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From Dusk Til’ Dawn Golfing after dark in the city that never sleeps Customer Appreciation

Sale 3 DAYS ONLY! DECEMBER 7TH - 9TH See page 8 for details


$15 Puetz Gift Card for every $100 you spend

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit # 231 Seattle,WA





• • • • •

Moore’s big month Our favorite golf apps CG sends two to British Open Local duo win Cascade Golfer Cup NW website helps golfers save, juniors surge



• Annual CG Holiday gift guide

• Goin’ back to Maui



• Newest wedges, putters, hybrids, rangefinders and more • Winter-weather golf footwear


• Salish Cliffs No. 18

• Where to keep your feet — and your wallet — high and dry this winter


• Noonan!


8-9 | 30-34 | 57

ENTER-TO-WIN Since it’s the heart of the holiday season, we’re taking the giving to a new level in this issue, with not one but two amazing stay-and-plays! Holiday Golf Gifts — Over $1,000 in Value! | Page 17 Unlimited Golf at LaQuinta Resort | Page 51 Week-long Palm Springs Stay and Play! | Page 53 Log on to for your chance to win!



MATCH PLAY MADNESS FINAL FOUR Our writers argue for their favorites – but it’s up to YOU to pick Washington’s No. 1 course.


THIS PAGE In Vegas, you’re never too far from a tee box — or a table. The iconic Stratosphere rises behind the fifth hole at Legacy Golf Club (Photo by Brian Oar). READ MORE ON PAGE 36.



THE GAMBLER Billy Walters built a fortune on sports wagering — now, he’s wagering on your passion for golf.


CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ Our top-10 things to see, do — and get funky to — in Palm Springs this year.

ON THE COVER Las Vegas comes alive after dark — especially at the Cloud Nine course at Angel Park Golf Club, where bright lights on nine holes let golfers who prefer pars to parlays go pinseeking well into the night (Photo by Brian Oar, STORY ON PAGE 41.




Volume 6 •  Issue 4 •  DECEMBER 2012



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


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, Heather Flyte, John Kimball CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ted Anderson, Tony Dear, Bob Sherwin, Jim Street FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103



Kudos to our CG team of professionals


he end of another year in the life of our magazine, Cascade Golfer, is upon us. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already been six years, and 22 issues, since we first published in June of 2007. As we close the book on what we felt was our most dynamic season, I want to thank my teammates that bring this magazine to life, both in print four times per year, and around the clock at First off, I tip my hat once again to David Puetz and Mike Livingston — the top men at Puetz Golf — for their partnership, support and friendship. This magazine is received by over 100,000 loyal Puetz supporters four times a year, and the creative flair and 60-plus years of values these gents bring are an integral part of every issue. I want to also thank the ownership and creative forces at Varsity Communications. Our art director, Rob Becker, has his visual influence on each issue. He designed the logo, color scheme and style palette, and brings the words and images of our many contributors to life in a greatlooking, easy-to-read way. His team of designers, Heather Flyte and John Kimball, take Rob’s influence and add their own extraordinary contributions. John works wonders with his sketches and feature designs, and Heather — in addition to designing hundreds of magazine pages

— is the primary force behind this year’s re-launch of We are lucky to have such experience behind the wheels of our Macs. On the sales front is David Stolber, who has generated more golf marketing mojo than anyone in the history of the Northwest; and Simon Dubiel, who in addition to a great salesman is the vision and passion behind the Cascade Golfer Cup. These guys keep things financially fit with their relationships here, there and everywhere. Keeping the ship in order are Bobbi Kramer and Pam Titland, who make sure that we sell more than we spend. Mailing and printing 100,000-plus magazines is a tall order, and they keep this magazine healthy. I also wish to thank my partner, Kirk Tourtillotte, who helps me manage the affairs of this venture and pull everything together. And last, but certainly not least, our editor, Brian Beaky. This man is the voice of the product and the man with the plan when it comes to digging up all the news that’s fit to print. His words, and those of our esteemed contributors, make CG a fun and informative read. Keep us straight out there and let us know how we can best tune our quarterly ditty so that it keeps hitting you right in the heart. Enjoy the holiday season, and TAKE IT EASY!


V I C E P R E S I D E NT / D I R E C TO R O F S AL E S Kirk Tourtillotte S A LE S M A N AG E R David Stolber S A LE S & M A R K E T I N G Simon Dubiel FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: David Stolber • (425) 412-7070 ext. 113




Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2012 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER


DECEMBER 2012 2012





ven before October, Ryan Moore was having his best year. Sure, he hadn’t won any tournaments, but the 29-year-old Puyallup native (who turned 30 in November) had earned eight top-10s, had tied for third in the season-ending TOUR Championship, and sat comfortably inside the top-50 in the World Golf Rankings, thus all but ensuring invitations to all four majors in 2013. In addition, Moore’s wife, Nichole, was expecting the couple’s first child, a son born in late October. So, yeah, Moore had plenty of reasons to feel good about life when he teed it up for the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in early October. By the end of the weekend, he had $810,000 reasons to feel even better. On the back of an opening-round 61 – which could easily have been a 59 but for a three-putt bogey on the penultimate hole – Moore cruised to a one-stroke victory and a tournament-record four-round score of just 260 (for those scoring at home, that’s a scintillating average of just 65 strokes per round). The win was the second of Moore’s career and his first since 2009 – a three-year span in which he has finished in the top-10 a remarkable 22 times and in the top-5 12 times, but hadn’t found himself hoisting the hardware as the sun set on a Sunday evening.

Photo courtesy of Adams Golf

“Of course I would have liked it (winning) to come a little sooner and a little bit more often, but I’m a multiple winner on TOUR now,” Moore said after the win. “I’m excited for the offseason. Having my baby here in about 25 days…and then to cap it off with a win here — I mean, I couldn’t finish off my season any better.” And he’s hardly the only Puget Sound Home Teamer excited about his 2012 campaign. In just his second year on Tour, Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley finished 34th on the money list, with an incredible comeback win at January’s Scottsdale Open (“Out of the Ashes,” CG, Apr. 2012), a second top-10 and eight top-25s, good enough to earn his own tee time alongside Moore and Hall-of-Famer-tobe Fred Couples at Augusta next spring. Former Washington Husky Troy Kelly (114th) retained his Tour card by finishing in the PGA Tour money list’s top-125, and will be joined in 2013 by Lakewood resident Andres Gonzales, a winner on the Tour in April.

Fellow Husky Richard E. Lee finished 140th, and will have provisional Tour status next year. Seattle native Jimin Kang also held on to her LPGA Tour card for 2013, while Yakima’s Paige Mackenzie – another product of the UW golf machine – placed 80th on the money list with nearly $95,000 in earnings. And Kirk Tripplett – of Moses Lake and Washington State University – also added a win of his own on the Champions Tour, and gave the hometown fans a thrill with a first-round 68 at the Boeing Classic in August. Six wins, a Senior British Open title and a World Golf Hall of Fame induction. Oh, and for Ryan Moore, a newborn baby. Yeah, it’s been a pretty good year for the Home Team. And with at least four Puget Sound natives on Tour next year — plus at least a half-dozen more on the LPGA Tour, Champions Tour and Tour — there’s every reason to believe that 2013 is going to be even better.



hese days, it seems that there’s a smartphone “app” for everything — from basic functions like checking sports scores and keeping grocery lists, to more … we’ll say “curious” apps, like the one that will produce a dog whistle. You know, for all those times you need to get a dog’s attention. There are also literally hundreds of apps available to golfers and golf fans — the PGA TOUR app (available to iPhone users only) gives real-time scores and video highlights (in some cases even live coverage) of PGA Tour events, while the USGA’s “The Rules of Golf” app (iPhone/Android) is a handy reference for those times when you need clarification on the course (or, even more commonly, to settle a debate at the 19th hole). With so many to choose from, we’ve gone through a picked out a few of our favorites: 10




$29.99 (iPhone/Android)

Cost: $29.99 (iPhone only)

There are free GPS apps (Swing by Swing, for iPhone and Android, being the most popular), but we haven’t had much success. Distances are slow to load, and are less accurate than your typical sprinkler head. GolfShot GPS is pricier, but superior, with quick readings typically accurate to within 2-3 yards and the ability to track scores and shot distances. It’s less reliable than a store-bought GPS rangefinder, but a good choice for a golfer with a strong phone battery, and a tight budget.

Another one on the pricey side, but if you’re a bettor, it’s one you can’t do without. Golf Moolah comes pre-loaded with dozens of the most popular betting games — Nassau, Acey Deucey, Poker … you name it. Just enter the golfers’ names, handicaps, your preferred game, and hole-by-hole scores, and let the app run the data to figure out who’s paying out at the end of the round. Here’s betting you’ll even find some new favorite games you’ve never tried before.

British Open A Blast For CG Readers


ongtime CG readers and Cascade Golfer Cup players Victor Kowalenko and Tom Holdaas were sitting in a pub across the street from Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, where the 2012 Open Championship had just concluded, when a vaguely familiar blond-haired man sat down next to them. “Do you know who I am?” the stranger with a thick British accent asked the Seattle duo, who had just left the golf course after a day of following Tom Watson, chipping balls out of the impossibly deep Royal Lytham bunkers, and crossing item after item off of their personal bucket lists. “We didn’t, though he did look kind of familiar,” Holdaas says. “He puts on a big Union Jack hat and says, ‘Now do you know who I am?’ It turns out he was the same guy who had jumped in front of the cameras during Webb Simpson’s interview on the 18th green at the U.S. Open. He’d just been thrown out of Royal Lytham.” The encounter was just one of several unforgettable moments for Kowalenko and Holdaas, who were the lucky winners of a trip to the British Open in a drawing held at last year’s Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash. In addition to airfare and hotel accommodations, the duo received passes to all four days of the Open, won by Ernie Els. They found the Thursday round to be the most enjoyable — “There were more players, and fewer spectators, so you could really get up close,” Holdaas says — and Sunday’s the most exciting. As the final group made

Locals Victor Kowalenko (left) and Tom Holdaas (right) won a trip to the 2012 Open Championship in England at last year’s Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash.

its way around the golf course, the holes behind them were opened up for the public to walk — or, in the case of Kowalenko and Holdaas, to do a little more. “There were so many people on Sunday that you could barely see what was going on, so we just started messing around on the course,” Holdaas recalls. “I climbed down a ladder into one of the deepest bunkers and just starting chipping balls up until I was finally able to get one out. It was a blast.” To make the most of their trip, the duo also packed their own clubs and played at some of England’s most historic courses, and tacked on four days after the tournament to sightsee in London. “London was amazing,” Holdaas says. “There were people from all over the world in town for the Olympics, and everyone was so nice. That’s probably the thing we’ll take most from this trip — just the driving around, and meeting people, and how friendly everyone was. Everything about it was just fantastic.”


Cost: Free (iPhone/Android)

Golf app started by Seattle-area brothers Patrick and Tom Jentz lets players post scores to their recreational handicap — for free. Use the “Locate Me” function to find the course you’re playing, then post your score — it’s that easy. App comes pre-loaded with 16,000 courses (including nearly every 18-hole track in the Puget Sound region), making it quick and easy to use.




Camaloch Golf Course

We’re in the Puget Sound “Sun Belt” we get less than 20 inches of annual rainfall, AND, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 (exit 212).

PLAY ALL DAY! Weekdays: $15.00

Extra Special on

Tuesdays & Thursdays: $12.00 Weekends: $20.00

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Camaloch Golf Course


Local Duo Win 20 Twosomes of Golf in 2012 Cascade Golfer Cup; Oke, Lopes Head to Pebble Beach


f you find it tougher to make a tee time next year, blame us — with as much golf as we gave away at October’s Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash, there might not be that much left to go around. Of course, for every one of our players teeing it up next year at Chambers Bay, Wine Valley, Gold Mountain (Olympic), Desert Canyon and other top Washington golf courses, there will be another one sticking a peg in the ground in Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Bandon Dunes or Central Oregon, to name just a few of the stay-and-play packages we handed out to winning teams. And one lucky twosome? They’ll be smelling the salty breeze off the Pacific Ocean as they target that postagestamp green on the 7th hole at Pebble Beach. In all, over $100,000 in prizes were awarded to golfers throughout the year in the Cascade Golfer Cup, our seven-event, summer-long tournament series. On Oct. 6, over 100 golfers gathered with their families and friends at the Muckleshoot Casino to crown the winners

of the year’s final event, the CG Cup Championship at Chambers Bay, and learn which team had captured the overall Cascade Golfer Cup title — and with it, the grandprize 2013 Summer Golf Package, including 20 twosomes at the top tracks in the state. Victor Kowalenko and Tom Holdaas — just two months removed from a trip to the British Open that they won at last year’s Bash (see page 11) — were crowned champions of the Chambers Bay tournament, earning a Palm Springs vacation in the process. They also took home the grand-prize in the season-long ING Challenge, where players earned points for performance on certain par-3s throughout the year. Their prize? Another stay-andplay — this time to Las Vegas. The season-ending win wasn’t enough, however, to push them past the first-place duo of Jeff Van de Mark and Marc Medley, who rode net-scoring victories in the year’s two scramble events to the title of 2012 CG Cup champions. As a reward for their efforts, Van de Mark and Medley will


The Putting Alley®

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isolator provides active feedback in a controlled environment to reveal errors caused by an improper putting stroke. A built in ball loading slot allows players to practice like the pros, without having to ever bend over. Regular use trains the putting stroke, resulting in more putts hit on line. Dual sided for two levels of training. Used by professional golfers. Best of all, it’s a fun way to pass time while actually working on your putting stroke.

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be teeing it up all over the Puget Sound region next year — in addition to their spoils from their two tournament titles, trips to Palm Springs and Bandon Dunes. Of course, the real drama at the Year-End Bash wasn’t the tournament or Cup prize, but the large raffle bin full of red tickets, and the promise that one of those tickets would send two golfers on the trip of a lifetime — three nights and three rounds at Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill. Fittingly, it was the one golfer sitting all alone — the one who had turned up even though he couldn’t get anyone to come with him, just in case it was his name that was pulled — who was raising his arms in the air when the winning ticket was announced. Herb Oke, knock one into the ocean just for us — and since your partner, Lewis Lopes, left you hanging at the Bash, why not take your

favorite CG staffer along with you instead? In addition to the banquet and awards party, the YearEnd Bash featured Final Four voting in our Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness contest (where yet another player took home a week-long golf vacation in Mexico), and the second-annual Duffers and Bluffers No-Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament, in which Al Tosaya took down a field of more than 40 players to pocket a new driver and nearly $800 in cold, hard cash. Sound like fun? Then just wait until you see what we have planned for next year. New courses, new formats — and another $100,000 worth of amazing golf prizes. To be the first to find out when the 2013 schedule is released, bookmark or e-mail



SHORT GAME Popular Portland Golf Card Coming Soon to Seattle


n 2011, the PGA announced its Golf 2.0 program, a national challenge to grow the game by attracting a new generation of golfers to the first tee. It was a challenge Gary Smith was happy to accept. A longtime marketing executive in Portland and southwest Washington, Smith and his business partners — all avid golfers — saw in Golf 2.0 an opportunity to grow the game with golfers young and old, while at the same time saving money for golfers, and increasing revenue for local courses. The resulting product — the Tee to Green Golf Club Golf Certificate — grants free and heavily discounted rounds of golf, golf merchandise and food and beverage credits at some of the Portland area’s most popular courses, with up to 30 percent of the proceeds from each card going directly to Oregon junior golf programs, including the First Tee and the Oregon Junior



Golf Association. A smashing success with golfers and golf courses alike in Portland, the company is looking to launch a similar program in the Seattle area in 2013. “We need to increase rounds nationally, and the best way to do that is to make golf more affordable and attract new players to the game,” Smith says. “Our golf certificates are a win-win for everybody — the golfers save money on golf and other products in the pro shop and restaurant, the courses are able to fill tee times that might otherwise have gone unused, and the junior golf programs receive much-needed support.” Unlike other players’ cards that spread their values around to 3-4 different courses, each Tee To Green Golf Certificate is tied to one specific course, which can determine its own benefits – free rounds, 2-for-1s, pro shop credit, etc. That’s a benefit both to the course — which has the chance to earn repeat business from

the golfer — and the golfer, who can establish a “home course” in their backyard at significantly discounted rates. Card sales are all conducted through the company’s website,, where golfers can choose from a variety of courses, and compare the different combinations of free and discounted benefits offered by each course to find the one that works best for them. Tee to Green Golf Club also helps market participating courses through a weekly radio show on Portland’s KXL, and plans to launch a simulcast on Comcast Sports Net in 2013 — both elements they hope to replicate in the Seattle market. “We go hand in hand with supporting what the PGA 2.0 program stated last year, that we need to rebuild the golf industry,” says Smith. “Several high school programs are closing because they don’t have the funding. Our card is a way to help change that, while also providing benefits to golf courses and golfers as well.”





Cascade Golfer’s


olfers are a notoriously tough bunch to shop for. We’re picky about our golf clubs, we’ve seen just about every golfrelated coffee mug, calendar and tie there is, we already have the “I’d rather be driving a Titleist” license-plate frame on our cars, and are reading this while gently raking the sand in our desktop, golf-themed Zen garden. And of course, while we’re constantly trying to improve our game, we’re skeptical of any product that promises it can do just that. So, if you’re not sure what to get the golfer in your life this year, we don’t blame you. But here — and in the “In The Bag” pages beyond — are a few good places to start.




hen teaching pro Wayne Berry set out to design a training aid, he conceived of one that would “incorporate all the swing fundamentals required to strike the ball with distance and accuracy.” Berry could show his students the proper swing path, and describe how it should feel — but he knew that the only way for them to truly learn it was to feel it for themselves. Berry’s efforts resulted in the Golf Gruva, a deceptively simple trainer with a space-age design. The Gruva’s tracking bars steer golfers towards a multi-plane swing — a wide backswing and a narrow downswing, accompanied by a proper weight transfer to maximize speed and power. Bars and buttons on the Gruva will halt a swing that is the product of bad habits. As a result, you practice a perfect swing, every time, until it becomes a repeatable motion you can take with you to the course. And unlike many training aids, you can use your own club (with a protective sleeve), and hit real balls. While Berry initially geared the product toward pros, for use in lessons, 60 percent of the sales since its 2011 debut have gone to private users. “If we can help people understand the swing from a physical perspective, they’ll feel more confidence and less anxiety, and they’ll play better, and play more,” says sales manager Danielle Kellerman. “The response so far has been overwhelming.” The Golf Gruva retails for $999, and is available online at



ach year in Cascade Golfer, we chronicle the dozens of amazing golf course and winery pairings throughout Central and Eastern Washington. Now, there’s an even better way to enjoy all that the Cascade Golfer Wine Trail has to offer — with the all-new Passport to Sip. Contrived by the industry’s leading beverage publication, Sip Northwest magazine, the Passport provides a fun and cost-effective way to explore the booming wine regions of the Northwest. For only $39.99, Passport to Sip waives the tasting fees at over 200 wineries, which can range from $10 to $30. Valued at more than $1,000, the Passport encourages tasters to explore the finest wineries in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia — many of which are adjacent to some of the finest golf courses on this part of the planet as well. The Passport not only saves money, but time, with an easy-to-follow touring guide organized by region. Whether as a road map for a weekend getaway, or as the final necessary piece in the plan to convince your non-golfing spouse to take the plunge on a Washington wine-and-golf tour, it’s an ideal stocking stuffer this year. The Passport to Sip can be purchased on the Web at, with a special discount of $10 off being offered exclusively to CG readers when you use promo code GOLF at check out. Passport to Sip is valid for one year from the date of purchase, so start planning that summer road trip now. After all, golf weather is still six months away, but tasting great wines is one pastime that never goes out of season.



oughly one-third of all shots a golfer takes on the course will be putts. Yet, most golfers still spend most of their time and money on improving their driver or iron play, with putting often a 2-3 minute afterthought in between a bucket of balls and the first tee. To that end, Tim Maloney and a golfing buddy developed The Putting Alley, an in-home practice tool that encourages better technique and focus — with proven results. “Bernhard Langer sent us an e-mail and says he loves it,” Maloney says. “It really works.” The Putting Alley features a 27-inch board with a narrow metal rail (either one-inch or one-half inch wide, depending on which side of the device you use) down the center. The object is simple — keep the ball on the rail the entire way to the cup. Maloney says that the 27-inch length was chosen because it is “outside the leather” — the distance within which most “gimmes” occur, and the distance at which most golfers start to miss with more frequency. Because of the precision necessary to keep the putt on the Putting Alley’s metal strip, Maloney says that testing has demonstrated the one-inch side of the product to be equivalent to a 10-foot putt, while the half-inch side is equivalent to a 20-foot putt. Not bad for something small enough to fit into your travel bag, or sit comfortably in the corner of your rec room. “In addition to keeping the putter square at impact, it really improves players’ confidence level,” Maloney says. “They’re not afraid to go after the hole on longer putts. And when you have the confidence to putt

aggressively, you make more putts.” It’s not much fun to hit the range in the wind and rain to work on your driver — so why not work on your putting while watching football on a Sunday morning instead? The wood version retails for $159.95, while the metal version is available for less than $50. Check them out online at

Like What You See? Win One — For Free!


ure, you could casually leave this issue of Cascade Golfer on your partner’s bedside table, open to this page, with one of these cool new products circled in red … but the only way to make absolutely certain that you’ll get the product you want this winter is to take matters into your own hands and enter your name to win some of this month’s CG Swag! Want to groove your swing in time for spring? Enter

to win a GOLF GRUVA for your backyard or garage … a $999 value, absolutely free! We’re also giving away a PUTTING ALLEY, plus two cool products we first profiled earlier this year — the I’M CADDIE talking rangefinder, and the easy-to-use lag trainer, the ORANGE WHIP! That’s enough to make any golfer a happy camper this holiday season — so log on to and enter to win today! DECEMBER 2012






t the end of a long day on the golf course, nothing gets out the aches of a sore muscle like a good massage. Of course, not everyone has a spouse or partner willing to work out those kinks for you as frequently as you might want. That was the first thing we thought of when we laid eyes on the Micro Massager Pro at this year’s PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas. Seconds later — after a company rep had attached two sticky pads to our shoulders and pushed a few buttons on the hand-held control device — we couldn’t think at all, focused instead on the tiny electrical charge spreading from the pads into our sore muscles. Athletes have taken advantage of “stim” — sports medicine slang for the technology known officially as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – for years, using it to promote rehabilitation and recovery in injured or overworked muscles. Only recently have TENS units been manufactured for private use, and most have been mere reproductions of their clunky, medical-



style cohorts. The Micro Massager Pro, by comparison, features an intuitive, iPod-style functionality, with multiple modes (pushing, tapping, acupuncture, etc.) and strength settings, making it both easy to transport, and easy to use. “Two people may experience the same mode differently, while one person may prefer one mode, and another person a different one,” says distributor Scott Levy. “It’s like taste buds — everybody is different.” With its compact size and ease of use, it can be used almost anywhere. And to make it even better, they’re offering it to CG readers for just $119 — a full 60-percentoff the suggested retail price. Find out which mode is right for you by placing an order at






Which course will CG readers name No. 1 in Washington? 1 Semiahmoo Golf & CC

1 Gold Mountain — Olympic


1 Gold Mountain — Olympic

1 Semiahmoo Golf & CC

3 White Horse Golf Club

2 Loomis Trail GC


1 Chambers Bay




1 Chambers Bay

1 Wine Valley GC 1 Wine Valley GC

3 Washington National


n April, we launched the 2012 Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness — a year-long quest to crown the No. 1 golf course in the state of Washington, bracketstyle. After days of sometimes-intense debate, a field of 32 courses was selected and separated into four major “regions” — North (King/Snohomish County line to Canada), Peninsula (Kitsap and Olympic), Destination (Cascade Mountains and beyond) and Central Sound (Seattle/Eastside south to Olympia). And then, there was nothing to do but wait. Within mere minutes of the April issue of Cascade Golfer  hitting mailboxes across the Puget Sound region, votes starting rolling in to, with readers from as far away as Spain and Argentina registering their opinions on our state’s gems — and of course, letting us know which deserving courses they felt we left out. In the months since, nearly 20,000 individual votes have been logged online — staggering our projections — with our readers surprising us at almost every turn. Top seed Wine Valley — which we suggested in August might just be the best course in the state (“One Day In The Valley,” CG, Aug. ’12) — barely survived a second-round matchup with fourth-seed Desert Canyon, while sixthseeded Eaglemont rolled past three-seed Lake Padden before coming within a lip-out of a second-straight upset over Loomis Trail, the North Region’s No. 2 seed. And Chambers Bay (merely good enough to be hosting a U.S. Open in two-and-a-half-years’ time) came within a single rotation of the golf ball — or, in our world, one single vote — from being knocked off at the Elite

DESTINATION 3 Prospector at Suncadia

BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR Eight stage by third-seed Washington National. In the end, though, for all the upsets throughout the bracket, readers ultimately sided with the committee by advancing the top seeds in each region to the Final Four — Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course in the Peninsula Region, Chambers Bay in the Central Sound Region, Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club in the North Region, and Wine Valley in the Destination Region. Voting for the Final Four was conducted live and inperson at the Muckleshoot Casino on Oct. 6, part of our 2012 Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash, which also featured the Awards Banquet for our year-long Cascade Golfer Cup, and the second-annual Cascade Golfer Duffers and Bluffers No-Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament. Nearly 200 individual votes were cast, and two courses moved on to the final stage of the contest, the heads-up Match Play showdown for the title of Washington State’s No. 1 Public Golf Course. Over the next four pages, a quartet of our favorite Washington golf writers — Bellingham author and golf blogger Tony Dear; longtime local sportswriters and founders of, Bob Sherwin and Jim Street; and CG contributor Ted Anderson — will take turns making their cases for one of the Final Four courses to be crowned No. 1. Once you’ve read each writer’s case for their course, go online to to find out which two courses won the live voting round at the Muckleshoot

See the full bracket and vote online at!


Casino, and cast your vote in the Championship Match. We’ll keep the online voting open through 8 a.m. on Dec. 17, at which point we’ll announce on our website and Facebook page the course that you, the readers of Cascade Golfer, have chosen as the No. 1 public golf course in the state of Washington. Our two final courses have survived a grueling match, and are each standing on the 18th green, needing one last putt for the win. It’s up to you to decide which of those putts lips out, and which makes that beautiful little sound as it plunks squarely into the bottom of the cup.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNING VOTER! In addition to helping choose the best course in the state, voters in the Match Play Madness have been making themselves eligible to win rounds of golf, golf clubs — and for our live Final Four voters at the Muckleshoot Casino, a six-night golf getaway to Mexico!

JUSTIN MENTINK Six-night Mexico stay-and-play





Gold Mountain (Olympic) Gorst |




here are many reasons why the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain has made the Final Four of the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness. The 25-year-old Olympic Course, located near Bremerton, has been ranked by Golf Digest as second only to Bethpage Black for best value among the nation’s public golf courses. The course was designed to challenge and reward both low- and high-handicap golfers. There are no houses located near the course that could become victims of errant shots. The Olympic Course is exactly what you would expect in the great Northwest, where green is good, trees are high and deer roam the grounds at will. Bring your camera when you play the par-72 layout some five miles from the City of Bremerton, which owns the 36-hole facility (it also includes the original Cascade Course, which was itself a No. 8 seed in the Match Play Madness bracket). “Day in and day out, the condition of the golf course is phenomenal,” says Scott Alexander, the director of golf. “Our superintendent, Ed Faulk, and his staff do a great job and we take great pride in hearing some of the comments from the golfers.” For my money, the more popular Olympic Course is difficult to beat. During the peak season, July 1-Sept. 30, the green fees max out at $65 on weekends (carts are $16 extra), dropping as low as $26 (weekday twilight) beginning on Oct. 1, with further values for both young (juniors) and old (seniors). 26


There is a 200-foot elevation gap from the high and low points on the course, yet it remains walkable, as the distances from green to tee are short. It is practically impossible to choose just one hole as my favorite. However, the 439-yard (from the blues) 17th hole is regarded by many as the most difficult. But to me, the previous hole — the downhill, 157-yard, par-3 16th, is tops on the list. The worthiness of a good golf course often is measured by the accolades it receives and the number of high-profile events it hosts. The Olympic Course’s resume includes the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2011, the NCAA Men’s West Regional in ’08, the University of Washington Husky Invitational and the 81st U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in ’06. And Beau Hossler, a semi-finalist in last year’s Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain (and a sensation at this year’s U.S. Open at that “other” Olympic, in San Francisco) said the Bremerton gem was “one of the five best courses I’ve ever played.” It’s comments like that from golfers throughout the region that lure so many golfers in the first place, but it’s the quality that brings them back, again and again. “It is a very playable golf course, absolutely as much fun for a 20-to 25-handicapper as it is for a 2or 3-handicap player,” says Alexander. “That’s just the way (the late) John Harbottle III wanted it when he designed it.” It was a job well done, no doubt about it.

PATH TO THE FINAL FOUR ROUND OF 32 Def. No. 8 Gold Mountain (Cascade), 78.0%-22.0% ROUND OF 16 DEF. NO. 4 Def. No. 4 Port Ludlow Resort, 67.7%-32.3% ROUND OF 8 Def. No. 3 White Horse, 69.2%-30.8%

Jim Street is well known to local baseball fans for his longtime coverage of the Seattle Mariners for the Associated Press and He is also the cofounder of the website, and a frequent contributor to local and national sports publications. This is his first contribution to Cascade Golfer.



Chambers Bay

University Place |



hambers Bay, the five-year-old, links-style course tilting to the edge of Puget Sound, is hard to compare to other Northwest golf courses when, really, there are no comparisons. “We do not have a hard time being unique,’’ says general manager Matt Allen. “We’re lucky in that regard.’’ At just the first breathtaking glance of the course, standing near the clubhouse high above the 250-acre layout, you’ll notice its distinctiveness by what’s missing — trees. Washington is known as the Evergreen State, yet there is just one on the course, a tall fir behind the 15th green. Everything else is sweeping natural grasses, vast sandy waste areas and emerald ribbons meandering among the rolling hills. Designed by the celebrated Robert Trent Jones, Jr., architectural team, Chambers has already has hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, and will host the 2015 U.S. Open, the first Open to be contested in the Northwest. In fact, it was the first course ever to be awarded the Open within seven months of its grand opening. “That’s unique not just to Washington, but in the country,’’ Allen says. The entire course — including the greens – feature only one type of grass, fescue. The only other courses in the country that are all-fescue courses are the Bandon Dunes complex in southern Oregon and Wild Horse in western Nebraska. While the definition of ”links” varies, Chambers Bay at least conveys the spirit of the traditional Scottish links — sandy soil, few trees, adjacent to water,

with native grasses and exposure to the elements. “That number (links courses) is pretty small,’’ Allen says. “Fewer than 200 in the world.’’ Of course, what Allen believes is the essential reason why Chambers Bay sets itself apart — and why Cascade Golfer readers should do the same when making their choices in the final stages of the Match Play Madness voting — is its playability. “The hallmark of links architecture is that we can attract the best in the world for the Amateur and the Open, but it’s also exceedingly playable day-in and dayout for golfers of all abilities,’’ Allen says. “I can’t think of another U.S. Open course, public or otherwise, that people don’t find pretty punishing. I don’t hear people say they are punished here. “It’s fair, fun and different.’’ There are few similarities among the 18 holes. The most memorable par-3 – and among the best in the state – is the 168-yard (sand tees) ninth that has a 90-foot drop to a small green slanted right toward a steep waste area. There’s also a drivable par-4, the 262-yard (sand) 12th, requiring an uphill shot through a narrow chute to an enormous, split-level green. Perhaps the most scenic hole, however, is the 360yard (sand) 10th. The fairway and green are squeezed between two tall sand dunes. It looks natural, but in fact, bulldozers carved the path from tee to green through one mountainous dune. It’s appropriate that this contest should come to an

PATH TO THE FINAL FOUR ROUND OF 32 Def. No. 8 West Seattle, 87.6%-12.4% ROUND OF 16 Def. No. 4 Home Course, 73.7%-26.3% ROUND OF 8 Def. No. 3 Washington National 50.1%-49.9% end in December, when many of the state’s courses struggle to stay above water. Not so at Chambers, which drains so well it can be played all year round — and at winter rates that are one of the state’s best bargains. After all, it’s “Pure Links Golf” — a bit of rain and wind just adds to the ambiance. Bob Sherwin is a veteran of the Seattle Times, a freelance writer for the New York Times and Associated Press, and the co-founder of Northwest golf website He last wrote about the challenge of bringing a PGA Tour event to the Seattle area in the August 2012 issue of Cascade Golfer. DECEMBER 2012




Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club Blaine |



shouldn’t really like Semiahmoo. Flowers, lakes, waterfalls and the like are all very well in their place. But I’ve never really considered a golf course to be the place. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Engrossed by The Masters on TV as a kid, it was obvious to me (and surely everyone else watching) that golf was best played on picture-perfect courses with luminous green turf, sparkling blue ponds and vibrant pink azaleas. Golf courses should be beautiful and dramatic. Why would you play anywhere else? Over the years, though, you slowly become aware that subtle golf courses can be good golf courses. You discover that the cleverest architects can use the ground they find to build fun, engaging holes without relying too much on heavy machinery. You also become sensitive to the fact that artificial water features, gigantic bunkers and all the rest of it costs a lot of money to build – costs ultimately reimbursed by your green fee. Semiahmoo is built in a housing development (a very nice housing development, to be fair), which means backyard grills and patio furniture can sometimes encroach on the playing areas. I’m not convinced that designer Arnold Palmer made the most of potential views of Drayton Harbor and Birch Bay, either.



But here’s the thing…I actually like Semiahmoo very much indeed. Of all the King’s courses I’ve played, Semiahmoo is by far my favorite. Yes, it looks beautiful in an occasionally synthetic, man-made way, but devotees of more minimalist designs just have to get over themselves and acknowledge there are too many good holes here to ignore. A case could be made for several of them when choosing the best – the splendid dogleg-right par-4 fifth; the lovely, downhill par-3 sixth, where a pond guards the left side of the green; the par-5 ninth that curls round a large pond on the right; the par-5 13th that bends left; the downhill, dogleg-right par-4 4th; the attractive par-3 15th. But the prize usually goes to either the short, par-4 11th, that skirts a menacing pond on the right, or the par-3 12th, where the best tee shot clears the same body of water, but less ambitious shots bail left. The other thing I like about Semiahmoo is the greens fee. For a Palmer design in this good condition, you’d typically expect to pay big bucks. But, from the start of November to the end of March, you can play 18 holes midweek for just $35. If you get a bright, sunny day (admittedly rare at this time of year), that $35 is exceptionally well-spent. Even during an August weekend, you still get change from a $100 bill, and get

PATH TO THE FINAL FOUR ROUND OF 32 Def. No. 8 Snohomish, 88.4%-11.6% ROUND OF 16 Def. No. 4 Kayak Point, 73.2%-26.8% ROUND OF 8 Def. No. 2 Loomis Trail, 75.8%-24.2% a bag of range balls (carts are an extra $16 per rider). On paper, Semiahmoo probably wouldn’t excite me at all. In reality, it’s one of my favorite rounds in the State. Tony Dear is an award-winning author, and the founder of, an online resource for golfers in Whatcom County. His work has been featured in nearly every issue of Cascade Golfer.



Wine Valley Golf Club Walla Walla |



oters in the Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness have a clear choice on both sides of the bracket — minimalist modern splendor vs. traditional Northwest excellence. Both Walla Walla’s Wine Valley and University Place’s Chambers Bay are of the former style, open layouts that look practically painted onto the surrounding landscape, with few trees to speak of (Chambers Bay, with its Lone Fir, has exactly one more than its eastern Washington counterpart) and nearly as many paths to the hole as there are pin placements on the courses’ large, undulating greens. So stark are the differences between those two and their tree-lined counterparts in this Final Four round, that it’s all but impossible to imagine a final pairing other than Wine Valley and Chambers Bay, or Gold Mountain (Olympic) and Semiahmoo. The player who favors Chambers over Gold Mountain will almost certainly favor Wine Valley over Semiahmoo, and vice versa. Having had the privilege to play nearly every golf course listed in this bracket — and an excellent bracket it is, though I’d make a small quibble with the exclusion of Moses Pointe Golf Links and Spokane’s Downriver (both oft-overlooked Eastern Washington gems) and the seeding of Trophy Lake merely No. 5 on the Peninsula — ­ I can say unequivocally that Cascade Golfer readers should

vote Wine Valley number one. If you have to ask why, then it’s likely you haven’t yet made the trip to Walla Walla to play the Dan Hixson design, which opened to national fanfare in 2009. From the first tee to the 18th green, Wine Valley is unlike any golf course I’ve played in the state — even Chambers Bay, which, for all of its similarities, is tucked onto a much smaller footprint than the more sprawling Wine Valley, which stretches its legs across the gentle hills of the surrounding prairie. Tee shots bound off mounds and slopes in the fairways, whose delightfully spongy texture can only be the product of generations of agricultural wisdom. And that’s when the fun begins. A player in the fairway must choose their angle of approach carefully. While there are many paths to success, the angle of the players’ lie, the placement of greenside bunkers and — most significantly — the contours of the green and its surrounding area make certain paths more rewarding than others. And at every turn, there is the wind, blowing down the slopes of the distant Blue Mountains and across endless miles of crop fields, vineyard acres and wind farms to make a mockery of your well-crafted approach. A player is wise to be humble and remember that in a head-tohead battle between your preferred style of play, the golf course design, and the prevailing conditions, Dan Hixson

PATH TO THE FINAL FOUR ROUND OF 32 Def. No. 8 Highlander, 73.8%-26.2% ROUND OF 16 Def. No. 4 Desert Canyon, 50.4%-49.6% ROUND OF 8 Def. No. 3 Prospector, 56.2%-43.8% and Mother Nature will win every time. Few golf courses are more beautiful than John Harbottle’s Olympic Course. Few are more enjoyable than Semiahmoo. Few are more uniquely challenging than Chambers Bay. Wine Valley is one of the few. And that is why Wine Valley should receive your vote. Ted Anderson is a freelance golf writer. He last wrote about Ernest Hemingway and Idaho’s Sun Valley Resort for the August 2012 issue of Cascade Golfer. DECEMBER 2012


RISK vs. REWARD Salish Cliffs Golf Club

Hole No. 18 • Par 5 • 514 Yards (tournament tees) The Setup: It won’t be long until No. 18 at Salish Cliffs will be mentioned alongside Gold Mountain Olympic, Trophy Lake, Apple Tree, etc., as one of the best finishing holes in the state. It does an excellent job of making birdie or even eagle a possibility, while keeping double or triple bogey in play. It starts with a tee shot through a chute that must clear a ridge and avoid a fairway bunker on the right, giving the golfer an opportunity to get home in two to this double green (shared with hole 9) guarded by water and a handful of bunkers.

The Risk: Although there is plenty of bail-out room left of the green, to truly go for it means one must carry the

By Simon Dubiel

approach 220-250, slightly downhill, to clear the water and bunkers just short of the putting surface. Anything sprayed right will either be wet or on the No. 9 green, setting up a 3- or even 4-putt finish. Long may leave you with a bunker shot towards the pond, and we all know much we enjoy those. You might wish you had just laid up and left yourself a 70-yard third from the fairway.

The Reward: Salish Cliffs gives golfers many chances to put a circle on the scorecard, but you’re going to have to earn everything; there are few opportunities for an “easy birdie.” The home 18th, though, might be your best chance. No par-5 at Salish is shorter, and the primary risk — the water — will still be in play on your third, so

why lay up from 220? Aiming at the left side of the green gives you plenty of room to mishit your shot, but still be dry and an “up-and-down” away from a four.

Final Call: If you have chips in the game, don’t be afraid to use them. We all want to play well, score well and hit that one shot that keeps us coming back. However many swings you have had to take to navigate the first 17, if you square one up on 18 and stuff it close, that is what your will remember. Green light means, “Go.” This is your moment. In the words of Ty Webb, “Be the ball, Danny!”




BILLY WALTERS Is Betting You’ll Flip For His Themed Golf Courses In Las Vegas — And When Billy Walters Bets, He Almost Never Loses BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR




t’s likely that you’ve never heard of Billy Walters.

But if you’ve ever placed a wager on a

football or basketball game at a Las Vegas casino, it’s equally as likely that you’ve played right into his hands. “Billy’s a great white,” Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White said in an interview with “60 Minutes” last year, one of Walters’ rare public interviews. “He’s the most dangerous sports bettor in the history of Nevada.” That danger, of course, lies in the eye of the beholder. Sports books fear him for his incredible winning streak — he claims not to have had a losing year in over 30 years of sports wagering, despite risking up to $2 million a day on a typical NFL Sunday — while bettors revere him as an icon for precisely the same reason. In the three decades since Walters arrived in Las Vegas from his Kentucky home “dirt poor,” as he says, he has made and lost a fortune countless times over, become the most famous gambler in the city’s history, won and lost millions on the golf course — indeed, sometimes in a single 18-hole round — and built a growing golf empire featuring some of the most exotic and exciting courses in the state. He’s also donated millions to support local charities, inspired in part by a son who has overcome significant physical obstacles. But who is Billy Walters?


o find out, you have to start in his hometown of Munfordville, Ky. A tiny hamlet of just over 1,500 people in the 2000 census, with a median income of just $18,000, it’s the very definition of a humble beginning — “the Mayberry of Kentucky,” Walters says. Raised by his grandmother from an early age, Walters would spend days when he wasn’t in school at his uncle’s pool hall, standing atop a pile of Coca-Cola cases to reach the table. At the age of six, he laid what might have been his first wager ­— “a game of nine ball for a penny a ball,” he recalls. He was hooked. To make money, he worked as a newspaper boy, shined shoes, helped on a farm. By 8, he was playing regularly for money; by 15, he was winning $4,000-$5,000 a game. In careers as a foundry worker, realtor and, finally, a car dealer, Walters found he was working twice as hard to make half as much money as he was when he gambled. For a man who would become obsessed with the small differences in numbers — scores, statistics, betting lines — the math just didn’t add up. Walters packed up his things, headed west to Las Vegas, and went to work.


hile the casinos and sports bettors view Walters alternately as a shark or hero, he prefers neither view — instead, he says he’s merely an entrepreneur, using a particular skill and expertise to take advantage of favorable business conditions for profit. Of course, what’s different about Walters from most entrepreneurs is that in the 30 years since he left Kentucky for Las Vegas to begin his new life, he’s never lost. Well, that’s not entirely true — in fact, he loses more than 40 percent of the time. But when you’re laying seven figures a day, as Walters is, breaking just above even — Walters’ estimates his career winning percentage as 57 percent — means six-figure profits. Per day. A notoriously private man, Walters granted CBS News’ “60 Minutes” a rare interview in 2011, taking reporter Lara Logan — and viewers — behind the scenes of his high-tech wagering operation. By running thousands of scores and statistics through a proprietary computer program designed by Walters and his associates, he is able to generate lines that are often more accurate than those the bookmakers create. The larger the discrepancy between one of Walters’ lines and the casino’s, the larger the bet Walters makes. To run the operation, he relies on the input of a team of experts throughout the country, whose analysis and expertise are fed into the computer along with the data. “It gets presented to me, I evaluate it, and I determine what I’m going to do,” he told “60 Minutes.” “They don’t know each other, they don’t talk to each other. The only common denominator is me.” Since many casinos have long since stopped taking his bets for fear of having to pay out large sums when he wins, Walters has partners place bets for him at the casino, then watches it all play out. He’ll even place bets on the opposite side of a line — on the underdog, say, when he prefers the favorite — just to force the casinos to shift the lines in his favor. In all, it’s a formula that has netted Walters an estimated hundreds of millions in profits. “I could lose again today. I could lose again next week,” he said in that same interview. “I’ve had losing weeks, and I’ve had losing months. But never a losing year.” DECEMBER 2012





f course, Walters has never been one to limit his gambling to sports. In addition to those pre-teen games of pool, Walters is an avid golfer, and has been known to bet thousands — even millions — on a round of golf. Once, he says he won $400,000 on a single hole. Another time, he says he won $1 million in a round — then lost it all playing poker at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino later that night. Walters’ biggest golf gamble, though, came not as a player, but in real estate. In 1996, Walters worked with the city of Las Vegas to turn a run-down city park into the Desert Pines Golf Club (, 888-427-6678), a one-of-a-kind, Carolina-style course in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. As a golfer, Walters always plays the tips — no matter how long — and refuses any mulligans, believing that to take any shortcuts is to cheat yourself out of a true challenge, and an opportunity to improve under pressure. It’s the same philosophy he applies to his golf courses. Desert Pines is a masterpiece of design, a replica of the country club courses of the American Southeast that house so much of the country’s golf history and tradition. In building the course, Walters’ team planted over 4,000 pine trees to separate the holes, built railroad-tie bunkers and planted acres of sod, including greens crafted to mimic those at Augusta National. Walters says that for all of his notable achievements, the opening of Desert Pines — and having helped turn a derelict part of the city into something beautiful and valued — was a significant moment. “Out of all the things that I’ve done from a business standpoint, it’s undoubtedly my proudest accomplishment,” he said. Before the first tee shots had even hit the fairways at Desert Pines, Walters was already at work on a second course, Royal Links Golf Club (, 888-427-6678), which Walters envisioned as a chance to add some Vegas flair to the local golf scene. What he had first conceived at Desert Pines — a Vegas golf course that transported the player to a decidedly un-Vegas locale — Walters doubled down on at Royal Links, which features 18 holes modeled after some of the most famous holes in the British Open rotation. There’s the par-4 first hole, modeled after No. 10 at Royal Lytham, which hosted this

Bali Hai Golf Club

Desert Pines Golf Club

Photos By Brian Oar



Royal Links Golf Club



Photo By Brian Oar

year’s Open Championship. To reach the first tee, you first must walk across St. Andrews’ Swilcan Bridge. There’s the par-3 eighth hole, an exact replica of the famed “Postage Stamp” hole at Royal Troon. And of course, there’s the epic, 466-yard, par-4 10th, familiar to all golf fans as the famous 17th at St. Andrews, known simply as the “Road Hole.” Walters even had designers Dye International include the old stone wall that runs the length of the hole’s right side, and over which golfers playing the back tees must hit their drives. Similarly iconic holes from Royal Birkdale, Prestwick, Turnberry and other famed British Isles tracks complete the layout, with every pot bunker, every knee-high grass and every firm, fast green exactly as they are overseas. There’s even an authentic British pub in the castle-style clubhouse, where golfers can grab a pint of Guinness after their round and enjoy some fish and chips. And if Royal Links was Walters’ double-down, then the expansive Bali Hai Golf Club (balihaigolfclub, 888427-6678), opened in 2000, was his all-in — a virtual tour through a tropical paradise built right along the Strip, against the backdrop of the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Luxor hotels. Architects Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley called Desert Pines’ 4,000 pine trees and raised with 2,500 palm trees and over 100,000 tropical plants, plus literal tons of white sand and black volcanic rock. Walters also made sure the off-course amenities matched the oncourse opulence, pairing the course with the Polynesianinfluenced Cili restaurant, which has earned at least as many raves as the course it accompanies. Each of the courses partner with local hotels like the MGM Grand and Hard Rock to offer stay-and-play packages that make the golf and lodging affordable, while additional golf-only specials are available at the Walters Golf website, “Las Vegas is becoming America’s most exciting golf destination,” Walters has said. “There is a big evolution taking place here, and we’re working hard to lead the way.”


alters and his wife, Susan, have also led the way with local charities, giving millions to numerous organizations. One of their favorites is Opportunity Village, which provides job training and placement to Las Vegas-area residents with mental disabilities. His work with the charity offers a rare glimpse into his personal life — Walters is motivated in no small part by his son, Scott, who has overcome significant brain trauma from a tumor that developed when he was just five years old. “They said he had 30 days to live,” Walters told reporter Ian Thomsen. “He had a tumor back behind his left eye, where they couldn’t operate. After radiation, they told us every day he was going to die. It was the only thing in my life I wasn’t able to handle.” Miraculously, however, Scott survived, and Walters


here isn’t much cooler than making an 8 p.m. tee time. Being a city built around the concept of 24-hour entertainment, it’s only fitting that Las Vegas — in addition to Billy Walters’ uniquely themed courses — would also have one of the few courses where you can stick a peg in the ground well after dark, and watch your shots fly high into the night sky. A post-dinner round at the Cloud Nine course at Angel Park Golf Club (, 888-4GOLFLV) is a must experience for any Vegas golfer. Nine of the 12 holes on the par-3 course are lit by large spotlights (including the one on our cover), making every shot feel like a nationally televised event. There’s always going to be time to hit the tables in The Strip casinos — but you’ll have a lot more fun (and likely lose a lot less cash) throwing a couple of brews in your bag and hitting the links for a once-in-a-lifetime round under the stars. In fact, many golfers make it at day at Angel Park, playing the course’s two Arnold Palmer-designed championship courses — the Palm and Mountain — then hitting the restaurants and tables in the adjacent Suncoast Hotel & Casino, before strolling back out to the Cloud Nine. Both the Palm and Mountain courses at Angel Park are certainly worth your time, and offer stay-and-plays and online specials that have helped the course earn honors as one of Vegas’ best values year after year. Like many of Las Vegas’ other top public courses — including the Legacy Golf Club (, 888-4GOLFLV) and its unique playing-card-shaped tee boxes; the scenic Painted Desert Golf Club (, 702-645-2570); the recentlyrenovated (at a cost of $5 million) Las Vegas Golf Club (, 702-646-3003); and our personal favorite, the semi-private (and fully fantastic) Stallion Mountain Golf Club (, 702547-6601) — Angel Park is managed by OB Sports, which offers further discounts on greens fees and on-course amenities through its OB Sports Card. The $249 card grants the cardholder and three guests up to 50-percent off the regular greens fee, plus discounts in the pro shop and restaurants. Play just two weekend rounds, and your foursome will have saved over $400

The Revere Golf Club

in greens fees alone — leaving $150 to add to your stacks at the poker table once the day is done. Of course, golf after dark and playing-card-shaped tee boxes are hardly the only uniquely Vegas golf experience to be found. How about door-to-door service from your Strip hotel to one of southwest Nevada’s most beautiful — and most exciting — 36hole tracks? That’s what you get from The Revere (, 877-273-8373), which lets golfers customize a package including transportation from the Strip, breakfast, lunch, rental clubs or even special 36hole rates when they make their tee time, all rolled into the greens fee. “We wanted to add value without sacrificing rate,” says director of sales Dennis Piekarski. “So we thought, what other options could we include for golfers with their greens fee? The packages we came up with have been very popular.” Once golfers are dropped off at the course, they’re treated to two of Vegas’ most scenic tracks. Located 25 minutes from The Strip, The Revere’s Lexington and Concord courses — themed after their namesake’s Midnight Ride — spread across a larger footprint than most Vegas tracks, allowing for broader views, greater elevation changes and a unique playing experience. The solitude is so complete as you stand over your tee shots, that were it not for the Strip casinos gleaming in the distance, it’d be easy to forget you were just a few minutes from one of the busiest little cities in the world.

Stallion Mountain Golf Club





s fun as it is to spend your days and nights mixing pars with parlays in the City that Never Sleeps, eventually, everybody needs a break. And when Vegas golfers need a break, they head to Mesquite. For roughly 100 years little more than a passthrough farming town on the highway from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas and L.A., the construction of its first major golf course in 1989 kicked off a transformation into one of the nation’s most enjoyable — and affordable — golf destinations. Located just 80 miles northeast of Vegas, Mesquite is home to some of the most scenic golf courses you’ll ever see, anywhere. The Arnold Palmer-designed Palmer Course at Oasis Golf Club (pictured above) looks like something out of a Georgia O’Keefe painting, splashes of bright green fairways and greens dotted between steep redand-orange bluffs. A similar landscape at Falcon Ridge Golf Club, a few miles away, is lined with beautiful white flowers, while the lush fairways of Coyote Springs Golf Club stand in stark contrast to the white-sand bunkers and agave-spotted landscape that surround it. There’s a reason why golf course artists like Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and even our very own John Fought have been drawn to craft award-winning courses in Mesquite — it’s a blank palette comprised of



Palmer at Oasis some of the most beautiful natural scenery on Earth. Many golfers heading to Mesquite — which this year included several of our top-performing teams in the Cascade Golfer Cup — choose to book their travel through the website, which serves as a portal for both the golf courses, hotels and casino resorts in the area. Only through the site can golfers receive preferred tee times and discounted greens fees to seven of the region’s top courses (including each of those above, Fought’s Sand Hollow — a “Best New” pick in 2008 — the award-winning Conestoga Golf Club, and more), while also saving on room nights and other amenities in the area. In addition, further savings can be had by signing up for’s online e-club, featuring contests to win free golf, news about the annual Mesquite Amateur — one of the most popular amateur golf tournaments in the West — and more. Do Vegas, for sure — but when you’re ready to cash in your chips for a more relaxed pace of play, head up the highway to Mesquite. You may never want to leave.

has thrown himself — and his sizeable bankroll — into charitable work. He and Susan helped fund a new, modern campus for Opportunity Village, and visit as frequently as their schedules allow. “The good folks at Opportunity Village are the greatest inspiration in the world to me,” he said in a recent interview. “When I take the tour, I get to see young Alonzo; it takes him over two hours just to put his clothes on each day. He’s in a wheelchair, yet every time I get to see him he has a bright smile and says he is having one of his greatest days. It puts everything into perspective.”


alters recently returned to Bali Hai, playing a friend and longtime business associate for $5,000 a hole. Once the round was over, he returned to his home office to scour the lines, read the latest injury reports, and consult with his advisors to determine where to place their money on the night’s games. It’s a pattern that repeats itself day after day, year after year, with the same result — Billy Walters always wins. To some, it may appear that Walters’ investment in golf and real estate is an attempt to broaden his interests, to develop a second life outside of the gambling world. To Walters, it’s one and the same. “A lot of people don’t realize it, but when you’re investing in a piece of real estate…you’re gambling,” he said in a recent feature on the Golf Channel. “To me, a gambler is someone who takes calculated risks – not just playing poker, or betting sports, or playing golf. And I’ll keep taking calculated risks until the day I die.”







California Summer doesn’t have to end — we just have to go a little farther to find it. CG lists the TOP-10 THINGS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS ON YOUR DESERT GOLF GETAWAY — from the first tee, to the 19th hole.



By Judd Spicer

Indian Wells Golf Resort

n the Pacific Northwest, wintertime means cold temperatures, gray days, and more often than not, waterlogged fairways. Palm Springs, however, is just the opposite — as the temperatures turn from a summer sizzle to a fall fever to a winter wonderland, the entire Coachella Valley readies for the high season with a mesh of world-class golf and a host of celebrated cultural events. Of course, with so much to see and do, trying to fit it all into a one- or two-week stay can be as challenging as trying to hold onto your golf clubs in a steady Northwest rain. To help you prepare for your own desert getaway, here are 10 Coachella Valley “must-dos” for any Seattle snowbird. Forget Santa — this is one list you’ll want to keep for yourself.


Become a Cardmember at Indian Wells Golf Resort


he wise golfer seeks to lower scores … as well as his greens fee. So, our first lesson in making the most of your desert golf vacation is to maximize your dollar by taking advantage of players’ cards at the region’s top resorts. Host to The Golf Channel’s “Big Break Indian Wells” in the summer of 2011, the Indian Wells Golf Resort ( or 760-346-4653) is home to both Clive Clark’s Celebrity Course and the John Fought-designed Players Course. By purchasing IWGR’s updated Platinum Card, players can enjoy a slew of discounts at either of these popular tracks. The card is good until Christmas of 2013, and is available for both twosome (at $200) and foursome ($300) pairings, with $50 off renewal purchase. In addition, cardmembers enjoy one free Callaway Driver club-fitting at the on-site Callaway Performance Center, and free practice balls on the day of play, along with discounts on apparel and accessories. Of course, the golf rewards make for the card’s biggest swipe. “Depending on the time of the year, the rates are discounted anywhere from 33 to 40 percent,” details Michael Tebbetts, Indian Wells’ director of sales and marketing. “And we added two new things this year — a $25 ‘Same Day Replay Rate’ for folks that like to come out and play a lot of golf on one day…and the ability, once per year, to host a group of 12-24 players. If you have a group of people traveling and just one of them buys the card, you can save as a group up to $1,200 on that one day alone.” 46



Play with class at the Classic Club


ith a potent mix of grandeur and gratitude, the Classic Club in Palm Desert makes one of the area’s biggest impressions. Built to host the former Bob Hope Classic (now the Humana Challenge), the stature of the Tuscan-inspired clubhouse merely portends what is to come on the Arnold Palmer-designed course. “It’s a unique desert golf experience,” says Brady Wilson, director of golf at the Classic Club ( or 760-601-3600). “You’re not going to see many public facilities with the conditions we keep – our conditions are better than most private clubs. And you’re not going to see many public facilities with a fine dining experience like we have here at Bellatrix.” The rare SoCal track not situated within residential surrounds, the Classic Club fills that welcomed absence with a food and beverage voucher, a club towel and unlimited, on-course bottled water, all included with your greens fee. And if you can close out the 564-yard, par-5 finisher with style — the last of an excellent finishing series of holes — you’ll know that your game has passed a test drawn for the big boys. “The course design is also unique to the desert,” Wilson says. “We have pine trees and olive trees – there’s not one palm tree on the entire golf course. It’s not a traditional desert golfing experience.”

Indian Canyons Golf Resort


Absorb the Historic Waters at Spa Resort Casino


ong before Titleists tore through the desert skies, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians were tending the spiritual and healing powers of the land. To wholly appreciate the antiquity and everyday tranquility of the Coachella Valley, no travel is complete without enjoying the Band’s spread of properties. Start the Palm Springs weekend with a round at either the classic layout of the Indian Canyons Golf Resort’s North Course or the superb redesign of the South Course. Up for the stroll, sans the swing — or have a non-golfing spouse who wants to enjoy the beautiful outdoors just as much as you do? Then enjoy one of the area’s most engaging hikes, with a walk through the myriad of trails amid the rustic beauty of Indian Canyons. Post-play or stroll, segue to the heart of downtown to enjoy the flavors, gaming and nightlife — and, of

course, the relaxation — at the luxurious Spa Resort Casino ( or 1-888-999-1995). “What sets us apart is the legacy of our spa,” says Therese Everett-Kerley, director of communications at Spa Resort Casino. “The spa has the natural hot springs after which the city was named, and we’re the only ones that have that.” What the visitor must have is the “Taking of the Waters” spa treatment, a 5-step process that pampers the guest with steam and sauna before an eventual soak in the historic mineral waters. Visitors to the Indian Canyons hiking trails receive a significant spa discount, and guests during the holiday months will enjoy a host of unique, seasonal treatments. “It’s such a great process and soothes your mind and your muscles after a round of golf or a day of hiking,” Everett-Kerley says. “And Spa Resort is just a few steps off the main drag. If you cruise into town and park your car and want to enjoy your vacation on foot, Spa Resort Casino is so close to everything. Museums, restaurants, shopping — it’s a great location.”

Spa Resort Casino




Tune In to the Coachella and Stagecoach Music Festivals


f your passion for music is a match for your passion for golf, then visit in April, when two of the nation’s most revered music festivals take place at the east end of the Coachella Valley. The party begins with the ever-eclectic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival beginning April 12-14, and closing the following weekend, Apr. 19-21. With

performances ranging from rock to hip-hop to indie bands, there’s something for just about everyone — Beck, Paul McCartney, Madonna, the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Prince and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are just a few of the lauded acts that have taken the stage at Coachella. For those looking to dig their spurs into the Empire Polo Fields, Stagecoach has become the premier country music festival on the West Coast. Taking place April 26-28, this year’s lineup boasts Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Jeff Bridges, Dwight Yoakam and Jerry Lee Lewis. For more information, step to or

The 19 Hole th


hen going to Palm Springs, it’s important to make sure that the place you choose to call home between rounds is central to the action — and if it comes with a few extra amenities, all the better. That’s the thinking behind the vacation rentals at LaQuinta Resort & Spa and PGA West ( | 760-777-4818). Homes on both properties give golfers the chance to stay where they play. In addition to discounted rounds of golf at the resort courses — including the famed TPC Stadium Course at PGA West — a stay one of LaQuinta’s rental homes also provides access to the resort’s pools, restaurants, fitness center, tennis center and other amenities. Homes range in size from one to more than five bedrooms, with nightly, weekly and monthly rates, and amenities to fit just about lifestyle — or budget. It’s an ideal choice for a larger group, a longer stay, or for golfers simply seeking a more private experience than a typical hotel. It’s also an excellent opportunity to sample the snowbird lifestyle for those considering making an annual migration. Of course, some golfers just want a warm bed to sleep in, easy access to the top golf courses in the area, a complimentary, made-to-order breakfast and a couple hours worth of free beer, wine and liquor every night. “We get more raves about our nightly manager’s

Embassy Suites La Quinta



Embassy Suites Palm Desert

reception than anything else,” says Gerri Lynch, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Embassy Suites La Quinta ( | 760-777-1711), located across from PGA West and SilverRock Resort, and the Old Town LaQuinta shopping and restaurant district. The Embassy Suites Palm Desert (embassysuites. | 760-340-6600) — with its own beautiful, resort-style pool — is just a few miles away, convenient to Indian Wells, Rancho Las Palmas, Desert Willow and other outstanding tracks. In addition to the two-hour, nightly manager’s reception (with a fully-hosted bar and snacks) each Embassy Suites provides a cooked-to-order breakfast and one-bedroom accommodations, letting you ditch your buddy on the hide-a-bed while you sleep off a 36hole day in your own private bedroom. Rates start as low as $85 in the winter months, though Lynch notes that many savvy Northwest travelers make the trek in the late spring — a time when the “June gloom” is in full effect at home, but before the temperatures in the Coachella Valley have hit their summer peak. “In May and early June, our rates and the rates for golf drop significantly,” she says. “At some courses, you can play three rounds in June for the price of one in January or February. It’s a great time to come down.” Each of the Embassy Suites partner with local golf courses — including Indian Springs, SilverRock and others — to score reduced rates and preferred tee times, with an on-site golf concierge available to piece together the perfect package to complement your budget and preferred style of play.


Marvel at the Magic of the Mountain Course


he desert is a mystical place. And no golf course better evidences such enchantment than Pete Dye’s Mountain Course at the historic La Quinta Resort & Club ( or 760-564-4111.) One of five public courses under the ownership of La Quinta and PGA WEST — including the Mountain and Dunes at LaQuinta, and the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, Greg Norman Course and world-famous TPC Stadium Course at PGA WEST — the Mountain makes a distinct impression. Return visitors will no doubt remark at the recently leveled tee boxes and retouched, select green structures adjoining the mountain base. And for newcomers? Just wait until you wind through the transcendent back nine, woven through the Santa Rosa Mountains. “It just keeps building and building until you get up to those 14th, 15th and 16th holes,” says Bill Shaw, Director of Golf at La Quinta. “On no. 14 you’re hitting over a desert area to a raised fairway and you’re hitting toward the neck of where two mountains meet. On the par-5 15th, you’re going along the base of the mountain, and then 16 is a par-3 downhill to an island green without water — it’s a desert island. “Those three holes give a total perspective of mountain golf.”


Enjoy the Pace, Presentation and Personality of the Indian Springs Golf Club


ith nearly 125 options for public golf in the Coachella Valley, there is the no shortage of tee time options. Yet, few outfits make the lasting impressions of Indio’s Indian Springs Golf Club. “I’m trying to provide great value and that countryclub experience at a great price,” says Neil Finch, general manager, director of golf and proprietor at Indian Springs ( or 760-200-8988), where a free lunch is provided with your greens fee. “We want to provide the same type of treatment people are used to at their home club.” The friendly staff and spotless Club House Grill are coupled with a highly playable track that enjoyed a total overhaul from designer David Ginkel in 2000. While water hazards are prevalent enough to engage the low-handicapper, the course is drawn with ample landing areas to concurrently make it an ideal choice for families, kids or beginners. “It’s about pace,” Finch adds. “The pace of our greens is 10 on the Stimpmeter and the pace of play is four hours. If you offer those two things, along with good service and good food, then the guest is going to have a good experience.”


Study All the Angles of Modernism Week


he appearance of double-decker buses signifies the return of one of the world’s most sought-after annual architectural celebrations. Being held this year from Feb. 14-24, the “8th Annual Palm Springs Modernism Week” ( continues the international appreciation of the Mid-Century design elements that defined the sleek, clean and futuristic look of Palm Springs in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. A culmination of more than 75 collected tours, parties, films and lectures are included in the burgeoning festival, which offers the public rare glimpses into a Palm Springs past that helped define the West Coast Cool in the 20th century.


Experience Clubhouse Flavor and Golf Course Flora at Desert Willow


aking a golf property accessible to golfers and nonplayers alike is no easy task — which is why Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert is such an impressively inclusive property. Featuring environmentally renowned courses designed by Dr. Michael Hurzdan and Dana Fry, the visitor

La Quinta, CA




Indian Springs Golf Club

is captured from the moment one winds up the drive. “The landscape sets the tone and really wows people,” describes Darrell Souza, director of golf at Desert Willow ( or 760-3467060). You see No. 6 on our Mountain View Course and it just heightens the expectation.” With a host of indigenous desert plant life lining both the gracious Mountain View and the more-demanding (though equally stunning) Firecliff, fawning over flora isn’t limited to those with a bag tag. No desert visitor should miss a seat upon the recently renovated Desert Willow dining patio. Indeed, the non-player is well-advised to time their outdoor drink and dine with an exceptional view of their golfer’s short game skills. “The views are stunning from every vantage point,” Souza says. “There’s an unobstructed view of the Santa

Rosa Mountains from our patio. The vistas overlook the 9th and 18th green of the Firecliff Course and the diners can view from the green back up the fairway. Even the nongolfer gets a glimpse of what the players get to take in.”


We’ve teamed up with LaQuinta Resort & Spa to give one CG reader and their favorite partner a weekend they’ll never forget, including two nights in a LaQuinta Resort casita, a $25 per night resort credit and as much golf as you can fit in between check-in and check-out on the resort’s five courses — including the Mountain and Dunes Courses at LaQuinta, and the TPC Stadium, Nicklaus Tournament Course and Greg Norman Course at PGA WEST!


Channel Your Best “Bubba Golf” at SilverRock


he Coachella Valley’s longest course has no shortage of character or recent history. At over 7,600 yards from the tips, the Arnold Palmer-drawn SilverRock Resort in La Quinta presents an exceptional draw for the long-baller. “We hosted the Bob Hope for four years between

Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort



An Oasis In The Desert


ake a drive through the city of Rancho Mirage down U.S. Highway 111 — lined on nearly every side by luxuriant golf courses, massive resorts and countless hotels, restaurants and upscale shopping districts — and it’s nearly impossible to imagine a time when Rancho Mirage and its Coachella Valley neighbors were anything but a winter golf paradise. To drive past the same location in 1946, however, you might have wondered how it could ever become anything of the sort. That was the year architect Hank Gogerty decided to pave an airstrip in Rancho Mirage for private planes, housing passengers in converted Army barracks nearby. A quarter century later, the site of that humble barracks was reopened as a world-class destination resort — Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa (rancholaspalmas. com, 866-423-1195) — featuring championship golf, pools, a spa, high-end restaurants and shops and accommodations even Hollywood’s most famous celebrities would enjoy. Cary Grant was on hand. So was Roy Rogers. And Bob Hope — Palm Springs’ most iconic celebrity — performed the ribbon cutting himself, hitting a golf ball through the ribbon and causing it to burst into flames, as fireworks erupted in the background. “At the time, we were it,” says membership and group golf sales manager Brad Goldberg, noting that Rancho Las Palmas was the first desert resort to stay open year-round. “As the area has grown up around us, it’s become a very competitive atmosphere. But we’re fortunate to have the location that we do, and just the size and scope of our property and amenities. And you can’t beat the Rancho Las Palmas name.” More than a quarter-century after that “explosive”



ribbon-cutting, Rancho Las Palmas isn’t merely resting on its considerable laurels — instead, resort managers have put more than $35 million back into the resort in recent years, all focused on maintaining the resort’s position atop an increasingly competitive marketplace. Much of that went into the construction of Splashtopia, a two-acre water park that is the envy of the region. Featuring 100-foot waterslides, a lazy river, sandy beaches and more, it’s made Rancho Las Palmas the No. 1 choice in the city for families, who can let the kids run free in Splashtopia while parents enjoy a slower pace at one of the resort’s two adults-only pool areas, its

swanky-chic R Bar or bluEmber restaurant, or the 20,000 square-foot spa and salon. Rancho Las Palmas is also among the most popular destinations for retirees and those seeking a second home, with up to 900 home sites on the property, and both seasonal and month-to-month memberships that provide snowbirds with all the benefits of full-time residency, without the cost of paying year-round dues and fees. “The Unlimited package gives a seasonal resident all the benefits of an everyday member, with no restrictions on tee times and access to all of the tennis, pool and social activities that a full-time resident would enjoy,” Goldberg says, “It’s a great way to get to enjoy the social benefits of the club, and lets golfers have a true home course, just like many of them do in Seattle during the summer.” And what a course it is. The Ted Robinson layout features three nines, each of which offer a slightly different experience. Play them from the white tees, and none are particularly long, putting a premium on solid ball striking over pure power. Teeing off from the blue tees brings the eighty bunkers and six lakes into play on a greater number of shots, upping the challenge for those players who desire it. “Our goal has always been to provide our guests with access to amenities that other facilities can’t match, at a price point that they can’t beat,” Goldberg says. “From the water park, to the spa, to the golf courses, that’s what we always keep in mind.” — Brian Beaky

2008-11, so we’re a public course that the pros have played,” says Randy Duncan, general manager and director of golf at SilverRock ( or 760-777-8884). “That element alone is a rare distinction, and to follow in the footsteps of PGA TOUR guys is pretty cool.” While winding through the Santa Rosas, amateurs will awe in the course accomplishments of the 2012 Masters winner. “You come into the golf shop and see a scoreboard hanging that’s got Bubba Watson’s course record of 62,” Duncan details of Watson’s 2010 Hope round. “I followed him around for nine holes that year, and my jaw was on the ground watching him hit some of those shots. I’ve played this course a lot, so I know where guys can hit their drives. Where he was hitting it was just crazy.” Think you’ve got some Bubba Golf in your bag? Try to match these feats: “I watched him get on to our par-5 No. 12 in two, which from all the way back was over 620 yards,” Duncan says. “And then he hit driver and 6-iron to get on in two on the par-5 18th, which plays close to 600 yards. You just don’t see that.”


Take on the Humana Challenge


nown for better than five decades as various incarnations of the “Bob Hope,” the PGA TOUR’s third event of the season tees up a second year of the Humana

SilverRock Resort Challenge, Jan. 14-20, 2013 ( Working in partnership with the Bill Clinton Foundation and promoting a potent message of health and wellness, the tournament enjoyed a return to national consciousness in 2012 and looks to keep up such swing speed in ‘13. Played across three courses in four days, the ‘12 event offered a rejuvenated field that included World Golf Hall of Famers Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson, along with eventual Ryder Cup representatives Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson. Plan to go for one or two days — the final round is always exciting, but Thursday’s opening round or even Wednesday’s practice rounds can offer the best chance for player interaction and autographs — then spend the rest of your time hitting the recommended links above, or soaking up the sun. Winter may be coming to the Northwest — but in Palm Springs, the action is just heating up.

ENTER TO WIN A SIX-NIGHT, 12-ROUND PALM SPRINGS DREAM VACATION! Twosome to Indian Wells • Twosome to Indian Springs Twosome to Indian Canyons • Twosome to The Classic Club • Twosome to Desert Willow Two nights at Rancho Las Palmas Resort Two nights at the Embassy Suites La Quinta Two nights at the Embassy Suites Palm Desert PLUS one day of unlimited golf at Rancho Las Palmas!


Desert Willow Golf Resort

Judd Spicer is a veteran, award-winning freelance writer based in Palm Springs. This is his first contribution to Cascade Golfer. An Associate Member of the Golf Writers Association of America, his work can be found at




Puttin’ on the

Ritz Kapalua Style


Kapalua Resort • Plantation Course No. 18


ike many golfers, I always go through the same routine on the eve of a great golf experience. First, I bring my bag into the house or hotel room and just look at it, the way a Mt. Rainier climber looks at their gear before heading up the Ingraham Headwall. I make sure the clubs are in the proper slots, and that the ball pouch is filled with nothing but pearls. Then, I crawl into bed and start playing this dream track in my mind until I finally doze off. I know, I’m a total dork, right? Well, dork or not, this is exactly what I did to make sure I was ready for a dip into the magic waters during a recent reprieve to Maui’s Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and its legendary Plantation and Bay Courses. Kapalua receives constant notoriety for many reasons in the golfing world — most notably the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which kicks off the annual PGA Tour schedule (this year’s tournament will take place Jan. 4-7). The Plantation Course is without a doubt one of the top-5 most challenging tracks I’ve ever played – but it hurts so good, in that I would say it’s also one of the best golf experiences I’ve ever had. Golf Digest ranks the Plantation No. 1 in Hawaii, and for good reason — with island and ocean views on each hole, this is sheer paradise.

H awaii Heaven in

At 7,300 yards and a par of 73, it’s a monster, winding up and down the hillside. Up towards the top of the hills, the wind is gusty and warm. This is a course that PGA Tour shot managers like Stuart Appleby can master; conversely, risk takers can and will be punished. The par3 eighth and par-5 18th are holes that are emblazoned in my mind. And when it comes to 18, forget what I said about avoiding risk — this downhill par-5 is reachable in two for even an average hitter, and is for my money the best finishing hole of all-time. The Bay Course, meanwhile, was Kapalua’s first and the course that put Kapalua on the global golf map. Recently jumping back into Hawaii’s top-20, it’s an iconic resort course and the perfect complement to your stay at the Ritz. The Arnie Palmer-Francis Duane design tips out at 6,600 yards and plays to a 72, and has Maui’s only oceanside hole – the par-3 fifth. It’s windy, but uniquely breathtaking, and the turquoise-blue Pacific is a gentle

The Ritz Carlton at Kapalua



reminder to take deep breath, count your blessings and remember that golf is good — and so is the Bay Course. It was fulfilling, to say the least, and the fairways and greens are so well-kept, you would think you’re at a country club, not a hot-spot resort course. We capped off an amazing day on the Bay Course with a Maker’s Mark old fashioned and a golfer’s massage in the Ritz Spa, and oh, man — it was at least as memorable as the round of golf. Robes, towels, juice and a 90-minute massage took me into bliss. After a soak, more juice and some down time in the resting area, we relaxed on the deck of the world-famous pool complex there at the Ritz. It was a perfect way to unwind and let island time take over. That evening, we were treated to the finest Japanese dinner I’ve ever had at Kai Sushi. Offering the island’s freshest sushi and Japanese cuisine, the design is inspired by the story of the native Hawaiians’ arrival across the sea. The warm tones of wood, woven grasses, honed plaster and gold-hued stone set a natural tableau for the bright colors of the fresh sushi delicacies. With more than 20 varieties of the most popular types of sushi and sashimi and innovative Japanese cuisine, dining there is a must. Although we did not stay at the Ritz, I plan to next time. The hotel and resort are quiet and more secluded than other top hideaways down the Maui coastline. And, their golf academy and unlimited golf packages (starting up April 1) can round out the perfect dream golf respite. You can learn more by scoping them out on the web at Now, when it came time to head out for a meal, there were countless places to dine and sip drinks, but our favorites were a short walk from our hotel. Located right in the heart of Whalers Village in Lahaina, The Hula Grill and Leilani’s on the Beach are both world-famous haunts that we hit up for both casual and fine dining. The Hula Grill is all Maui, with the best view of the setting sun I’ve ever seen. It has a barefoot bar and a wellappointed dining room, and is the perfect place to slip off your flip-flops, curl your toes into the cool sand and order their famous Mai Tai. Heck, order two — I did. You can

Kapalua Resort • Bay Course No. 5

people-watch as folks stroll by on the beach walk, dig the live entertainment, and sample their fresh catches of the day from the raw bar, dim sum and Kiawe-fired selections. It’s perfect. Our other favorite was Leilani’s on the Beach. Talk to a friend that’s been to Maui; they will say they’ve been there, too. It’s an environment where you sit down, order your pina colada and braised short ribs, and two hours just fly by. Everyone is smiling in this place — and I’m not just talking about the staff. We sat up high atop their dining room deck two separate nights, to take full

advantage of the relaxing experience and first-rate food. You can find them online at and As for tooling around Maui, we really liked using Avis/Budget Car Rental. There’s lots of choices at Kahului Airport, but these guys cater to golfers and set us up with the right SUV for all our golf and camera equipment, boogie boards and luggage. Many cars feature on-board GPS, which helps with finding your way around the island and up-country. Reach them at and get your reservation in advance to lock in the rig that suits you.








ver the five years we’ve been publishing Cascade Golfer­— and the 20-plus years we’ve been knocking that little white ball around our Northwest tracks — we’ve determined that there are two kinds of Puget Sound winter golfer. The first is the bargain shopper — the player who spends his entire year hunting the best values to be found in the region. In the summertime, you’ll find him or her every weekend at places like Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, White Horse or the Cedars at Dungeness, courses with a reputation for quality that far outstrips their comparably low greens fee. In the winter, that same golfer is heading to places like Chambers Bay, Trophy Lake and Washington National for the chance to play our region’s top tracks for up to 60 percent off their peak-season greens fees. The second is the golfer who’s a little less eager to head out into the cold and rain during the winter months … but who just can’t keep the clubs tucked away from November to April. As opposed to traveling to find the best bargains, they want to get on the course quickly, make the most of their round, and perhaps tuck into a warm meal when they’re done. In this month’s “Save Some Green” feature, we’ve done our best to please both types of golfer, identifying two courses in the Seattle area that offer a combination of convenience, quality and value — and their own killer post-round restaurants as well. We’ve also listed a few more below that hold up well in the winter months. As you’re fighting through the cold this winter, remember that incredible summer we just experienced, the one we thought would never end. It did, of course … but it will be back soon. Let’s make sure we’re ready.

HIGH AND DRY Not everybody lives a short drive from our recommended Redmond twosome. Here are some courses throughout the region with a reputation for staying in tip-top shape in the drip-drop season: Capitol City • Lacey

Jackson Park • Seattle

Cedars at Dungeness Sequim

Legion Memorial • Everett

Eaglemont • Mount Vernon

Golf Club at Newcastle Newcastle

Gold Mountain Bremerton

Trophy Lake Port Orchard

Hawks Prairie • Lacey

White Horse • Kingston



Willows Run Golf Club


The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge


The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge REDMOND

The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge – known as Trilogy at Redmond Ridge before joining the Oki Golf family of courses in 2009 — just missed inclusion in our 2012 Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness bracket, but it wasn’t for a lack of quality The wet stuff comes into play a lot, including an interesting front-side Amen Corner at the third and fourth holes. The third is a 613-yard beast (566 from the whites) with water right off the tee and down the left side; the next hole is a 160yard par-3, but it’s all liquid from tee to green, so get it all the way there or reach for your provisional ball. After trekking across mostly level ground for the first 12 holes, the 13th starts a long plunge downhill — indeed, the approach shot from the fairway of the 435-yard par-4 (408 from the whites) is entirely blind, blocked by a huge dropoff over an environmentally sensitive area. Walk up to the edge of the cliff and look down to get your bearings before your shot. It’s also helpful to have one player in your group stand by the edge to track your ball – otherwise, you may never find it. The rest of the back nine plays up and across the east side of the ridge, back up to the clubhouse, where the Crooked Spoon Restaurant awaits to offer a warm meal. Like a lot of Puget Sound courses, convenient winter pricing makes Redmond Ridge a tempting wet-weather option, particularly for holders of the Oki Golf Card, who receive discounts on greens fees and course amenities.

YARDAGE 4,818-6,503 RATES $15-$65 TEL (425) 836-1510 WEB

When we’re in the market for a good beforeor after-work round on the Eastside, we go to Willows Run. First, it’s convenient — just a few miles east of I-405 in Redmond, it’s a quick drive from Seattle, Bellevue, or even North-end suburbs like Bothell and Lynnwood. Second, it’s affordable — off-season rates top out at $42 on weekends, and go as low as $22 at twilight (after 1 p.m.). Most important, though, is the variety — we can go to Willows Run on four straight days, and have four different experiences. It starts with the two 18-hole championship courses, Eagle’s Talon and Coyote Creek, which stretch across a valley barely a mile south of the Woodinville wine region. Played through wetlands and evergreens, the courses can be as tough as you make them. Eagle’s Talon — the tighter and more challenging of the two — plays to a length of 6,800 yards and a slope of 130 from the back tees, while Coyote Creek plays to 6,344 yards, with a more forgiving layout and plenty of birdie opportunities. There’s also a nine-hole par-3 course, Heron Links, and one of the region’s most enjoyable putting courses, the 18-hole Rainbow Run. In fact, from the putting course, to the Heron Links, to Coyote Creek, to Eagle’s Talon, it’s one of the region’s best places for new golfers, who can step up the challenge to whatever level they feel comfortable. Making Willows ideal for wintertime play is their 2012 Winter Club Card. Just $59, the Winter Club Card grants players steep discounts on greens fees (just $22 M-Th, $28 F-Su), carts — even meals in the Fire Creek Grill (25 percent off).

YARDAGE Eagle’s Talon (5,266-6,843)

Coyote Creek (5,399-6,344)

RATES $22-$42 TEL (425) 883-1200 WEB

Willows Run Golf Club

Presented by




HAPPY GILMORE 1995 have a confession to make. I have no idea to what the headline of this article

refers — because despite having played golf for more than 25 years, I have never seen Caddyshack. (Shocked gasp!) I haven’t been actively avoiding it — indeed, I’m sure that if I did see it, I’d enjoy it just as much as everyone else. I’ve simply never sought it out, never come across it

No movie has satirized golf’s many quirks more hilariously than Adam Sandler’s tale of a failed hockey player turned pro golfer, who trades his hockey stick for a nine-iron to try to save his grandma from eviction. From Ben Stiller’s uncredited cameo, to Bob Barker’s epic throwdown (filmed at B.C.’s Furry Creek), it’s a classic perhaps only truly appreciated by those who have ever stared at a ball hanging on the lip of the cup, and wanted to scream, “Are you too good for your home!!??”



while browsing the on-screen TV guide on a lazy Sunday, never had a friend insist, You must watch this!, and refuse to let me leave until I had. This has made for some awkward moments on the golf course when the quotes start flying around the foursome (“Be the ball!”) and I just have to smile and chuckle and hope that no one finds out my little secret. This winter, on one of those rainy days where nothing seems as good as stretching out in front of the fire with a hot toddy in one hand and the remote control in the other, I’m going to fill that gaping hole in my pop culture knowledge. And while I’m at it, I might rewatch a few of these other golf classics as well and daydream about the warm sun coming back next spring, as I stand over a four-footer for birdie on the 18th hol— (“Noonan!”): 58 58


TIN CUP 1996 Who hasn’t stood over a ball 230 yards from a green fronted by water and thought, What would Tin Cup do? Kevin Costner’s 1996 story of a failed golf pro with big-time talent and an even bigger ego is a favorite of every player for who can only see the upside of every risk/reward opportunity. Little-known fact: Roy McAvoy’s unforgettable final hole, at the film’s climax, is taken from an actual experience of commentator (and film advisor) Gary McCord, who carded a 15 in a similar situation in 1987.

BOBBY JONES: FOLLOW THE SUN 1951 STROKE OF GENIUS 2004 OK, those three you might have seen — but here’s Sure, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Greatest Game Ever Played are probably, on the whole, better movies. But Bobby Jones has something neither of those can touch: Augusta National. One of the few films ever granted the rights to shoot on those hallowed grounds, Bobby Jones also has the advantage of a compelling story: the sudden rise and just as sudden retirement of a true legend of the game.

one we’re betting you haven’t. There might not be a better real-life story in the history of professional golf than Ben Hogan’s — putting his career on hold to fight for his country in WWII, nearly being killed in a car accident that left him severely crippled, and then, oh, just happening to rip off one of the greatest careers in the history of golf — and Glenn Ford captures it perfectly, from the front lines to the first tee.

Cascade Golfer December 2012