish Cliffs, just prior to publication). And don’t forget, we’ll also be hosting an eighth event for FREE for our most loyal players — the second-annual Cascade Golfer Cup Appreciation Day tournament tees off in October at The Classic, with free admission to the first 64 teams to register for at least four events this year (or just three, if two of those three are McCormick Woods and Oakbrook). So, even if you’re out of the running for the Cup, just one more tournament could be all you need to qualify for that free eighth event — and who knows, like longtime players Pieczatkowski and Belvoir, that next tournament could turn out to finally be your lucky day. All tournaments are scored in net and gross formats, giving all players the chance to win, regardless of handicap. In addition, events are all played in fun, low-key, team-based formats — so grab a buddy, polish your game, and get yourself to cascadegolfer.com/cup (or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up today. We’ll see you on the tee.
Play With The Pros at the 2014 Tacoma Open
ou’ve played in your local club tournaments. Maybe you’ve even teed it up at a few of our Cascade Golfer Cup events. You know you can hold your own against most amateur golfers, but now you’re wondering … how would I fare against the pros? This year’s Tacoma Open, being held Sept. 19-21 at Meadow Park Golf Course in Tacoma, is your chance to find out. Pairing 60 of the top professionals from across the Pacific Northwest with 180 amateur golfers from throughout the region, the Tacoma Open will present a unique opportunity for amateur players of all skill levels to tee it up alongside area pros competing for a purse of over $35,000. Pros and amateurs will be seeded into separate flights, with pros vying for that cash purse and amateurs competing for up to $750 per flight. In addition, foursomes — including three amateurs and one pro — will compete daily for an overall team prize, giving amateurs cascadegolfer.com
the chance to team up with their friends in a fun, competitive environment. Want to up the ante even more? The field will be cut to the top 30 pros and the top 90 amateurs after 36 holes, giving you the chance to say that you made the cut in a professional tournament. And best of all, proceeds from the event will go to support affordable access to golf, benefitting partners like the Special Olympics, The First Tee of South Puget Sound and more. To learn more, visit www.metroparkstacoma.org/ tacomaopen/ or call (253) 473-3033. AUGUST 2014
SHORT GAME Any Day Is A Beautiful Day at North Shore
hen staff answer the phone at Tacoma’s North Shore Golf Course (800-447-1375, www.northshoregc.net), they always say, “It’s a beautiful day at North Shore.” And if it is — if the sun is shining and the birds are flitting from tree to tree — then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place along the I-5 corridor between the Tacoma Mall and SeaTac Airport to stick a peg in the ground. Just a par-71, you might think you’d have to play the blues at North Shore to get a real test of your game. You’d be wrong. North Shore’s white tees measure out at a respectable 6,039 yards, with two par-4s over 425 yards and just one par-5 shorter than 497 (and, at 487, not much shorter). What’s more, its greens are as lightning-fast as any you’ll find in the region — faster, even, than Chambers Bay’s, and only slightly less challenging. A relatively level front nine changes course at hole No. 10, a par-5 that climbs up a slight hill. It’s followed by your first true risk/reward opportunity at No. 11 — the green is a mere 265 yards away as the crow flies, but is practically
CANYON CLUB AT THE BOEING CLASSIC
Friday–Sunday, August 22–24
invisible from the tee, positioned around a sharp dogleg to the right. There are eagles to be had, but miss at all, and you’ll be praying to find your ball in a green-side bunker and not 100 yards out in a thick grove of trees. Our favorite hole is another that’s visually deceiving from the tee. At 457 yards, the par-4 12th looks like a monster. From the elevated tee box, the fairway appears to run straight for 200 yards or so before taking a sharp right turn around a small lake towards an elevated green. In fact, even a moderate hitter (say, 230-240 yards) can carry the lake and find the fairway beyond, leaving a 170180-yard approach … still plenty, for sure, but not the 210-220 you might expect by simply subtracting your driver distance from the 457-yard total. With sunny weather, few crowds, and rates that rarely climb above $45, it’s a great value for the quality of your round. And if you decide to go for it at No. 11, let us know how you did.
The Alaska Airlines Canyon Club at the Boeing Classic provides one of the most exciting vantage points at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Watch your favorite Champions Tour Pro go for the green over Bear’s Canyon. It’s a risk-reward hole like no other at the region’s premier golf event and provides great drama, impressive views and extra perks. This is the place to be at the Boeing Classic! Purchase a $20 Daily Grounds Pass* plus a $15 Alaska Airlines Canyon Club Party Pass* and you’ll receive: 14th hole, tee to green and an ideal spot on the sun deck from which you can also watch the Pros tee off on the 18th hole beers. Simple as that. * discount on tickets when purchased in advance online
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature ® cardholders receive 10% off online ticket purchases and free admission to the Club when showing their card at the entrance.
WHAT THE … ?
olf can be a confusing game. There’s a reason why PGA Tour events include a whole army of rules officials walking the course to answer questions, assess lies and give interpretations of rules that often seem trivial and arcane. And of course, just to learn the rules first requires knowledge of a smorgasbord of terms — handicap index, course handicap, slope, rating, adjusted gross score, etc. — that can set your head spinning. Here’s a few of golf’s most oft-misused terms (and yes, we confess … even we had to look up a couple of these to make sure we had them right):
HANDICAP INDEX VS. COURSE HANDICAP The USGA handicap system allows golfers of different abilities to compete fairly against one another. A player’s HANDICAP INDEX is a numerical representation of a player’s potential. It is usually calculated from the best 10 of a golfer’s last 20 rounds, using a formula that factors the slope and rating of the tees being played. Most golfers track their handicap through course computers, the USGA GHIN system, or independent apps like Diablo Golf. However, before you can play a competitive round with friends or in a tournament, you need to convert your handicap index to a COURSE HANDICAP, which takes into consideration the difficulty of the specific course and set of tees you’re playing that day. Most courses have computers in the pro shop that will convert your handicap index to a course handicap for that round.
COURSE RATING VS. SLOPE It’s a common misconception that both rating and slope are measurements of the difficulty of a golf course. In fact, only the COURSE RATING is a pure measurement of course difficulty, and corresponds directly to the score a scratch golfer would be expected to shoot from a specific set of tees. The SLOPE, by comparison, is a measure of how much more difficult the course is for a bogey golfer than a scratch golfer. Scratch golfers are generally longer hitters and are far more likely to hit fairways and greens, and are therefore less affected by things like trees, hazards or excessively long holes. Thus, while the presence of these features may not significantly affect the course rating, they can have a dramatic impact on the slope. That’s why you’ll sometimes see courses with a low rating, but a high slope — the blue tees at Trophy Lake, for example, have a rating of just 72.8 (barely above par) but a whopping 141 slope, one of the highest in the region and well above the USGA average of 113.
With a rating of 70.9 and a slope of 117, High Cedars’ blue tees are considered easier than average for scratch golfers, but slightly harder than average for bogey golfers.
PUSH/PULL vs. HOOK/SLICE Many golfers equate a pull with a hook, and a push with a slice. In fact, a PULL refers to a relatively straight shot that (for a right-handed golfer, opposite for a lefty) starts left, and stays left, while a PUSH starts right and stays right, also flying in a relatively straight line. By comparison, a HOOK starts straight before turning left, while a SLICE starts straight and turns right. In fact, one of the most common ball flights for amateur golfers (including a certain CG editor) is the PULL SLICE, which starts left before slicing back to the target line (and, we all hope, no further).
SHORT GAME THE ROAD TO SALISH CLIFFS The Only Place to Play Golf AND Watch Football
he return of football is one of the best things about the fall season — with the lone exception that it eats up one of our precious weekend days for golf. At Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center, though, with its six state-of-the-art simulators, full-service bar, comfortable lounge chairs and numerous big-screen TVs, the games are always on — and tee times at the world’s top courses are always available, morning and night, rain or shine. So, rather than skip that round of golf to watch the Seahawks, Huskies or Cougars play this fall, schedule a tee time at the Clubhouse, gather your buddies and watch the game in style — while swinging your own sticks on some of the most acclaimed tracks on the planet. To get you started, we’re giving away two hours of simulator time at the Clubhouse — so log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today!
f every golf tournament format, none are more thrilling than match play. It’s just you and your opponent, head to head — on one hand, you live and die
with each shot (both your’s and your opponent’s); on the other hand, a blowup hole is forgotten the second you reach the next tee. Card an 8 and a 4 while your opponent posts 4 and 5, respectively, and rather than being down three strokes, you’re all square. We’ve long tossed around the idea of how match play could work within the constructs of the Cascade Golfer Cup, but then we thought, ‘Why not keep the CG Cup the way it is, and do a match play event as well?’ Thus it was that in June, 82 golfers throughout the Northwest teed it up in one of the most amibitous tournaments we’ve ever attempted — the 2014 Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships. Their goal? To be one of the final eight players invited to play (and potentially stay) at the Little Creek Casino Resort, including quarter- and semi-final rounds over one mindblowingly cool 36-hole day at Salish Cliffs Golf Club on Sept. 19, and the consolation and championship matches at Salish the following day. Oki Golf, Premier Golf, RMG Golf, the NW Golf Guys and other local courses and clubs helped us recruit a knockout field, every one of which will receive a minimum of a free round of golf. Make the quarterfinals, and not only are you playing Salish Cliffs on us, we’re also sending you and a buddy to Wine Valley, ranked No. 2 on our most recent ranking of Washington’s top public tracks. Make the final four, and you’re going to Chambers Bay, Gamble Sands or Pumpkin Ridge, while the champion wings it all the way down to sunny Las Vegas for a weekend of golf, gaming, luxury accomodations and … well, you know what they say about Vegas. If you missed your chance to compete this year, don’t worry — now that we’ve gotten our dream of a match play event off the ground, our only plan now is to make it even better in 2015. To be the first to know about next year’s event, visit www.cgmatchplay.com, or contact Simon Dubiel at email@example.com. cascadegolfer.com
The Northwest’s Premier Tournament Series
Over $100,000 In Prizes
Bridgestone Golf Invitational
Cascade Golfer Challenge
Mill Creek Country Club Aug. 23 rd • 9 a.m. 2-Person Scramble
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GRAND PRIZE STAY AND PLAY GOLF PACKAGE TO LAS VEGAS
STAY AND PLAY GOLF PACKAGE TO WHISTLER B.C. CONTACT: Simon Dubiel
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Just 10 Cascade Golfer Players Cards Left! Seven Great Rounds for Just $199 Golf at Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree, Highlander, Port Ludlow, the Cedars at Dungeness, Leavenworth and Mount Si — plus a bucket of balls at Puetz! DON’T MISS OUT!
Apple Tree Resort
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Port Ludlow Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
2014 Players Card
Highlande Golf Club r
Salish Cli Golf Club ffs
Port Ludlo Golf Club w
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Mt. Si Golf Cours e
Bucket of Balls
t’s been a profitable year for our Northwest Home Teamers. With three months to go in the 2014 season as of press time, Northwest pros have already accounted for three wins in PGA Tour events, and over $6.5 million in earnings this season alone. Both Seattle native Fred Couples and Moses Lake-born Kirk Tripplett took home trophies on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour, Tripplett at March’s ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla., and Couples at April’s Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach. Couples has been especially hot in 2014, placing fifth or better in all but one of the Champions Tour events he’s played, and earning a top-20 finish at The Masters in April. Tacoma’s Andrew Putnam also earned his first career victory in April at the PGA TOUR Web.com Tour’s WNB Golf Classic, and currently ranks second in the Web.com Tour rankings. Meanwhile, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore sits 15th in the FedEx Cup standings — including a win last October — while Michael Putnam (98th) and Bellevue native Richard Lee (124th) are both in position to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs later this year and retain their Tour cards for 2014-15. To stay up-to-date on the Home Team, visit CascadeGolfer.com!
SHORT GAME Hargrave, Orvella Rule The Day at 2nd Annual North Sound Shootout
ith just 68 players in the field at June’s North Sound Shootout, and 52 prizes to dispense … well, let’s just say that there weren’t very many golfers who walked away empty-handed. Nobody’s hands were more full than those of Adam Hargrave and Chad Orvella, however. The duo, participating in just their second Cascade Golfer tournament, placed third in Saturday’s best-ball at Avalon Golf Links and first in Sunday’s scramble at Swinomish Golf Links, a combined performance that earned them the top spot overall in the weekend standings, and will see them winging their way to Phoenix early next year for the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open and a few twosomes at some of the region’s top tracks. Of course, they also took home prizes for their strong finishes each day, adding a twosome to David McLay Kidd’s all-new Gamble Sands and a stay-and-play plackage to Central Oregon’s Black Butte Ranch to their haul. Not a bad return for a fun weekend of golf. While nearly every player in the field took home some kind of prize, the real winners for the weekend
were the hosts, Swinomish Casino and Lodge, and the two courses, Avalon Golf Links and Swinomish Links. Both tracks earned raves from players, with Avalon’s South nine the favorite circuit of many in the field, and Swinomish (formerly Similk Beach) earning high praise for the work superintendent Matt Atterbury has put into the course since being brought from Suncadia Resort last year. Did you miss out on the fun this year? Don’t worry — the North Sound Shootout will be back in 2015, with just as many (if not more) fantastic prizes, fun formats and that laid back, CG vibe that has made our tournaments a mainstay on the calendar of amateur players throughout the state. In the meantime, check out the three remaining events on the 2014 CG Cup schedule at CascadeGolfer.com/cup, recruit your buddies to team up with you, and start dreaming about holding that trophy next year. Because as Hargrave and Orvella proved, winning one sweet golf trip is awesome. Winning two in one weekend, though, plus a killer twosome at Washington’s hottest new track? There’s only one chance all year to make that happen — make it happen for yourself next year.
SHORT GAME Northern Quest packages bring golf, gaming, football together
o, you’re a Coug fan. Or, maybe you favor the mighty Griz. Perhaps you or your spouse want to sample the wineries of Eastern Washington, or tee it up on some of the top municipal courses in the state. At Spokane’s Northern Quest Resort and Casino, it’s check, check, check and check. The AAA Four Diamond award winner has become the region’s premier destination for travelers of just about any kind, a credit to its hard-working marketing staff that have created packages with broad appeal. Looking to check out a few of those Spokane munis you’ve heard us write about over and over again? The resort’s Golf Getaway Package includes a night’s stay in an over-sized Classic room, two BlackJack Bonus coupons (good for bonus bets at the tables), and a voucher for greens fees at any of Spokane’s top-rated munis, including Hangman Valley, MeadowWood, Downriver and more, all for just $84.50 per person. Take out the golf and that means that you’re paying less than $50 per person for your room — more than a $100 savings over the rack rate on an early-fall weekend. Coming over to watch the game — or maybe check out the PGA TOUR stars of tomorrow at the Pac-12 Golf Preview at Palouse Ridge, Sept. 28-30? The Northern Quest is less than 90 minutes from the Washington State campus, making it a perfect home base from which to venture into Coug territory. No other location within that same distance can provide all that can be found at the Northern Quest, from nearly a dozen dining options (including Masselow’s,
the only AAA Four Diamond restaurant in Spokane), to the 55,000 square-foot casino, to the full-service spa, luxurious rooms with modern décor, thriving nightlife (including clubs, concerts, comedy shows and more) and other amenities. Don’t have tickets? You might actually be better off. The 30-foot by 10-foot high-definition TV that gilds the wall at EPIC, the Northern Quest’s sports restaurant and entertainment venue (below, right), will make you feel like you’re right in the front row — and leaves you a lot closer to the gaming tables and other amenities (including the cigar bar, just upstairs from the restaurant) when the final buzzer sounds. Of course, golf and football aren’t the only points of pride for Washington state residents. We’re also rather fond of our wine, and the resort’s Washington Winery Package pairs a night’s stay in Classic accommodations with a $50 dining credit at Masselow’s and a private tour of the production facilities at nearby Barrister Winery, where you’ll meet the winemaker and enjoy an exclusive barrel tasting of as-yet-unreleased vintages. The resort will even drop you off and pick you up, allowing you to roam the tasting rooms of downtown Spokane without having to designate a driver. Oh, and when you get back to your room, you’ll enjoy a selection of chocolates, a bottle of Washington wine, and a pair of complimentary wine glasses — all for just $199. There are also packages that feature spa services, gas credit, gift cards and more. Plan your fall getaway today at www.NorthernQuest.com.
Play Palouse Ridge — On Us!
here might be no better road trip for a Coug than heading to Eastern Washington on a Saturday in September, teeing it up at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman by noon, then strolling into Martin Stadium to watch the crimson and gray in an evening kickoff. Football not your thing? Take in the Pac-12 Preview instead on Sept. 28-30, and watch America’s top college golfers go head-to-head before moseying over to the Cougar Cottage for a nightcap. After all, even the most devoted Husky can’t deny that John Harbottle’s Palouse Ridge, adjacent to the WSU campus, is one of the state’s most enjoyable tracks, earning a top-five slot in our 2013 public course rankings. This fall, we’re sending a CG reader and a three friends to Palouse Ridge to check it out for themselves. An exhilarating round of golf is mandatory. Staying for the game? That’s up to you. ENTER TO WIN AT CASCADEGOLFER.COM!
Follow Fred’s footsteps at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge
ou might think you can’t possibly afford a membership at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, home of the PGA TOUR Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic and one of the nicest private clubs in all of Western Washington. And you very well might be wrong. For a limited time, TPC Snoqualmie Ridge is offering incentives for all golf memberships, including the Junior Executive Membership for golfers under 40 years old, and the Premier Golf membership. In addition to a temporary reduction in initiation fees, the club is offering no terms on their payment plans. The Junior Executive Membership, in particular, represents an outstanding deal — pay half of the initiation fee up front, and you have until your 40th birthday to pay off the remaining half, completely interest-free. If you’re 35, you have five years; if you’re 25, you have 15. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to put your foot in the door at one of the most beautiful private clubs in the region — and one that is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation (with no assessment on the members) that will make it the jewel of Western Washington for years to come. When completed in July, the transformation of the already-stunning clubhouse will unveil two brand-new restaurant concepts, a bar featuring a wood-fired pizza oven, a new lobby, golf shop and meeting rooms, and the coup-de-grace, a 1,500-square-foot deck extension off the east wing that will include fire pit tables, heaters, partially covered seating and unparalleled views of Mount Si and the entire length of the course’s famed par-5 18th hole. In addition to the clubhouse improvements, numerous projects were completed this spring to enhance the beauty and playability of the golf course, including 8,000 feet of drainage and the restoration of the infinity edge to the 13th green, with its panoramic views of the Snoqualmie Valley. Numerous trees were removed to restore the course to its original design, and a significant
upgrade in the clubhouse’s food and beverage options is underway in anticipation of its grand re-opening in July. “We’ve put a huge emphasis on including local, quality ingredients,” says Rod Lapasin, the managing director of TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. “We already have an amazing golf experience, and look forward to our food and beverage offering being the envy of every club in the area.” As any Boeing Classic attendee already knows, TPC Snoqualmie Ridge provides some of the most scenic views in Western Washington. Built high on a ridge overlooking the entire Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Si and the Cascade foothills loom over much of the course, with Snoqualmie Falls visible from the tee box at No. 12. The club facilities also include a practice area — one of the largest of any course, public or private, in the region — with a two-tiered grass driving range including covered and heated stalls, and a multiple-green short-game area. There’s also the aquatic center — home of the Tiger Sharks award-winning swim team — and fitness facilities, where families gather in the summertime and adults and teens play year-round. Both Junior Executive and Premier Golf memberships include benefits for the whole family — unlimited golf course and practice area access, plus the chance to take advantage of the club’s newly upgraded dining areas, its fitness center and pool, discounted greens fees for guests, and more. Premier Golf members also enjoy reciprocal benefits at other TPC golf courses around the country. All of this investment, combined with the repositioning of the initiation fee and the ongoing commitment of the PGA TOUR, make this quite possibly the most desirable time to become a member in the club’s 15-year history. “It’s definitely a limited-time offer,” Lapasin says. “Right now, our focus is on taking what we’ve already created, and what’s already been successful, and making it even better.” To learn more, visit www.tpcsr.com, or contact Deann Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-396-6036.
We’re sending you to TPC Snoqualmie Ridge!
elive all your favorite Boeing Classic moments by playing 18 holes at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge … on us! You and three friends can go for the green at Bear’s Canyon, marvel at Mount Si from the par-3 13th, and try to get home in two on the exciting par-5 closing hole. So whaddya say … feelin’ lucky? Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win!
From the football field to the first tee, Brock Huard’s Northwest roots run deep
tanding 6-foot-4, with blond hair, blue eyes and a winning smile, there are really only two careers that would have fit Brock Huard — Hollywood leading man, or pro quarterback. And so far as we know, Huard can’t act. He can throw a spiral with pin-point perfection over 60 yards in the air, though, a talent that took him from Puyallup High School to Husky Stadium (where he set records for career passing yards and career touchdown passes, and met his wife, Husky basketball star Molly Hills), to the NFL, where he played six seasons with the Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts. Since retiring following the 2004 season, Huard has served as a color analyst on ESPN college football broadcasts, and is featured in-studio during the season. Locally, he is the co-host (along with Mike Salk) of Brock and Salk, airing mornings on 710 ESPN Radio. Your brother Damon, and Dan Marino are launching their new wine tonight. Have you tried it? “No. I have a hunch it’s going to be too strong for me. I’m not really into a deep, rich, heavy Cab, and I think that’s what this is going to be. But I’ll pretend I really like it, for Damon’s sake.”
As long as you like it more than [former Cougars quarterback] Drew Bledsoe’s wine, right? “Yes! That is a given.” When did you first start playing golf? “My dad used to go out every weekend to Nisqually
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Valley in Yelm, and my brothers and I would watch him. It wasn’t really until my rookie year in 1999, though, that I had some time and the opportunity to play more. Jon Kitna was a good golfer, Jeff Feagles was a really good golfer; those guys are the ones who really got me into it.” How often do you get to play? “My career with TV and radio keeps me away more than I’d like. We built a place up at Suncadia four years ago, and that’s where I play the most. We’re right off the 18th fairway on Prospector, so it’s close to the golf, the swimming pool, the fitness area and everything. It’s perfect for us and for the kids.” How would you describe your golf game? “Very average, to below average. Like most hacks, what I’m good and bad at goes back and forth. One thing, that I don’t know if I’d call a talent ... I haven’t played with many golfers who can hit a ball higher. My game downwind is OK, but my game into the wind is torturous, to say the least. It’s usually a two- or three-club difference.” Do Molly or the kids play at all? “My Haley is 11 and Macey is 8, and they enjoy getting out. We have putting competitions on every green, and usually a Snickers bar from the treat cart. This summer will be good, because my four-year-old, Titus, loves trying out sports. We’ll probably get the girls and him a lesson.” Who’s the better golfer – you or Damon? “Raging fights on the golf course. Our buddies say it’s
no fun playing with us, because neither of us are really good, but neither of us ever want to lose to the other. I’d say I probably get the better of him more than he gets the better of me, but it’s pretty close. It makes up for all of the Wiffleball games, and basketball, that he dominated when we were kids with his three-year age advantage.” At what point did you consider broadcasting? “My first year out, 2005, was the year the Hawks made their first run to the Super Bowl. Because of that, local and national shows were looking to talk to past players and media members in Seattle. More opportunities came, and it was a pretty natural fit and something I enjoyed doing. And if the Seahawks don’t make that Super Bowl run right at the time they did, none of it probably ever happens.” What do you think is harder, doing TV or radio? “There is no better training for TV than doing radio, where you produce the content and have to go all the time, whether there’s breaking news or not. Radio is incredibly personal. Even though people don’t see you, they connect with you and there is a personal bond built between audience and entertainer. I love that connection.” What has been your impression thus far of UW head coach Chris Petersen? “Rock solid. He is crystal clear with every one of the players as to where they stand in the program, what their role is, what they need to grow into. He’s like Don James in that way; there’s no breakdown in communication. You’re going to know very clearly where you stand.”
As a local kid and Seahawks veteran, what was it like for you to cover the Seahawks last year? “Just watching Pete work, he’s the real deal. He is genuine. To see the way he treats the guys, and fosters genuine relationships in that building is just phenomenal. And the proof is right there on the field. I was as big a fanboy last season as anyone, for sure.” Sounds like it’s a good thing for Husky fans that Carroll wasn’t at USC when you were being recruited. “Ha, yeah. I think he’s really good, and they have a chance to sustain that success. It’s hard to do in the NFL. They’re not willing to rest on their laurels from a scheme or organizational standpoint. Being able to evolve and adapt and change, while not losing sight of your central theme — which in their case is competition — is really the key to keeping it going.” Looking back, what are you most proud of? “I would probably point back to something that Damon and my dad said to me in our living room in Puyallup, when I came back from my recruiting trip to UCLA. I told them, ‘I think I want to go to UCLA.’ They said, ‘That’s fine, but if you do that, realize that you can have success, and win, and go to the NFL. But you’ll never have that sense of community that you do if you stay at home.’ And boy, those thoughts really resonated. Twenty years later, that statement has proven 100-percent accurate. The roots that I have here in the community with family, friendships, the work that I get to do on radio and TV … that’s pretty special.”
RISK vs. REWARD Gamble Sands
By Simon Dubiel
Hole No. 2 | Par 4 | 262 yards (orange tees) The Setup: When you stand on this tee box for the first time, you can’t help but be in awe at the stunning landscape before you. The winding Columbia River provides a backdrop that is utterly jaw-dropping. Your options here are similar to many holes at America’s best new course. The safe play is an iron to a huge fairway, followed by a simple wedge. Or, choose a bigger stick and take dead aim at glory. Listed at 262 yards, it plays even shorter, and while bunkers left, right and long may come into play, they might just keep a crooked shot from being lost forever. This hole will certainly climb the leaderboard of most photographed holes on the West Coast.
The Risk: Not only can big hitters carry this green and fall off the
cliff beyond, but many will find that driver is simply too much club. One can play it as a very long par-3, but we all know that story does not always end well. Long par-3s can yield fives and sixes far too often. To hit the green, you must commit to the correct yardage, and any 260yard shot pulled left or a short distance right will be lost forever, or at best a difficult bunker shot from far below the putting surface.
The Reward: Birdies. We all like them. There are some holes where par or even bogey is a great score; this is not one of them. No. 2 at Gamble Sands is your opportunity to put a circle on your scorecard early in the round. Although you must hit an accurate tee shot to get on the green, it does take laying up into the fairway pot bunker and the dreaded
75-yard bunker shot out of play. As our favorite PGA Tour rap band The Golf Boys say, “Tweet! Tweet! I want my birdies all day long!”
Final Call: You don’t drive all this way to play one of the most scenic holes in the state and then fold your hand. It might not be a crime, but it should be. Whether it is driver, 3-wood, 5-wood or other, it is time to graduate from the kiddie game. David McLay Kidd says it best in the yardage guide: “Be aggressive and swing with confidence. I want you to play your best golf here!” We couldn’t agree more.
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EDUCATION Higher Education
By Steve Kelley
Two years ago, local sixth-grade teacher
MICHAEL GRELLER watched The Masters from his Tacoma-area home. This year, he’s on the bag for the hottest name in golf.
THIS IS HIS STORY. 32
AUGUST2014 2014 AUGUST
efore the gates open at Augusta National, before the first tee shot at The Masters is thwacked down the first fairway, before four of the most anticipated days in sports begin, this land feels more like a national park than a sports arena. It is a place of botanical brilliance, all deep greens and bright reds. The only sounds are the wind hissing through the pine trees and the birds whistling above. And anyone who has had the privilege of hiking in the privacy of an empty Augusta National before these days of tension and high anxiety begin, understands their great good fortune in being there.
Walking in the quiet of Augusta is one of the most peaceful, relaxing, and yet thrilling experiences in life. On an early Saturday evening, before his first Masters round as Jordan Spieth’s caddy this year, Michael Greller took this walk with Spieth. On that day, with the beginning of the tournament still more than four days away, Greller and Spieth were more strolling the back nine than playing it. “There was nobody out there but the two of us,” Greller recalls. “We just walked the back nine. It was probably the first time I can remember that I didn’t watch the Final Four. I didn’t bring my yardage book or my range finder cascadegolfer.com
with me. I just carried the bag and walked the back nine at Augusta. That was a very special moment for me, something I’ll always remember. “Caddying at Augusta was something I didn’t think was possible,” he adds. “Every morning once the tournament started, I’d get out there at the first light and kind of walk around and try to find my inner peace before the storm, try to get acclimated for what was ahead. And by the time we teed it up, I was at great peace because I felt we were as prepared for a tournament as we had ever been.” But even before all of that, life was good for Michael Greller. He had the satisfaction that comes with teaching math and science to sixth graders at Narrows View Intermediate in University Place and understanding the impact he was having on young lives. He was in love with a beautiful girl and in the midst of planning their future together. He was a scratch golfer, who called Gold Mountain on the Kitsap Peninsula his home course. A good job. The love of his life. And a golf game that was returning all of the affection he showed it. Greller didn’t have any of those nagging doubts, wondering if he needed something more in life. Nothing was missing. He was happy. But in this story made for Pixar, Greller discovered that even a joyful life need not have boundaries.
n 2006, his home course played host to the U.S. Amateur Public Links. Greller was in the gallery watching Matt Savage from Florida State, who was carrying his own bag. At the end of the round, Greller met Savage and offered to carry the bag for free. Savage, of course, took Greller up on his generous offer. Greller had a blast and Savage made it to the quarterfinals. Later, Greller began looping at Chambers Bay in his spare time from teaching, in anticipation of the 2010 U.S. Amateur. In that tournament, he carried the bag of talented youngster Justin Thomas, who lost in the second round of the match play. A year later, back at Gold Mountain, he was supposed to caddy for Gavin Hall at the U.S. Junior Amateur. Hall, however, tweaked a wrist and withdrew. Greller returned home. That tweaked wrist, though, turned into one of those wondrous, improbable twists of fate. A turn so dramatic it changed Greller’s life from satisfying to something closer to spectacular. Back at home after that disappointing day at Gold Mountain, Greller received a phone call from a young friend of Thomas, who was playing in the U.S. Junior Am and needed someone to carry his bag. Thomas had recommended Greller. The caller was a 17-year-old Texas high schooler named Jordan Spieth.
A phenom on the junior circuit with a scholarship to the University of Texas in hand, Spieth was the favorite in the event. Second place wasn’t a viable option. And indeed, with Greller on his bag, Spieth won. Spieth asked Greller to stay on his bag for the U.S. Amateur three weeks later, but Greller was already committed to Thomas. Spieth and Greller stayed in touch, however, and Greller flew around the country to caddy for both Spieth and Thomas when needed. Then, late in the 2012 season, Greller received another call, this time from Spieth’s father, Shawn. Jordan was turning pro and Shawn wanted to know if Greller would be willing to take a chance and become Jordan’s full-time caddy for the 2013 season. You learn nothing by turning away from opportunities. You don’t grow. Greller straight-armed any doubts he might have had about changing his life so profoundly. Michael Greller became the accidental caddy. “Two years ago I was on the couch watching The Masters and Ellie asked me, ‘What if Jordan or Justin (Thomas) wins the Masters in five or 10 years and you’re still here watching on the couch? Would you regret not chasing that opportunity?’ “She’s been so supportive,” Greller adds. “She calls herself the caddy’s caddy. I loved being outside and I loved being around golf. And she was right, I didn’t want to second-guess myself. So when I had a chance to explore it for a year like I did last year, I figured I had nothing to lose. I never thought we would get more than a few starts on the PGA Tour. I figured we’d play on the Web.” In 2013, Spieth had no status on any major tour, but he had two top-10 finishes on the Web.com Tour and earned a sponsor’s exemption into the Puerto Rico Open. He finished second there and began his dizzying climb. This season, after the U.S. Open, where he finished tied for 17th, he was in sixth place in the FedEx Cup standings. His goals coming into this year were to be competitive in the majors and make the Ryder Cup team. So far, after finishing second in this year’s Masters, he remains on track to reach all of those goals. “It’s all been coming at me so fast, I really haven’t had time to step back and reflect on it,” Greller, 37, said just days before the start of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. “That’s probably a good thing. I can’t really let myself really step out of it, at least at this point. I don’t have an appreciation yet for what’s been happening in the last year. I think I’d get pretty overwhelmed if I did think about it too much. “I’ve had to adjust to a new normal, but I still try to normalize this as much as I can,” he continues. “Caddy-wise, I’ve tried to surround myself with guys who have the same mindset and thinking in everything, not just golf, as I do. Guys who value the same things as I do. That’s really helped.” One of his best friends on Tour is Ted Scott, caddy for
“It’s all been coming at me so fast, I really haven’t had time to step back and reflect on it,” says Greller, who left his job as a teacher to caddy for Spieth in 2013. “That’s probably a good thing. I think I’d get pretty overwhelmed if I did think about it too much.”
two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson. “I’ve talked with him a lot about how you approach this job,” Greller says. “Not so much from an Xs and Os standpoint, but more off-the-course stuff. There really was no preparation for me when I took this job. I was pretty much trying to figure all of that out on my own. And right now I think I’m in a much better spot than I was a yearand-a-half ago.”
or the past year, Spieth has been in the premier pairings in the opening rounds of almost every tournament he has entered. That has given Greller the opportunity to watch the best caddies in the game go about their business, on the range, in the clubhouse and on the course, in good days and bad. “Iron sharpens iron,” Greller says. “You can’t help getting better being around those guys.” Caddies are much more than bag-toters. In fact, carrying the golf bag might be the least important part of their jobs. They have to be coaches and shrinks. They need to know the barometric pressure at the site of each tournament and the blood pressure of their player when he steps on the first tee. They have to know agronomy and geology. They have to encourage and they have to inspire. At times they are mathematicians, and other times they are stand-up comics, breaking the tension in the heat of the round. Predictably, the learning curve for Greller was steep. He watched Paul Tisori, Webb Simpson’s caddy, and Damon Green, who works with Zach Johnson. Greller’s first year on the Tour was like a graduate program taught at warp speed. “I’ve learned that on the golf course, less is more a lot of times, keeping things simple,” Greller says. “One of my greatest roles with Jordan is being an encourager, just always being a cheerleader for him, because there are so AUGUST 2014
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many ups and downs in golf. I watched the other caddies and I saw how positive they stayed when things went wrong. They didn’t overreact to things.” Greller said that teaching sixth graders was great preparation for being a caddy. He wasn’t being sarcastic. “There are a lot of commonalities, a lot of the same skill set,” he says. “Being that encourager, staying positive, thinking on your feet. Adapting to changing conditions, having thick skin, having a short-term memory and being willing to adapt, every day on every hole. So, yeah, it’s been a steep learning curve for me, but it’s been doable.” It has been a thrill ride for Greller. On the day we spoke, Greller, with a rare day at home in University Place before returning to the PGA TOUR’s enormous grind, received in the mail a hard-bound, personalized copy of the official commemorative book of the 2013 Presidents Cup, in which Spieth competed last fall. “There’s a picture in there of me watching Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickelson) playing ping pong,” he says. “And pictures of all the team stuff we did off the course. I was flipping through it, looking at all the pictures and thinking, ‘Is that really me?’” Spieth, who turns 21 in July, won his first tournament last year at the John Deere. He had nine top-10 finishes in 2013 and was a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup. In addition to placing second in this year’s Masters, he was in
contention throughout The Players Championship, and in television promos before the U.S. Open, Spieth was mentioned alongside Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. That’s how improbable, and rapid, his rise has been.
till, there have been the inevitable unfair criticisms and unreachable expectations put on him by many of the golf pundits. Why all the second-place finishes? Why can’t Spieth break through? How great is he, really? Will he be the next Hogan? The next Jack? The next Tiger? Let’s step back and remember: JORDAN SPIETH IS ONLY TURNING 21 IN JULY! He has gone from playing the Web.com Tour, to being labeled “The Next Tiger” in all of about 20 months. “What excites me is that Jordan is only 20,” Greller says, “and how talented he is and how many years he has ahead of him to improve upon that talent. You hear critics say that he’s only won once and he’s never won a major, but you look at how young he is and how talented he is and if you really look at it, we’re still playing with house money here. Because he is so young, right now I feel like we have nothing to lose. “You have to remember that Jordan’s been around the highest level of golf in each stage of his life,” he continues.
In the “Sun Belt” Courtesy of Michael Greller
“There was nobody out there but us,” Greller recalls of a late evening with Jordan at Augusta National. “We just walked the back nine. That was a very special moment for me.”
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Great new Menu, Cocktails “And the team around Jordan has been in place for quite a while. His swing coach, his trainer, his family, his immediate friends. When you look at what he’s accomplished already, he still has a very good perspective on all of this.” Spieth’s support system has kept him balanced. His family has been his pressure relief valve. When Spieth missed the cut in Houston, he was greeted by his sister, who has special needs. She hugged him and told him, “I love you, Jordan.” Meanwhile, after finishing second in The Masters, Greller joked that his nephew told him, “You did a bad job of caddying.” “Jordan has an unbelievable ability to block out the external on the golf course and to normalize life off the course,” Greller says. “When we were at The Masters this year, it was not that much different for him than it was at the U.S. Amateur in terms of our conversations. You wouldn’t have noticed that much of a difference. At that level, if you can block things out and normalize things and
just trust your talents and your instincts, then you have a huge advantage on the field.” Spieth is so cool and composed that Greller admits Spieth sometimes relaxes him more than he relaxes Spieth. Just as in sixth grade, sometimes the student teaches the teacher. The day before our interview, Greller played a match with his pals at Gold Mountain. He had a six-foot putt to win and said, “I was more nervous standing over that than I am caddying. I have so much faith in Jordan’s abilities and talents. I feel like he draws confidence in my being positive with him and being the voice of reason when he wants to be aggressive. I think I balance him, but I also think I’m able to draw a lot of confidence just from him. “Don’t get me wrong, Jordan has nerves,” he adds. “But he’s able to channel his nerves into good energy on the golf course. He has said to me before, ‘I wish the cameras would show up so I could start playing better.’
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Greller married his wife, Ellie, at Chambers Bay last summer. Spieth was in attendance, skipping the WGC Bridgestone Invitational to support his caddy, and friend.
“He cherishes playing in front of an audience,” Greller continues. “It gets him more focused.” And Spieth has an uncanny ability to adapt to various courses, from Kampala to East Lake, Augusta to Sawgrass. “The bigger the stage, the more he embraces it,” Greller says. “Jordan is definitely a perfectionist and he’s very honest in his analysis of himself and the people who work for him. He lets me know what I need to improve upon and I really value that. He sets the bar extremely high.” For instance, Greller believes he has to do a better job of caddying in the rain. And he needs to get even better at being the voice of reason, the voice that Spieth doesn’t have in his own head. When, say, Spieth wants to go for the green on a par-5, where there is more risk than reward, Greller has to calmly talk him into taking a five-iron and laying up, erring sometimes on the side of caution.
s their second year together progresses, Greller is gaining confidence, learning when to back Spieth off of a shot, whether it’s because of the wind or because the gallery is causing a commotion due to McIlroy playing behind their group. “A caddy would be lying if he said he didn’t have battles,” Greller says. “With us, it’s generally if I was too aggressive in my line of thinking. I’m generally a pretty aggressive person. When I compete or play cards, I like to take chances, so when I’m thinking along those lines and not thinking conservatively and I make a mistake, that generally will lead to some kind of debate. Or if I get the wind wrong, that really upsets him. It’s bound to happen.” In fact, Greller’s first mistake came on the duo’s very first hole together, that day at Gold Mountain. They teed off on No. 10, but a nervous Greller gave him the yardage for No. 1. It’s happened just a couple of times since, including once at Hilton Head, where Spieth air-mailed the green. “It’s a bad feeling,” the caddy says. “You feel like crap,
but you have to own up to it — ‘I screwed up. My bad.’” Of course, Spieth went on to win that week at Gold Mountain; at Hilton Head, he got up and down for par. After the latter incident, Greller joked, “I just thought you needed some work on your chipping.” “Jordan also always lets me know when I do things well,” Greller says. “At The Masters he told me, ‘That was your best week of work ever.’ He’ll keep telling me, ‘Keep doing this,’ or, ‘I need this.’ When he’s putting inside of five feet, he likes a lot of positive affirmation. He’ll almost always call me in and say, ‘Greller, talk me into this.’ That’s when I channel all my sixth-grade encouragement and give him a quick, little pep talk. “For me, I know that this can be a high-profile job, if you want to make it that,” he says. “But I think that teaching is much more stressful. Teaching is more intense, if you ask me. I mean, this is golf. You’re on a golf course. You’re in some of the most beautiful places in the world. You’re wearing a hat and shorts. This thing that was a hobby of mine is now a job. I’m getting paid to do my hobby. And one of the coolest things about this journey for me is sharing it with my immediate family. It’s just been so crazy. It’s probably crazier for them than it is for me.” Last August, Greller married Ellie, a kindergarten teacher, at Chambers Bay, with Spieth one of the many smiling friends in attendance. Recently, Ellie decided to follow in Michael’s footsteps and leave her job to join her husband on this great adventure. “I talked it over with some of my caddy buddies, who have traveled with their wives and we decided to do it for a year,” Greller says. “We have access to so many different things. What a great way to see the world.” The fairy tale continues. Steve Kelley spent more than three decades covering sports for The Seattle Times. He last wrote about pro golfers and their dads in the June 2014 CG. AUGUST 2014
THERE AND BACK
AGAIN We traveled nearly
400 miles 36 holes
in one day and played
to answer the question everyone’s asking
GAMBLE SANDS worth the hype? BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
he debate started on Highway 97 south in Orondo, just below Desert Canyon, and continued much of the way to Wenatchee. “What’s the best hole at Gamble Sands?” I asked, referencing the David McLay Kidd-designed course opening Aug. 1 just outside Brewster, on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and the North Cascades. My partners that day — CG’s Kirk Tourtillotte, Simon Dubiel and Johnny Carey — fell silent for a minute, reflecting on the thrilling day we had just spent playing 36 holes at Gamble Sands — replaying each majestic drive from elevated tees, each approach intentionally fired long or wide to catch slopes that would guide the ball to the pin, each moment when we drove up to the next tee box and let our eyes soak in the beauty Kidd had coaxed from the brown, dry hills. Was it the short, par-4 second, with its elevated tee and infinity green that seemed to drop off the edge of the cliff to the river below? Was it the 592-yard, par-5 third, where you tee off uphill over an imposing wall of sand? Was it the long, par-4 fifth, which bends right around
a sandy waste area, daring you to cut the corner for a shorter approach? Maybe it was the par-3 sixth, where the best play is to miss the green entirely? Or perhaps the risk-reward 7th, 11th and 12th holes, the split-fairway par-4 14th, the two-tiered par-3 16th or the eagle-friendly finishing hole? “Honestly, Brian, I’m too overhwhelmed to even think about that right now,” Johnny finally said. It was an entirely understandable sentiment.
ourteen hours earlier, our little band had gathered together in Lynnwood, watching the sun creep above the Cascades as we shuffled out of our respective homes in the pre-dawn light. We were tired, a little bedraggled and certainly in need of some coffee, but the light in our eyes was unmistakable. Our fellowship had been granted an intoxicating quest — to make a 392-mile round trip across the Cascade Mountains to play 36 holes on one of the most anticipated new tracks in the United States. And we’d have the place all to ourselves.
In early 2013, word began to leak that a long-rumored destination course high in the Columbia River valley was not only a go, but was in fact nearly completed — and that none other than David McLay Kidd had been brought in to finish the job. Writer Tony Dear’s excellent piece in the December CG gave Washington golfers their first thorough look behind the scenes at Gamble Sands, what Kidd called one of just three “perfect” sites he had ever been given. The others? Oregon’s Bandon Dunes, which has yet to land outside the top-10 of any ranking of U.S. public tracks since it opened in 1999, and Scotland’s Machrihanish Dunes, which in 2013 moved past Turnberry to claim the title of Scotland’s No. 1 golf experience. Needless to say, Gamble Sands shot to No. 1 on our list of must-play tracks in 2014. So it was that we drank our coffee, munched on breakfast snacks and talked excitedly about the day ahead as we made our way across Highway 2 to Wenatchee, then up Highway 97 on a straight shot to Brewster. Could Gamble Sands possibly live up to the high expectations we were placing upon it? cascadegolfer.com
As we drove past the tiny airstrip in Brewster, then followed unpaved roads past landmarks we had been told to look for like “the weigh station” and “the stack of apple crates,” it was hard to escape the sense that we were traveling back to a rural, unhurried, agricultural time and place, one where the hours are measured not so much by the hands of the clock as by the passage of the sun, and the entire world seems limited to the people you’re with, and the landscape you can take in with your eyes. And what a landscape it was. From the roundabout driveaway at the humble Gamble Sands clubhouse, we could see for miles in every direction — a treeless expanse that stretched north and east to a series of high ridges, south down the Columbia River valley (yes, in Brewster the Columbia briefly jogs south before continuing its 60-mile eastward jaunt), and west towards the small town of Brewster on the westward arm of river, backdropped by the snow-capped peaks of the North Cascades. And before us — the golf course. Eighteen holes of wide-open fairways, sandy waste areas and bunkers, elevated tees, massive greens and a promise from Player Services Supervisor Nick Saper — “You guys are in for a lot of fun.” It took just two shots to be sucked in to the wonders that Kidd has crafted from this barren patch of the Gebbers family acreage — land that, according to Saper, the family had essentially cast aside as waste due to its sandy nature before Kidd spotted it from a helicopter and insisted that the golf course the family wanted across the river be built here instead. From the fairway at the par-4 first, the green — 50 yards deep — peeks out from behind a sandy dune. A sloping “backboard,” as Saper called it, rises behind the hole, a feature common to many of Gamble’s greens and one that makes an excellent target for any back-pin placement. We fired at the backboard, watched our balls come down the slope to rest near the pin, and turned to each other with looks that said more than words could convey — this was going to be a blast. For the next eight hours, we played nearly every shot you can conceive — putts from well short of a green over firm slopes; bump-and-run approaches; wedges dropped over front bunkers to well-tucked pins; approaches struck intentionally off-target to funnel towards the hole; tee shots smashed from elevated greens and more. From the 6,200-yard green tees — the middle of the course’s five tee boxes — no fewer than five holes, and potentially as many as seven, represented fantastic risk-reward opportunities, perhaps none more so than the par-4 second. Depending on pin placement anywhere from 240280 yards from the green tees (280-320 from the back), the green begs to be fired at, even as the sand that surrounds it and the sheer cliff that drops off on three sides suggest otherwise. From the elevated tee, big hitters can easily go long with their driver, and a ball missing anywhere but right will find the sand at best, oblivion at worst. Standing on the green, looking down at the broad curve of the Columbia River, Saper explained how the river’s abrupt course change in Brewster has, over centuries, deposited millions of tons of sand on its eastern bank, much as the ocean creates beaches by depositing sand on shore with each crashing wave. While that sand is no good for growing apples, peaches, cherries or wine cascadegolfer.com
grapes, it’s absolute butter for crafting a golf course. The par-4 fifth was unanimously voted as the course’s toughest hole, despite its No. 3 rating on the scorecard. At 462 yards from the green tees, played slightly downhill, it’s a cape-style hole that bends around a long bunker extending down the entire right side. Adventurous golfers can hug the sand for a shorter approach over yet another bunker, while the safer play is to the left, leaving a 200-plus-yard approach to a long, narrow green. The sixth is the course’s longest, most imaginative, and unquestionably most fun par-3. It measures at 217 yards from the green tees but plays 170 downhill to a front pin, the location that will no doubt be preferred by those looking to showcase Gamble Sands’ unique attributes. Saper showed us how Kidd crafted the hole such that the best shot to a front pin is not at the hole, but at a gentle slope leading down from the seventh tee box, taking the large bunker on the left side out of play and letting your ball run straight down the hillside to the pin. We spent the rest of the day unlocking Kidd’s secrets — hidden fairway chutes that added 50 yards to any tee shot, slopes that funneled approaches to ideal positions and shortcuts that rewarded players willing to take a chance. Whether because of the altitude (just over 1,200 feet), the heat, the steady breeze, the firmness of the fescue or our sheer exuberance, we found our shots consistently carrying farther than they typically would. Three-hundred yard drives were common; 380 wasn’t out of the question. On the 452-yard, par-5 18th, having been wild with my driver, I opted for my 180-yard club, figuring two of those and a wedge would get me to the green. My first shot carried over 200 yards. My second carried even farther. I left the wedge in the bag, and enjoyed a two-putt birdie. By the time we plucked our balls from the cup on 18 the second time, the sun was slipping behind the mountains, casting long shadows across Kidd’s design and turning the grasses and sands that frame the holes from pale yellows and browns to vibrant shades of orange, red and purple. The course was just coming alive, but for us, it was time to head home.
idd has been criticized in the past for crafting courses too difficult for the average golfer. They’re words he has taken to heart at Gamble Sands, where he set out to build a beautiful, inspiring course that challenges a golfer’s mental creativity more than their physical prowess. Indeed, despite not always playing our best, each of us scored well, yet even the course’s easiest holes offered a thrill or challenge in the form of a risk-reward decision, or bunkers to avoid. Debating our favorites, we ultimately decided there wasn’t a weak one in the bunch. As we sat in the car at Wenatchee’s EZ’s Burger Deluxe, fueling up for the drive home, we reflected once more on the day we’d just had — 36 holes on quite possibly America’s best new course of 2014-15, and eight hours among friends, free from our cell phones, jobs and worries of a world that was 200 miles away. “It will never be like this again,” I said nostalgically, noting the course’s like-new condition and the absence of other players. “No,” Johnny agreed. “But it’s going to get even better.” AUGUST 2014
UNFORGETTABLE With our region’s only PGA TOUR stop celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, we highlight our 10 favorite moments in Boeing Classic history BY BOB SHERWIN
ne by one, seven golfers launched their drives in
various directions, then marched across the fairway like a grayhaired, multi-colored band of wedge-carrying warriors.
NO. 10: 2013
NO. 8: 2006
The Ultimate Underdog
How Low Can You Go?
There is a good chance that the casual sports fan doesn’t recognize the name John Riegger. In his first season on the Champions Tour in 2013, Riegger didn’t exactly come out of nowhere to win, but few could tell you where he did come from. He had spent 21 years on the PGA TOUR, dating back to 1986. In nine of those seasons, he didn’t make a cut, didn’t win a dime. Riegger began the final round tied with notables Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer, three shots ahead of the field. What could he expect to do against players more accomplished and intimidating? The ultimate underdog beat the field by two strokes, cashing the biggest single paycheck of his career, $300,000. In fact, in 19 of his 21 full seasons on the regular tour, he failed to win more cumulatively than that single first-place check.
Something in the air? Something in the water? As it turned out, it was something in the grass in 2006. The greens on the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge course were beset with an aggressive fungus that required frequent watering just to keep it from further damage. All that did was help these pros destroy the record book. By weekend’s end, the 2006 tournament had accounted for the best (tie) first-round score (63, Massy Kuramoto), best second-round score (61, Scott Simpson) and best third-round score (61, Tom Jenkins), along with a record for the most consecutive birdies (6, Allen Doyle), which in turn was bettered the following day when Des Smyth followed an eagle on No. 8 with five-straight birds. Amazingly, though, despite the low scores in 2006, no one golfer put together three stellar rounds. The tournament was won by Tom Kite, who, ironically, would have the highest first-round score – 1-under 71 – for an eventual champion.
If there is one moment that identifies the PGA TOUR Cham-
NO. 9: 2010
pions Tour Boeing Classic more
Year Of The Langer
than any other, it was this wild spectacle on Aug. 25, 2007. The Swingin’ Seven represented the largest playoff ever, on any tour, and was won eventually by Denis Watson with an eagle putt on the second playoff hole. For a tournament heading into its 10th year on Aug. 22-24 at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, the Boeing Classic already has had an abundant share of memorable moments. Here’s a look at our top-10. And we can’t wait to see what new memories are made this year. 40
AUGUST2014 2014 AUGUST
By any measure, compared to any season, Bernhard Langer was on “feuer” in 2010. Seattle-area golf fans bore witness. Hometown favorite Fred Couples fell victim. Three weeks after beating Couples to win the U.S. Senior Open at Redmond’s Sahalee Country Club, Langer virtually coasted at the Ridge. He tied for the best three-round score at 18-under 198. He tied for the largest winning margin (three strokes). He had no bogeys for the first – and only – time for a winner. Including his $470,000 paycheck for his Sahalee Open victory and his seven Boeing Classic appearances, Langer has taken home $1,031,057 from this region. “Maybe I should move here,” he said. “There must be something in the air in Seattle.’’
NO. 7: 2006
Kite Beats Fergus In One-Hole Playoff Eight shots behind the leader afer Day One in 2006, Tom Kite shot an 8-under 64 in his second round, dropping in 10 birdies and needing just 21 putts. Kite shot a final-round 66 for a 15-under 201, but Keith Fergus eagled the final hole to force a playoff. Playing the 18th again, Kite reached a green-side bunker in two while Fergus’s 3-iron approach drifted right, hit the cart path and bounced toward the skybox. A fan with a beer in one hand and his hat in another caught the ball in his cap, then released it to the ground, leaving Fergus a difficult lie. He chipped over the green, hit the curb and another spectator. Kite, patiently watching the theatrics, had no trouble. He chipped out of the sand to within three feet and made his birdie putt for victory. cascadegolfer.com
NO. 5: 2011
NO. 3: 2012
Calcavecchia’s First Tour Win In Playoff
Blake Beats O’Meara; Then The Tears
Mark Calcavecchia is an accomplished runner-up. On the PGA Tour, he finished second a remarkable 27 times. In his final round in 2011, he matched the low with a 7-under 65. No one was within five strokes – except one guy, his playing partner, Russ Cochran. Cochran nearly aced the par-3 17th, settling for a one-foot birdie, then rolled in a 10-foot eagle putt on 18 and the two finished tied at 14-under 202. They both went back to 18 again for the playoff. Calcavecchia reached the green in two while Cochran got hung up in the bunker. Calcavecchia finished with a two-putt birdie while Cochran had a two-putt bogey. It was the first Champions Tour victory for Calcavecchia.
Jay Don Blake beat Mark O’Meara in a playoff in 2012, but it’s what happened next that no one present will ever forget. Near the end of the post-round interviews, sportswriter Craig Smith asked Blake for details on a bizarre final-round blowup he had at the 2004 Booz Allen Classic. “Now you’ll get me emotional,” said Blake. Blake was told that morning that his beloved mother, Ilene, had died. He was set to withdraw, but figured his mother would want him to play. Yet, his heart wasn’t in it and he played poorly. “I’m going to do something here in the last few holes,” he told his caddy. “So don’t be shocked.” He began playing like an amateur. He double-bogeyed three holes on the back nine. By the time he reached the 18th green, he was sitting on 78 with his ball two feet from the cup. It took him seven shots to hole out. “The first couple times I missed, the spectators were like ‘Ooh, ahh.’ Then all of a sudden they started laughing,” said Blake, holding back tears. It turns out, Blake’s plan was to finish with exactly 85, in tribute to his 85-year-old mother. That story softened the hardest soul in the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge media room.
NO. 4: 2008
Tom Kite Makes It Two
Canyon Hole Strangeness It was created by the glaciers, but course architect Jack Nicklaus added the finishing touches. The result is the unique canyon hole 14th at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Between the elevated tee and the smallish green just 294 yards downhill, there is a 700-foot drop into the unknown. Thousands of Titleists and a title or two have been lost down there. “There aren’t many holes where you show up and your heart is thumping,” said Tom Kite, who calls the hole the most exciting on Tour. In 2007, local sports talk show host Mitch Levy encouraged a caller to pester tempermental Curtis Strange at the 14th. The caller did, and Strange snapped back. The next morning, Strange called then-tournament director Chuck Nelson to tell him he wasn’t showing up. “We spent all morning trying to convince him that Seattle loves him,” Nelson said. Strange played and even came back the following year. All was forgotten. Now, for a few extra bucks, fans can gather in the Canyon Club at the bottom of the hill, with covered seating, adult beverages and a heck of a view of the coolest shot on Tour.
Scott Simpson had a three-stroke lead in the 2008 final round before dropping a stroke on No. 8 — his first bogey in 44 holes, and one that turned the tide. Tom Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, birdied No. 12, then birdied the canyon hole 14th to catch Simpson with four holes to play. He birdied two more on the way in, including No. 18, to cap his second Boeing victory in three years. “At some point in all our careers,” Kite told the media afterward, “we’re going to win our last golf tournament. When you win it, you obviously don’t think that’s going to be your last one. When I won this tournament in ‘06, I thought I was just going to light it up. After two years you start to wonder, ‘Am I going to win one?’” Prophetically, Kite hasn’t won since.
Fred Couples, A Single Sensation No one else but Fred Couples can hit just one shot and still be the talk of the tournament. On his opening tee shot in 2011, his chronic back acted up, forcing a withdrawal. He offered a painful apology and drove away before most of the fans had even arrived. But whenever he shows up — even for one shot — Fred’s the guy. “He definitely has had an impact on our event, and the entire Champions Tour,” says Tournament Director Michelle DeLancy. Couples has made four Boeing appearances since turning 50, the first in 2010, placing third behind Bernhard Langer. In 2011, he finished 16th, then last year birdied four of his final five holes to finish third again. Afterward, Couples repeated that he plans to play in the tournament every year, as long as his back will allow him. And as long as he does, it won’t just be a golf tournament — it will be a can’t-miss Seattle sports event.
Give Your Kids A Lesson They’ll Never Forget
rovide four kids a golf experience of a lifetime at the Boeing Classic Emirates Youth Clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 19. The four participants will meet and take a photo with a PGA TOUR Champions Tour professional 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. 22-24. Whether they already love golf or are just picking up their first set of sticks, don’t miss out on providing some lucky kids with an amazing experience! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win!
THE NORTHWEST SAYS... “I hope to play every single year, even if I’m 60 or so and hacking it around.” — Fred Couples “The players’ favorite stop on the Champions Tour, and you can see why. Everything’s stunning — and of course, there’s the best hole in the Seattle area, No. 14, where you get the true meaning of risk-reward.” — Jim Moore, The Go2Guy, 710 ESPN “Many of the participants are legends in the game and still perform at a level way beyond any of us. I’ve volunteered the past four years and look very much forward to it each year.” — Vince Kiteley, Oki Golf “TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge shows off so much of what we love about golf in Washington: the views, mountains, water and a uniquely Northwest style that the old pros really appear to enjoy year-in and year-out.” — Brock Huard, Former UW & NFL quarterback “I have attended with my boys, with my wife and on my own. There is more interaction at a Champions Tour event between the players and the galleries than there is at a PGA Tour event. TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge is a great venue and they do a good job getting you in and out quick and easy with their shuttle service. Whether you have just a morning, an afternoon or the whole day, I would highly recommend attending. It’s a great time!” — Rex Fullerton, GM, Legion Memorial
NO. 1: 2007
Sevensome Heaven In various ways, seven men at the 2007 Boeing Classic all met on the 18th tee tied at 9-under 207. David Eger made five-consecutive birdies to card a final-round 66. Craig Stadler birdied the final two holes. Joe Ozaki and Dana Quigley each birdied 18. R.W. Eaks and Gil Morgan each missed birdies on 18, preventing either from winning the tourney outright. Denis Watson bogeyed 17 when his drive splashed into the pond. He then parred 18 to make it an even, or rather odd, sevensome. “It was unique for all of golf,” Nelson says. “I wanted all of them in one group (off the tee). We created a horse race on 18 and we were thrilled to death. It was a great spectacle.” The previous Champions Tour playoff record was five players. The PGA TOUR record is six. No one had ever seen anything like this. Eaks put the pressure on, lipping out a third-shot wedge and nailing the 18-inch birdie putt. Watson lifted a difficult, downhill, 23-yard chip shot on target and rolled it in. Then Stadler sank a pressure-packed 22-foot putt to join Watson and Eaks back on the 18th tee. This time, Watson rolled in a 18-foot eagle, following the ball in and fist-pumping as it disappeared. It was a moment that will be hard to top.
SAVE SOME GREEN
MAKE IT TWO BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
rom there to here, from here to there, fantastic golf courses are everywhere. OK, that may not be exactly the line Dr. Seuss used to end One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (in fact, the line ends, “...funny things are everywhere.”), but it’s certainly how Puget Sound golfers feel about our region, especially at this time of year. Whether looking close to home, or casting your rod across the mountains or Sound, there are literally dozens of golf courses within a relatively short drive of the Seattle-Tacoma area that offer a playing experience that far outstrips their greens fee. Having lived in three different states, and golfed in many more, I can testify that it’s not like this everywhere — in most destinations, you get what you pay for. In the Pacific Northwest, though, even our most bargain-conscious, family-run courses often feature tree-lined fairways, mountain and water views and abundant wildlife — elements that enhance your playing experience, and can turn playing even a shorter, less challenging course into a memorable day. In this month’s Save Some Green, we’re shining the spotlight on a few of these little guys — courses that may fly below the radar of top-10 rankings and national magazine writers, but offer a fun round of golf at a price that won’t break your budget. And since you’ll save so much on greens fees, we’re tossing in a second course in the same area that makes for a fun and value-packed 36-hole day. After all, the only thing better than playing one of these courses, is playing two. So call in sick, get out while the sun’s still shining, and make it happen.
Play Your Next Round On Us!
ant to really save some green? Then enter to win FREE GOLF this summer at one of our favorite local tracks, Auburn Golf Course! From the birdie-friendly front nine to the steep slopes and memorable shots on the back nine, your only job is to have a blast — we’ll take care of the tab. Enter to win today at CascadeGolfer.com!
Lipoma Firs Golf Course • Puyallup
Maplewood GC RENTON
When setting up a 36-hole day, there’s a good rule of thumb to follow. One, the courses should be in the same general vicinity, or at least on a straight line from our home base — for example, Druids Glen and Echo Falls might seem like an odd pair … but if you live near one of the two, then it’s a simple matter of driving to the first, then heading back and hitting the second on the way home. The second rule is that the courses should complement each other in some way — one easy, one hard; one open, one tree-lined; you get the idea. And the third rule is the most crucial — since you’re paying two greens fees, they can’t be too spendy. That’s what we’re thinking when pairing Renton’s Maplewood Golf Course with Puyallup’s Lipoma Firs. Popular with locals in Kent, Renton, Covington and the surrounding areas, Maplewood is a good kickoff to a 36-hole day in the Rainier Valley, with enough challenging holes to keep you sharp while letting you work out the early-morning kinks in your swing. Measuring out at 6,100 yards from the tips, its 69.4 rating and 120 slope are evidence of its slightly-above-average difficulty, with a number of trees, bunkers, water hazards and doglegs that keep you on your toes. One of our favorite holes is the par-5 15th, a 467yard par-5 that looks simple on the scorecard, but less so on the tee. The hole tapers from tee to green, with a lateral hazard lining the entire left side, and a large maple and bunker guarding the green to the right. Even a 300-yard drive will require a well-struck second to get home in two; the prudent play is to lay up down the left side of the fairway and avoid the maple with your wedge approach. Maplewood is also a good start to your day for its large, covered driving range and the RiverRock Grill. One will help you warm up your game, while the other will warm your belly.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,088 - 6,107 (72) RATES $16-$38 TEL (425) 430-6800 WEB rentonwa.gov/living
Lipoma Firs GC PUYALLUP
The only thing keeping the 27-hole Lipoma Firs Golf Course from asking rates more than 50 percent higher than its current $30 peak is its location just off of Highway 161 in Puyallup, a few miles from the edge of Mount Rainier National Park. But that out-of-the-way location is exactly what makes it a gold mine for golfers, who can enjoy each of the course’s three nines — the shortest of which, the Green Course, measures a robust 3,300 yards from the tips — without the crowds, or greens fees, of the more popular Western Washington tracks. And those 27 holes are no joke — tree-lined fairways make accuracy a key for the high-handicappers, while fast, sloping greens challenge single-digit players to make a putt. From the blue tees, all three combos (Blue/Gold, Gold/Green and Blue/Green) have course ratings over par, with the “easiest” combo — the Gold/Green — carrying a slope of 125, well above average and only slightly lower than the white tees at Chambers Bay. That being said, trees are trimmed such that a ball in the woods is often playable, giving players the opportunity to scramble for pars and bogeys even after a wayward drive, and the more player-friendly white tees cut roughly 600 yards off of each 18-hole loop, bringing all but one of the course’s par-4s under 400 yards, and turning several of the par-5 into enticing risk/reward propositions. Why play Lipoma Firs second, rather than first? Because after playing 18, you’re not going to want to drive off to another course. Instead, keep the clubs out and head for that third set of tees. You’ll be happy with your choice.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,473 - 6,805 (72) RATES $15-$30 TEL (253) 841-4396 WEB lipomafirsgolfcourse.com
Lake Chelan Municipal CHELAN
Many summertime vacationers include Leavenworth in their plans, while many others take a long weekend in Chelan. Our suggestion? Do both. One of our favorite summertime getaways is a dash across Highway 2 to Chelan, where we knock out 72 holes in two days at four of our favorite courses — Leavenworth and Desert Canyon on the way up, and Bear Mountain Ranch and Lake Chelan Municipal on day two, before pointing the car back towards home. The benefits of this schedule are obvious — for one, by playing 36 holes each day, golfers can maximize their time away. Four rounds of golf make for a great vacation no matter where you are, but just two days (and one night) away cause a minimal disruption to your job or family commitments. You also save money on lodging by spending just the one night, while that specific combination of courses blends two higher-end destination tracks with two lower-priced local favorites, saving you a little green in your wallet while not at all diminishing the quality of golf you’ll enjoy. Despite its “muni” label, Lake Chelan offers plenty to test golfers of all abilities — at 6,430 yards from the tips, its blue tees are right in the wheelhouse of most men, while its 5,500-yard red tees are even a touch longer than the forward tees at many Western Washington tracks. In addition, its rating and slope — 71.2 and 126, respectively — belie the challenge the course presents to low- and high-handicappers alike. Much of that rating comes from Lake Chelan’s small, elevated greens, which combined with the breeze that blows steadily off the lake require an informed club selection, and precise shot execution. The slope, meanwhile, is derived mostly from the course’s length and occasional forced carries. Trees and bunkers, while present, aren’t copious enough to restrict an average golfer from achieving a good score even with a little wildness, while the only real water hazard is more a distraction — in the form of the beautiful blue Lake Chelan stretching out as far as the eye can see to the west — than a threat. Save a little time, if you can, to venture off the property to sample some of the amazing wines being made in one of America’s fastest-growing wine regions. Benson Estate Vineyards, just up the road from the golf course, has one of the best Cabernet Francs we’ve ever tried, while the Syrahs at Nefarious Cellars, on the lake’s southern shore, can’t be beat.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,500- 6,430 (72) RATES $24-$40 TEL (800) 246-5361 WEB lakechelangolf.com
THE ALL NEW
ALLENMORE GOLF AND EVENT CENTER
BEST DEAL IN GOLF!!! For current specials visit www.GolfNow.com
allenmoregolfcourse.com Pro Shop: (253) 627-7211 Events: (253) 272-1117
2013 S. Cedar St. Tacoma, WA 98405
Restaurant now OPEN!
Tacoma’s newer dining venue, Smoke + Cedar, is now open. Famous Chef Gordon Nacarrato has created a menu to delight your taste buds and a beautiful bar with all your favorites and a few unique drinks to enjoy while you watch the action on the course.Located in the “Heart” of Tacoma offering Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner along with catering your event, onsite or off.
Lipoma Firs Golf Course A 27 hole golf facility Great condition rain or shine.
Bring in this ad and receive 2 Green Fees for the price of 1 Expires August 31, 2014
10410 187th St. E. • Puyallup, WA 98374 • (253) 841-4396 46
Leavenworth GC LEAVENWORTH
At some point this summer, just about every Western Washington resident will pass through Leavenworth. The little mountain town just across Stevens Pass has become a mandatory annual day trip (or weekend excursion) for couples and families throughout the state since making the fortuitous decision to convert itself into a Bavarian paradise in the 1960s. But in between visits to the Nutcracker Museum, candy shop and outdoor art market, take time to drive a couple of miles down Icicle Road to Leavenworth Golf Club, which just might be the best mountain golf value in the state. Sure, it’s not long (just 5,699 yards) and doesn’t have the prestige of mountain tracks like Suncadia’s Prospector or Rope Rider, but that’s no reason to drive on by — indeed, it’s exactly why you should pull in. Leavenworth’s out-of-the-way locale keeps traffic down to the occasional weekend visitor and the abundantly friendly locals, many of whom have been playing the course for decades, some since it was a nine-holer and Leavenworth itself was just a forgotten logging town. It also keeps rates low, with a summer weekend peak of just $46, and a $25 rate if you tee off after 2 p.m. Its shorter length, meanwhile, gives mid- and even high-handicappers the chance to post one of their better scores of the year, while allowing them to keep that pesky driver in the bag on many occasions. Better players, though, will still be tested by the speedy greens, which firm up in summer and can turn many a birdie putt into par or worse. When you reach the tee box at the par-3 fourth — the most remote part of the course, hard along the banks of the Wenatchee with only the No. 3 green in the near vicinity — take a moment to stop and close your eyes. Inhale a deep breath of the cool, crisp mountain air, and just listen. Those sounds you hear — the gurgling river, the cascadegolfer.com
Leavenworth G.C. • Leavenworth
rustle of the trees, the call of a bird … that’s peace. Let it clear your mind of all those stresses back home, then open your eyes, take aim at the No. 4 green, and let ‘er rip.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,241- 5,699 (72) RATES $25-$46 TEL (509) 548-7267 WEB leavenworthgolf.com
POST GAME Hit Me With Your
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
very year, we try to add something new to the Cascade Golfer Cup — new formats, new courses, new prizes. This year’s new addition, though, just might be one of the coolest yet. At every CG Cup event in 2014, golfers are competing to make The Glenlivet Shot of The Day — typically, a driveable par-4 or a long approach on a tough par-4. Put your ball the closest to the pin, and regardless of your overall score, you’re taking home a bottle of The Glenlivet 18 — 18-year-old, single-malt scotch, valued at up to $100 a bottle. We thought it would be a popular prize, but until making the official announcement at our first event, we had no idea how many scotch drinkers were in the field. In fact, single-malt scotch represents the second-fastest growing spirit category in the world, and The Glenlivet — first made more than 200 years ago in the Scottish Highlands — sits head and shoulders above its competitors as the most highly rated and best-selling single-malt on the market. So, for this issue of CG, we tapped our friends at The Glenlivet to give us the inside scoop on some of their favorite labels. And since single-malt is at its most complex neat, or with a single ice cube, we’ve tossed in a few pairing suggestions to bring out the most robust flavor in your scotch whiskey. Be warned — the following article may lead to uncontrollable thirst.
The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Double-distilled and aged in sherry casks, this 80-proof scotch whiskey has a fruity aroma, a honey-sweet flavor and a gentle, lingering finish. PAIR IT WITH: Ginger shortbread cookies make a delightful complement to any single-malt.
The Glenlivet 15-Year-Old French Oak Reserve Aged in French Limousin Oak, the 80-proof 15-Year blends the spicy wood notes with a fruity, floral flavor with a long, creamy finish. PAIR IT WITH: Smoked salmon, or sushi. The spiciness of the wasabi brings out the oaky notes.
The Glenlivet Nadurra 16-Year-Old Manufactured in first-fill American Oak casks and bottled at natural cask strength (106-proof), the Nadurra is a scotch for scotch connisseurs. A fruity nose, rich texture and crisp, appetizing taste. PAIR IT WITH: Dark chocolate. And don’t plan to get out of your seat anytime soon.
The Glenlivet 18-Year-Old The 86-proof single-malt our CG Cup players are raving about, whose flavor balances ripe citrus fruit with the spiciness and smokiness of the oak in which it has been aging since before the turn of the century. PAIR IT WITH: If you can find them, some venison medallions make an excellent complement for this full-bodied, hearty scotch.
The Glenlivet Archive 21-Year-Old Want the perfect birthday present for a soon-to-be 21-year-old? Buy them a bottle of single-malt whiskey from the year they were born. Luxurious and complex, with a mature nose and smooth, mouth-coating texture, you can’t get much better than this. PAIR IT WITH: Practically a meal in itself, a good brie is all this one needs.
The Glenlivet XXV-Year-Old A single-malt whiskey so old and prestigious its age can only be expressed in Roman numerals. Aged in rare Oloroso sherry casks, with an intense, creamy nose and a blend of sweet, spicy and fruity flavors, it’s the ultimate expression of the distiller’s art. PAIR IT WITH: Absolutely nothing. Take it neat, or with a single ice cube, and feel your mind melt away.
Congratulations to the winners of June’s CG Swag! B.C. Stay-and-Play Brandon Feist • Tacoma Palouse Ridge Twosome Jack Powers • East Wenatchee Boeing Classic VIP Passes Edward Giger • Lacey Two Hours at Clubhouse Golf Center Greg Burnside • Edmonds
Didn’t win? Don’t worry, there are four more chances to win this issue! • Simulator Time at Clubhouse Golf Center: Page 10 • Palouse Ridge Foursome: Page 15 • TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Twosome: Page 16 • Boeing Classic VIP Package: Page 41 • Auburn Golf Course Twosome: Page 44
Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and follow us online for your chance to win! And follow us on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) for even more giveaways and contests!