VOLUME 9 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2015 • COMPLIMENTARY
PING BREAKS NEW GROUND CAN PACIFIC GALES BE OREGON’S NEXT BANDON? NORTHWEST’S BEST WINE AND GOLF GETAWAYS NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
IS ANOTHER U.S. OPEN IN OUR FUTURE?
BY PRICE • BY REGION
Palouse Ridge • Pullman
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SAVE UP TO
See pages 6-7 for details.
INVENTORY LIQUIDATION THOUSANDS OF GREAT DEALS UNDER THE TENT!
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20 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• New PING irons for fall • Gear up, ‘Hawks fans • Shoes, rangefinders and more
10 SHORT GAME
• The next Bandon Dunes • CascadeGolferDeals.com • Sahalee gets Women’s PGA • Take the Eaglemont Challenge • Tacoma Open returns in Sept. • SG Extra: Puetz Golf Turns 70
ON THE ROAD AGAIN Our most epic challenge yet — 36 holes at Palouse Ridge, and back the same day.
BOOM-BOOM Want to attend a pro golf tourney where you can actually see the players? The Boeing Classic returns. BY BOB SHERWIN
24 TEEING OFF
Damon Huard’s sweet science
37 RISK VS REWARD Palouse Ridge | No. 17
50 ROAD HOLES
Golfing the CG Wine Trail
54 SAVE SOME GREEN Sound investments
Golfing in a casino? Here’s how.
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 6-7 | 30-35
2015 TOP-10 COURSES Our bi-annual ranking of Washington’s best public courses — did your favorite track make the list?
THIS PAGE Oregon’s Pacific Gales, located on the coast just south
of Bandon, isn’t even open yet, but is already generating headlines. Find out why on page 10. PHOTO BY BRIAN OAR
THE WEEK THAT WAS A look back at the U.S. Open — and a look ahead to what the future has in store. BY BRIAN BEAKY
ON THE COVER Palouse Ridge made the top-10 in 2015 — where does your favorite course rank? Find out on page 38.
Congratulations to the winners of June’s CG Swag! U.S. Open Tickets Bill Beslow • Snohomish Boeing Classic Canyon Club Passes Shawn Ko • Issaquah
Palouse Ridge Twosome & Rife Putter Greg Kisinger • Renton
• Rife Switchback Putter: Page 16 • Twosomes to Auburn and Palouse Ridge: Page 27 • VIP Passes to the Boeing Classic : Page 49 • CG Jackpot — Maui Golf Getaway: Page 58
TaylorMade SLDR S Driver Dave Hagarty • Marysville
Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
Black Butte Ranch Stay-and-Play Joe DeBell • Auburn
We may not have U.S. Open tickets to give away this time around — but can we interest you in a four-night, four-round package to Maui? Yeah, we thought so. Here’s what’s up for grabs this month:
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SEATTLE 11762 Aurora Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98133 (206) 362-2272 (800) 390-7078
BELLEVUE 1645 140th Ave. N.E. Bellevue, WA 98005 (425) 747-0664 (866) 362-7234
TUKWILA 402 Strander Blvd. Tukwila, WA 98188 (206) 439-1740 (866) 362-4279
TACOMA 99 6409 Tacoma Reg. Mall$99 Blvd. Tacoma, WA 98409 (253) 474-8288 (866) 362-2045
Some photos may not be exact representation. Selection varies per store. Discounts figured from manufacturer’s original list price. See store for complete details. Advertised items subject to available stock on hand. Puetz Golf is committed to truthful and accurate advertising. We are, however, not responsible for printing errors. Tent Sale prices good through 8/9/2015.
Volume 9 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2015
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 106,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound.
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, Katie Erickson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony Dear, Bob Sherwin FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103 email@example.com
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2015 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
AUGUST AUGUST 2015 2015
A FOND FAREWELL TO MY CAPTAIN FOR LIFE
ver the years, I have made an important handful of references to my favorite person in golf — my dad, Gary Stephens. I wrote about our dream trip to Scotland, which was our Valhalla moment, and always made watching the British Open very memorable. I have also included him in many of my thoughts and musings in this magazine over the last decade. I’m like any son that loves his father, enjoyed the game through him and then took up my own interest in it. I am and will forever be grateful to him for showing me what the game could mean to me as a man, entrepreneur, friend and father. The week of Father’s Day, and the day before the opening round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, my family watched our patriarch leave this Earth and cross over before our very eyes — succumbing to a long, brave fight with cancer at the age of 73. As my family all experienced this soul-searching moment in our lives and struggled with what to say and do, with all of us propping up the other the best we could there in our parents’ bedroom where he took his last breath, the U.S. Open coverage was on TV in the background, the sound turned down. Although I didn’t get to take him and enjoy the U.S. Open as we did when the PGA Championship, World Golf Championship and U.S. Senior Open all rolled though Seattle, I did his bidding and enjoyed the week with my three children (a highlight for me), brother and brother-inlaw. We channeled his presence; we all felt him walking with us. For my dad, the U.S. Open represented the public golfer more than the private, as it allows a nobody to become a somebody if they are good enough. My dad didn’t grow up in a life of privilege — nor did we. But, he took up the game in his 20s, as it suited his intellect and love of specificity. He liked that the game was a meshing of gears and not just a test of sheer athleticism. He didn’t hit the ball a country mile; his bag was chipping, putting, sand play, exploding shots with huge divots and the sound the ball made when it was picked cleanly. Those
skills — honing them, losing his grip on them and regaining proficiency once again — fed his soul. More importantly, though, the game allowed him to connect with others, a careful mixture of social interaction, competition and bonding. His weekly playing mates over the years — Al, Phil, Rudy, his brother Lonnie and sometimes myself and my brother — all saw the same thing from him week-in, weekout. He played the game fair, followed the rules and fueled the match with conversation and a fire to score. Playing with him was easy; never stressful. I loved it. I miss it. I could write about him all day long, but I will leave you with a list of things that will be with me in my heart forever as it relates to golf and my dad. Teaching me the Vardon grip at 10, but also teaching me who Harry Vardon was; showing me that “drive-for-show-and-puttfor-dough” really is true; teaching me that a bad shot sometimes is a gift that can ignite a new set of skills, and that scramblers like Lee Trevino and Seve Ballesteros are more fun to follow; teaching me how to play skins, and that being tough on the final holes means focus, followed by function, followed by focus again — like in sales; teaching me to keep my grooves clean and my wedge dry; to keep my left eye on the back of the ball; to give a gimme to keep the match spirit “up,” but not to afford yourself credit with the other player. Just writing these makes me want to write more, but I will soon run out of space. I played with him hundreds of times, hit tens of thousands of balls and putts as a boy and man — I loved it, and him. I would never trade any of those moments. It was my honor. He was cremated in his favorite golf shirt, sweater, and golf cap, with a crucifix, U.S. Open ball marker and two tickets to a Seahawks game in his pocket. He was true blue and is sorely missed. If you have a child, parent or even a loved one you enjoy doing anything with, grab hold of them and make memories, as life is fleeting. Enjoy this issue, and TAKE IT EASY. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
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Photo by Brian Oar
Oregon’s Pacific Gales Clears Major Hurdle
n June, Pacific Gales Golf Course in Port Orford, Ore., announced that it would be offering various levels of Founders Club memberships ranging in price from $45,000 to $100,000, prompting everyone who heard the news to think the same thing – Pacific Gales ... isn’t that the place near Bandon where someone was going to build a golf course once? Indeed, news of this project on the southern Oregon coast, 30 miles south of the links Wonderland that is the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, first spread in November 2013, when Elk River Property Development LLC, revealed its plan to turn 330 acres of the Knapp Family Ranch into a clifftop 18-holer designed by Chicago’s David Esler. In the 19 relatively quiet months since, the Pacific Gales team of Esler, managing partner Jim Haley (who worked as a shaper on the David McLay Kidd-designed Bandon Dunes) and project manager Troy Russell (who was the first superintendent at Bandon Dunes) have been working vigorously through the Oregon land-use process and successfully navigated every course-related battle they’ve encountered. In March 2014, the Curry County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the
developers’ request for a conditional use permit and, three months later, the Curry County Board of Commissioners affirmed that decision. Not surprisingly, however, one obstructionist group lodged complaints with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) based primarily on land-use technicalities and questioning the size of the proposed clubhouse. In May, though, LUBA rejected all three golf courserelated claims, clearing the way for the Pacific Gales team to forge ahead with fundraising and construction plans. “We believe the Planning Commission recognized the positive effect Pacific Gales will have on the area,” says Esler, whose design credits include the acclaimed Black Sheep Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Ill., and a fine renovation of Elgin Country Club, 40 miles west of downtown Chicago. “We also think they approved of our proactive approach to protecting the environmental assets of the land while restoring native habitat.” “It’s a shame the land-use process took as long as it did,” Haley adds. “But in the end, not only did we win, as we knew we would, but we were able to address a number of issues, plus lay the foundation for the Founders Club, so that more golfers from the Pacific
Northwest and beyond could have a hand in helping Pacific Gales come to life.” The Founders Club essentially allows buyers to prepurchase a lifetime of golf at Pacific Gales, including preferred access during construction, priority tee times, discounted lodging and guest rates, and no dues, greens fees or assessments for the rest of your life — two lives, really, as you can gift or will your membership one time, at no charge. Pacific Gales began taking applications in July, and only a limited number will be available. Elk River Property is looks to break ground in late fall 2015 or early 2016, with an expected opening in 2017 or 2018. Several of the 18 holes will play on or near the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and the nines will finish on a shared green overlooking the ocean. “We can’t wait to start getting Pacific Gales in the ground,” says Haley. “We have a little more work to do on the clubhouse design, but the entire team is excited that we’re nearing the finish line on the planning phase so we can begin building a fun, memorable golf course on this incredible piece of land, and provide golfers visiting the Southern Oregon Coast with an experience that will be second to none.” — Tony Dear CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Thousands Saving Big at CascadeGolferDeals.com
Prospector at Suncadia • Roslyn
olf is a fantastic sport. It’s also not cheap. That’s why when we started Cascade Golfer eight years ago, we did so with one goal in mind — to help Western Washington golfers find the best golf deals throughout the region, and beyond. Golf can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be — especially in the Northwest, where there are so many outstanding courses competing for your golf dollar. The magazine alone, though, wasn’t enough. It only comes out four times per year, while golfers hit the course every week. So, in 2015, we launched an all-new website, CascadeGolferDeals.com, that delivers CG-worthy deals to your inbox every single week. Deals like all-day twosomes at Port Ludlow for just $89, 36 holes for two at Suncadia for just $118.50 per player, 50-percent-off a three-lesson
package at Puetz and more. The response has been amazing — nearly 2,000 golfers have taken advantage of our deals in the first four months we’ve been online, saving more than $10,000 combined. With the peak summer season here, discounts are harder to find, but the shoulder season is right around the corner, and courses are already lining up to entice you out to their tracks this fall — in the coming weeks, we’ll have deals from some of the top courses in the state, each offering incredible packages exclusive to CascadeGolferDeals.com. Be sure you’re on the list to receive these offers by visiting CascadeGolferDeals.com and clicking the “Sign Up” link. Soon, you’ll be playing more golf, at lower rates — and that’s what CG is all about.
Cascade Golfer Cup To Give Away 90 Rounds of Golf
t’s been a heck of a year for the Cascade Golfer Cup. We’ve taken players to Salish Cliffs, Washington National, McCormick Woods, Gold Mountain (Olympic) and the incredible Gamble Sands, then sent them off on dream vacations to Bandon Dunes, Sunriver, Mesquite, Palm Springs, Black Butte Ranch and other top locales. In all, we’ve distributed more than $75,000 in prizes to over 100 teams of golfers from throughout Western Washington — and we’re not close to done yet. Two events remain on the Cascade Golfer Cup calendar in 2015, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at The Classic and the season-ending Puetz Golf Shootout at White Horse. Both are open to any player with an established handicap, regardless of whether you’ve ever
Adam Hargrave and Chad Orvella won a trip to Bandon Dunes in the Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship at Washington National. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
competed in a Cascade Golfer Cup event before. Each event, played in fun, team-scoring formats, features its own top prizes — including stay-and-plays, rounds of golf to Gamble Sands and other top Northwest tracks, golf equipment and more — awarded to the top-15 net and top-10 gross teams. In addition, players receive tee prizes just for showing up, free coffee and beer on the course and a post-round meal, and have the option to participate in long drive, closest-to-the-pin and straightest drive contests to add to their haul. And just to sweeten the pot, we’ve secured 90 rounds of golf to RMG courses — McCormick Woods, The Classic and Oakbrook — that we’re going to give to the first 45 teams to register for the Aug. 22 Michelob ULTRA Open at The Classic. That’s right — just sign up, and you’ll be automatically handed a twosome of golf. All that said, the main reason that players give for returning to the Cup year after year isn’t the prizes, the beer, the meal, the variety of champions our tournaments have produced, or even the incredible courses on the series schedule — it’s the people. We’re proud to say that the Cascade Golfer Cup features a group of players that we’d tee it up with any day — men and women, young and old, who are happy to be out on the golf course, and understand that even the most competitive round of golf is still just a round of golf. Over the next month, we’ll give those players more than $25,000 in prizes. Will you be one of them? To register, visit CascadeGolfer.com/Cup or contact Tournament Director Simon Dubiel directly at simon@ cascadegolfer.com or 888-367-6420, x100. AUGUST 2015
SHORT GAME Sahalee To Host 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
e waited nearly two decades after hosting the 1998 PGA Championship before our region was once again blessed with a major championship — and what a major it was. This time, we won’t even have to wait 12 months. The PGA announced in June that the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship — one of five majors on the LPGA Tour — has been awarded to Sahalee Country Club. Next year’s event, which will take place June 9-12, 2016, will mark the first time that the tournament — known for decades as the LPGA Championship before being taken over by the PGA of America in 2015 — has been held anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. “The PGA of America is excited about partnering with KPMG and the LPGA in taking this Championship to some of the finest venues in the country and bringing new audiences into supporting women in golf,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “Sahalee Country Club has a proven record of excellence in hosting major championships and we anticipate that it will be a spectacular setting for spectators, as well as millions of viewers worldwide.” Indeed, Sahalee has twice hosted majors before, including the aforementioned 1998 PGA Championship, won by Vijay Singh, and, more recently, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, where Bernhard Langer held off hometown favorite Fred Couples for the win. This time, it’ll be stars like Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Anna Nordqvist, Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb — most of whom will be playing in Western Washington for the very first time — taking on Sahalee’s
Lydia Ko Photo by Wojciech Migda
famously narrow fairways and lightning-quick greens, and giving local golf fans their first up-close look at the stars of the women’s game. In addition, as part of the new arrangement between KPMG, the LPGA, and the PGA of America, Sahalee and the Western Washington region will also host the second-annual KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, where industry leaders discuss issues related to “the development, advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course.” “I think it’s absolutely great for the region, obviously,” said Sahalee Country Club President Steve Oaks. “For our club, we couldn’t be more thrilled. To have the opportunity to host another major -- and further our partnership with the PGA — is something we’re very excited about. The partnership with KPMG and the PGA is, I think, really innovative with what they’re doing with the tournament and combining that with the Women’s Leadership Summit. We’re very excited and eager.” As the anticipation built towards the U.S. Open this spring, we reflected on the years of excitement that had brought us to this point, and wondered aloud, “What on Earth are we going to do when this is over?” Now, we know. We’re headed to Sahalee.
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Take The Eaglemont Challenge
f all of the local courses that have undergone changes in recent years, perhaps none have been as dramatic as those at Mount Vernon’s Eaglemont Golf Course. Routed on a ridge high above the tulip-laden Skagit Valley, Eaglemont has always been a favorite — Golf Digest rated it in the top-10 of Washington courses in 2011, and it has hosted more than its share of USGA qualifiers and other top-tier events. With that reputation, though, it was always a bit of a surprise for first-time players to drive up to the course’s old clubhouse, a modest structure tucked amongst the trees, before stepping out to an awkward first hole with a dogleg right that prevented some players from pulling their driver. Following Eaglemont’s total overhaul in 2011, however, the course now has as dramatic a front porch as any this side of Newcastle — the beautiful new clubhouse and restaurant sits at the high point of the ridge, overlooking the valley, Puget Sound and the distant Olympic Mountains. The new clubhouse location also necessitated a re-ordering of Eaglemont’s holes, allowing
the 13th hole — a downhill par-4 from an elevated tee — to become a terrific new No. 1. The former No. 12 — an exciting, uphill par-5 — is now a fun finish to the front nine, with other holes also re-sequenced to create a more dramatic progression. This summer, Eaglemont is giving golfers yet another reason to make the drive up I-5 — free golf. “The Eaglemont Challenge” allows players to compete in closest-to-thepin, long drive and long putt contests each Thursday through Sept. 3, with winners taking home golf balls and other merchandise, plus the chance to pocket a full year’s worth of free golf at Eaglemont. In addition, part of every competitor’s $1 entry fee (added to the regular greens fee) is put into a pot that will be paid out to the first player to record a hole-in-one. If you’re an Eaglemont regular, then you already know what the course has to offer. If you’re not, pick a Thursday this summer to make the trip. Just bring a few extra balls, and your “A” game, because while the course may be as scenic as ever, it’s still every bit the “challenge” it’s always been — any day of the week.
Play With The Pros In the 2015 Tacoma Open
M WIN A RIFE SWITCHBACK PUTTER!
t Cascade Golfer, we pride ourselves in saving local golfers time and money. So, how about 100 percent off on a Rife Switchback Putter? Bellevuebased Rife unveiled their new Switchback in April — a first of its kind, with adjustable weights on the toe and heel, allowing golfers to customize their putter to their swing, or the speed of the greens. In fact, we can think of a few PGA TOUR pros who might have found a Switchback handy at Chambers Bay. While it’s too late for them, it’s the perfect time for you to enter to win your own Rife Switchback — for free! Just log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today!
ore than 100,000 local golf fans flocked to Chambers Bay in June, eager to see the world’s top professional golfers up close. In September, nearby Meadow Park Golf Course will go one better, giving fans the chance not just to watch the pros, but to compete alongside them for a total purse of over $50,000. Last year, the inaugural Tacoma Open drew a strong field of professionals and amateurs, each competing in separate flights for prizes of up to $10,000 for the pros, and $750 for the amateurs. Making the Tacoma Open unique is the fact that pros and amateurs play in foursomes together, giving local golfers and even top youth players the chance to tee it up alongside pros like Web.com Tour player Andrew Yun, or PGA TOUR star Michael Putnam. Putnam — who lives in University Place and is a regular at Meadow Park in between weeks on Tour — competed in last year’s Tacoma Open, before qualifying for that “other” Open down the street this June. He says his favorite thing about the Meadow Park event is the chance to meet local young players and help them pursue their dreams.
Michael Putnam “When they had the PGA Championship at Sahalee, I went up with my dad, and it inspired me to play golf,” Putnam says. “The Tacoma Open provides that for kids in this area. They get to play with the pros and realize that we’re just real people.” The 2015 Tacoma Open will be played Sept. 11-13, with all players guaranteed 36 holes before a cut-down prior to the final round on Sunday. Pros will compete for one of the largest purses in the Northwest — already this year, PGA TOUR players Michael and Andrew Putnam, Troy Kelly (like Michael, another U.S. Open competitor) and Andres Gonzales have made tentative commitments to play — while amateurs will compete for significant cash prizes. A portion of the proceeds will also go to benefit local youth programs, including The First Tee of South Puget Sound. “To be part of the younger generation and help to grow the game, that’s what it’s all about,” says Yun, who won last year’s $10,000 prize. To learn more or to register, call (253) 473-3033 or visit www.tacomaopen.com.
Follow The Footsteps of Byron Nelson at Allenmore
ou heard it said repeatedly during the Fox Sports broadcast of the U.S. Open in June that this was the first time the U.S. Open had ever been held in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s not the first time that the world’s best golfers have come to play a tournament in the Tacoma area. Starting in 1934, the Allenmore Open — the brainchild of co-owners Sam Allen and D.W. Dinsmore, who completed the course’s original 18 holes in 1931 — attracted top professional golfers from throughout the United States to the Tacoma area for many years. World Golf Hall of Famer Byron Nelson played in the event, as did numerous other well-known pros in the decades before the formation of the PGA TOUR and the solidification of the “Tour schedule.” At the time, Allenmore was considered one of the top golf facilities in the Northwest — for sure, its location atop a ridge just west of what is now the I-5/Hwy 16 interchange, with an unimpeded view of Mount Rainier looming to the east, set it apart from any other golf course of the time. But its facilities were also among the finest, starting with a golf course good enough to draw the game’s best players from around the country, and a clubhouse that, according to Tacoma historians, “was one of the most elaborate buildings of its kind in the Northwest.” Today, the golf course remains much as it was in those early days (of course, with modern conveniences and regular upgrades), while the views will last forever. The clubhouse, though, has been completely remodeled to include a sports bar, pool tables, fitness center, handball and racquetball courts, a glass-enclosed pavilion and a modern restaurant, Smoke + Cedar, featuring steaks, fish, burgers, cocktails and more. The truth is, it’s more than a clubhouse — the facility serves as the home of Tacoma Elks Lodge No. 174, which purchased the original clubhouse and golf course from Allen in 1955. Play is open to Elks and non-Elks alike, with greens fees topping out at a rate of $32 that even Allen himself would have thought reasonable. So tip a cap to Pierce County’s past with a round at Allenmore this summer. We’d recommend leaving the hickory shafts and wood drivers at home, though; while the course may be straight out of the past, your golf game belongs squarely in the present. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
POWER Seventy years after it was founded, family-run Puetz Golf is still going strong BY TONY DEAR
n a June 2002 Seattle Times community blog, David Puetz, owner of Puetz Golf Superstores, gave reporter Brian Joseph a line, explaining why he was in the golf business, that should be emblazoned on a banner and hung over the front door of every Puetz location. “You do it out of a love of the sport,” he said, “a love of customer service, and a love of family.”
Come experience the difference, now with flexible membership options and daily open play rates
(360) 675-5490 whidbeygolfclub.com 18
How better to sum up a business that has served Seattle golfers for seven decades? Puetz was speaking shortly after the passing of his father, Peter, who had established the company with his brother Alvin, in 1945. Peter, one of 12 siblings, dropped out of eighth grade, aged 13, after the death of his own father, to work alongside Alvin in the Seattle and Ballard meat and fish markets. Times were hard, and the family needed an income greater than what the boys were earning in tips caddying at Seattle Golf Club, where they had discovered the game and competed in caddie tournaments. After the Allies defeated the Axis powers in World War II, Alvin decided to open a driving range near the corner of Aurora Avenue N. & N. 125th Street, where the 125th Street Grill now stands. He sold buckets of balls for 60 cents and gave the odd lesson. Peter, a little more risk-averse than his brother and not quite ready to jump in all the way, stayed on at the fish markets, helping Alvin establish his range on nights and weekends. The facility gave beginning golfers, and those without the means or contacts to acquire membership at Seattle G.C. — perhaps the most exclusive golf club in the region — a chance to try their hand at the game. And, though golf wasn’t nearly as popular and accessible as it is today, the brothers managed to survive. Peter soon came on board full-time and, after realizing that selling buckets of balls and lessons would only get them so far, the brothers decided to branch out into merchandise. At the time, the only place golfers were able to purchase golf equipment was in pro shops at golf courses — what we refer to today as “green grass” locations. Gear was expensive and kept a whole section of society out of the game. The brothers agreed that the way to distinguish themselves and build a foothold in a mostly static and inflexible industry was to undercut the course pros and sell their goods at a discount. The Puetz brothers could very well have been the first to bring good-value golf merchandise to the street. They also made customer service a priority — further
Puetz Golf originally opened at its Seattle location as a driving range only in 1945, just after World War II, offering range balls for as little as 60 cents a bucket. A few years later, brothers Alvin and Peter Puetz began selling golf clubs at significantly reduced prices compared to local pro shops, and today’s Puetz Golf was born.
distancing themselves from pro shops, where the professionals had enjoyed a mostly captive audience. The local club pros were not surprisingly alarmed and unprepared for the pioneering brothers who contributed greatly to the revolution in golf retail. That said, Peter and Alvin weren’t what you might call eager to expand — it wasn’t until the fall of 1988 that the company decided to go beyond its Aurora haven (now situated a few blocks south of the old driving range, at 11762 Aurora Ave N.). The company set up in a 7,500 square-foot store on the other side of the lake on 140th Ave NE in Bellevue, and two years later spread its message to Tacoma as well (the store moved to Tacoma Mall Blvd in 2000). In the spring of 1995, Puetz made a formidable statement when it moved into 10,000 sq. ft. of space in Southcenter, where a similarly roomy Golfsmith store opened … but lasted only 18 months, unable to compete with Puetz’s prices or quality service. “We were a little hesitant to move beyond Aurora at first,” says the company’s general manager, Mike Livingston. “But the expansion took us to another level, and made us extremely relevant in the industry.” Puetz Golf is now a top-25 account for most, if not all, the major manufacturers, and is among the nation’s very best clubfitters, according to national publications. In short, Puetz is one of the very few successful, privately-held, family-run businesses left in golf retail. “I don’t think we’ve done anything crazy or unusual,” says Livingston, in the office of the Aurora store that over the years has grown to 10,000 sq. ft. itself, with a number of extensions, add-ons and remodels. “We’ve just always held to the company’s original vision – to provide good products at a good price with helpful, friendly customer service.” It’s a strategy that clearly sits well with the 150,000 customers Puget Sound Business Journal once estimated Puetz could depend on (not to mention the 100,000-plus readers of Cascade Golfer), many of whom benefit from the company’s Loyalty Rewards Program, which can earn the member as much as six percent cash-back annually. It’s a strategy Livingston says the company will never lose sight of as it looks to narrow its focus moving forward. “We’ve long been a jack-of-all-trades and master of none,” Livingston adds. “We want to become better at connecting core golfers in the local market, and we want to be the best custom-fitter, bar none. We will also be placing greater emphasis on authentic golf brands like Mizuno, PING, Sun Mountain, and FootJoy,” brands that Livingston describes as “true to golf.” That’s a phrase that fits Puetz Golf to a tee – True to Golf, and True to Golfers, for 70 years … and counting. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Damon Huard Retired From the NFL In 2009 — And He’s Never Been Busier
A CG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
hen we caught up with former Washington Huskies quarterback Damon Huard earlier this year, he sounded busier than he’s ever been. That’s probably because, despite retiring in 2009 at the end of a 12-year NFL career that saw him back up Dan Marino in Miami and Tom Brady in New England, before starting 21 games over three years with the Kansas City Chiefs, Huard has done anything but live a retired lifestyle. He worked to raise funds for the re-construction of Husky Stadium, and currently serves as the department’s Chief Administrative Officer. He also provides color commentary on Husky football radio broadcasts and recently launched a premium Washington wine label, Passing Time (PassingTime.com), with the help of his friend and former mentor, Marino. First question — how long will it be before you can safely wear your two New England Patriots Super Bowl rings around this city again? [laughs] “Shoot, I don’t wear those things too often. My son, Sam, is the bravest one. He was born when we were back in New England and has always been a huge Patriots fan. He actually wore his Tom Brady jersey to a Seahawks Super Bowl party this year. I took a picture of him in a sea of maybe 30 kids wearing Seahawks stuff and sent a text off to Tom Brady after the game, and he was all jacked up.” Did you play a lot of golf during your football career? “Yeah, definitely. Marino was a member of a few courses down in Miami. My favorite golf story is when Danny and I got to go with [Dolphins owner] Wayne Huizenga on his plane to Ireland. He was a member of all the courses over there, so we played Ballybunion, Royal County Down, Portmarnock, you name it. He had a helicopter, so we’d play 18 at one course, helicopter to another, and play another 18. It was unbelievable.” Who’s the coolest person you ever played with? “One time, Gary Player hosted a charity tournament at Mr. Huizenga’s private club, The Floridian, and I got to play four holes with Gary Player, four with Jack Nicklaus, four with David Frost and four with Joanne Carner. On the first hole I played with Nicklaus, I hit a worm-burner of a second shot on a par-4, then knocked in a birdie. He turned to me and said, ‘Well, that’s one way to do it!’ It was the thrill of a lifetime. A few weeks later, I received one of those cubes they used to sell with photos on all sides, and it had pictures of me with Jack and Gary, and a little button I could push that played a recording from Gary saying thanks. I still have that in my office at home today.” 24
What is it that you like about golf? “Just being outside, and the feeling of hitting that one good shot that brings you back for more. It’s something you can do with friends, and whether you’re good or bad, you can come together as a foursome and have a good time. I never take it seriously. I just have fun with it.” Why is it that quarterbacks seem to make good golfers? “Golf is a thinking man’s game. You have to know when to take risks and when to play under control, and that’s a challenge that I think quarterbacks in particular are familiar with, and one they welcome. Whenever I’m paired up with a group of guys in a charity tournament, they’re always excited to have the quarterback, because they assume I’ll be good. I always lead with, ‘Hey, so, sorry to disappoint you, but ...’” You, Brock [Huard], [Drew] Bledsoe and [Jon] Kitna all play a match. Who wins, and who’s buying drinks? “I’m going to say Bledsoe wins. Brock and I would be bringing up the bottom. But if you had a tournament around here with all of the professional football players, I tell you who’d win — [former UW and St. Louis Rams receiver] Dane Looker. That guy’s a stick.” Speaking of Bledsoe, you’re both in the wine business now. What attracted you to wine? “Dan Marino. I was a 22-year-old rookie down in Miami, late ‘90s, and Dan started pouring me these Washington wines. I was a poor college kid; I’d never tried any of them. But the bug finally bit. We talked about how one day when I was back home, we’d collaborate and work together to make a Washington wine. The cool thing about it is that it’s kind of a return to my family’s agricultural roots. My great grandparents were some of the first Con-
cord grape-growers in the state of Washington, back in the early 1900s, and my dad grew up in the same Horse Heaven Hills region where we source our wine grapes today.” What kind of varietals are you producing? “We just released our first wine in April, a Cabernet Sauvignon. We want people to think of Passing Time as the place to go to taste a Washington Cabernet. Our 2012 Horse Heaven Hills vintage is out now, and starting with the 2014 vintage, we’ll make three Cabs — one from Walla Walla, one from Red Mountain, and one from Horse Heaven Hills, which will always be our flagship. So, you can have a big dinner party and taste three Washington Cabs — same varietal, same vintage — that will taste so different. And it’s cool to compare those differences.” What kind of response have you received? “We’re off to a great start. Wine Advocate gave us 94 points, Wine Enthusiast 93. We’re just building a brand. Of course, some people are going to question what a couple of old quarterbacks know about wine. But we’re sourcing fruit from some old, established vineyards, we have an awesome young winemaker, and — much like our competitive spirit in football — we’re going to fight all we can to succeed in one of the most competitive consumer markets in the world. It’s a fun challenge.” Are those scores better than Bledsoe’s wine? “You know, at the end of the day, we all know that wine is purple, not crimson. [laughs] We’re right there, right in the same ballpark. Drew’s been at this since ‘07, so he has a couple of years on us, but our first vintage is right on par with where his were. Hopefully we can keep pace, because he definitely has some that are pretty highly rated.” CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
THE COUGAR CHALLENGE Who would get up at 4 a.m., drive a third of the way to Kansas City and play 36 holes of golf, all in one day? These guys.
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
o, what did you guys think of Palouse Ridge?” asked Cascade Golfer’s Johnny Carey, for approximately the 17th time since we had first arrived in Pullman earlier that day. A Washington State grad who had a cup of coffee with the Cougars’ golf team, Johnny is about the proudest Coug you’ll find this side of the Cascades. His enthusiasm for showing two first-time Palouse Ridge visitors, myself and CG’s Simon Dubiel, his home away from home, was practically through the roof. The first time he had asked was when we pulled into the parking lot around 10 a.m., after a five-hour drive from Seattle. At the time, our impression consisted of the two tee boxes we could see from the car, and a hilltop clubhouse — we begged off until we’d at least had the chance to hit a shot. Over the course of the next nine hours, as we played our way around the John Harbottle-designed track not once, but twice, Johnny asked the same question every few holes, and no matter how much we insisted we were loving the experience — the rolling, green hills stretching as far as the eye can see; the creative design that allows players to navigate different paths to the hole depending on course conditions and pin placement; the firm, fair greens that rewarded a well-struck putt — Johnny just wouldn’t stop asking the question, “So, whaddya guys think?” By this last time, it was almost 11 p.m., and we’d been driving for nearly four hours — and we still had another hour to go. We had been awake for almost 20 hours. We had crossed the entire state, driven more than 650 miles
Palouse Ridge • No. 1
and swung our clubs more than 150 times each. We were tired. We were hungry. We were sore. And we really didn’t want to answer the same question for the 17th time. “Johnny, if you ask again, I’m changing my answer,” I replied. But inside, thinking back on the day, I smiled. Because the truth is, there isn’t anything bad I could have said.
ach year, we challenge ourselves to complete a oneday golf marathon. In 2009, we played 54 holes at three different courses. In 2012, we played 36 at Walla Walla’s Wine Valley, out and back in a single day. In 2013, we played 88 holes at Avalon, and last year, we trekked out to Gamble Sands for 36 on what was about to become America’s No. 1 new course. Each day is thrilling, exhausting — and entirely unforgettable. When planning ahead for 2015, there was one course that stood out like a sore thumb on our list of tracks we had yet to personally lay eyes on — a course universally praised, gorgeous in photos and sufficiently remote to make our one-day challenge worthwhile. We had to go to Palouse Ridge. Opened in the fall of 2008, Palouse Ridge immediately earned raves nationwide, popping up on lists of Best New Courses, Best Public Courses, and certainly Best College Courses. The course is considered part of the campus at Washington State University, whose trademark red clock tower at Bryan Hall rises in the distance beyond the first green; the student rate of just $40 on weekends ($35 on weekdays), including a
cart, is unquestionably the best deal in the state. But could we do it? It would be our most ambitious journey to date — the equivalent of driving more than a third of the way to Kansas City, while also managing to fit in 36 holes of golf. We’d have to leave before 5 a.m. to make our 10 a.m. tee time, then fly around the course, tee off again around 2:30 (leaving a few minutes to grab lunch), finish around 6:30 and be back home by midnight — provided we ate dinner in the car and never stopped, or ran into any traffic on the golf course or highways. Only a Cougar would be, er, “crazy” enough to take on that challenge — so, rather than say no, we simply decided to bring one with us.
our hours into the drive, as we left the flatter part of Central Washington behind and began picking through the hills of the Palouse, we started to feel the ramifications of that decision. Every waving stalk of wheat, every pebble in the road seemed to evoke in Johnny a specific memory of his college days. “Here’s where we used to turn off to go to so-andso’s!” “There’s the place we used to do that thing!” “The Coug barn!” The closer we came to Pullman, the more we could feel Johnny’s energy emanating from the backseat — he wasn’t just excited, he was amped, and frankly, it was becoming infectious. By the time we pulled into town (winding through side streets, of course, as Johnny insisted on showing us all of his old haunts, from Greek CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
DOABLE DAY TRIPS Row to the The Coug), even the Washington Husky and Central Washington Wildcat in the front seat were feeling a strong buzz of anticipation. After a brief stop at Coug’s Corner for some ... refreshments (hey, when in Rome, right?) ... we drove up the road to the golf course, checked in, and headed out to the No. 10 tee. And ... wow. From the elevated tee box, the view seems to extend for a hundred miles — the mountains of Idaho’s Palouse Range were silhouetted to the east, with acres upon acres of untouched landscape stretched out from the shadows beneath them to the inviting patch of green turf at our feet. It’s Palouse Ridge’s 10th tee, but we understood why they’d occasionally play it as the first — as a single image to encapsulate the experience you’re about to have, you could hardly find a better choice. We took our time on the first 18 — not the least of which was because we spent so much time looking for lost balls. While Palouse’s fairways are certainly wide, in the tradition of fellow links tracks like Chambers Bay and Wine Valley, the rough is downright penal — just a foot or so off the fairway, the grass is thick enough to grab and twist any club that attempts to cut through it; miss by a few feet more, and you’re hacking off a hillside, or hunting through thick shrubs and grasses that you’re better off leaving alone. Johnny assured us that this isn’t always the case; just two weeks prior to our visit, Palouse Ridge had hosted the Pac-12 Championships, and the rough was still in championship shape. We also moved slowly, though, to savor the experience. An uphill par-3 played over two pot bunkers, where a miss onto the slope left is just as good as trying to fly your ball to the pin; par-4s that are almost reachable from the middle (gray) tees, enticing you to pull driver but also rewarding a safer play; three par-5s under 500 yards, though each presenting its own unique dangers; and breathtaking view after breathtaking view. Standing on the No. 3 green just over halfway through our first round, I took a minute to soak in the scenery — the back nine rising on a ridge to the north, with portions of five holes visible, the WSU campus buildings peeking over the horizon to the west, the distant mountains east and the promise of six more as-yetunseen holes behind the slope to my back. “I think this is my favorite spot on the course,” I told Johnny. “It’s one of mine, too,” he said. Despite teeing off late for our second round, following some much-needed sandwiches, hot dogs and a cooler’s worth of refreshments from the clubhouse restaurant, we decided scrap our original timeline and not rush our second 18, either. The course was too good, the experience too unique, to fly through it, just so that we could get back in the car for another five hours. Whether the refreshments, the warm sun beating down on our faces, the gentle breeze making the surrounding hills ripple like waves on the surface of a colorful inland sea, we were as relaxed and at peace as any of us had been in months. And, perhaps not coincidentally, we were playing well. While Palouse Ridge isn’t a punishing course, its reputation as a championship track, and our general lack of playing time to that point in the season — not to mention the early wake-up and fivehour drive — had led us all to the assumption that we likely wouldn’t be posting our best scores of the year. Instead, we were on fire — crushing drives from elevated tees, expertly
PLAY 36 HOLES ... ON US!
ou know what’s better than winning a free round of golf? Winning two. That’s why this month, we’ve decided to combine two enter-towin packages into one, giving one Cascade Golfer reader the chance to take home twosomes to both Palouse Ridge and Auburn Golf Course — for free! You can’t win if you don’t play, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to tee it up — 36 times! — on our dime this fall!
Mount Si Golf Course • North Bend
aybe you’re not quite as crazy as us, or just don’t feel like driving all the way across the state for a great day of golf. Good news — you don’t have to. Here are a couple of delightful duos that will keep you a little closer to home:
Port Ludlow/Cedars at Dungeness Location: OLYMPIC PENINSULA Total trip time (incl. golf): 12 HOURS This one is first on the list for good reason — it’s one of our favorite day trips in the state. Start off with a relaxing morning ferry ride across the Sound to Kingston, before teeing it up at Port Ludlow, one of the best and, inexplicably, least crowded courses in the state’s No. 1 golf region, the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. The Tide nine, typically played first, tumbles down off the ridge towards Ludlow Bay and the quiet, quaint Port Ludlow Inn, before climbing back up along a flower-lined ninth hole. The Timber nine swaps Sound views for mountain views and features a tighter layout, but plenty of the same elevation changes and risk/reward opportunities that make the Tide so fun. After your round, keep the shoes on and head a little ways up the coast to the Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim. An early-afternoon tee time should showcase the course at its best, when the wind picks up off the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Be sure to stop and take a photo of Ole Crabby, Washington’s most famous bunker (you can’t miss it, just shy of the No. 3 green), before turning back and heading for home. Even at peak times, your wallet will be just $100 lighter for the entire day, but your soul will be as light as air.
Mount Si/Snoqualmie Falls Location: FALL CITY/NORTH BEND Total trip time (incl. golf): 10.5 HOURS You want to play 36, but don’t want to drive across the state, take a ferry or spend more than $100 — including gas, golf and food. You think that’s a challenge we can’t meet? Puh-leeze. Pack ‘em up and head up I-90 to Snoqualmie Falls. You won’t find fancy GPS carts or valet parking — what you will find, though, is a well-run, family-owned course just a few miles downriver from its namesake. At just 5,500 yards and with a largely open layout, it’s a great course for novice players or any golfer looking to work out a few kinks in their swing. We like to play it first on this particular 36-holer to help loosen up, while enjoying the beautiful property, friendly staff and low $41 greens fee. Afterward, head over to Mount Si for lunch in the golf course restaurant, followed by an afternoon round on a course that is one of the region’s most deceptively challenging. Through nine holes, you’ll think you’re Dustin Johnson, driving greens and making birdies. The course tightens — and lengthens — after the turn, however, with numerous doglegs making it play longer than its listed 6,200-yard distance from the tips. The views of Mount Si towering over the sixth fairway can’t be beat, though — nor can the afternoon rate (after 3 p.m.) of just $31, putting your total cost for golf at just $72 for the day. Add in gas (about 30 miles round trip from Seattle, say 2-3 gallons at $3 each) and lunch (about $17 for a burger, drink, tax and tip), and your total bill for the day is just $98. It’s OK, you can keep the change. AUGUST 2015
Palouse Ridge • Hole No. 10
THE COUGAR CHALLENGE running our approach shots off of greenside slopes, blasting out of pristine, white-sand bunkers to within inches of the pin. Simon birdied the very first hole we played, and proceeded to put three more on the scorecard by day’s end; Johnny, playing the tips, posted two scores in the 70s; while I added a pair of birdies of my own, including a narrowly missed eagle putt on the 36th and final hole of the day. As we plucked our balls from the cup and shook hands, smiles on our faces, we looked to the east and watched a summer squall roll across the plain, the wind picking up in our faces and blowing the first hint of raindrops in our direction. It was time to go home.
ver the course of the day, we’d had plenty of chances to consider Johnny’s question. As we began to drive home, though, with burgers from the Cougar Country Drive-In in our hands, it was time to give a final answer. I thought back to the rolling fairways and gently contoured greens, the wide vistas and the overwhelming sense that there was nothing else that mattered in the moment except that which I could see in front of me. “You’ve got a good course over there, Johnny,” I said, watching the smile spread across his face. “Unquestionably one of the best in the state.” Simon agreed, adding in details about his favorite holes, and we spent the next half hour sharing our favorite moments from the day — Simon laying out in the sun on the 17th fairway, our repeated unsuccessful attempts to see a grizzly bear (WSU’s Grizzly Bear Research Center is just behind Palouse’s eighth tee), pushing our worn-out cart up the ninth fairway on the final hole of the day, and Johnny’s over-the-top exuberance at every small detail. Satisfied that our appreciation was genuine, Johnny finally relaxed, sinking into the backseat and watching the setting sun turn the surrounding wheat fields a brilliant gold and the grassy hills a deep, vibrant purple, before disappearing behind the Cascade mountains and leaving us alone in the blackness, our headlights pointed West. We drove in silence for a while, tunes blasting from the radio as we reflected on an amazing day and thought ahead to what we could possibly do next year. Finally, after it had been quiet for so long I was sure both Johnny and Simon had fallen asleep, a voice from the back seat broke the silence: “So, what did you guys think of Palouse Ridge?”
RISK vs. REWARD Palouse Ridge Golf Club
By Simon Dubiel
Hole No. 17 • Par 5 • 508 Yards (Blue Tees) The Setup: No. 17 is just about the perfect risk/reward hole on this fantastic John Harbottle III design. This is the first of back-to-back par fives to finish your round, but certainly presents the better opportunity to put a circle on your scorecard, although perhaps a big number as well. Any tee ball down the center on this slight dogleg-right par-5 will hit the speed slot and roll out, leaving one with 180-220 to the green, with water right and a greenside bunker left.
The Risk: Water and sand — the great birdie equalizers. Anything right and short heads towards a watery
grave, while the bunker left leaves a tough out back towards the pond. Miss even further left and you’ll be trying a pitch back over the bunker, towards the water, with little green to work with. Long leaves a downhill chip out of the thick rough. Otherwise, this hole is wide open!
without too much bloodshed.
Coming off three of the easiest holes on the course, this is your chance to put a nice streak together. Most golfers playing the blues likely have decent length off the tee; if so, you probably have a mid-to-long iron in, at worst. If you favor the left side and don’t get too sideways, you should be able to play this hole
After successfully navigating your tee shot, it is decision time. Go for the glory and be a hero, or tuck your tail between your legs and make birdie the hard way? Did we really just drive 300 miles across the state to lay up? I know I didn’t. Time to have a little courage and not be afraid to hit the great shot. We are pushing the chips into the middle and going for broke. Just don’t Coug it!
Photo by Laurence Lambrecht
Photo by Rob Perry
Photo by Rob Perry
OUR 2015 RANKINGS FEATURE
one bold newcomer, one intriguing upset, and a smorgasbord of mind-blowing golf
wo years ago, we surveyed the rankings put out by national writers and course reviewers and thought, What the heck do these guys know about golf in our state? So, we took it upon ourselves to create an official ranking of Washington’s public golf courses — one voted on solely by Washington golfers. Our first top-10 — released in August 2013 — crowned Chambers Bay No. 1, as does this year’s. It’s no surprise — with the wave of enthusiasm for the 2015 U.S. Open, Chambers was all but a lock to take home the top spot. Before the team down in University Place decides to rest on their laurels in advance of the 2017 rankings, however, they may want to glance in the rear-view mirror — because the headlights of their competitors are closing fast. In 2013, Chambers Bay dominated the rankings, earning more than two-thirds of the total first-place votes and outpacing runner-up Gold Mountain (Olympic) by more than 43 points. This year? Not so much. More than half of 2015’s panelists ranked a course other than Chambers Bay No. 1, with newcomer Gamble Sands
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR siphoning off seven such votes to finish a strong second, just 27 points out of the top overall spot. Like Spieth and Rory, this is a rivalry that’s just heating up. To make sure that our panelists represented a true cross-section of Washington golfers, we sent a call out to men and women, young and old, from all corners of the state. We called golf writers, photographers, pros and other industry insiders, certainly, but also reached out to regular everyday public golfers — those without any particular allegiance or debt, who pay for every round out of their own pocket and truly understand a good golf value. Our only rule was that a course had to be open to public play — no velvet ropes and stuffy coats here. We combined each voter’s individual ranking into a master list using the formula described on page 39 and pulled out the top-nine vote-getters, then threw the next seven courses on the list into a poll and asked our readers at CascadeGolfer.com and our followers on Facebook and
Twitter to choose among them which was most deserving of the 10th and final spot. The result is a complete ranking of Washington’s best public courses, as selected by Washington golfers just like yourself (and if you voted online, including yourself). We’ve also included lists of the top-10 courses in each of our state’s four major golf regions to help when planning that late-summer golf trip, and published an expanded version at CascadeGolfer.com that includes rankings by price point, to help you find the state’s best golf values at any budget. We’ve been saying for almost a decade now that there’s no better place in America to be a daily-fee golfer, and the courses on the following pages are all the evidence we need. The next time you have friends in from out of town, take them to Prospector, Washington National, Coal Creek, Apple Tree, Desert Canyon, Trophy Lake, Semiahmoo and Loomis Trail — and then tell them that none of those courses made our state’s top-10, and watch their minds explode. These 10 tracks are the best that Washington has to offer in 2015 ... now get out there and enjoy ‘em. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Photo by Rob Perry
Photo by Rob Perry
Chambers Bay • University Place
What can be said about Chambers Bay that hasn’t been said before? How about this — no golf course has ever meant more to the game’s future in our state. Certainly, it’s the one that brought us a U.S. Open. But, more than that, it’s put Washington on the map. Before Chambers Bay, our state was invisible to the golf world — just a rainy, coffee-soaked blotch on the map between Bandon Dunes and the floating green at Coeur d’Alene. Now, thanks to the Fox TV cameras, the world has seen Washington for what we know it to be — a scenic wonderland filled with towering evergreens, majestic mountains, sun shining off the Sound, and the most devoted golfers you’ll ever find. To PGA TOUR organizers and big-name golf architects, Washington is now a viable and intriguing destination. You can debate whether Chambers Bay is the No. 1 public golf course in Washington if you like, but you can’t argue that it’s unquestionably our most important.
Photo by Rob Perry
Gamble Sands • Brewster
The best golf courses are those that make it easy to forget about everything else going on in your life. Those that encourage you to let go of your daily struggles and focus instead on that which lies before you, including beautiful scenery and an intriguing layout. Our voters apparently felt the same, elevating Gamble Sands past all but the current U.S. Open host in this, its first year of eligibility on our ballot. It’s a remarkable debut for a track with a three-digit greens fee (which drops under $100 in spring and fall), a remote location (about 40 minutes north of Chelan) and a seven-month playing season. To overcome all of those obstacles, Gamble Sands had to be great — and it is. Sloping fairways, backboards that funnel approaches towards the hole, reachable par-4s and par-5s, creative par-3s, expansive sandy wastes and some of the best views in the state ... when you’re here, you don’t want to be anywhere else.
Photo by Laurence Lambrecht
Photo by Rob Perry
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
o choose this year’s top-10 courses, we asked voters across the state to rank their favorites from 1-10, then assigned a point value to each ranking — 10 points for first place, nine for second, on down to one point for a 10th-place vote. Then we simply added up the point totals for each course and ranked them in descending order. To make sure that readers had their say, however, only the top-nine spots in our rankings were determined by points. The next seven vote-getters, from Prospector to Coal Creek on the list below, were included in a poll on CascadeGolfer.com, where readers were allowed to cast their votes for No. 10. Here’s how the voting shook out: Course (First-Place Votes) Score 1. Chambers Bay (11) 219 2. Gamble Sands (7) 192 3. Wine Valley (5) 157 4. Gold Mountain-Olympic (1) 147 5. Salish Cliffs 119 6. Palouse Ridge 104 7. White Horse 49 8. Rope Rider at Suncadia 48 9. The Home Course 47 Also Receiving Votes (Winner of Readers Choice vote indicated with an asterisk): Prospector 41, Trophy Lake 41, Desert Canyon 33, Washington National 26, Bear Mountain Ranch (1) 21* , Apple Tree 20, Newcastle-Coal Creek 17, Semiahmoo 15, Indian Canyon 13, Avalon 9, Eaglemont 9, Druids Glen 7, Downriver 6, Port Ludlow 6, Lake Chelan 5, Camas Meadows 4, Kayak Point 4, Liberty Lake 4, Elk Ridge 3, Kitsap Golf & CC 3, Gold Mountain (Cascade) 2, Skamania Lodge 2, Harbour Pointe 1, Lake Padden 1, Loomis Trail 1, West Seattle 1. AUGUST 2015
Photo by Rob Perry
Wine Valley • Walla Walla
When relative newcomer Wine Valley placed third in 2013, we speculated that its ranking would only improve. We were right — on average, golfers ranked Wine Valley higher in 2015 than two years prior, moving it past 2013 runner-up Gold Mountain (Olympic) and closer to defending champion Chambers Bay. We just didn’t count on Gamble Sands crashing the party. It’s clear from this year’s top-three that Washington golfers are taking to links golf the way Washington wine lovers pine for their Syrahs. And just as how no two bottles will taste exactly the same, you could play Wine Valley every day for a week and never hit the same shot twice. If you want the fun and ingenuity of Chambers Bay, with the conditioning of Tumble Creek, then Wine Valley is your course. And if you don’t ... well, that’s one more open tee time for the rest of us.
Gold Mtn. (Olympic) • Bremerton
Long before Chambers Bay, Gamble Sands and Wine Valley — heck, long before every other course in our top10 — the Olympic course was giving Washington golfers a premium experience at a budget price. When the USGA or NCAA wanted to host a championship in Washington, they went to Olympic. And when a couple of buddies wanted to enjoy a sunny summer afternoon on an outstanding course at a reasonable rate, they went to Olympic, too. When out-of-towners ask where they should play in the Seattle area, we always suggest the Olympic — with its quality, scenery and price point, it’s the perfect showcase for what makes golf in this region so special. That’s why, nearly 20 years after it opened, the Olympic continues to receive first-place votes as our state’s best public course. Twenty years from now, we’ll still be saying the same.
Salish Cliffs • Shelton
Almost no one in our bracket had a better year than Salish Cliffs. “But,” you say, “Salish Cliffs was fourth in 2013 and fifth this year ... isn’t that a step back?” On the surface, you’d think so. In reality, Salish Cliffs saw a 27-percent increase in its scoring total this year as compared to 2013 — and while more panelists led to increased scoring overall, only two courses (both which we’ll get to shortly) made jumps bigger than Gene Bates’ gem at the Little Creek Casino Resort. Celebrating just its fourth playing season, Salish has proven to be a favorite with golfers throughout the Northwest for its risk-reward nature, scenic solitude and perfectly manicured turf — despite the fact that many golfers we talk to still aren’t quite sure where Salish Cliffs is. Find it, play it, love it — because as its upward trend indicates, it’s going to be on this list for a long time to come.
The ANA Dreamliner Lounge at the Boeing Classic provides one of the most unique sports experiences in our region, delivering a picture-perfect setting to watch the legends of golf compete at the best event on the Champions Tour. This all-inclusive hospitality location overlooks the 18th green at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, where the breathtaking views of the Snoqualmie Valley serve as a backdrop for world-class golf and provide the perfect venue to mingle with friends and business leaders throughout the Northwest. Food provided by
Boeing Classic Tournament Weekend Friday–Sunday, August 21–23, 2015 • Individual Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com for $150 • Packages also available online, or through Michelle DeLancy at Michelle@BoeingClassic.com
A LOOK BACK
urious how the votes have changed in the last two years? Here’s a look at this year’s top-20 as determined solely by our panelists (that is, before the Readers Choice vote for 10th place), along with each course’s 2013 ranking:
Photo by Rob Perry
Palouse Ridge • Pullman
Our recent visit to Palouse Ridge (see page 26) confirmed that when it comes to Washington’s best public courses, any list without Palouse Ridge isn’t one to be taken seriously. In fact, peruse the voting totals on page 39, and you’ll quickly see that when it comes to Washington’s best public courses, there’s a Super Six ... and then there’s everybody else. The easiest way to describe Palouse is as a hilly Wine Valley — structurally similar, with rolling fairways, long rough and large greens, surrounded by lush, green hills as far as the eye can see. Washington State students can play Palouse Ridge with a cart for just $35 on weekdays, and $40 on weekends. It’s enough to almost make us wish we were Cougs. Almost.
Photo by Rob Perry
White Horse • Kingston
Robert Trent Jones, Jr., has one course on this list. So does David McLay Kidd, Peter Jacobsen, and Gene Bates. John Harbottle has three. The Tacoma native had an eye for our state that was unmatched by any modern architect — Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course is an ode to Western Washington, while Palouse Ridge shows that Harbottle understood the beauty of the eastern side of the state just as well. His best project, though, might have been his last — transitioning White Horse into one of the most enjoyable golf courses in the state. Two years ago, White Horse squeaked into the top-10 by just two votes. This year, White Horse increased its total by 37 percent — more than any other course in the field — to jump two spots to seventh. Harbottle may be gone, but his spirit lives on.
2015 Rankings 2013 Change 1. Chambers Bay............................ 1 ............... -2. Gamble Sands............................ -- ......... New 3. Wine Valley................................ 3 ............... -4. Gold Mountain-Olympic........... 2 .............. -2 5. Salish Cliffs................................. 4 .............. -1 6. Palouse Ridge............................ 5 .............. -1 7. White Horse............................... 9 ............. +2 8. Rope Rider at Suncadia......... 10 ............. +2 9. The Home Course..................... 7 .............. -2 t10. Prospector at Suncadia........ 8 .............. -2 Trophy Lake ........................ 12 ............. +2 12. Desert Canyon.................. t13* ............. +1 13. Washington National............. 6 .............. -7 14. Bear Mountain Ranch*....... 15 ............. +1 15. Apple Tree............................ 11 .............. -4 16. Newcastle-Coal Creek......... 17 ............. +1 17. Semiahmoo........................... 16 .............. -1 18. Indian Canyon...................... t13 .............. -5 t19. Avalon................................. NR ............... - Eaglemont.......................... NR ............... -* - Course earned “Readers Choice” pick for No. 10 ranking NR - Course received no votes in 2013
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!
Friday–Sunday, August 21–23
Purchase a $20 Daily Grounds Pass* plus a $15 Alaska Airlines Canyon Club Party Pass* and you’ll receive: • A comfortable seat in the shade with a perfect view of the 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 • Birdies for Beer! When a Pro makes a birdie, you get half-off 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.
8 Loomis Trail Golf Club • Blaine
TOP-10: BY REGION
here’s no better way to end the summer than with a two- or three-day golf getaway to one of our state’s top destinations. Here are some more top-10 lists of our favorite courses in various regions around the state: NORTH 1. Semiahmoo (Blaine) 2. Avalon (Burlington) 3. Eaglemont (Mt. Vernon) 4. Loomis Trail (Blaine) 5. Kayak Point (Stanwood) 6. Lake Padden (Bellingham) 7. Harbour Pointe (Mukilteo) 8. Snohomish (Snohomish) 9. North Bellingham (Bellingham) 10. Shuksan (Bellingham) SEATTLE/TACOMA/EASTSIDE 1. Chambers Bay (University Place) 2. The Home Course (DuPont) 3. Washington National (Auburn) 4. Newcastle-Coal Creek (Bellevue) 5. Druids Glen (Covington) 6. West Seattle (West Seattle) 7. Newcastle-China Creek (Bellevue) 8. Golf Club at Redmond Ridge (Redmond) 9. Classic Golf Club (Puyallup) 10. Eagles Pride (Tacoma) PENINSULA 1. Gold Mountain-Olympic (Bremerton) 2. Salish Cliffs (Shelton) 3. White Horse (Kingston) 4. Trophy Lake (Port Orchard) 5. Port Ludlow (Port Ludlow) 6. McCormick Woods (Port Orchard) 7. Kitsap Golf & CC (Bremerton) 8. Gold Mountain-Cascade (Bremerton) 9. Cedars at Dungeness (Sequim) 10. Alderbrook (Union) CENTRAL/EASTERN WA 1. Gamble Sands (Brewster) 2. Wine Valley (Walla Walla) 3. Palouse Ridge (Pullman) 4. Rope Rider (Roslyn) 5. Prospector (Roslyn) 6. Desert Canyon (Orondo) 7. Bear Mountain Ranch (Chelan) 8. Apple Tree (Yakima) 9. Indian Canyon (Spokane) 10. Downriver (Spokane) 42
Rope Rider at Suncadia • Roslyn
Even more than Gamble Sands’ debut at No. 2, nothing surprised us as much this year as Rope Rider’s ascension over its older sibling, Prospector, into the top-10 of our rankings. It’s not that Rope Rider’s accolades are undeserved — Suncadia’s second public course has been one of our favorites since its opening in 2011, with unique views, a thrilling front nine and one of the best clubhouses in the state. It’s that it should come at the expense of Prospector, which ranked eighth on our 2013 list and, in fact, appeared on one more total ballots in 2015 than Rope Rider. The golfers that love Rope Rider, though, really love it, frequently ranking it in their top-five. Our suggestion? Make it a day and play ‘em both, then grab a Pinot in the Swiftwater Cellars winery overlooking Rope Rider’s No. 9 green and debate away.
The Home Course • DuPont
There might not be two courses in the state whose fates have been as entwined as those of Chambers Bay and The Home Course. Both opened in the fall of 2007, just six miles apart. Both are tucked along the Sound. Both hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur. Both feature a largely links-style layout. And both are best known for their USGA pedigree: Chambers hosted the U.S. Open in June, and The Home Course is literally that — the “home” course of the USGA’s Pacific Northwest Golf Association, which owns and operates the track. The main difference? The price point — you can play The Home Course four times for every one round at Chambers. In fact, at just $62 at peak times, it’s the most affordable track on this list, and one of the best values in the state. Photo by Rob Perry
Bear Mountain Ranch • Chelan READERS CHOICE
In 2013, our readers compared Desert Canyon, Bear Mountain Ranch and a handful of other tracks competing for our 10th and final “Readers Choice” spot, and picked Desert Canyon by a narrow margin. This year, readers faced a similar list, and we expected a similar result. Uh, no. Rather than a narrow win for Desert Canyon or any course, Bear Mountain Ranch buried the competition, earning nearly a third of all votes cast and practically doubling up the 2013 Readers Choice champ. So, what’s going on at Bear Mountain Ranch? Crafted on a hillside overlooking Lake Chelan and the thousands of vineyard acres below, Bear Mountain Ranch has long been one of our favorite tracks, with CG cover-worthy views, eagle opportunities and more elevated tee shots than any course we can think of. Head pro Von Smith cites recent changes meant to “soften” the course for mid- and high-handicappers, and increased word of mouth, for driving more traffic to BMR in recent years.
Maybe our constant praise has finally convinced enough readers to make the trip, or maybe Bear Mountain Ranch is finally coming into its own. Either way, readers are bearish on BMR this fall — and we’re right on board with them.
What A Week:
A Look Back At the 2015 U.S. Open Our thoughts — and your pictures — from the most exciting week in Northwest golf history. And, most importantly ... will we have the chance to do it again?
Photo copyright USGA/Fred Vuich
ow. As a writer, I’m typically good with words, but as I stood by the 18th green, watching the sun dip low towards the Olympic Mountains, silhouetting the flag-topped grandstand at No. 1 against a sublime orangey-purple Seattle sunset, the only word I could conjure was, “Wow.” I can’t imagine a more spectacular week to spend with my friends and neighbors than the one we experienced in June. There was Jason Day’s chip-in birdie, collapse, and unbelievable rally. There was Louis Oosthuizen’s bounceback from an opening-round 77 to be in contention on the final day, following the greatest middle 36 holes in U.S. Open history, and six – SIX! – birdies in his final nine holes. There was the rock star, Dustin Johnson, bombing drives longer than anyone had ever seen, and coming oh-so-agonizingly-close to winning his elusive first major title. There were eagles both on the golf course (a record number, in fact) and plucking salmon from the Sound, impossible shots and sand saves, and a sky so blue you wanted to reach out and pinch it between your fingers. There were Tiger, and Phil, and Rory, and Bubba; Fowler, Photo copyright USGA/J.D. Cuban
Dustin Johnson waits to putt on the 15th green.
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
NOTE: Portions of this article originally appeared at CascadeGolfer.com. To view all of Cascade Golfer’s more than 12,000 words of coverage of the 2015 U.S. Open, visit CascadeGolfer.com and click on “News.” Kuchar, Scott and The Big Easy. And, of course, at the end of it all, there was Jordan Spieth hoisting the trophy, as caddy and former local teacher Michael Greller looked on, each of them having achieved an impossible dream. More than any of the incredible individual moments in the tournament, however, the memory I’ll carry with me the most from the U.S. Open is just how darn happy everybody was. I couldn’t turn a corner on the golf course without a volunteer wishing me a good morning or to have a nice day, and everywhere I looked, I saw friends, neighbors and fellow Western Washingtonians enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The roars for great shots or long birdies, laughter at the tournament’s sillier moments, and cheers when their golf heroes walked by made me happier than any of the cool personal moments I experienced. We spend so much of our lives compartmentalized from our neighbors and extended Northwest family, focused — as we have to be — on our own lives, families and jobs. There have only been a small handful of times that I can recall the whole community being united by one cause the way we were in the weeks leading up to, and during, the Open – the Mariners’ miracle run in the fall of 1995 and the 2013 Seahawks season, which ended with 700,000 of us partying together on the streets of downtown Seattle. It felt that way again around the Northwest this June, and especially since Michael Putnam fired that first drive on Thursday. Was everything perfect? Of course not — the spectator routing left a lot to be desired, and the criticism of the greens was disappointing. But as Washingtonians, we all worked together – spectators, volunteers, support staff and the thousands who didn’t have tickets, but shared their excitement through phone calls and social media with friends and family across the country – to pull off an incredible event. We – you — came together to make this possible. And we helped create one of the most spectacular and exciting major championships in golf history. We did it. Let’s do it again.
The Players Speak The squeaky wheels — we’re looking in your direction, Billy Horschel — got most of the grease from the press during June’s U.S. Open, but there were plenty of players who had positive things to say about Chambers Bay. Ian Poulter, one of the harshest critics of Chambers Bay’s greens and the course setup throughout the week, went out of his way to praise the overall quality of the course on Sunday. “It wasn’t a bad golf course. In fact, it played well and was playable,” he said. “What wasn’t playable were the green surfaces.” Geoff Ogilvy, a former U.S. Open winner in his
Jason Day’s par save after collapsing at No. 9 was one of the week’s most dramatic moments.
Photo copyright USGA/J.D. Cuban
own right, noted that he enjoyed the course, saying, “Architecturally, I think it’s really good. You have to move the ball both ways here. You have to use your brain, which is a rare thing in modern golf and something we’re not very good at. It’s a nice ball-striking course to hit shots on. It’s a fun course. I think it plays really well.” Phil Mickelson called it “a wonderful golf course.” Jason Day said, “It’s one of those courses that just got me excited.” And Rory McIlroy said, “It plays more like a links course than some links courses. I really like the golf course,” before agreeing with other players about the uneven green surfaces. Another U.S. Open winner, Graeme McDowell, had some of the highest praise of any of the players. “The golf course is incredibly fast and fiery, as pure a links golf course as I think I’ve ever seen on this side of the Atlantic Ocean,” McDowell said after playing his practice rounds. “I really, really like the golf course. I think it’s a fantastic test.” He stuck to that opinion even after firing back-to-back 74s and missing the cut, responding to a fan on Twitter who tried to bait him into criticizing the course by saying, “[I] quite like it, to be fair.” And no less an authority than Jack Nicklaus, who has not only won 18 majors but also designed some of the best golf courses in the world, added, “(The course) isn’t supposed to suit your game, you are supposed to suit your game to the golf course.” The Bear’s point highlights something we noted early in the week — the lesser-known players, those who might be a little more humble about their game, and more willing to adapt it to suit the course, dominated the leaderboard on the first two days. By the weekend, those big-name stars who had survived the cut started to adapt their games as well (a fact Louis Oosthuizen confirmed on Saturday), and climbed back up to their usual spots in the top-10. “I like how they’re bringing major championship golf to different parts of the country,” Mickelson said. “But the critical part is having a golf course that can host it, that is a viable host. And I think Chambers Bay is every bit of that.” CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
What Now? Players weren’t shy in their criticism of Chambers Bay’s greens, while players and fans alike piled on the USGA for the limited viewing areas it provided to spectators throughout the course. In fact, the furor reached such a pitch over the weekend — with Gary Player calling Chambers Bay “the worst golf course I’ve ever seen,” Chris Kirk saying the USGA “should be ashamed” and Billy Horschel saying he “lost some respect” for the USGA — that it led many to speculate that the 2015 U.S. Open might be the last we see around here. Ultimately, though, that decision doesn’t rest with Player, Kirk, Horschel, Brandel Chamblee, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia or any of the others who criticized course conditions and setup — it rests with the same man who made the choice to come here in the first place, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. And Davis doesn’t give a rip. “When you’re running an event at a new place, you’re trying to anticipate how it works. Inevitably, you get some things right, but there are other things you miss on,” Davis said in an interview with The Seattle Times just after the Open’s conclusion. “Some people would make it out that they’re putting on broccoli. I completely disagree with that assessment. That’s an unfair assessment to say they were that bad because we have had bad greens before that were bumpier than these; we just have. If you have ever looked at that famous putt Tiger Woods made at Torrey Pines on the 72nd hole, that ball was in the air 30 times. “Getting smooth greens, that will happen,” he added. “Listen, that will absolutely happen. That will absolutely, positively happen.” That sure doesn’t sound like a man who’s never planning to return to Chambers Bay. Davis also said that he felt the USGA was overly “conservative” with how they roped the course, wanting to avoid the broken ankles and other injuries that befell fans who climbed the slopes during the 2010 U.S. Amateur. He noted that there were areas that, in retrospect, could have been opened up to fans, and that the USGA did make AUGUST 2015
ver the course of the U.S. Open’s four days, we trekked more than 45 miles across the slopes at Chambers Bay, posted nearly 200 updates and over 100 photos to our social media sites, and wrote over 12,000 words highlighting the unique sights and sounds of the biggest weekend in Northwest golf history (to read all our U.S. Open coverage, visit CascadeGolfer.com and click “News”). But we weren’t the only ones documenting the action. Here are a few of our favorite pictures that we received from CG readers: Pato Aravena
Kudos To You
an effort to open as many areas as they could during the weekend, including the No. 9 and No. 17 tees, and hillsides at Nos. 12 and 16. In a separate interview just after the Open’s conclusion, Davis said that the issues raised by players and fans were all things he considered easily fixable in the coming years, and nothing that would prevent Chambers Bay from being considered for another U.S. Open Photo copyright USGA/Steven Gibbons in the future. “Let’s look at how the golf course performed, because at the end of it all that trumps everything,” Davis said. “Fifty years from now, they’re going to look back and say, ‘Do you remember the end of this 2015 U.S. Open, how it went back and forth?’” Davis added, to The Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte, “It’s not a question of if we’re coming back to Chambers Bay, it’s a question of when.”
We can’t leave off without crediting the amazing volunteers. We’re not quite sure how the USGA managed to find 3,200 of our best citizens to volunteer at the U.S. Open, but they did. Every volunteer we encountered — and there seemed to be at least one everywhere we turned — was as knowledgeable, friendly and helpful as you could possibly want, and seemed to be having a great time themselves. In the five minutes it took us to get from the media parking lot to the Media Center each morning, we’d receive a dozen “good mornings” or “have a nice days,” each delivered with a genuine smile. Meanwhile, the Merchandise Pavilion ran like a Swiss watch — despite hundreds of golf fans packing in at a time, volunteers kept the shelves stocked, answered questions and shuttled buyers through the checkout line in a matter of minutes. If you volunteered at this year’s U.S. Open, as I’m sure many of you did, you did a heck of a job.
M id- S ummer C lassic Want to see — no, actually SEE — the game’s best golfers? This year’s Boeing Classic puts you on the front row of the action.
BY BOB SHERWIN
hat’s so good about this year’s Boeing Classic is what it is not. It’s not an event in which you’ll hear a gaggle of petulant golfers complaining about everything from putting surfaces to the color of the grass. No, that’s not the way these PGA TOUR Champions Tour golfers behave. They’ve been around long enough to understand the difference between entitlements and privileges. Nor will you watch golfers tee off on No. 1 at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge course and not see them again for another two or three holes. This course allows the gallery to follow every golfer across 18 holes, so closely that if one of them decides to get a hot dog at the turn, you’ll end up with mustard on your shirt. You also don’t have to park in Cle Elum or Carnation and take a joyless bus ride to a remote course entrance. The parking lot is just down the street from the course, and before you can even apply your sunscreen, the shuttle drops you off adjacent to the driving range. The Boeing Classic can’t compare to the mighty and somewhat maligned U.S. Open at Chambers Bay last June. And for a variety of circumstances, that’s a good thing. When you show up Aug. 21-23 at the TPC course, you can be as close as possible to these veteran golfers – some of whom have won the U.S. Open and other majors. And they appreciate your presence. “They’ll talk to the attendees, they’ll provide tips, they visit with the partners, they do youth clinics,” says Michelle DeLancy, the Boeing Classic tournament director. In other words, they get it. We get it, too, which is why the Boeing has been a staple of our summer golf calendar for the decade preceding this year’s U.S. Open — and will
continue to be so for the decade to come. With that in mind, here are 10 reasons why you should amble out to the 11th Boeing Classic, Aug. 21-23:
NO. 7 – PRO-AM-PLE
A portion of the money for each ticket goes towards research that can lead to medical breakthroughs. Over the past 10 years, the tournament has raised more than $5 million for charity, primarily the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, and The First Tee of Greater Seattle. “It’s one of the bigger reasons why we do this,’’ DeLancy says.
One thing the PGA TOUR Champions Tour does with vigor and vitality is Pro-Ams. It begins Monday morning with the annual Rumble on the Ridge, featuring a variety of former Seahawks. Later that afternoon will be the Snoqualmie Showdown, a charity match-play event featuring Fred Couples, L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, KJR sports radio host Mitch Levy and PGA TOUR star Ryan Moore. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, Korean Air will sponsor four pro-ams, one in the morning and one in the afternoon each day.
NO. 9 – BRANCH OUT
NO. 6 – YOU KNOW THE DRILL
NO. 10 - YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE
Sun., Aug. 23, is Military Appreciation Day, in which servicemen and women are admitted free, and fans can support the Birdies for the Brave charity. Also, for the third year – the first time sponsored by Astellas Pharma – women executives are invited to a networking luncheon on Tues., Aug. 18, at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge clubhouse dining room. The guest speaker will be Molly Fletcher, a path-blazing sports agent and author. There will also be a panel of women executives to talk about issues of interest to Northwest businesswomen.
NO. 8 – YOUTH SERVED
The next generation — all those younger than Jordan Spieth — are recognized by the Boeing Classic organizers. There will be a free children’s golf clinic on Tuesday at noon, and Sat., Aug. 20, is Family Day. Children are admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult, and there will be a puttputt course, face painting and mascot conviviality.
This is the 11th Boeing Classic, so these folks are beyond the trial-and-error stage. Unlike the one-time Chambers Bay event, Boeing has a history. “We’ve learned a lot from our volunteers and our spectators,’’ DeLancy says. “We try to make it a better experience each year.’’ Like not allowing too much distance between the beer gardens and the port-a-potties. Like having a defined route for the galleries, so they can follow one group for 18 holes, if desired. “They can follow the players right along on the cart path. Sometimes they (players) will even say things to the crowd,’’ DeLancy says. The natural amphitheater on the 18th hole also provides the opportunity for everyone to see each approach and putt, without waiting in line for grandstand seats or trying to find daylight among a half dozen bobbing heads.
NO. 5 – DRINKIN’ AND DRIVIN’
One new feature this year will be a beer garden and bleacher setup between the 13th green and the 14th tee. This will allow spectators to watch the players putt out on the par-3 13th green, then shift around, with limited spillage, for a direct view of tee shots over Bear’s Canyon to the drivable par-4 14th.
handing out gifts to fans. On Sunday, the Flying Heritage Collection, featuring vintage World War II airplanes, will have a 10 a.m. flyover. And, of course, at the traditional opening of the tournament on Friday, a Boeing 747-8 will bank over the Cascades and fly low above the 18th fairway. “It’s the most unique way to open a golf tournament,’’ DeLancy adds.
NO. 4 – CANYON CLUB CHAOS
NO. 2 – DON’T MAKE DINNER PLANS
The Boeing Classic’s most (in)famous feature – the 14th Hole Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club – should be in full revelry. Nestled in a long stretch of covered bleachers on the back edge of the 14th fairway, the Canyon Club features a full bar, plus television monitors, upgraded concessions and more. When golfers choose to take on the canyon with a risk-reward tee shot, the cheers echo back up the canyon. When they lay up, so do the boos. “It’s an awesome place to sit and watch,’’ DeLancy says. If someone birdies the hole, fans quickly line up to take advantage of the Birdies for Beer promotion, which offers a limited-time discount on their favorite suds in the Canyon Club bar. Want to try the canyon shot yourself? Visit the Alaska Airlines tent near the driving range to show your stuff on a video game that simulates the shot.
NO. 3 – AIRPLANES IN ABUNDANCE
Make no mistake, the airplane is the motif at this Boeing-sponsored event. Five different airlines — Alaska, Korean Air, ANA, Emirates and Hainan — sponsor the tournament, some
It may not be the most unique way to end a golf tournament, but there’s at least a 50/50 chance this year’s champion will be decided by a playoff. In the 10 years of the tournament, five have gone to a playoff, including 2007, when the largest field ever in a Tour event – seven – were involved. The primary reason is because of the short, par-5 18th, which has produced many a closing birdie or eagle.
NO. 1 – MAJOR CHAMPIONS GALORE
We’ve come this far with little mention of local star Fred Couples, who brings the crowds out more than anyone or anything. His professed goal is to win this thing, if his problematic back can hold up. He’s one of four Hall of Famers expected to compete, along with Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer and new inductee Mark O’Meara. In addition, there will be 10 first-time players, including twotime U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen (who, at age 50, already visited the Northwest once this year after qualifying for June’s U.S. Open), Billy Andrade and former Masters winner Ian Woosnam. Through the first 14 events on Tour this year, there have been 13 winners. Based on that pattern, we should see a new old face holding the trophy — one likely tested by a playoff.
WIN FREE VIP CANYON CLUB PASSES!
Photo by Patrick Hagerty
Now that you’ve been to the U.S. Open, want to go to a professional tournament where you can actually see the players -- and even follow them from hole to hole? Yeah, we thought so. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Boeing Classic to give one lucky reader two passes to the Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club at this month’s Boeing Classic! You can follow Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer and Kenny Perry around the course, then crash in the Canyon Club — a VIP tent located by the par-4 14th green, including upgraded concessions and a sweet spot from which to view the coolest tee shot on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour. Plus, your Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club passes include free admission to the tournament and a free beverage! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win! AUGUST 2015
BOTTLES AND BIRDS Chipping and sipping our way from Washington to Idaho, along the Cascade Golfer Wine Trail BY TED ANDERSON
ost folks think of Washington wines as a newcomer to the scene. They’re not. The first wine grapes were planted in Washington nearly 200 years ago, by British settlers at Fort Vancouver. Today, there are more than 850 wineries in Washington state. By the time you read this, there will be even more; on average, a new winery opens in Washington state every 15 days. Washington is now recognized as the world’s sixth-largest producer of premium wines, trailing only the state of California and four countries — France, Italy, Spain and Argentina. Walk into any restaurant in the world, and you’ll probably find a Washington wine on the menu. Most folks think of Washington golf as a newcomer to the scene. It’s not. Sahalee in 1998, and the recent wave of attention for Chambers Bay, may have marked the first times that golfers around the world had ever heard of a Washington golf course. But the game is, like wine
Lake Chelan Golf Course
Highlander Golf Course • East Wenatchee
production, one of the state’s oldest industries, dating back to those same British settlers, who brought golf with them from the Old World. And while there are other parts of the world that can claim supremacy at one of these industries or another, there might be none that marry them as well as the Evergreen State, where premium wine and world-class golf can be enjoyed side by side, day after day, minute by glorious minute. The Washington wine country is primarily split between Chelan and Walla Walla, though you can hardly strike a five-iron without hitting a winery or tasting room just about anywhere in the state. Fortunately, the same conditions that make for good wine — fertile soil, mild climate and plenty of sun — also make for great golf courses, allowing golfers and wine lovers alike to enjoy the best of both without wasting too much time with that pesky thing called driving. On the following pages, we pair our favorite wine country courses with nearby wineries or tasting rooms — both here in Washington and our sister state to the east, Idaho. Plan to golf early, then visit the wineries after lunch;
most tasting rooms close before dinnertime, around 4-5 p.m. You may think 3-4 hours of tasting isn’t enough, but depending on your location, you can hit 6-10 wineries in that amount of time. With a standard one-ounce pour of up to five wines at each location, that’s anywhere from 30-60 oz. of wine — more than an entire 750 mL bottle, which only holds about 25 oz. Plan ahead, designate a driver, and enjoy the day. Golf and wine are two of our oldest and most accomplished industries; enjoy them now, before our secret is out for good. LAKE CHELAN GOLF COURSE | Chelan lakechelangolf.com | (800) 246-5361 Washington wine is set apart from the rest of the world not only by its unique flavor qualities, but by its lack of pretension. In most tasting rooms, you’ll meet the winemakers themselves, some of whom might even let you wander the vineyard, if you’re nice. So, we start our tour with a similarly unpretentious course — the city course at Lake Chelan. Certainly, any golfer visiting
Nefarious Cellars • Chelan
McQueen Vineyard at Doubleback Winery • Walla Walla
Apple Tree Golf Course • Yakima
Photo by Gary Holscher
Chelan will want to play Bear Mountain Ranch, high above the lake’s south side. But you’d be wrong to leave town without also teeing it up at Lake Chelan, which shares Bear Mountain’s views yet sports just half of its greens fee. Ranked the state’s No. 1 public golf course between $40-$50 by Cascade Golfer in 2015, Lake Chelan’s small greens and frequent elevation changes challenge the best players (the course’s rating of 71.2 is even higher than that from Chambers Bay’s white tees), though a mostly open layout means even beginners won’t lose too many balls. PAIR IT WITH: On the north side of Lake Chelan, Benson Vineyards (www.bensonvineyards.com) is a must, not only for their luscious reds but also the expansive views from their hilltop tasting room. Hard Row to Hoe (www.hardrow.com) is another with a unique tasting room that pays homage to an early 20th-century brothel nearby. Wrap up your north-of-the-lake tour at Wapato Point Cellars (www.wapatopointcellars.com), before cruising over to the lake’s southern shore to hit Tsillan Cellars (www.tsillancellars.com, also a great spot for lunch) Tunnel Hill Winery (www.tunnelhillwinery.com) and Nefarious Cellars (www.nefariouscellars.com). WINE VALLEY GOLF CLUB | Walla Walla winevalleygolfclub.com | (509) 525-4653 If players at the U.S. Open thought Chambers Bay’s greens were fast and tough, they’d find new meaning for those words at Wine Valley, where speed and slope conspire to befuddle many a strong putter. The course shares much in common with the U.S. Open venue, though, from its broad fairways with few level lies, to its bunkering and green surrounds that give players multiple ways to attack the hole. Just like no tour through Washington wine country is complete without a stop in Walla Walla, no tour of Washington’s best courses is complete without a visit to Wine Valley. PAIR IT WITH: Two of the state’s most famous wineries, L’Ecole No. 41 (www.lecole.com) and Woodward Canyon (www.woodwardcanyon.com), are practically on Wine Valley’s front doorstep. Just down the road is Long Shadows Vintners (www.longshadows.com), where CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Chihuly chandeliers complement terrific reds. Head into town to find the state’s big boys, including Amavi (www. amavicellars.com), Doubleback (www.doubleback.com, a winery owned by Drew Bledsoe that has earned a fast reputation for its outstanding Cabernet) and Pepper Bridge (www.pepperbridge.com). APPLE TREE GOLF COURSE | Yakima appletreeresort.com | (509) 966-5877 Perhaps the only fruit that means more to the bottom line of Washington’s agricultural industry than grapes is apples. At Apple Tree, it’s primarily the latter on display — apple trees line most holes throughout the course, while the front nine features many long drives between holes, following dirt trails through row upon row of galas and braeburns. The front nine has several of the course’s best holes, including the uphill, par-3 second and the exciting, uphill, par-4 ninth. The back nine, though, is what most golfers come to see — starting with the par-5 14th, the last five holes are each memorable in different ways, none more so than the infamous par-3 17th, whose island green is in the shape of an apple, more than 200 feet below the tee box. PAIR IT WITH: If you have time to head east, or are playing Apple Tree en route to Walla Walla, stop in at Vintner’s Village in Prosser, where you can taste wines from Airfield Estates (www.airfieldwines.com), Thurston Wolfe (thurstonwolfe.com) and a number of other excellent Washington wineries. If you’d prefer to taste right in Yakima, Gilbert Cellars (www.gilbertcellars.com), AntoLin Cellars (www.antolincellars.com) and Kana Winery (www.kanawinery.com) are clustered together on Front Street, while Owen Roe (www.owenroe.com) is less than 15 minutes down the road, and definitely worth the trip. LEAVENWORTH GOLF CLUB | Leavenworth leavenworthgolf.com | (509) 548-7267 Not every consumer wants to drive all the way to Chelan, Walla Walla or Yakima to taste wine. As a result, wineries statewide have clustered tasting rooms in various locations — if it’s too far for you to come to the wineries,
they’ll bring the wineries to you. In Leavenworth, visitors can sample the wares from more than a dozen different wineries, most located in tasting rooms on a three-block stretch at the heart of downtown. They’re also less than a mile from Leavenworth Golf Club, tucked between the Wenatchee River and Cascade Mountain peaks that make the two-hour drive to Leavenworth so scenic. You don’t go to Leavenworth, which tips out at just under 5,700 yards, for the stiffest test of your life — but then, a rough day isn’t exactly the goal of a wine-and-golf getaway, is it? Enjoy the peace and solitude provided by the river and surrounding evergreens, spot eagles and elk (maybe, if you’re lucky, a bear), make a few birdies, then head into town for lunch at The Soup Cellar (815 Front Street, 509-548-6300). HIGHLANDER GOLF COURSE | Wenatchee highlandergc.com | (509) 884-4653 The wineries of Leavenworth are also less than a half hour from Highlander, a completely redesigned course on a ridge overlooking seemingly the entire Wenatchee Valley. Constructed as a links course, it has been recast in a parkland style, preserving its strongest points — namely, those views — while adding trees, bunkers and water features, plus one of the most eye-catching holes in Washington, the 245-yard, par-4 17th. Perched on the edge of a canyon, with a nearly 200-yard carry over the chasm, it’s a reachable par-4 for almost any player. After your round, grab a burger and shake at EZ’s Burger Deluxe (1950 N Wenatchee Ave.) on your way back west; tasting wine on an empty stomach is a bad idea. PAIR THEM WITH: Both Leavenworth and Highlander can be easily paired with any number of Leavenworth tasting rooms. Starting on the east side of Front Street and moving west, my favorites include Pasek Cellars (www.pasekcellars.com), a Mount Vernon winery whose Tulip Red is one of the best under $15 in the state, Kestrel Vintners (www.kestrelwines.com) and Ryan Patrick Vineyards (www.ryanpatrickvineyards.com). If you have time, stop in at Icicle Ridge Winery (www. icicleridgewinery.com) on your way into town — built in a log home in Peshastin, it’s one of the more original tasting rooms you’ll find, with particularly good whites. AUGUST 2015
ust as old as Washington’s wine industry, Idaho’s is considerably a more “boutique” operation — just over 50 wineries operate in the Gem State today, compared to Washington’s nearly 900. What that means for consumers is the chance to get in on the ground floor of a wine region still in its infancy, unspoiled by the mass production and commercialism that has taken over more prominent regions like Napa and Sonoma. Most of that production is centered in southwest Idaho, in the Snake River Valley, just 30 minutes east of Boise, where tasting rooms are plentiful and uncrowded, and the wine is both excellent and affordable. A handy shortcut to the region’s top wineries can be found online at www.visitswidaho.org, which also includes information on golf courses, lodging and other activities in the region. Twenty years from now, when Idaho wines are being poured in the most chic New York City bistros, you can say, “I was there when ... .” WARM SPRINGS GOLF COURSE | Boise warmspringsgolfcourse.com | 208-343-5661 Warm Springs Golf Course has earned a devoted following among locals for its helpful staff, playable layout and reasonable rates — just $31 on a summer weekend, and $22 at twilight times. An early-morning round at the
Jug Mountain Ranch • McCall, Idaho
city-owned course will help beat the crowds that visit Warm Springs in the afternoon, while also freeing up your afternoon to hit the wineries below. Warm Springs is longer than you’d expect of a muni — nearly 7,000 yards from the tips, with all but three par-4s over 400 yards and two par-5s that nearly crack 600. A rating of 72.2 (comparable to the sand tees at Chambers Bay) is evidence of the stern test the back tees command; if you don’t have to go all the way back, the whites are plenty long enough for most golfers, at 6,367 yards. You’ll play faster, score better, and likely walk off with a bigger smile on your face. PAIR IT WITH: Head a half hour east to visit the forebear of southwest Idaho’s wine industry, Ste. Chapelle Winery (www.stechapelle.com), which was among the first to incorporate in 1976, and has grown into Idaho’s largest and most productive. The climate is perfectly suited for Syrah, which is Ste. Chapelle’s flagship red (and
at $15, a steal). Be sure to also stop at Koenig Winery & Distillery (www.koenigdistilleryandwinery.com), where you can not only sample the state’s highest-rated wines (a pair of 91-point Rieslings), but also award-winning vodka, brandy and whiskey. JUG MOUNTAIN RANCH | McCall jugmountainranch.com | (208) 634-5072 Just as the Snake River Valley draws wine lovers to southwest Idaho, so does McCall (located two hours north) draw golfers eager to play the best courses southwest Idaho has to offer. To anyone who has visited Central Oregon, the landscape of the McCall region will be familiar. Jug Mountain, specifically, is reminiscent of the two resort courses at Sunriver, with an open, Meadowsstyle front nine, and a tree-lined, Woodlands-style back. Between the many elevation changes (including the dramatic, downhill first and two blind, uphill tee shots),
the trees that crowd the back nine, and the creeks and ponds that line seemingly every hole, Jug Mountain Ranch is as tough as it is terrific — play the 6,100-yard white tees (as opposed to the 6,700-yard blues or the 7,300-yard golds) and you’ll find yourself in a better mood to hit the excellent clubhouse bar and restaurant after the round. McCALL GOLF CLUB | McCall mccallgolfclub.com | (208) 634-7200 Just up the road is McCall Golf Club, a 27-hole track nestled snugly into a residential community on the edges of Payette Lake and Ponderosa State Park. While you might expect every hole to be lined with the vacation homes of Boise businessfolk, thick trees keep most holes secluded from the surrounding neighborhood. As with most munis, golfers who can hit it straight will almost certainly score well — the course isn’t overly long at just under 6,300 yards in its longest combination (the Aspen and Birch nines), and most holes play direct from tee to green. It’s kept in outstanding shape, though, and with a comparatively low greens fee of just $49 on a summer weekend, you’d expect it to be much more crowded than it usually is. Perhaps all of those vacationers are too busy playing Jug Mountain or Whitetail to venture to McCall’s 27 fairways and greens — that’s fine by us; we’ll play it in the afternoon to save $13 off the greens fee, then head back to our rental house and open one of those bottles we picked up down in Caldwell.
COEUR D’ALENE RESORT | Coeur d’Alene cdaresort.com | (888) 999-7998 While the heart of Idaho’s wine industry is in southwest Idaho, one can also find a few wineries in and around the state’s two most famous courses — Circling Raven and Coeur d’Alene Resort, located just across the border from Pullman and Spokane. The Coeur d’Alene Resort and its worldfamous floating green sits near the top of many golfers’ bucket lists. A round at the resort course includes not only the chance to play the floating green, but also a bag tag and the opportunity to smack range balls at floating targets in the lake. Golfers also enjoy a number of outstanding holes, including the par-5 12th (modeled after the 13th at Augusta National) and some of the most enjoyable par-3s you’ll ever see. Stay-and-play packages start at just $199 per player and include lodging at the nearby resort, a water taxi to the course, a forecaddie, massage and more — an extra day (including two more rounds of golf) is just $30 per player more, and includes a complimentary GPS wristwatch. PAIR IT WITH: Pair your round with a visit to the nearby Pend d’Oreille Winery (powine.com) just up the road in Sandpoint, or duck down to Worley to play Gene Bates’ fantastic Circling Raven (www.cdacasino.com) and pay a visit to any of the several wineries just south in Lewiston — the Syrahs and Rieslings at Colter’s Creek (www.colterscreek. com) have scored 90 points from wine experts, and top out between $10-$15 per bottle.
McCall Golf Course • McCall, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene Resort • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Photo by Joel Riner
% 15 OFF Leavenworth Golf Course ...Located in the beautiful Washington Cascades
Coupon Book your tee time today! (509) 548-7267
Leavenworth Golf Course 9101 Icicle Rd. Leavenworth, WA 98826 Offer not valid with any other discount offers
Leavenworth Golf Course • (509) 548-7267 • 9101 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth, WA 98826
18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth AUGUST 2015
SAVE SOME GREEN
Whidbey Golf Club • Oak Harbor
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
n June, the world at large received its first look at the wonder of Washington golf, and came away saying the same thing about Seattlearea golfers: “Those guys get to play there?” They don’t even know the half of it. Sure, we can play Chambers Bay whenever we want — if we’re willing to fork over that three-digit greens fee. But every major metropolitan area in America has its share of fancy courses that players worldwide would drool over. What truly sets our region apart — what, in this humble writer’s mind, makes it unlike any other I’ve experienced — is how good our $30, $40 and $50 courses are, as compared to others around the country. Here are three of our favorite courses in that price range, each of which would knock the socks off an out-of-town visitor. Take time to head up and play one this fall, and when you do, say thanks. Playing Chambers Bay is fun, but it’s the courses like these that make us who we are.
In the “Sun Belt” At The Golf Course Rockaway Bar & Grill
Great Food (generous portions), Cocktails
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Prime Tournament Dates Available Call to inquire
Remember, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 exit #212, in the “Sun Belt” on Camano Island.
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Camaloch Golf Course
Whidbey Golf Club OAK HARBOR
When we took our North Sound Shootout to Whidbey Golf Club two years ago, it was the first time many local players had ever received a look behind the ropes at the venerable track, which has been managed largely as a private club since the opening of its first nine holes in 1962. Now, though, with daily rates as low as $30, golfers of all kinds can enjoy what Oak Harbor residents have held as their own little secret for more than 50 years. What surprises most players about Whidbey are its greens — with its location in the direct path of the Pacific storms that come rolling in on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you’d expect a little dampness, if not an outright soaking. Instead, though, Whidbey features some of the nicest greens to be found between Seattle and the North Pole, with firm, fast surfaces that reward players who can keep their approach below the flagstick. That’s the quality you’d expect of a private track, of course, and it applies beyond the greens as well. Nearly every hole challenges the golfer to take on a creek, pond or other water feature, with suitable rewards for those who can execute a well-played shot. Given the trouble, its 6,400-yard length from the tips is more than enough for most players, with three shorter tees to accommodate those looking to bite off a little less. Be sure to re-
fuel at the turn — the back nine plays a full 200 yards longer than the front, including three par-4s longer than 420 from the tips, and a 225-yard par-3 on which, depending on the wind, you may just want to pull driver, or lay up. While Whidbey has opened for daily play, with rates peaking at $50 on a summer weekend but dropping as low as $30 at off-peak times, the course still holds onto many vestiges of its private days — memberships are still available for local players, granting additional privileges and reciprocal play at other private courses in the area; the course remains in excellent condition; and course staff treat everyone who walks in the door as a potential member. The next time you’re planning a day away, consider a run up north to Whidbey, perhaps paired with 18 at nearby Swinomish Golf Links. You’ll pay like a public golfer, but be treated like a private one.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,250-6,476 (72) RATES $30-$50 TEL (360) 675-5490 WEB whidbeygolfclub.com * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
ALLENMORE GOLF AND EVENT CENTER THE BEST GREENS AROUND!
Swinomish Golf Links • Anacortes
Swinomish Golf Links ANACORTES
If it’s been a few years since you last drove up to Anacortes to play Swinomish Golf Links — formerly Similk Beach — you might want to try it again. The course was purchased in 2013 by the Swinomish Tribe, which owns the nearby Swinomish Casino and Lodge, and has pumped a significant amount of money into upgrading course facilities and improving the course itself. That effort started with the hiring of superintendent Matt Atterbury away from Suncadia Resort, where he had built a stellar reputation. Atterbury started with a complete overhaul of the course’s greens and tee boxes, the former earning raves from players throughout the region, many of whom have been returning for the first time in years. Future plans include upgrading fairways and approaches, expanding the course’s footprint to add yardage, and touching up the bunkers, hazards and other surrounding natural features. At just a shade under 6,200 yards from the tips, and mostly level besides a couple of moderate hills, Swinomish won’t wear you out, while its peak greens fee of just $33 will leave you plenty left over to take into the casino for a nightcap. Fairways are fairly wide, though a level lie can be hard to find; the same is true for the greens, which pitch and roll, putting a premium on shot placement and accurate putting. When it took over the course, the tribe chose to reverse the nines, both to increase pace of play and create a better series of finishing holes. Golfers now tee off towards Fidalgo Bay to the north, before turning back south towards Similk Bay. Play it later in the afternoon to save a few bucks — the twilight rate of $20 kicks in after 4 p.m., leaving you fiveplus hours to scoot around a track that shouldn’t require more than four, even on a busy day. Better yet, if you’re driving up from the south, plan to stay overnight at the lodge — stay-and-play packages start as low as $149, and include unlimited golf.
Pro Shop: (253) 627-7211 Events: (253) 272-1117
Restaurant now OPEN! Allenmore Golf Course, located In the heart of Tacoma has much to be admired. There is a beautiful lodge building with event venues ready to rent. Allenmore Golf Course is the pride of Tacoma and awaits your play.
2013 S. Cedar St. Tacoma, WA 98405
After your round of golf! take in the relaxed atmosphere and great food at Smoke + Cedar Restaurant
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,609-6,177 (72) RATES $20-$33 TEL (360) 293-3444 WEB swinomishgolflinks.com * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Discovery Bay Golf Course • Port Townsend
Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
S G O L F
C O U R S E
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Online Tee Times and Web Specials Available at snoqualmiefallsgolf.com 425-441-8049 or 425-222-5244 Only good for 4 players with same day tee time. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Good Monday - Thursday. Expires 12/31/15.
Discovery Bay GC PORT TOWNSEND
Every golf course in America gives players the opportunity to take a divot. But there’s only one where each divot could unearth $1 million in gold. According to legend, in 1862, the original homesteader on the property that would become Discovery Bay Golf Course observed a group of men carrying a small chest, men he later recognized as being wanted in connection with the theft of $1 million in gold coins (today’s value). In the 150 years since, eager treasure hunters have continued to contact the property’s owners to ask permission to search the land, though no buried treasure has ever been found. The real treasure, though, is the golf course itself — located on the northern edge of Discovery Bay, just a few minutes southwest of Port Townsend, the family-owned course has been a favorite of Peninsula players for nearly 20 years, since owner Mike Asmundson (who also designed The Home Course) added nine additional holes to the original nine built in 1925. The front nine, referred to as the “farm nine,” is more open, with fewer trees but plenty of long rough to trouble any wild swingers. The back nine, or “forest nine,” is tighter, as its name would suggest, with more elevation changes. Both offer golfers a fair mix of birdie and eagle opportunities, plus plenty of chances to put a big number on the scorecard with a misplaced shot — at 6,600 yards, and with a fair share of doglegs and tight windows on the back nine especially, the course plays long enough for better players, but can be cut down to 6,100 from the white tees for mid- and high-handicappers. Be sure to leave enough time before or after your round to drive up to nearby Port Townsend and check out Fort Worden State Park and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, as well as the numerous shops and restaurants downtown. And when choosing the 14 clubs for your bag, leave room for a metal detector — because at Discovery Bay, you never know just what you’re going to find.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,170-6,641 (72) RATES $16-$42 TEL (360) 385-0704 WEB discoverybaygolfcourse.com * See website for current rates 56
BY SIMON DUBIEL
ive hundred years ago, a 15th century Scotsman picked up a hickory stick and a rock, pointed to an indistinguishable gopher hole in the ground more than 300 yards away and said to his friend, “I’ll bet you I can knock this rock in that hole with this stick in four swings or less.” “Bet you can’t,” his friend said. Thus, golf was born — and with it, the first golf wager. Today, there’s no shortage to the games golfers play on the course, from your basic Nassau, to Sixes, 5-3-1, Quota and more. Gaming and golf go hand in hand. But, while you can certainly wager on the golf course, it’s a lot harder to golf in a casino. Or is it? Below, we’ve mapped out a fun way to navigate Auburn’s Muckleshoot Casino, Cascade Golfer -style. Bring the scorecard above, your best golf buddies, and track your progress — because the player with the most money at the end of the night is buying drinks in the 19th hole.
— Every course needs an opening hole that keeps the ball in fairway, so let’s start with Bingo. Consider this a wide-open, 330-yard par-4.
NO. 2 — Now that we’re warmed up, it’s time to head across the street to hit the slots. This one’s a 385-yard par-4 — nothing you can’t handle. With over 3,100 video
High Card Flush
Cabana Bar & Cigar Lounge
Course Rating / Slope
14 12 18 6 16 4
5 37 3
gaming machines ranging from poker to progressives paying in the millions, there is something for you.
NO. 3 — BSB & Raw Bar, a 119-yard par-3. Burgers,
15 13 11 3
5 35 72
5 17 9
69.1 / 122 HCP
NO. 11 — Club Galaxy plays as a short par-5, but with live music and entertainment, it’s easy to wander off the fairway.
Spirits, Beer — key word, beer. We grabbed two local craft beers on this hole, so we’re 1-under.
NO. 12 — Crazy4 Poker, a 350-yard par-4. You and
NO. 4 — Roulette, a drivable par-4 with OB everywhere.
NO. 13 — Texas Shootout, a combination of Texas
Don’t get too aggressive here.
NO. 5 — Craps, a 450-yard par-5. We have hit the
your five cards vs. the dealer. Match play. We love it.
Hold ‘Em and Pineapple. Split fairway on this 410-yard par-4. Choose wisely.
middle of the front nine, so it’s time to roll the dice — literally. With the casino advantage as slim as it gets, we’re thinking birdie.
NO. 14 — Free-Bet Blackjack. A solid par-4 where we
NO. 6 — Pai Gow, a 400-yard par-4. Lots of options off
NO. 15 — Grab a drink and watch the game at the
the tee here. We’re going with the Emperor’s Challenge. NO. 7 — Blackjack Lucky Ladies, a risk/reward par-5. Did someone say side bets? Count us in!
par-3 Media Bar. Have the M’s scored? Didn’t think so.
3. Starting at just $1, you can get in the game for nearly nothing. Or, go big and potentially put up a big number.
NO. 9 — Coyaba Grill, a long par-5. Tons of comfort
can double down for free? Sounds good to us. Beware the hidden hazard.
NO. 16 — High Card Flush, a 150-yard par-3. One of the newest table games at the casino, all about matching cards of the same suit. You better pick the right club!
NO. 17 — Grab a cocktail and your favorite cigar in the Cabana Bar & Cigar Lounge. Sort of a dogleg left par-4, so go easy off the tee.
food. Take advantage, as the back nine will be demanding.
NO. 18 — An uphill par-5 makes a strong finish, so
NO. 10 — Three-Card Poker, an easy par-3. A great
we’re hitting the 7 p.m. poker tournament. Whether it is Chips Gone Wild, Monday Madness or MegaStack, it’s time to finish the night off in style.
way to feel the felt, but not risk your bankroll.
FEEL THE ISLAND BREEZE ...
n our December 2014 issue, we shared our incredible experience last year in Hawaii — the courses, the resorts and the incredible tranquility. This month, we’re not just telling you about it — we’re sending you there to experience it for yourself. The winner of August’s Muckleshoot Casino CG Jackpot will be taking home one of our biggest scores of the year — a four-night, four-round vacation to Maui, including lodging at the fabulous Westin Maui Ka’anapali Resort & Spa, plus four spectacular rounds at the Ka’anapali Golf Resort! You’ll be knocking ‘em stiff to oceanside pins each morning, then knocking ‘em back at the poolside lounge in the afternoon. One Cascade Golfer reader (and their lucky partner of choice) will be taking this trip — and it can’t be you if you don’t enter to win, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com today!
NO LIMIT NINE
HIGH ROLLER NINE
335 385 119 290 450 400 497 185 535 3196 130 501 350 410 395 121 150 375 515 2947 6143
NO. 8 — Traditional blackjack, a 185-yard, uphill parNO. 1
Blackjack Lucky Ladies
BSB & Raw Bar
18 Holes at the Muckleshoot Casino
Westin Maui Ka’anapali Resort & Spa