Page 1





Fly Fly Away With the rainy season here, we’re heading south for the winter

Palm Desert’s Classic Club




SATURDAY DECEMBER 7TH See page 4 for details


$15 Puetz Gift Card

for every $100 you spend

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



A LOOK Departments 6 8





• • • • • • •

Elk Ridge is on point CG’s official winter home Semiahmoo gets a boost Golf historian honored Putnam rings out 2013 Train your swing this winter CG Cup concludes

• Out with the old, in with the new — irons, drivers, hybrids, more



4-5 | 24-29

• Jackson Park Golf Course, No. 1



50 POSTGAME • Local distilleries warm our bellies

• Seahawks’ Steven Hauschka can rip it


• Stay high and dry

QUITE A GAMBLE The Gebbers family had a vision of creating a Bandon Dunes for Central Washington — and David McLay Kidd delivered


SNOWBIRD SHOWDOWN Everyone’s a winner when Palm Springs and Vegas face off via great deals, enter-to-wins and more in our first-ever desert golf bracket

By Tony Dear

THIS PAGE Indian Wells’ famed Players Course — designed by the Northwest’s own John Fought — is a favorite of snowbirds for its scenery, playability, and package rates.

ON THE COVER Palm Springs’ not-for-profit Classic Club is as beautiful as it is generous – but is that enough to take it to the top of our first-ever desert golf bracket? STORY ON PAGE 34.



Volume 7 •  Issue 4 •  DECEMBER 2013



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 Tony Dear FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103



Golf salves wounds, resets life, thanks to Sundays with John


his is not an obituary – it’s a thank-you letter to my recently deceased friend John Blackwood, who was called this fall to the first tee at the Old Course, Carnoustie or Kenwanda, where he is now playing the best rounds of his life. Honestly, any of these courses would suit John in Heaven. All he wanted was the sun on his back, a bag full of balls and company he cared for. Like myself, John took golf any way he could get it. Sadly, I never played even one hole with this man. Instead, we shared about 100 cups of coffee over the last three years at our church, where my Sunday mornings were highlighted by my connection with a man that lived through World War II and spent 30-plus years as a Seattle cop, a life of civic servitude and studliness. I loved John and our talks; they helped me forget about my own little issues each week. He was a large man that walked the line, lived by the golden rule and loved golf more than anyone I know – even more than this 40-something journalist who craved his simple words. If you saw us sitting in the fellowship hall on metal chairs drinking see-through coffee, you would wonder, “What’s that old guy doing talking with that Big

Lebowski-ish dude?” We were talking about golf, man! There are other great guys who sit at our table, but I always tried to sit next to John. Each week started off the same – who’s atop the PGA Tour leaderboard, and did we think he could hold on? When the table chatter eventually changed to a topic that didn’t grab John, though, our conversation always went back to golf. My favorite one of John’s stories is one he told me many times – what it was like walking the 18th at St. Andrews. John took a deep breath, left eye on the ball, looking down the fairway with the Old Tom Morris Golf Shop and 300-year-old buildings lining the course, then drove the ball pure and true on the one shot that counted the most in his mortal life. As he told it, it was like the ball never landed. Then, his clubs in tow and his wife, Gay, on hand, John crossed Swilcan Bridge and strolled to his approach, his dream becoming reality. There was never a bad day that couldn’t be salved by John’s stories, and for that, I am eternally grateful. John, rest in peace my friend. Thank you for the wisdom, words and stories. Enjoy your rounds up there; I hope I can join you someday for our first game of golf. 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, Johnny Carey



FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: David Stolber • (425) 412-7070 ext. 113






Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2013 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.


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ou’ve probably never heard of Elk Ridge Golf Course. Realistically, you’ve probably never even heard of the city it calls home, Carson, on the northern bank of the Columbia River just a short drive east from Portland. Yes, these places are actually in the state of Washington. And if you like playing a fantastic golf course in mid-winter without getting your feet wet, you should take the time to find them on the map. Elk Ridge (, 509-4278296) is the featured course at the Carson Hot Springs Spa & Golf Resort, a property that itself has endured as many changes of season as a typical Northwest spring day. Since the construction of the original building in 1901, the hotel has been completely abandoned and rebuilt twice over — most recently in the last decade, when developers spent millions to convert the historic property into a modern resort, including construction of a 28-room hotel, a luxury spa, and a $10 million linksstyle golf course. In 2007, the course was opened to the public — only to be shuttered itself six months later. Nearly every local has their own theory why, but the effect was the same: a beautiful golf course with amazing views sat for three full years, abandoned, overgrown, and — for those of us who rarely stray off the I-5 corridor — completely forgotten.

Local investors pooled their resources, however, and in 2010, work quietly began to restore the course to its original condition. Marketing manager Stacey Paginton-Fernandez says it was around this time that she first laid eyes on Elk Ridge. “I remember pulling up and thinking, ‘This has to be a joke,’” she recalls. “No sand, weeds everywhere. It was just horrific on so many levels.” Superintendent Scott Coogan, however, who had been hired to oversee the course’s rebirth, saw things differently. “Scott looked at the course and said, ‘The bones are fabulous. This is going to be a great golf course,’” Paginton-Fernandez says. “And never a truer word was spoken.” Like a world-class art restorer, Coogan spent the next two years chipping away at the layers of neglect to reveal the masterpiece below. Unable to believe the transformation they were seeing take place before their eyes, Paginton-Fernandez and others began calling Coogan “The Grass Whisperer,” as Elk Ridge’s “bones” began to come to the surface. In addition to cutting the grass and filling the bunkers, Coogan had to install allnew drainage throughout the course and recondition the turf to bring it up to the quality Northwest golfers expect from their top tracks. When golfers first arrived to the newly reopened

Elk Ridge in August of 2012, their reaction couldn’t have been more different than that of Paginton-Fernandez barely two years before. The Golf Channel referred to its “stellar, dry conditions to go with million-dollar views” while online reviews ranged from shock to awe, with golfers unanimously praising Coogan’s rebuilding effort and the course’s overall quality. Like The Golf Channel, many of those reviews focus on Elk Ridge’s two top qualities — its views, including the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia gorge, and the remarkable dryness of its turf, the result of the sandy soil on which it was built and the quality of Coogan’s efforts to improve drainage. With typically links-style broad, undulating fairways, copious bunkers and large greens, all bordered by deep emerald rough and tall yellow grasses, it’s not just scenic, but fun to play as well. Once an eyesore for Carson residents, Elk Ridge is now a point of pride, with golfers coming from the Puget Sound region, Portland and eastern Washington to tee it up for $35 or less, including free range balls. And nearly all of them come back. “As it’s continued to grow in over the last year, it’s developed even more personality and become more unique,” Paginton-Fernandez says. “Now, when I pull up, it just fills my heart with pride.”

Congratulations to the winners of August’s CG Swag! Twosome to Whidbey Golf & CC Lance Kulman • Puyallup Twosome to SunCountry Golf & RV Ben Watson •|Bellevue

Twosome to Eagles Pride Gene Downie • Federal Way Twosome to Glen Acres Paul Spencer • Puyallup Twosome to Camaloch Michael Ednalino • Newcastle

… And don’t forget to check out this month’s CG SWAG, including our biggest giveaway of the year! • 2 Hours on Indoor Golf Simulator: Page 9 • RIFE Putter and 2-Dozen Innovex Balls: Page 14 • LaQuinta Resort Stay-and-Play: Page 37 • Nevada Stay-and-Play: Page 43 • Twosome to Auburn Golf Course: Page 48 • Twosome to Camaloch Golf Club: Page 48



Clubhouse Golf Center To Be Our Official Winter Home


ost years, CG headquarters empty out in the summer, as we fly around the state to as many of Washington’s top tracks as we can. Then, come October, those long days on the course are replaced by long days staring out the window at the falling rain, and dreaming about the return of spring. Well, don’t tell our bosses, but this year, the golf season never has to stop. Barely a mile from CG’s Lynnwood headquarters is the brand-new Clubhouse Golf Center, an indoor golf Shangri-La that we’ve already taken to calling our Official Winter Home. With six full-size, state-of-the-art simulators, plus a full bar, food, and lounge area with seven — count ‘em, seven — giant flat-screen TVs, we’re having a hard time finding reasons to leave. The Clubhouse Golf Center is the brainchild of local golfer Steve Levy, a former Microsoft executive who found that, as a hard-working businessman, he loved the game much more than he actually got to play it. By the time his long workdays were done, it was too late to hit the course, and weekends were family time. He almost never had five-plus hours to commit to a round of golf, meaning he played, at most, 7-8 times a year. One day, he played on a full-size golf simulator at a friend’s birthday party, taking full swings with his own clubs, without ever having to set foot outdoors. By the time he pulled his car back into his driveway that night, the wheels were already turning. “I had such a great time, but at the same time, saw so many ways the experience could be expanded,” Levy says. “This place had one simulator, crammed in around a bunch of other stuff that had nothing to do with golf. I thought, ‘What if there was a place that was like this, but

all golf? Multiple simulators, a bar, a lounge ... It could be really cool.’” And it is. Walking into the Clubhouse Golf Center (, you’re immediately surrounded by all things golf — three state-of-the-art simulators to each side, with the lounge in between. Want to play Pebble Beach while watching the Seahawks take down San Francisco? Done. Want to get together with your buddies for a fun night of golfing and drinks, after tucking the kids into bed? Done. Currently, Clubhouse Golf Center’s simulators include over 30 courses, including Pebble, Bay Hill, Firestone, Harbour Town, Kapalua, Pinhehurst, Torrey Pines and Royal Troon, with more to be added over time. For a single golfer, 18 holes on the simulator takes barely an hour to complete, with foursomes typically clocking in just under four hours — “You can think of it as about an hour per golfer,” Levy says. The cost, too, is favorable to group play — $40 an hour for the first golfer, plus just $10 an hour for each additional golfer. Split the cost with a friend, and it’s just $25 an hour for each of you; bring a foursome, and that per-person price comes down to less than $18 per hour. “It’s certainly been stressful; starting a new business always is,” he says. “But I just keep getting more and more excited for it. I think it’s going to be a great fit for golfers around here.” For the ones in this office, it already is. Want to join us? Log on to and ENTER-TO-WIN two hours of simulator time at the Clubhouse Golf Center!

What You’ve Missed on


ave you joined the thousands of local golfers who are part of the Cascade Golfer online community? In addition to an active Facebook page (search “Cascade Golfer”), where we post news, host contests, solicit reader input for upcoming features and share any late-breaking special deals we come across, our website, CascadeGolfer. com, is a must-visit for any Northwest golfer. With weekly reviews of Washington golf courses, hot new products and video golf instruction, links to daily web specials at courses throughout the region, digital copies of every printed issue, a calendar of Northwest golf events, plus the latest news and opinions on golf stories of local interest, it’s the No. 1 online home for Cascade golfers. Here’s just a small sample of what’s been written in recent months: How I’d Fix Golf’s Fourth Major One writer’s hare-brained plan to create a thrilling

finish to the major championship season. Phil’s The Man Our resident staff Phil-ophile, Johnny Carey, explains just what it is that makes Phil Mickelson “The People’s Champ.” PGATOUR.COM To Give Rare Look Inside Husky Golf Program Follow Matt Thurmond’s Huskies — featuring two of the world’s top-ranked amateurs on a day-to-day basis leading up to the 2013 NCAA Championships. Be the first to know when new content appears on by signing up for our FREE weekly newsletter. Just enter your name and email in the “Subscribe” window at! DECEMBER 2013


SHORT GAME Semiahmoo Back On Track


ack in April, we reported on the uncertainty ahead for two of our state’s most well-regarded tracks, Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club and Loomis Trail Golf Club, each located just outside of Blaine alongside Drayton Harbor. The two semi-private courses (one open to the public on even days of the the week, the other on odd days) were entering their first season without the nearby Semiahmoo Resort, which closed its doors last fall. Both courses — each of which reached the Elite Eight of our 32-course Match Play Madness bracket in 2011 — remained open, but it was unclear what exactly the effect would be of losing the 10-12 percent of total players the resort could be counted on to deliver each year. In June, though, came good news — Resort Semiahmoo and Wright Hotels, a Seattle-based management company, purchased the hotel for a reported $19.5 million. An additional $6 million in improvements to the resort’s spa, hotel and other facilities began this summer, with the resort open — at reduced rates — throughout the fall while work was completed. The fully restored Semiahmoo Resort — including structural repairs; new carpeting,



furniture, décor and appliances in the guest rooms; and improvements to the spa, tennis court and fitness facilities, all topped off with a fresh coat of paint — are scheduled to be completed by the spring. About the only aspects of the resort that haven’t been upgraded are its stunning views of Drayton Harbor, Point Roberts and the Peace Arch, and its two fantastic golf courses — because those areas needed no upgrade whatsoever. While Loomis Trail typically edges out Semiahmoo in most rankings, we actually prefer the tree-lined, sloping fairways of the latter to the more open, wetlands-style of the former. Both are impeccably maintained, and offer unique shotmaking opportunities. If you can, head up and play it before the resort crowds return, to take advantage of offseason rates as low as $35, and open tee times ( Or, wait until the resort re-opens this spring and make it an overnight, playing either Loomis or Semiahmoo the first day, and the other on your way out. Either way, you’ll want to come back — and thanks to local investors, Semiahmoo will be there when you do.





n June 2009, we took readers to Vancouver’s B.C. Golf Museum, where historian Michael Riste has compiled a comprehensive archive of the history of golf in the Pacific Northwest. The UW alum founded the museum in 1989 in the former clubhouse of the University [of British Columbia] Golf Course. Over the ensuing quarter-century, Riste’s museum has become a treasure trove of information for writers, historians and golf aficionados, attracting more than 3,000 visitors a year to browse its library of over 5,000 volumes and unique artifacts. This fall, the members of the Northwest Golf Media Association gave Riste due credit for his life’s work, honoring him with their Distinguished Service Award, given annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the growth and awareness of the game of golf in the Pacific Northwest. “I have always considered myself nothing more than a researcher,” the NWGMA’s press release quoted Riste as saying. “I am not really a writer. In fact…I am far more comfortable talking.” Whether writing or talking, Riste has helped make our understanding of golf’s history in the Northwest — and the Northwest’s place in golf history — so much the richer.

Putnam Rings Out 2013, Welcomes 2014





hen looking back at the 2013 professional golf season, there’s little doubt who carried the Home Team in the year that was. Fred Couples? Well, sure, he entered the World Golf Hall of Fame and captained the U.S. to a President’s Cup win, but we’re talking on-course accomplishments here. And really, it’s not fair to anyone to compare them against Boom-Boom — the legend has earned a category of his own, and it’s limited to those with lifetime memberships at Augusta National. Couples, Ryan Moore, Kyle Stanley and Richard Lee all had solid years, but the 2013 Home Teamer of the Year has to be 30-year-old Michael Putnam. The Tacoma native (above, at right) and Lakewood resident won twice on the Tour in 2013, earning the Tour’s No. 1 ranking, a full PGA Tour card, and a spot in next year’s Players Championship. To cap it off, he closed the year in style — by ringing the closing bell at the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on Oct. 3, announcing the end of the 2013 season while ringing in 2014, which under the PGA Tour’s new 12-month calendar, kicked off the following week. So, where can we find our Home Teamers in the year ahead? Here’s a quick primer:

PGA TOUR Young guns Richard Lee, Ryan Moore, Alex Prugh, Michael Putnam and Kyle Stanley represent the Home Team’s strongest PGA Tour contingent in years, to be joined on occasion by the Hall of Famer himself, Fred Couples. CHAMPIONS TOUR Couples and Kirk Triplett will once again seek to dominate the Champions Tour, each looking for their first Charles Schwab Cup. WEB.COM TOUR Andres Gonzales, Jeff Gove, Troy Kelly and Andrew Putnam will battle with other up-and-coming pros throughout the year on the, with occasional appearances on the big Tour as well. LPGA TOUR Paige Mackenzie continues to represent the Northwest well on the LPGA Tour, where she will begin her 11th season. KEEP UP WITH THE HOME TEAM ALL SEASON LONG AT CASCADEGOLFER.COM!

CG Reader Gets In The Game


ongtime Cascade Golfer reader Dave Mannon knew exactly what was wrong with his friend’s swing, and exactly how to fix it — but no matter how many times he told his friend to keep his head still, he kept lapsing back into bad habits. Finally, Mannon went into his garage and built a device that featured a foam arm extended from upright plastic tubing, that rested just outside his friend’s right temple, providing reinforcement that helped keep his head still during the swing. The result? “He lowered his handicap about five strokes,” Mannon says. Soon, Mannon’s friends and playing partners at Burlington’s Skagit Golf & Country Club were asking him to build similar models. Two more arms were added at the bottom to help teach the proper swing plane, and before he knew it, the orders were coming in faster than Mannon could build them. “I’ve sold about 25 already in just a month and a half since I started making them,” he says. “All from word of mouth.” Mannon officially registered the product as Dave’s Swing Trainer, built a website,, and commissioned a professional video and photos, to begin marketing the Swing Trainer nationwide. What makes Dave’s Swing Trainer unique, Mannon says, is that it teaches balance, swing plane and tempo. The headrest helps keep a golfer from raising their shoulders or moving their head during the swing, which promotes better balance, while having to swing under the lower arms keeps your swing from becoming too steep, or too fast. “I did a lot of research and couldn’t find another product like this, which reinforces both the head position and swing plane,” he says. “There were some that did one or the other, but nothing that did both.” Small enough to be set up in a garage or on the driving range, it’s truly a year-round training tool, making it possible to work on your swing day or night, rain or shine. For Mannon, it’s become a ‘round-the-clock obsession — even if he’s still feeling his way through the golf manufacturing world. “No, I don’t have any manufacturing experience,” he says, noting he still makes each Swing Trainer by hand. “I’m just flying by the seat of my pants.”




2014 Cascade Golfer Cup A True “Classic” Craig Petersen, Bruce Craig win CG Cup finale; season-long Cup comes down to final putt, on final hole


ne of the most epic September deluges in history washed out the season-ending CG Cup Championship at the RMG Club at Oakbrook on Sept. 28 — crushing the record rainfall for the day and soaking fans at the Huskies’ and Cougars’ games in town that day. With the Championship field back on the tee the following week at RMG’s Classic Golf Club for a CG Cup finale do-over, two teams waged an epic head-to-head battle for the overall Cup title, while a third notched a net double-eagle en route to an impressive victory of their own. For most of the teams, the coveted prize was one of three fantastic stay-and-plays, including trips to Central Oregon, Kiva Dunes in Alabama, and Alabama’s famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. And on the strength of 11 net birdies, a net eagle and a net double eagle, Craig Petersen and his teammate Bruce Craig racked up 50 points in the Stableford system to win the CG Cup Championship event — becoming the 30th different team to win the

net-scoring title over our 34 Cascade Golfer tournaments. However, the individual tournament prizes are just one aspect of the summer-long series. In addition to prizing out the top-15 net and top-five gross teams at each event, competing teams earn points, FedEx Cupstyle, towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup. And for the two teams atop the 2013 CG Cup standings, there was an even bigger prize to play for — the 2014 Summer Golf Package, featuring 20 twosomes to the top courses in the state, including Chambers Bay, Salish Cliffs, Wine Valley and others. The father-son team of Eric and Bob Wayment, with alternate Jonathan Gallardo, battled throughout the year against best friends Herb Oke and Lewis Lopes, with the Wayments winning at Chambers Bay, and Oke and Lopes countering with wins at Washington National and Druids Glen. A mere 60 points separated the two teams through six events, making the CG Cup Championship essentially

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a heads-up match play battle for the title. Paired together at the head of the field, each group started out strong, with Eric Wayment making a birdie on the group’s first hole, and Lopes countering with his own birdie one hole later. Oke and Lopes led early by as many as three points, before a four-point swing over two holes thrust Wayment and Gallardo back into the lead. Twelve holes in, the teams were dead even; but, on the 14th hole of the match, Gallardo landed a haymaker — a birdie, and net eagle, to open a three-stroke lead. The elder duo earned one point back on the 17th hole of the match and had a chance to draw even with a birdie putt on the final hole, but instead settled for par. And that single point was, indeed, enough to clinch the overall CG Cup title for Wayment, Wayment and Gallardo, who will be celebrating their victory at the top courses in the state next year. Prizes for both the tournament itself and the season-long Cup were handed out at our annual Cascade Golfer Year-End Bash at the Muckleshoot Casino, including dinner, an awards party and the end-of-year drawing for a three-night, 72-hole stay-and-play package to Bandon Dunes Resort. Teams earned entries in the drawing by participating in CG Cup events throughout the year, by registering for free Muckleshoot Casino players’ cards, and by using those cards to play the tables and slots at the casino. Longtime CG Cup participants and

Diablo Golf founders Pat Jentz and Joedon Terry claimed the drawing prize, jumping out of their seats when their name was called. The Year-End Bash wrapped up another fantastic year for the Cascade Golfer Cup — well, almost. In a CG Cup first, our most loyal teams returned to The Classic the following weekend for the first-ever Cascade Golfer Cup Appreciation Day, a free tournament for teams that played in a set number of events throughout the year. With unique formats and contests on almost every hole, plenty of Michelob ULTRA and even more outstanding prizes, it was a great way to say thank you to the teams who have helped make the Cascade Golfer Cup the most popular amateur golf series in the Northwest. Over the last six months, we’ve put 800 Puget Sound golfers on the tee box at Chambers Bay, Washington National, McCormick Woods, Druids Glen, Salish Cliffs, Mill Creek Country Club, the RMG Club at Oakbrook, and The Classic. We’ve given out over $100,000 in prizes, including stay-and-plays to Bandon Dunes, Central Oregon, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, the Bay Area, the Gulf Coast, and more, and twosomes and foursomes to places like Wine Valley, Desert Canyon, Chambers Bay, the Golf Club at Newcastle and the state’s other top tracks. And come April 2014, we’ll do it all again. To be the first to learn about next year’s Cup, sign up to receive the weekly newsletter at!







RISK vs. REWARD Jackson Park Golf Course

By Simon Dubiel

Hole No. 1 • Par 5 • 458 yards (blue tees) The Setup: Though many courses let you baby-step into the round, Jackson Park does not. At 458 yards, there are few shorter par-5s in the Northwest, yet yardage does not tell the complete story here. The tee shot heads slightly downhill, running out to a pond about 250 yards from the tee. A right-to-left shaped shot down the left side of the fairway allows for slightly more distance. From there, you can either chip to the left to shorten your approach by 100 yards or so, or go for it. The approach is over water and uphill, so loosen up on the new Jackson Park range, because you’re going to need to hit one pure.

The Risk: A tee shot that, if you hit it too well, will find the

drink? Check. An approach shot that, if hit poorly, will find the same hazard? Sure. Trees left? Got it. Trees right? Of course. Greenside bunker on the right? Why not? This hole can just as easily leave you with double bogey as an eagle putt. Although everyone wants to start off the round with a birdie, a miss here can have you mumbling four-letter words instead.

The Reward: A golden opportunity to start your round fast is hard to pass up. Sure, you have to hit a solid approach, but laying up won’t change that scenario. Either way, it’s over the water and up the hill to the dance floor you go. Would you rather have that twoputt or up-and-down be for birdie or par? A little short

won’t kill you, but will leave an uphill chip from the rough. The bunker right is a decent leave as well — at worst a par. As long as you don’t get too crooked, the reward here is great.

Final Call: A 458-yard par-5 and you think we’d even consider laying up? I. Don’t. Think. So. Anything from hybrid to driver off the tee should leave you in a good spot with a little over 200 to the pin. That is “greenlightville.” This is not the time to play not to lose. Put yourself in position off the tee and be aggressive. Don’t be afraid to hit that great shot. Big players hit big shots in big moments. This is your moment and the start to the low round of your life. Don’t blow it!




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sk a golf course designer — a good one, whose priority is creating something great and lasting — what the perfect scenario might be when considering a new job, and he’ll have a few requests. First, it will certainly help if the course is to be built in a beautiful place with some movement in the ground, and on soil with a high sand content. Second, though the designer would never admit as much, he’d probably prefer it if the owner remained silent throughout the process. It would also be nice if the owner were sufficiently well heeled to avoid the all-too-familiar situation where projects that look promising on paper

BY TONY DEAR never actually get off the ground. Even better if he’s so well off that he doesn’t need to sell lots, condos or houses to pay for the thing. If the course is going to be open to the public, and therefore accessible to more than just a small band of bankers, stock-brokers and lawyers, then so much the better. And if, after all these boxes have been checked, the course is somehow going to have a beneficial impact on the local area, then you can be fairly certain the architect is going to reach for the nearest pen and ask where to sign. David McLay Kidd says projects like these are about as “common as hens’ teeth.”

The Scot, now resident in Bend, Ore., has had a great run in recent years. In February, he opened a resort course in Nicaragua in a magnificent spot on the Pacific Coast owned by one of Latin America’s wealthiest men. As the first world-class course in this poverty-stricken country, Guacalito de la Isla will certainly help attract tourists and business, while employing over 200 locals. Kidd has worked for several other billionaires, been given a handful of predominantly sandy sites, was chosen to build the seventh course at St. Andrews, and has half a dozen courses in his portfolio that anyone can play, including Oregon’s famed Bandon Dunes.

Gamble Sands, the newest design from Bandon Dunes creator David McLay Kidd, is scheduled to open in the Summer of 2014 in Brewster — 30 minutes northeast of Chelan, and roughly three and half hours from Seattle.





The “Gamble” part of the course’s name comes from Dan Gamble, who backpacked from Nova Scotia for the Methow Valley gold rush in 1885, and his daughter Martha, who married local farmer John Gebbers in 1927.

But, he’ll probably tell you that his list of criteria for the ideal job has never been met so perfectly as it was at the all-new Gamble Sands, which overlooks the Columbia River a mile or two from Brewster in Central Washington. As its name suggests, the course was built on a thick seam of sand left behind by the glacier that formed the Columbia River Gorge several millennia ago. “When I first flew up to Brewster, in 2008, I couldn’t see the sand,” says Kidd. “But I wasn’t looking at the river-front parcel of land immediately under the aircraft on approach. There is a belt of fine sand about 300 feet deep that lies on the north bank of the river just below the Chief Joseph Dam. It’s almost absurd to think it could exist so far from an ocean.” Kidd had first heard about the job from Orrin Vincent, founder and chairman of OB Sports, which had been hired to manage the course. Kidd had been friends with Vincent for many years, since designing OB’s Tetherow Golf Club in Bend. “Orrin told me it was a pretty special spot,” says Kidd. “But as I was flying in, I wondered how on Earth this could be as unique as he had said. After walking it, though, I thought he had totally undersold it, which is

unusual for him.” On that first visit to Brewster in ’08, Kidd met with the owners, the Gebbers Family, who have been growing apples at the base of the Cascade Mountains for over a century and, with more than 5,000 acres of fruit trees, are one of the largest apple-growers in the nation. (The “Gamble” part of the course’s name comes from Dan Gamble, who backpacked from Nova Scotia for the Methow Valley gold rush in 1885, and his daughter Martha, who married local farmer John Gebbers in 1927.) The family was represented by Cass Gebbers and his brother-in-law Tory Wulf, who had been looking to enter the golf business since the late 1990s. In fact, he had actually begun building another course nearer town. “Perry Dye designed that one, which we called the Cliffs,” says Wulf. “That was a totally different kind of site, though, and required a lot of earth-moving. We had a few holes seeded but because it was costing so much more to build and because of the trends we were seeing in the design business, we chose to halt construction there and focus more on the Sands site. It is our intention to complete the Cliffs Course one day, at which point we will have two designs at either end of the style spectrum.”

For the design of the Sands Course, Wulf had considered two firms – Kidd’s, and Coore & Crenshaw, the partnership headed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw which had built half a dozen of America’s top-100 courses, and who basically came with a guarantee of success. “I know Tory and Cass were also talking with Ben and Bill, so I had the very best of my peers also keen to work on the project,” says Kidd. “I think that my office being in Oregon, theirs in Austin, Texas, might have helped us out.” Wulf confirms it. “We looked at who we believed to be the two top designers for this style of course and what we wanted to accomplish,” he says. “We really hit it off with David and his team, and his presence in the Northwest and his regional success at Bandon made the choice a bit easier.” Wulf, an occasional player who understood the business of golf more than the average layman, was familiar with the success of Bandon Dunes, site of Kidd’s first design in America – another factor that influenced his choice. “I spent many hours researching successful golf ventures and the name of Bandon Dunes kept popping up,” says Wulf. “[David] was really a perfect fit for this project DECEMBER 2013


Kidd told Golf Digest that Gamble Sands was one of just three perfect sites he had been given during his career, the others being Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Scotland’s Machrihanish Dunes.

for many reasons. His passion for his product, as well as a knack for marketing that same passion, was a strong selling point.” After his appointment, Kidd was itching to get to work. He told anyone who was listening that the Gamble Sands site was a lot like Sand Hills, the Nebraska course Coore and Crenshaw had built in the mid-‘90s, which most architecture buffs regard as the best course built anywhere in the world in the last 50 years. “It definitely reminded me of Sand Hills,” says Kidd. “There was soft, rolling sand with sparse scrub vegetation.



Really, the only difference was that at Gamble Sands, the site was framed by the most amazing of views of the Columbia River and North Cascades.” Kidd would later tell Golf Digest that Gamble Sands was one of three perfect sites he had been given during his career, the others being Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Scotland’s Machrihanish Dunes. “There’s no real estate,” he added, “no big clubhouse. It’s pure golf. And working with sand dunes is butter.” Though juggling a few other jobs at the time – Huntsman Springs in Idaho, Machrihanish Dunes, Laucala Island

in Fiji – Kidd and associate Casey Krahenbuhl managed to clear some ground and mark a few bunkers before the brunt of the recession kicked in, causing the Gebbers family to put a hold on the project. “We never stopped dreaming about what the course could be,” says Kidd. “It gave us time to revise the layout a little. I mulled over the style and design details constantly from 2008 through 2012, when we started construction.” Kidd knew he had gone over the top at both Tetherow and the Castle Course in St. Andrews, which both opened in 2008. Though dramatic and visually stimulating, both were criticized for being too demanding and would require some softening. “I wanted to get back to the playability and fun of Bandon Dunes,” says Kidd. “Because Gamble Sands is quite remote (three hours east of Seattle, two and a half hours west of Spokane) and open to the public, it has to offer a compelling, adventurous, fun round of golf to keep golfers coming back again and again, like Bandon.” Kidd returned to the Oregon coast many times to visit the course that launched his career and won so many accolades. “I wanted to re-examine the layout and reflect on what made it so popular,” he says. “I wanted to pick from its strongest character traits — adventure, strategy,

In the “Sun Belt” playability, and fun.” Kidd says that had he been able to build Gamble Sands in 2008, it may well have turned out quite differently. “We started out at about the same time Tetherow and the Castle Course opened, which was during my days of building over-elaborate greens,” he says. “I didn’t want that at Gamble Sands. So, it’s hard to say, but I think if we had built it in 2008, it would have been more challenging and perhaps less fun for the average golfer.” On June 1, 2012, Kidd, Krahenbuhl, and half a dozen of Kidd’s associates (along with half a dozen farmhands provided by the Gebbers family) picked up where they had left off and worked for three months before the weather turned. They returned on April 1 of this year and completed the course in early August, making construction time a total of seven months — the same as Bandon Dunes. “We moved very little earth,” Kidd adds. “We did open up a couple of ridges and helped create a few big sand blow-outs, but by modern standards there was zero significant earthworks. They move a lot more to build an orchard.” Water rights did prove elusive for a while, and the Gebbers were forced to buy some to make the project a reality, but Kidd describes this as “no big deal.” “Other than that, there really were no stumbling

blocks,” he says. “It could not have gone smoother.” Wulf and Gebbers hope their new golf course will allow the valley in which they live and work to flourish. “The area is dominated by agriculture,” says Wulf. “Bringing top-notch golf to the area will further tourism possibilities and hopefully trigger economic diversity. We live here and always will, so we all want to grow the scope of our economic possibilities.” Next summer, after a few more months growing in and after the small but functional clubhouse (modeled on a Bend, Ore., brewery) is finished, Gamble Sands will be ready to welcome guests, some of whom might notice how David McLay Kidd’s design philosophy has evolved, but all of whom will recognize that Gamble Sands is a wonderful place to play golf. “I am thrilled with the result,” says Kidd. “It is everything I hoped it would be. I wanted players of every ability to feel confident on every tee, not intimidated. I think it allows you to feel aggressive and, without the fear of total disaster, people will swing more freely, play better, and have a lot more fun. It’s a riot.” Tony Dear is an award-winning golf writer, frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer, and publisher of He last appeared in the August issue of CG, profiling Rocco Mediate.

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CG’S 2013


La Quinta Resort & Club • Mountain Course



PALM SPRINGS’ laid-back cool versus the glitz and glamour VEGAS in our first-ever DESERT GOLF BRACKET

It’s of

Desert Pines Golf Club

LaQuinta Resort & Spa

Indian Springs Golf Club

The Legacy Golf Club

BOB HOPE Desert Willow Golf Resort




The Revere Golf Club

Rancho Las Palmas Resort

Angel Park Golf Club



The Classic Club

Las Vegas

SilverRock Resort

Bali Hai Golf Club

FRANK SINATRA Indian Wells Golf Resort




Westin Mission Hills


arlier in 2013, just as we do every year, we made our annual pilgrimage south to Palm Springs and Las Vegas, intent on hunting down the best resort deals and top golf course values for our readers to take advantage of this winter. What we discovered, though, was that many of you are already hunting down those great deals for yourselves. Six years after we first began profiling our favorite snowbird destinations in our annual December issue, the golf courses and resorts throughout the southwest report record numbers of golfers from the Pacific Northwest taking their winters in the desert — filling up the tee sheets, lounging by the pools and chuckling at dreary Facebook posts from those poor souls back home, freezing in the cold winter rain and cleaning the mud off of yet another plugged drive.

Primm Valley Resort

Royal Links Golf Club

Painted Desert Golf Club


In fact, so many CG readers have been making their way to the desert that it gave us an idea … rather than us tell you about our favorite desert experiences, why not turn the tables, and let you tell us? To keep it simple, we’ve taken 16 of the top tracks and resorts throughout the Palm Springs and Las Vegas regions — eight from each locale — and split them up into four regions, named for the entertainers who helped make them famous, and whose legends are inescapable for visitors even today. Over the next few pages, we make the case for each of the 16 as the desert’s best, but it’s up to you to make the final call — are you a Vegas pro, hitting luxurious courses by day and the decadent casinos at night, or is the slower-paced Palm Springs lifestyle, with its Rat Pack cool and chic bars and restaurants more your style?

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Cascade Golfer contest without a little juice on the line. That’s why, to up the ante, everyone who completes the bracket at will be entered to win our biggest giveaway of the year — a stay-and-play package to Palm Springs, including eight rounds of golf and five nights lodging. That’s right — just fill out the bracket at, enter your name and e-mail address, and you could be teeing it up at some of these fantastic courses in 2014. It’s been a fantastic year for golf in the Northwest, with almost endless sunny days. But even with the winter rains rolling in, remember the always-optimistic words of Palm Springs legend Frank Sinatra: “the best is yet to come.” We’re headed down south to find it, and hope you’re coming, too. DECEMBER 2013


BOB HOPE REGION LaQuinta Resort & Spa and PGA WEST La Quinta • 760-564-4111 • Five golf courses. Seven restaurants. Twenty-five tennis courts. Forty-one pools. There’s no doubt about it — for sheer volume and depth of experience, La Quinta Resort & Spa and PGA WEST is going to be tough for any course in this bracket to top. The Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort is one of Pete Dye’s best — narrow and trouble-laden at every turn, it’s no pushover, particularly from the 6,732-yard tips. The resort’s Dunes Course is, as its name would suggest, the more linsky of the two, with broader fairways bordered by tall yellow grasses and Dye’s signature rolling turf and railroad-tie-lined pot bunkers. And to think, those 36 holes are just the appetizer for Dye’s main course, the world-famous TPC Stadium Course at nearby PGA WEST. La Quinta Resort’s “Desert Links” package puts golfers on the TPC Stadium for just $50, plus — for the duration of your stay — unlimited golf at PGA WEST’S Norman and Nicklaus tracks, and the two public courses at La Quinta. After your round, while sipping a beverage in solitude by the pool, you’ll replay your tee shot from the Stadium’s famed island-green 17th over and over in your mind, thinking about Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and the other golf legends who have stood in that same spot. Un-



Indian Springs Golf Club • Indio

less, that is, you’ve taken advantage of the unlimited golf package to head right back out on the first tee again.

Indian Springs Golf Club Indio • 760-200-8988 • You’ve likely heard it your whole life — “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Well, at Indian Springs, there is. And a whole lot more. While many courses cut back on the services they provide, Indian Springs continues to add, cementing its reputation as one of the valley’s most player-friendly tracks. It starts the moment you pull into the parking lot, where you’re greeted you at the curb, checked in and prepped for a fantastic round. It continues on the course, with some of the best-conditioned greens in the region, and a pace of play that consistently clocks in around four hours. And it concludes back at the clubhouse with that free lunch — not merely a boxed sandwich, but a full-ser-

vice lunch in the club’s award-winning restaurant, while your clubs are cleaned and returned to the curbside, ready for your next round. “We don’t have a hotel and swimming pool to draw people in — we have to earn it entirely on the quality of the golf experience we provide,” says general manager Neil Finch. “Snowbirds are a smart bunch — they’ve done their research, and they know where the best courses are. To get their business, we have to offer them a good experience. And I’m happy to note that they keep coming back, year after year.” And leave with a smile, a good number on the scorecard, and a doggy bag in their hand.

Desert Willow Golf Resort Palm Desert • 760-346-0015 • At Desert Willow, it all starts with the golf. The Firecliff course is one of the valley’s most popular,

Desert Willow Golf Resort • Palm Desert

a long, challenging test of target golf, with water hazards, bunkers and desert shrubbery guarding narrow fairways and well-tucked pins. The Mountain View is equally beautiful if somewhat less challenging, with fewer forced carries and broader fairways. For the skilled golfer, the two make a fantastic 36-hole day; for the mid- to high-handicapper, the Mountain View will likely leave a better number on your scorecard. Playing both, though, leads you to Desert Willow’s true advantage — the value. Desert Willow’s “Double Eagle” promotion lets golfers play both courses in a 14-day period for up to 30-percent off the full-price greens fee per round, while the course’s Platinum Club Card gives even better savings on golf, apparel, food, drinks and more for golfers who will be in the region even longer. And we haven’t even mentioned the outstanding banquet and wedding facilities for up to 400 guests, the award-winning Palm Desert Golf Academy or the Lakeview Terrace Restaurant and Bar, with its sweeping

views of the entire valley floor. There are certainly resorts with more swimming pools or luxury suites on-site, but if you’re making your bracket picks for pure golf value, Desert Willow will be one tough out.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa Rancho Mirage • 760-568-2727 • Centrally situated in Rancho Mirage, Rancho Las Palmas is like the hub of a wheel, the perfect home base from which to explore all that the Coachella Valley has to offer. Of course, it’s also possible to find all that you need right on the resort property. In addition to a 27-hole, Ted Robinson-designed golf course, lined with palm trees and backdropped by snow-capped mountain peaks, Rancho Las Palmas features tennis courts, a fitness center, and multiple luxurious pools. That includes both the kid-friendly Splashtopia and the oasis-style, adults-only Azure Pool, where couples can unwind on an oversized

PLAY UNLIMITED GOLF AT LAQUINTA RESORT — ON US! That’s right — we’re sending one lucky CG reader and the playing partner of their choice to the world-famous LaQuinta Resort for a twonight stay in a LaQuinta Resort casita, plus a $25 resort credit per day and unlimited golf on the resort’s five award-winning courses — including the Mountain and Dunes Courses at LaQuinta Resort, and the world-famous TPC Stadium, Nicklaus Tournament Course and Greg Norman Course at PGA WEST ($50 per-round surcharge for TPC Stadium)! In addition, you’ll have full access to the resort property, including its 41 pools, restaurants, bars, shops and more. SO DON’T WAIT! LOG ON TO CASCADEGOLFER.COM FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!





Rancho Las Palmas • Rancho Mirage daybed, sipping a fruity drink under the warm desert sun. It’s the all-new Spa Las Palmas (featured on page 44), though, that truly sets Rancho Las Palmas apart. Completely redesigned in 2013, the spa is a perfect way to relax your muscles after a fun morning on the course, or to treat yourself while your golfing spouse hits the links. A new, outdoor plaza for live music, the famous bluEmber restaurant, and upgraded suites further cement Rancho’s status as a top pick for couples making a weekend or week-long stay, while the variety of resort amenities make it a favorite of families as well.

FRANK SINATRA REGION The Classic Club Palm Desert • 760-601-3600 • The Classic Club, one of a rare breed of non-profit golf courses, was built for the express purpose of hosting a PGA TOUR event — at the time, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic — and donates all of its proceeds to local charitable organizations. Given the unique format of the Bob Hope, in which professionals played alongside celebrities for four of the event’s five days, legend Arnold Palmer designed the course to be both a challenge for pros, yet playable for amateurs, a quality that makes it just as fun and challenging for today’s snowbirds as it was for Phil Mickelson, Samuel L. Jackson and the Bob Hope field in 2006. While the Bob Hope — now the Humana Challenge — has moved on, The Classic Club remains one of the desert’s most appealing tracks, with impeccable, PGA TOUR quality and surprisingly low rates. To maintain its charitable status, the Classic donates up to 5,000 rounds a year to charitable groups for as little as $35 a round, and maintains greens fees about 20 percent lower than others in the region, with a peak winter greens fee of $139 that includes a $15 lunch voucher, yardage book, divot tool, ball marker, cart with GPS and unlimited bottled water. It’s just another way the course built for charity continues to give back.

SilverRock Resort La Quinta • 760-777-8884 • Palm Springs has its fair share of courses with great views or dramatic settings. But almost none can match the sheer drama of La Quinta’s SilverRock Resort. “Every day when I drive in, I still marvel at it,” says general manager Randy Duncan. “It’s like a Hollywood set.” Every one of SilverRock’s 18 holes plays directly towards, away from, or alongside the Santa Rosa Mountains, providing a colorful, pulse-quickening backdrop that is unlike almost any other in the region. It’s not just for the camera-friendly setting, though, that the PGA TOUR moved the Bob Hope Classic to SilverRock from 2008-11



SilverRock Resort • La Quinta



n our first-ever trip to Palm Springs through these pages in 2008, we cruised down Palm Canyon Drive, from Palm Desert in the northwest, through Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and La Quinta. Everywhere you look, reminders of Old Hollywood abound, from the street names — Bob Hope Drive, Frank Sinatra Drive, Dinah Shore Drive — to the iconic resorts, clubs and hotels where legends like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others used to come for their winter respites, when the pace of life had become too much. By the time we washed out the other side of Palm Canyon Drive (now State Highway 111) in Indio, we had been bathed in a tonic of world-class golf and affordable luxury. And we couldn’t wait to turn the car around and go right back the other way. It’s fun to channel the spirit of Sinatra, Martin and Sammy while cruising the highway in search of your next great round of golf ­— or your next “best martini ever.” It’s even more fun to do it Rat Pack-style, in a car that Old Blue Eyes himself would have been proud to show off in the parking lot at the El Mirador. And if we can find one in the Cascade Golfer wheelhouse, price-wise? Well, that’s even better. We’re talking about the all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, an entry-level luxury sedan created to fulfill the demand for the elegance and prestige of a Mercedes, but at a considerably lower starting price. The CLA’s sleek, aerodynamic shape brings to mind the larger CLS four-door coupe. Premium cockpit materials and a number of safety and multimedia features check all the “must-have” boxes, while a strong, turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine, a quick-shifting transmission and sure-footed handling ensure the CLA drives like a purebred Mercedes as well. In fact, just about the only thing that might surprise a Mercedes aficionado is the price — at just $30,000 (starting), it’s considerably less than the comparably-sized BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS. In addition to the features above, the base model CLA includes all the usual standards of Mercedes luxury — cruise control, eight-way power-front seats, driver memory settings, leatherette premium-vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a 5.8-inch central electronics display, smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a CD player. Available upgrades include auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, a premium stereo system, satellite radio, iPod interface, rear-view camera, navigation system, parking sensors, rear-side airbags, rear spoiler, panoramic sunroof and many more. Of course, you don’t have to go all the way to Palm Springs to channel that Rat Pack vibe. Mercedes-Benz of Seattle recently opened an all-new dealership just south of Safeco Field in downtown Seattle, and it’s every bit the elegant, sophisticated space you’d expect it to be. With an experienced, professional sales and service staff, an 84,000-square-foot showroom, a VIP lounge, full-service deli and café, WiFi workstations and even an on-site Mercedes-Benz museum, it’s an unparalleled trip to a life of luxury … without ever having to leave home. And with the new low starting price of the 2014 CLA Class, you won’t have to break into your rainy day fund to afford it, either. Check it out for yourself at 2025 Airport Way South, Seattle, WA, 98134, or online at



— it’s also for the quality of the course, named one of the top-10 new courses in America in 2005. In 2013, SilverRock has put an emphasis on pace of play, removing several acres of long grasses and clearing desert scrub throughout its 50 acres of native areas to create more playable lies. Not only has the resultant clean-up led to better scores and faster rounds, it’s also left the golf course looking brand new once again, and drawn in many players who might previously have thought a PGA TOUR course too challenging. The new look on the course matches the new look in the clubhouse, where the menu at the SilverRock Grill is undergoing its own makeover, with a focus on fresh, organic dishes made from locally-grown ingredients. SilverRock’s biggest draw, however, is still those stunning Santa Rosas, an ace in the hole that any desert gambler would envy.

Indian Wells Golf Resort Indian Wells • 760-346 4653 • Home to the PGA Tour’s skins game for years, and among the most popular municipal courses in the country, Indian Wells Golf Resort could have simply hummed along with the status quo and continued to attract golfers from across the globe. Instead, the city of Indian Wells poured over $60 million into a complete redesign of its East and West courses in 2007, and built a brand-new restaurant and pro shop to rival that at any of the region’s most exclusive golf course complexes. The Clive Clark-designed Celebrity Course is the shorter and most eye-popping of the two, with colorful flowers and flowing streams and waterfalls nearly everywhere you look. To transform its old East course, now the Players, Indian Wells tapped Northwest native John Fought, who applied the natural bunkering, contoured fairways and greens and visually arresting approaches that are familiar to players of his local creations, including Trophy Lake and Washington National. And, true to the CG spirit, the resort makes each course a bargain with its unlimited golf packages. That’s right, unlimited golf, from 2 p.m. on the day of checkin through the time you check out. Each of the resort’s four hotels offers varying levels of luxury and amenities, including spa credits and a complimentary breakfast. And even if you’re not staying at the resort, the club’s Platinum Card puts you on the first tee for up to 40 percent off, with a $25 same-day replay rate, plus discounts and rewards in the pro shop and all-new Vue Grill and Bar.

“there IS a *free Lunch at Indian Springs” Best course Under $100 ~the Desert Sun

La Quinta, CA

Club House Grille 760-200-9844

*Call For Details 760-200-8988

Best Value in the Palm Springs Area • Our Greens are a “Perfect 10” call about Stay & Play Packages!

Embassy Suites Palm Desert (760)340-6600

Homewood Suites La Quinta (760) 391-4600 • Embassy Suites La Quinta (760)777-1711





Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort Rancho Mirage • 760-328-3198 • Gary Player only designed one course in the Coachella Valley, but boy, is it a beauty. The Gary Player Signature Course is one of the valley’s most famous, combining Indian Wells-level eye candy with a PGA West-level challenge. Stretched out to over 7,000 yards from the tips, but just 6,000 from the silver (intermediate) tees, it’s an excellent fit for groups of varying skill levels. Tight fairways, forced carries, a total of 68 bunkers and 11 holes framed by water challenge low handicappers, though are often positioned in areas out of play for higher-handicappers, giving everyone a chance to score. It’s complemented by the Pete Dye Resort Course, with a layout familiar to anyone who has played Dye’s other signature tracks, including the Stadium Course at PGA West and the Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort. Railway ties line the tees and water hazards, pot bunkers guard the greens, and narrow fairways buckle and roll, leaving level lies in only the most desirable areas. The 18th hole is a classic Dye finish, a par-4 lined with water down the entire left side. As with most holes on these two tracks, hit it straight, and birdie is in play. Send your ball astray, and … well … at least the scenery will still leave you plenty to admire.

SAMMY DAVIS, JR. REGION Desert Pines Golf Club Las Vegas • 702-450-8170 • Much has been written about Desert Pines Golf Club’s dazzling recreation of a Carolina sandhills course, dropped into a bustling city in the Nevada desert. Every shot, every view evokes the same thrilling emotions that you can imagine Bobby Jones himself might have felt the first time he played his most famous creation, Augusta National. The truth is, though, that it’s not merely on the course where players at Desert Pines get to experience the lifestyle of a PGA TOUR pro. It starts the moment you arrive, when golf course staff greet you by name, park your car, and swap your clubs for a fresh-baked cookie and a mango-scented towel. You can be forgiven for wondering if they’ve mistaken you for someone else. They haven’t; every golfer at Desert Pines receives the same five-star service. “It’s the personal touches that make a round memorable and special,” says Josh Hill of Walters Golf, which owns and manages Desert Pines, Bali Hai and Royal Links. “People get it once they’ve been here.” With your mind and body at ease, hitting balls to the natural targets at the brand-new, two-tiered practice facility seems like a breeze, filling you with the confidence you’ll need to target the course’s famously large, undulating greens, and avoid its railroad-tie-lined, whitesand bunkers and thousands of Carolina pines. It’s as immersive an experience as you’ll find in Vegas — and in a city with dozens of towering casinos designed solely to create immersive experiences of their own, that’s truly an accomplishment.

Desert Pines Golf Club • Las Vegas



The Legacy Golf Club

ou don’t have to stay at one of the major resorts to take advantage of reduced rates on golf. In fact, at the Homewood Suites La Quinta, you don’t even need to leave the hotel to work on your game. An on-site putting green is just one of many ways the hotel caters to golfers, including a hot breakfast buffet, an evening meal with complimentary beer, wine and iced tea, and — of course — stay-and-play partnerships with Indian Springs, SilverRock, Classic Club, Desert Willow and Indian Wells. In addition, each room features a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge, microwave and stovetop, plus a roomy living area that converts into a second bedroom — the perfect setup for small groups, or playing partners who each prefer their own space. To check out the current available packages, visit homewoodsuites. com or call 1-760-391-4600.

Henderson, Nev. • 888-629-3930 • Like its OB Sports sibling, Vegas’ Angel Park, The Legacy is among Vegas’ most-photographed courses. In fact, the tees at “The Suits,” The Legacy’s 10th hole — cut into the shapes of playing-card suits: hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs — might be the most-photographed tee boxes in the entire country. But they’re hardly the course’s only merit. The first quality most players cite are The Legacy’s broad fairways, a welcome contrast to the more common narrow, brush-lined fairways of Vegas’ primarily desert-style tracks. A links course at heart, The Legacy combines those wide fairways with large greens, but adds challenge in the form of rolling terrain that leaves few level lies, and large bunkers that always seem to appear in the most inconvenient places. Perfect conditioning year-round and that unique links style in the desert make The Legacy a CG favorite, while the OB Sports Card saves money on greens fees, pro shop and restaurant purchases and more at any OB course (including, in this bracket, Angel Park and Painted Desert), and at $149 is a great value for any golfer in town for an extended stay.

The Revere Golf Club Henderson, Nev. • 1-877-273-8373 • For a course that takes its inspiration from the past — with its two award-winning tracks, the Lexington and Concord, named for the first battles of the Revolutionary War — the latest program at The Revere Golf Club is decidedly forward-thinking. In 2013, The Revere became the first Las Vegas golf facility to convert fully to a dynamic pricing system, which sets variable rates throughout the day and week in direct response to consumer interest. Already common in professional sports, where teams vary ticket prices based on the opponent, or day and time of the game, dynamic pricing has begun making its way to golf courses as well, allowing courses to instantly adjust their rates in real-time based on demand, competition — even the weather. Using The Revere’s “best available rate,” golfers can search for the best prices throughout the day, and find a rate and time that matches their specific need. In addition, golfers can continue to book The Revere’s trademark packages, including various amenities like transportation to and from The Strip, breakfast, lunch, club rentals and more, all at dynamic prices as well. It’s a terrific way to take advantage of two of the Vegas’ area’s most unique rounds, with 36 holes spread across rolling hills and sprawling landscape in a way that’s impossible closer to the city. But at just 25 minutes from The Strip, it’s still convenient to your hotel — no matter what time of the day or week you choose to play.

Free Golf at Primm Valley Is Like Playing With House Money


eading about these incredible golf destinations gets your juices flowing — but they’ll flow a lot faster when you’re the one standing on the first tee, with that 85-degree desert sun on your arms. Or, at Nevada’s Primm Valley Casino Resort, when you’re shaking those dice, hitting on 16 or pushing all your chips to the center of the table. We’re giving one CG reader the chance to experience Primm Valley for themselves with two nights’ lodging and two rounds of golf for two on the resort’s Tom Fazio-designed tracks. Win cash off your buddy on the course by day, then let it ride on the tables at night — win or lose, you’re guaranteed a vacation you won’t soon forget. Enter To Win Today At! Primm Valley Casino Resort • Primm, Nev.



Rancho Las Palmas Resort

Primm Valley Casino Resort • Primm, Nev.

Angel Park Golf Club Las Vegas • 888-4GOLFLV •



or most snowbirds, the Coachella Valley’s biggest draws are its golf courses, its 20,000 acres of finely cut grass and cascading waterfalls that beckon us south each winter. Daydreaming of long afternoons on the fairways at La Quinta, Rancho Las Palmas, Desert Willow, Indian Wells and other top locales is one thing. With work, and family and other daily concerns, though, actually getting there can be quite another – particularly if you have a non-golfing spouse who isn’t so enthused about spending some cash to go sit by themselves in the hotel or golf cart while you have the vacation of your dreams. Fortunately, you’re not the first to face this dilemma — and the Coachella Valley’s top resorts have you covered. When coming down with a mixed group of golfers and non-golfers, your best bet is to book lodging in one of the valley’s full-service resorts, which feature not only mind-blowing golf courses, but also a full-service spa, high-end restaurants, multiple pool complexes (including the all-important adults-only pool, for when you just need some peace and quiet) and more. The spas, in particular, are heavenly. Spa La Quinta (760-777-4800,, the getaway-inside-the-getaway at La Quinta Resort, is perhaps the valley’s most famous, having served as the relaxing escape for Hollywood stars from the days of Greta Garbo and Judy Garland, to today’s big-screen superstars. Named “Best Spa” over the years in nearly every category you can imagine — Best for Weddings, Best for LGBT, Best Pet-Friendly Spa, Best at a Golf Resort, even Best for Men — it’s the total package, with massages, body polish, mani/pedi, a full-service hair salon, skin care procedures and cutting-edge “body renewal” procedures that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Access to the spa is included for all resort guests, though by planning ahead, you can often save up to 30 percent on the spa services (and the golf) by booking a spa package at the time of your reservation. It’s a similar story at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa (877-843-7720,, one of the valley’s most luxurious — yet also one of its most reasonable. Body wraps, massages and skin treatments are among the most popular services, but we recommend the Desert Elements Custom Scrub, a 50-minute tour of heaven consisting of a fullbody exfoliation using natural desert elements La Quinta Resort & Spa like sage, lavender, chapparal and more. Can’t decide? Spa specials let you bundle services together to create the perfect day for you, including a body scrub, massage, body wrap and your choice of skin treatment. Convincing the non-golfers in your home to take a Palm Springs vacation can be challenging. We recommend simply going to one of the websites above, navigating to the spa services page, and then simply leaving the computer where your spouse will find it. Before long, they’ll be saying to you, “Honey, have you ever thought about taking a trip to Palm Springs? “You know, they have golf there, too.”



There’s no Vegas experience quite like an after-dark round at Angel Park. A golf adventure so unique we put it on the cover of our December 2012 issue, night golf at Angel Park — where nine of the 12 holes on the par-3 course are lit by large spotlights every night — is an experience that no golfer should miss. But it’s by far the only reason to head to the off-Strip course, just a chip shot away from the Suncoast Casino in Vegas’ upscale Summerlin neighborhood. In addition to its lighted nine-hole course, Angel Park features two of the city’s most popular championship courses, a pair of Arnold Palmer-designed classics that annually rank among Vegas’ most popular in polls of locals and visitors alike. The Palm Course is the shorter of the two, a par-70 that blends long par-3s with short par-4s to provide a fun challenge that will reward good play. The par-71 Mountain Course gives a stiffer challenge to those who seek one out, with elevated tees, uneven greens, tight fairways and plenty of water and forced carries. Two championship courses, a casino, a putting course and the chance to play under the stars make Angel Park a favorite stop when we’re in town — and a tough course to wager against in any “best of Vegas” bracket.

ELVIS PRESLEY REGION Primm Valley Resort & Casino Primm, Nev. • 888-PRIMM-NV • A Vegas golf vacation sounds amazing, right? Play under the desert sun by day, then carry that fun over into the night at the tables, bars and restaurants. For the lone golfer in the family, though, it can seem like a pipe dream — after all, when planning a vacation, you have a spouse and kids to think about, too. Fortunately, Nevada’s Primm Valley Resort has already thought of that for you — and they’ve packed their destination resort, just 40 minutes south of The Strip, with enough activities and amenities to show everyone in your family a week they won’t soon forget. You want golf? Primm Valley has two Tom Fazio-designed courses that reflect the two primary styles of Vegas golf — the Desert Course, long and wide, with several forced carries across waste areas filled with desert scrub and cacti; and the Lakes Course, a resort-style gem with a shorter, tighter layout and massive greens, surrounded by tall trees and water on seemingly every shot.



IF YOU LIVED HERE … … you’d be home by now. And what a home it would be. Morning coffee or tea out on the deck, as the sun rises over the distant mountains to warm your skin. A late-morning round of golf at La Quinta Resort or PGA West, playing courses designed by legends like Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Pete Dye, and played regularly by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and the rest of the PGA Tour. Lunch with friends or neighbors at an award-winning restaurant or sidewalk café, the warm breeze wafting through the palm trees and carrying the scent of fragrant flora past your nose. Some light shopping through the boutiques and markets of downtown Palm Springs, and then back home for an evening glass of Napa valley Cabernet, watching the sun once again as it slips behind the Santa Rosa mountains, bathing the entire Coachella Valley in vivid shades of gold and purple, before disappearing for the night. It’s a nice dream right? Well, for an increasing number of Northwest golfers, it’s an offseason reality. Thousands of golfers from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia make a wintertime pilgrimage to Palm Springs — indeed, the Northwest represents the single largest out-of-region market for many of the courses and resorts we spoke with for this feature. Most of those visitors come with large groups of family or friends, making a rental home preferable to a traditional hotel — not only can your entire group often stay together, but you can enjoy the amenities of a luxurious Palm Springs home, and be treated like a resort home owner wherever you go. One of the most popular programs is that at La Quinta Resort, which rents everything from one-bedroom bungalows to six-bedroom luxury mansions on a nightly, weekly and monthly basis. Online, you can sort by price and size, browse through photos of each home, choose the amenities you prefer, and even pick which of the seven La Quinta and PGA West courses you want to see out your bedroom window each morning. And every booking comes with full access to the resort’s golf courses, tennis and fitness center, spa, restaurants, shops and more. The Palm Springs dream can truly be a reality on any budget — find yours by going online to, or by calling 1-800-388-1926. 46


You want gaming? The resort boasts its own on-site casino, with over 3,000 electronic gaming machines and 70 table games. You want family activities? The world-famous Desperado roller coaster is one of the Silver State’s fastest and tallest (at 209 feet), with TLC ranking it among the top-10 coasters in the U.S. There’s also a log ride, video arcade, on-site movie theater, a 6,500-seat concert venue and of course, multiple pools. And for those who prefer a slower pace, there’s a full-service spa with massage, skin and body treatments and more. Take advantage of packages that combine golf, spa or casino services with lodging at any of the three resort hotels to put money back in your pocket — or, let it ride in the casino. I think you know which choice we’d make.

Bali Hai Golf Club Las Vegas • 702-450-8191 • When Billy Walters dreamed of creating themed golf courses in Las Vegas, his first creation was Bali Hai, a Malaysian-style oasis in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip. With its towering palm trees, white-sand bunkers and tropical lakes and streams — not to mention the giant fish tank in the clubhouse — it is, like Royal Links and Desert Pines, a truly memorable and overwhelming experience. Walters, however, knew that in Vegas, just creating a unique golf course wasn’t enough. That’s why he created the ParMates program, locating beautiful young women to serve as hostesses for groups of golfers at Bali Hai and Royal Links. ParMates provide much more than just good conversation, though — each ParMate acts as a professional forecaddie, helping to read greens, calculate yardages, find lost balls, repair divots and ball marks, and more. A perfect fit for bachelor parties or guys’ getaway weekends, the ParMates (available at Bali Hai only when paired with a round at Royal Links) are a touch you can only find in a place like Vegas, where the experience of a great golf round goes far beyond just 18 amazing holes. And it’s one of the little touches that makes Walters Golf courses among the most unforgettable in the desert.

Royal Links Golf Club Las Vegas • 702-450-8181 • Have you dreamed of playing the Road Hole? Or hitting the postage stamp green at Royal Troon? Maybe you’ve wondered how hard it would really be to get out of Hell Bunker. Royal Links, the brainchild of noted Las Vegas icon Billy Walters (“Billy Walters’ Big Bet,” CG, De-

Painted Desert Golf Club • Las Vegas cember 2012), replicates 18 of the most famous holes from 11 British Open venues, but it’s beyond the fringes where Royal Links truly sets itself apart. There’s the replica of Swilcan Bridge, which takes golfers from the clubhouse to the tee. There’s the forecaddie service, with professional caddies versed not merely in Royal Links itself, but the history of the holes and courses they represent. And there’s the iconic, castle-style clubhouse, home not only to one of America’s top-rated golf shops, but to Stymie’s Pub, an authentic, English-style pub where the Guinness flows freely and the fish-and-chips and bangers-and-mash are always hot and ready to go. In addition, there’s Walters Golf’s trademark door-todoor service, with greeters in the parking lot, attendants to clean your clubs and an unmatched level of courtesy and respect. Not only do you feel like you’re playing at a British Open, you’re treated as if you’re playing in the British Open, and that makes all the difference.

Painted Desert Golf Club Las Vegas • 702-645-2570 • If there’s one word to describe Painted Desert, it’s “fun.” It’s fun for low-handicappers, with a slope of 129 from the 6,800-yard tips and uneven lies and large waste areas that can quickly turn a low score upside down. It’s fun for mid- and high-handicappers, too, with two sets of tees (5,600 and 6,200 yards) that take many of the stiffer challenges — most notably those long carries — out of play, and give the wayward ball striker a chance to recover and post a good number. Billed as Vegas’ original desert layout, that diverse playability also makes it a good fit for groups of varying skill levels, giving everyone the chance to compete fairly for those all-important skins. Of course, the name “Painted Desert” inspires mental images of a colorful Georgia O’Keefe canvas and the course doesn’t disappoint, especially if played in the late evening. Watch the sun cast its dying rays across the slopes of Mt. Charleston, or glint off the casinos of The Strip just 15 minutes south, and you’ll appreciate desert golf at its most scenic. And assuming you hit it straight, you’ll appreciate the birdies, too.

OUR BIGGEST GIVEAWAY OF THE YEAR! It’s become the most-anticipated giveaway of the year in the pages of CG, and this year is no exception — THREE NIGHTS at the Homewood Suites La Quinta and twosomes at Indian Springs, Desert Willow and SilverRock, PLUS two nights at the fabulous Rancho Las Palmas Resort, with UNLIMITED GOLF for the duration of your stay! To summarize, that’s:

• Twosome to Indian Springs • Twosome to Desert Willow • Twosome to SilverRock • Two nights at Rancho Las Palmas Resort • Three nights at Homewood Suites La Quinta • PLUS one day of unlimited golf at Rancho Las Palmas!

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y father, who lives in the Bay Area, likes to share a story that was related to him by a friend, who at the time was an assistant golf coach at nearby Stanford University. The coach said that one time in the spring of 1996 it rained harder at Stanford than he could remember, and sent everyone at the Stanford Golf Course running for cover. As he began to drive home, he saw, through the rain streaking his windshield, a single player in Stanford golf gear still knocking balls on the range. Who the heck is still out in this weather? he thought. He parked the car and walked out to the range … where he saw 20-year-old sophomore Tiger Woods hitting ball after ball into the driving rain. “Tiger, what are you doing? There’s no use working on anything now,” he said. “Are you kidding me?” Tiger replied. “This is just like the British Open. How often do you get a chance to practice in conditions like this?” To Tiger, the rain wasn’t a crisis — it was an opportunity. And while none of us are likely ever to find ourselves needing to stick a five-iron from 200 yards in a downpour to win the British Open, the rainy season presents an opportunity for us as well. For starters, rates at most of our Northwest tracks drop by as much as 50 percent in the winter months. Chambers Bay, which costs a Washington resident $155 on a summer weekend, is just $75 in December — and is also one of the driest around, meaning it plays practically the same on New Year’s Day as it does on the Fourth of July. The same goes for the other tracks listed below, each of which have a reputation for being among the driest in the region, even when the weather turns sour. So, while some golfers will no doubt stick their heads under the covers for the next few months, we’re taking Tiger’s view of things and heading for the tee box. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.



In the spring of 2010, shortly after the Suquamish Tribe rode in to save Kingston’s White Horse Golf Club, Mark Luthman of management group Touchstone Golf made a list of his top-three priorities for increasing play. First, improve the course conditions. Two years of financial struggles had left course staff struggling just to keep it playable. The Suquamish Tribe’s investment in White Horse finally allowed superintendent Erik Linsenmayer to restore White Horse to a pristine condition, indeed one of the best in the entire region. Second, the course was simply too difficult. There were too many bunkers and hazards, greens were too hard, and mid- and high-handicappers had practically no chance to make up for even a slight mis-hit. To that end, the late John Harbottle was brought in to remove bunkers (leaving a “mere” 90 behind), smooth out fairway and green contours and remove selected trees to open up space around fairways and greens. This spring, White Horse finally checked off the last item on Luthman’s list: a new clubhouse. Opened in March, the new 20,000-square-foot clubhouse puts an emphatic exclamation point at the end of Tribe’s three-year renovation project. A 25-foot, slate fireplace greets golfers in the lobby, from which a player can go in three directions — right, towards the all-new pro shop; left, to a large banquet hall and meeting space, or forward past leather couches and chairs to a window wall overlooking the scenic 18th hole. While golf writers and industry insiders are well aware of the course’s exemplary quality — voting White Horse No. 9 in our official rankings of Washington’s Top-10 Public Courses in August — too many Western Washington players we speak with have yet to take the short ferry to Kingston to play it for themselves. As quite possibly Washington’s No. 1 winter-weather course (like Chambers, it is built on a sandy base that drains extraordinarily well) and with winter rates that plummet under $40, it’s well worth the trip.

YARDAGE (par) 5,010-7,093 (par 72) RATES $22-35 TEL 360-297-4468 WEB


Here are a few other Northwest tracks that hold up well in the wet stuff: Capitol City • OLYMPIA Cedars at Dungeness

Golf Club at Redmond Ridge • SEQUIM

Chambers Bay • UNIV. PLACE Eaglemont • MOUNT VERNON Gold Mountain • GORST Golf Club at Newcastle • NEWCASTLE


Hawks Prairie • LACEY Jackson Park GC • SEATTLE Legion Memorial • EVERETT Trophy Lake • PORT ORCHARD

WHO WANTS FREE GOLF? You do, of course! And we know that not all of you have the time to take that dream desert golf vacation. That’s why this winter, we’re helping CG readers tee it up right here at home by giving away TWO Western Washington twosomes to two of our favorite Save Some Green tracks — one to Auburn Golf Course, and another to Camaloch Golf Club!

Enter To Win Today At!








Illustration by John Kimball

ou may not realize it, but the state of Washington is a thriving hub of craft spirits. While our microbrews and fast-rising wine industry have earned international acclaim, our bourbons and gins are just starting to turn heads the way our Syrahs and Pinots did a decade ago. This year’s PROOF: Washington Distiller’s Festival in June brought together nearly four dozen of the craft distilleries that are part of the Washington Distiller’s Guild, the largest of its kind in the nation. In addition to tasting the wares being made right here in our backyard, we also had the chance to meet several of the craftsmen and women themselves — our neighbors, and yours, who have the same passion for spirits that we have for golf. On a recent cold, late-fall day, we found ourselves reaching for a bottle of Batch 206 ( “See Seven Stars” moonshine to blend in our coffee, and thought, I wonder what other drinks would make good belly-warmers in the wintertime? Here are the recipes our favorite local distillers cooked up special for CG:


Turf Cocktail




Limoncello Toddy




Cacao and Coffee



4 oz coffee 1.5-2 oz Depth Cacao Liqueur MEET THE MAKER: “Coming in from the cold, we prefer something simple and warm, but still complex and delicious. Combine Depth Cacao Liqueur (made with Theo Chocolate) to a hot cup of joe.” — Steven Stone, Founder/Head Distiller, Sound Spirits



2 oz. Letterpress Limoncello 1 oz. bourbon 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz. hot water Combine all ingredients in a pre-warmed mug. Garnish with a lemon slice and/or cinnamon stick. MEET THE MAKER: “Because it uses honey as its sweetener, Letterpress Limoncello is uniquely suited for this slight variation on the old-school hot toddy. The light lemon notes play perfectly off of the bourbon for a new but familiar take on this winter classic.” — Skip Tognetti, Owner/Distiller, Letterpress Distilling

2 oz. Copperworks Gin 3/4 oz. dry vermouth 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur 1 dash absinthe 1 dash orange bitters Cracked ice Garnish: lemon twist Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use as garnish. (Adapted from Imbibe magazine, which adapted it Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual, 1882) MEET THE MAKER: “A lot of people reach for amber spirits when the weather turns cold, but I think gin works well any time of year. When it starts getting chilly, I shift to a cocktail that more strongly features the botanicals of the gin ¾ like the Turf Cocktail. It warms you right up.”   — Jason Parker, Co-owner/Distiller, Copperworks Distilling Company



Cascade Golfer December 2013  
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