Cascade Golfer December 2014

Page 1






The Snowbird Issue Don’t let the sun set on golf season this winter Arizona • Hawaii • Palm Springs • Vegas CUSTOM






Titleist • PING TaylorMade • Callaway Mizuno • Nike Golf Cobra • Cleveland

15 100 $



for every spent* during the event *Some vendor restrictions apply. See store for details.

Check page 6 for a list of custom fitting event dates & times





Departments 8



• Holiday gift ideas • Driest golf courses • Indoor golf leagues, lessons • CG Cup crowns champs • Where to find NW pros in ‘15 • And more



• Taylormade RSi Irons • Titleist 915 Driver • Latest from Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno & NIKE • Bags and push carts • GPS Rangefinders



SIBLING RIVALRY Tacoma’s Michael and Andrew Putnam are just the fourth brothers ever to appear together on the PGA TOUR BY BOB SHERWIN


Kaua’i’s instant classics


Seahawks center Max Unger tees it up


Rope Rider at Suncadia | No. 11

Thanks, Dad

PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS! 6-7 | 24-28 | 51


IT’S ALWAYS GOLF SEASON SOMEWHERE In our annual desert feature, we follow the sun south to some of America’s top golf courses BY TONY DEAR

ON THE COVER The sun sets behind the fifth hole at McDowell Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Learn about our favorite desert destinations starting on page 34. Cover design by Rob Becker.

THIS PAGE With two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, a casino, roller coaster, golf academy and more, Nevada’s Primm Valley Resort is a quieter alternative to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. STORY ON PAGE 34.



Volume 8 •  Issue 4 •  DECEMBER 2014



When you drop your golfing guard, life happens


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, Kalii De La Rosa, Katie Erickson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony Dear, Bob Sherwin FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103


SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Johnny Carey, Josh Nantz

have always been a fan of the novel and movie “The Accidental Tourist.” The book, by Anne Tyler, is about the interesting world of a travel writer, its name referring to a wingback chair into which the reader can sink into comfort while soaring weighless on the words and imagery that the author creates via his literary journey. I have written many stories — and published even more by other writers — about globetrotting and golf. The goal for any good writer is that they must share fairly about what they saw, felt and learned about the land, people, places, tastes — and, in rare occasions, themselves. Our editor, Brian Beaky, recently returned from Kaua’i, where he had as much a life experience as a golf experience. His opening paragraph is what any rational person yearns to see, feel, smell and taste when they embark on a journey that depicts real life paralleling a dream. It pains me when I read a travel story and can tell that the writer approached their coverage with blinders on — referring to the mile markers of the journey, rather than the magic that occurs between the posts. When you drop your guard and let life happen, magic can occur. It did for Brian via the backdrop of one of the world’s great nooks for a golfer and lover of life. I hope you read it — he did a


MIKE SWANSON The teacher of beginners, top amateurs, and tour professionals. Let us teach you how to manage your own game.



Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2014 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER

lovely job with a limited amount of space. One magical moment of Brian’s story, however, is not shared in this issue – it will be, however, in April of 2015, in the next Cascade Golfer. It was an unexpected, unannounced invitation from one of the great shapeshifters in all of modern golf, Mr. Robert Trent Jones II. That’s a name that you’ll hear a lot in 2015, since he’s the one that connected the dots at Chambers Bay, where the whole world will be watching the U.S. Open next June. Mr. Jones went out of his way to make a once-in-a-lifetime connection with Brian during his visit to Kaua’i and allowed Cascade Golfer into his world in a unique way. Mr. Jones is more of a poet and lover of life than he is a golf course architect — and he’s one of the best the game has ever known. The glimpse he allowed us to see and feel about his approach to this game and his life moved me enough to shamelessly invite you to be on the lookout for the next issue. Meanwhile, enjoy our eighth winter issue, with journeys that take you through warmer climates and local stories you need to know about. Even if you can’t visit these locales just now, sink into you chair and soar a little. That’s our job here – to “’lift” your golfing spirits. Happy holidays and as always, TAKE IT EASY!

Mike Swanson



BRIAN MURRY (Tour Professional) Placed 2nd in his first tour event after working with Swanson.

• Club Fitting Specialist • Complete Club Repair Services • Free swing analysis by appointment only call 206-491-9393

JEFF STAUFFER (Beginner) Went from shooting 100+ to his first 75 last year!

CHRIS MOGG (Top Amateur) Went from shooting in the 80’s to consistently shooting under par. Now one of the top high school players in the state.

“Don’t let your game rest this Winter!” A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE

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SHORT GAME New Book Chronicles The Rise of Chambers Bay


t was the winter of 2006, and Larry Gilhuly stood alongside then-USGA Director of Rules and Competions Mike Davis on the sixth fairway of Chambers Bay. The course was still six months from opening, but already the USGA was eyeing it for a potential U.S. Open championship — what would become the first ever held in the Pacific Northwest. Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and his team of architects had built the course with a U.S. Open in mind, winning the design bid when they presented Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg with bag tags that read “Chambers Bay, Site of the 2030 U.S. Open.” Now, with the fairways grown in, the greens crafted across the hillsides, and Lone Fir rising behind the 15th green, Gilhuly — Director of the USGA’s Northwest Region — wanted to know if Davis (now the USGA CEO) could see the vision shared by Ladenburg, Jones and so many others who had poured their hearts into making Chambers Bay a reality. “I remember we were standing in the middle of the sixth fairway and I said to Mike, ‘We’ve always wanted a U.S. Open in the Pacific Northwest,’” Gilhuly recalls. “He nodded. ‘We haven’t been able to make it work at Bandon Dunes or Pumpkin Ridge,’ I said. He nodded. ‘So, what do you think?’ “He turned to me and said, ‘Larry ... this is a slam dunk.’” The story of how an unsightly gravel pit in the little-known town of University Place, Wash., became one of the most talked-about courses in the United States is

a story primarily of three men — Ladenburg, Jones and Davis — who had the audacity to envision a U.S. Open on the shores of Puget Sound, and the vision and drive to make it happen. In his new book, “America’s St. Andrews,” former Seattle Times columnist Blaine Newnham chronicles the rapid ascent of Chambers Bay, from the first time Ladenburg laid eyes on the property, to the day in 2008 when the USGA officially granted the course the 2015 U.S. Open — beating Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s prediction by a full 15 years. Full of stunning color photographs and insightful stories from Jones, Ladenburg, Davis and many others, it’s the must-have book of the year for any Northwest golf fan, and a beautiful coffee-table accompaniment to next year’s U.S. Open. Most notably, it’s not just a good golf book — it’s a good book, period, with historical photos of the Chambers Bay property and stories that will entertain golfers and non-golfers alike. “This beautiful book conveys a wonderful story, not just about the golf course itself, but about the collaborative process and many entities coming together to create something special,” Jones said. “The book has soul and tells the tale of a storied site and an outcome that serves both the public and the world’s best golfers.” Sold in stores and at, the book is also available in the Chambers Bay golf shop, and will be sold on-site at the 2015 U.S. Open. A portion of the proceeds from all sales go to the Robert Trent Jones Jr. Scholarship at UW-Tacoma.

Enter to Win a New Sand Wedge!


here’s no better way to kick off a new season than with a few new sticks. This year, let Cascade Golfer help fill out your bag with a brand-new Rake sand wedge, courtesy of PNP Golf. As profiled in the June 2014 issue of Cascade Golfer, the Rake is among the most stable and controllable wedges on the market, making it easier to swing from deep grass or sand. Join PGA TOUR players Brian Gay and Mike Weir by adding a Rake to your bag this season — visit’s “Enter to Win” page, and you could be a winner! 10


Nagalingam, Raman Win Closest-Ever Cascade Golfer Cup

From Cricket to the CG Cup


hrough four events of the 2014 Cascade Indeed, the duo had posted an impressive Golfer Cup — our seven-event tournascore at White Horse, tying for the second-lowment series for amateur golfers throughout est score in the tournament standings to CG the Puget Sound region — Sivakumaar NagChallenge winners Darren Case and Justin 2014 alingam and Sridhar Raman had finished no Mentink. Once again, they found themselves in higher than 19th, and hadn’t won a single a scorecard tiebreaker — only this time, the tie prize. broke their way, placing Nagalingam and RaNagalingam and Raman, though, stuck with it. And on man second, instead of third. The 225-point difference Aug. 2 at the Michelob ULTRA Open at the RMG Club at between those two places — decided on a single-hole tieOakbrook, their luck began to turn. The duo finished in a breaker, at the final event of the year — were enough to dead heat for first place in the net scoring, missing out on vault Nagalingam and Raman over both Case-Mentinka weeklong Arizona stay-and-play vacation only by virtue Berkman and Mittal-Patel into first place in the final Cup of a scorecard tiebreaker (lowest gross score on the No. standings, and earn the duo a summer’s worth of golf 1-handicap hole). at the best golf courses Washington state has to offer. The 1,050 points they earned towards the Cascade And, perhaps most amazingly, they did it all without Golfer Cup season-long title — and the Summer of Golf winning a single event — a first in CG Cup history. grand prize package, featuring 20 twosomes at the top In all, it was another amazing year for the CG Cup. courses in the state — marked a turning point in their year. We handed out over $100,000 in prizes, sent golfers on Nagalingam and Raman followed up that performance trips to Mexico, Bandon Dunes, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, with a fourth-place finish at the Bridgestone Golf Invita- Central Oregon, Alabama, Arizona and other top locales, tional at Mill Creek Country Club three weeks later, and awarded hundreds of rounds of free golf, gave away dozentered the season-ending Cascade Golfer Challenge at ens of golf clubs, and gave more than 300 local golfers White Horse as one of more than a half-dozen teams with the thrill of competing in a fun golf tournament … with a legitimate shot to take the season-long crown. their fathers, sons, best friends, spouses and siblings right Results from White Horse were kept secret until the alongside them. And at the end of the year, we gathered annual Year-End Awards Party a week later, held this year our most loyal players together at The Classic for one last at the Dub Pub in Kirkland. Manish Mittal and Nikhil Patel day of fun — a free, bonus Cascade Golfer Cup event, as led the overall Cup standings entering the final event, but our way of saying thank you to the Northwest golfers who Nagalingam and Raman knew they had posted a better continue to make the Cascade Golfer Cup the region’s score at White Horse. Would it be enough to pass their most popular amateur tournament series, year after year. friends for the title? To Sivakumaar Nagalingam and Sridhar Raman … By the slimmest margin in Cascade Golfer Cup history congratulations on an outstanding year. To all who com— a mere 25 points (teams receive 50 just for showing up peted in 2014 … here’s to you. And to all of those already at an event, even if they finish dead last) — the answer, for itching to join the fun in 2015 … we can’t wait to meet Nagalingam and Raman, was yes. you. It’s going to be another great ride.



on’t let the rainy weather keep you off the golf course this winter. We’ve stocked a full 18 with courses notable for their ability to stay dry, even when others are (in some cases, literally) underwater. With so many to choose from, there’s guaranteed to be at least one in your neck of the woods, so there’s no excuse for keeping the clubs in the garage all winter long:


rowing up in India, cricket was by far the only sports passion — there was cricket, and there was everything else. We watched cricket on TV and played cricket on the streets with neighbors, friends and even strangers. It’s a religion that binds the population of over one billion people of different color, faith and demography into one cohesive community. While working at Microsoft, my Indian friends and I have continued our passion for cricket by playing in league matches. But, cricket has a drawback. It is not an evergreen sport. Because of its physical demands, you play less as you grow older. A 35-year-old man would play senior-level cricket. As we outgrew it, we were itching to embrace an evergreen sport. Enter golf! When we started playing golf in 2009, we hoped to unleash our cricketing abilities on lush greens and scenic golf courses. It soon turned into a deep passion. First came the clubs, then the golf wear. Then we were learning and practicing golf swings regularly, and watching tournaments on TV. Living in the Northwest, the golf season is short, so golf trips to Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Bandon, Bend and Chelan became our favorite ways to spend time away. The club membership followed soon after — then, it was time for tournaments. For us, the Cascade Golfer Cup revived the spirit of competitive sport. The format transforms an individual sport into a team one. It allows you to participate, compete and win the tournament, despite varying handicaps. With several tournaments and prizes leading up to the final championship, we had many opportunities to try, win and just have fun. All of us are part of a bigger community that is passionate about playing and competing in golf. And the best part is, we will all be playing even when we turn 80! — Manish Mittal

Capitol City Golf Course • Olympia

Jefferson Park Golf Course • Seattle

Cedars at Dungeness • Sequim

Legion Memorial Golf Course • Everett

Chambers Bay • University Place

The Links at Hawks Prairie • Lacey

Classic Golf Club • Spanaway

Lipoma Firs • Puyallup

Eaglemont Golf Club • Mount Vernon

Maplewood Golf Course • Renton

Gold Mountain Golf Club • Bremerton

Trophy Lake Golf Club • Port Orchard

Golf Club at Newcastle • Newcastle

Washington National Golf Club • Auburn

Golf Club at Redmond Ridge • Redmond

West Seattle Golf Course • Seattle

The Home Course • DuPont

White Horse Golf Club • Kingston DECEMBER 2014




rom Ryan Moore and Andres Gonzales’ second-career wins to Andrew Putnam’s first, 2014 was a big year for our local golf pros — and that’s not even considering the 2015 PGA TOUR season wins by Moore and UW alum Nick Taylor this fall. Moore nearly made the U.S. Ryder Cup team, finishing 13th in the final Team USA standings, while Putnam, Taylor, Alex Prugh and Andres Gonzales all played their way back onto the PGA TOUR with strong seasons on the, big finishes in the Tour Finals, or both. In addition, Kirk Triplett notched another win on the Champions Tour, while Fred Couples just kept doing Fred Couples things, playing only when and where he felt like it and finishing in the top-10 almost every time. We also added Jordan Spieth to our Home Team watch list — sure, he’s not a Northwest pro, but with Tacoma’s Michael Greller on his bag, Spieth has become a favorite of many Puget Sound golf fans, and the duo had a fantastic year in 2014, banking over $4 million (of which, based on typical caddy rates, a minimum five percent went to our man Greller), and finishing with a 2-1-1 record in four matches at the Ryder Cup. Here’s a quick look at each of our local stars, and a peek ahead to where you’ll find them teeing it up in 2015:



2014 Winnings

Jordan Spieth*

Dallas, Tex.

$4.34 million

2015 Tour PGA TOUR

Ryan Moore


$3.09 million


Fred Couples


$1.18 million

Champions Tour

Kirk Triplett



Champions Tour

Michael Putnam




Richard Lee


$618,000 Tour

Kyle Stanley

Gig Harbor

$485,000 Tour

Andrew Putnam




Andres Gonzales




Alex Prugh**




Nick Taylor**




Jeff Gove


$62,682 Tour

Sadena Parks




Jimin Kang



Symetra Tour

Troy Kelly


$8,123 Tour

Anya Alvarez

Jenks, Okla./UW


Symetra Tour

Louise Friberg



Symetra Tour

Kim Welch

Sacramento/WSU $1,364

Symetra Tour

Paige Mackenzie




* - Caddy, Michael Greller, lives in University Place ** — Earned PGA TOUR card in Tour Finals

Get Your Game In Shape For Spring


ike Swanson has taught PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour pros, junior champions and hundreds of top amateurs. And if there’s one thing that ties all of those players together in his mind, it’s this: they’re all different. “Our philosophy is about getting you to manage your own game,” says Swanson, whose Northwest Players Academy offers lessons at multiple facilities throughout the Puget Sound region, including the Redwood Golf Center in Redmond, Kent Victory Golf, and Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center. “I want to custom-design a lesson plan that’s going to fit your game and what you’re trying to achieve. And I want to give you the ability to recognize your own swing flaws when they happen, so that you can manage your own swing without being reliant on a teacher.” In addition to private lessons, Swanson teaches at corporate events and clinics across the U.S., while continuing to work with some of the Northwest’s top junior and amateur players. “We get results,” says Swanson, who conducts free swing consultations to get golfers started. “I just need to get a golfer in front of me, and in one hour, I can show them immediate results that will convince them that they want more lessons.” To learn more, call 206-491-9393 or visit



CG Readers Meet Their Match at Salish Cliffs


hen the dust settled on Saturday, Sept. 20 — when the final ball had been plucked from the hole, the final score tallied, the final handshake exchanged — Jamie Meade stood alone. The Redmond native had outlasted a field of 82 golfers and won six matches over a period of three months — including three in the previous 28 hours, the latter 54 holes played out across the game-grinding test that is Salish Cliffs Golf Club. Meade was the 2014 Cascade Golfer Match Play Champion. And he was exhausted. A Cascade Golfer Cup regular who runs the men’s club at The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, Meade was one of eight golfers to earn an invitation to the Little Creek Casino Resort on the weekend of Sept. 19-20, whose award-winning Salish Cliffs hosted each of the tournament’s final three rounds over two exciting days. Ranging in handicaps from Meade’s scratch to a 13, the eight quarterfinalists had survived a bracket of 82 golfers who had begun playing head-to-head in June, with the hopes of earning their way to the Championship Weekend at Salish Cliffs. Every golfer who participated in the CG Match Play Championship received a prize, with additional prizes for each match won. The final four golfers earned the chance to stay overnight at the Little Creek Casino in advance of

Saturday’s championship match, won by Meade 1-up in a narrow decision over West Seattle’s Pat DiStefano. The two finalists combined for a remarkable seven gross birdies, including a birdie push on the 18th and final hole. For his efforts, Meade will be winging his way to Las Vegas on a golf vacation this winter — other prizes included rounds of golf at Chambers Bay, Gamble Sands, Pumpkin Ridge and Wine Valley, plus additional rounds from and others. Sound like something you’d be interested in playing in next year? The 2015 Cascade Golfer Match Play Championship will kick off next spring, and will once again be open to any golfer with an established handicap. Keep your eye on for the latest news or follow Cascade Golfer on Facebook; or, e-mail tournament coordinator Simon Dubiel at simon@ to be among the first to know when registration is officially opened.



SHORT GAME Clubhouse Golf Center Winter Leagues Keep Golf Season Alive


here’s no need to lament the end of golf season at Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center (425-5829813, where the weather is always a comfortable 70 degrees, the TV is always tuned to the most exciting game, the food and beverages are served quickly and a tee time at the world’s best courses is always available. Since opening last winter, the Clubhouse — located just off of I-5 in Lynnwood near the Alderwood Mall, about 20 minutes from Seattle, Everett or Kirkland — has become the go-to facility for golfers looking to work in an extra round after dark or on a rainy day, or just to hang out with friends while knocking it stiff at Pebble Beach, the Old Course at St. Andrews and other classic courses. With six full-size, state-of-the-art simulators (taking full swings with your own clubs), a full bar, comfortable lounge seating and multiple TVs, it’s little wonder that golfers have put the Clubhouse on their must-play list this year — especially now that the rain has started falling, the days are turning shorter and the



temperature has plummeted into the 40s. This winter, the Clubhouse Golf Center is offering competitive leagues for golfers of all handicaps. Held in individual and two-man best-ball formats, Clubhouse Golf Center leagues are a fun way to keep your competitive juices flowing during golf’s offseason. For a $50 buy-in, golfers receive free gifts from sponsors (previous seasons’ gifts have included balls, restaurant credit and more) and the ability to play discounted rounds at the Clubhouse — just $25 per 90-minute round, $35 off the peak-season rack rate. At the end of 10 weeks, prizes are awarded to the top teams and individuals, including golf clubs, gift cards, simulator time and more. “It’s the only way to get discounted rounds at the Clubhouse in the peak season, which for us of course is the winter,” says owner Steve Levy, who left his job at Microsoft to start the Clubhouse Golf Center last year. “It’s been a lot of fun, and the response so far has been terrific.” Leagues are currently held Tuesday nights (though golfers who can’t make a Tuesday are allowed to make up their rounds at other times), and include golf, drink specials and occasional special appearances by local celebrities, such as Big Break Florida competitor Renee Skidmore. While the Clubhouse’s fall leagues sold out of available spots, Levy says that additional interest in the winter could lead to leagues on multiple nights; in addition, groups of golfers interested in holding their own leagues or group outings at the Clubhouse during the winter season are welcomed, with special rates available. And to help kick off the season, the Clubhouse Golf Center has given us two hours of simulator time — more than enough for a full 18 — to give away to one lucky Cascade golfer! Log on to for your chance to win!

Zero In On the Perfect Gift For the Holidays


t’s an annual tradition at Cascade Golfer to do all your spouses and loved ones a favor and publish an item or two that we think golfers would most like to see wrapped up with their name on it this upcoming holiday season. This year’s item of interest is the all-new V400 rangefinder from Precision Pro Golf. While we’ve largely come to prefer laser rangefinders to GPS — they’re more accurate in cloudy or rainy weather, they’re more versatile with regard to choosing targets, they’re good at every course you play, and they don’t require any extra subscription costs — there’s one aspect that occasionally drives us nuts: when, for whatever reason, the rangefinder just will not lock onto the pin, instead giving obviously inaccurate distances to the trees, grass and other objects behind the green. That’s not a problem with the Precision Pro V400. The rangefinder’s “Flag Seeking” function returns only the distance to the nearest object in the V400’s field of

Enter to Win a Precision PRO V400 Rangefinder!

view — assuming you’re not standing behind a tree or another golfer, and have a clear view of the pin, that means you’ll receive accurate distance to the pin each time, and not the trees behind the green. In addition, the V400 is accurate to a margin of one yard at up to 400 yards (hence the name) — so, unless you’re capable of bombing it 400-plus, you’ll always know the distance to the pin (or a bunker, or hazard, or whatever else you choose to target) on every shot. Accurate from longer range and greater in magnification (6x) than most of its competitors in the marketplace — and at just $199.95 a full $100 cheaper than most of those that can match its functionality — the Precision Pro V400 is a strong choice both for your golf game, and your budget. If that sounds like something you’d like, don’t forget to leave your December issue of CG laying around on the kitchen counter or bedside table, opened to this page. Your loved ones will hopefully get the hint.


f course, not everyone will be able to convince their loved ones to buy them a sweet new rangefinder this holiday season. That’s why we’re giving you the opportunity to take matters into your own hands and win a Precision Pro V400 rangefinder — a $199.95 value — for yourself! We’ll be drawing one lucky name from the stocking hanging at CG HQ, so log on to and enter to win today!




In the “Sun Belt”

So, You Want To Be A Caddy?

New At The Golf Course

Now on Sale! Forever Punch Cards


(10 Rounds - No Expiration Date) Saves $10 Per Round

ur recent feautre on local teacher Michael Greller, who is forging a second career for himself as a caddy to PGA TOUR star Jordan Spieth (“Higher Education,” CG, Aug. ‘14), generated the most response of anything we published in 2014, with the most common question being, “How can I become a PGA TOUR caddy, too?” Now, not every local grinder winds up on the bag of the biggest name in golf. But, walking around a beautiful golf course for a few hours is still a pretty sweet way to stick $150-$200 in your pocket, depending on where you loop — and of course, the quality of your work. Here’s a few tips for pursuing your dream of becoming a caddy:

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Strength and endurance are all well and good, but a caddy’s first job is far more mental than physical. Know the rules of golf, to help your player avoid

UNLIMITED WINTER GOLF CARD Valid November 1, 2014 thru February 28, 2015






• • • • •




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Visit or any Oki Golf Public Course to Purchase 16


2. KNOW THE COURSE If you’re planning to become a regular at a course like Chambers Bay, Bandon Dunes or any of the local private tracks that run caddy programs, become intimately familiar with the course. Know the yardages to the greens and hazards from any point on the course — and, in particular, know which shots need to be played longer or shorter than the yardage indicates. Also, spend hours learning the breaks from every point on each green. Accurate advice on shot selections and putts will give your player a chance to score well – and the better they do, the happier they’ll be when it comes time to calculate your gratuity.

3. KNOW YOUR ROLE As reigning Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson says, “The separation’s in the preparation.” Lugging the bag, providing advice on club selections and reading greens are all key parts of the job of a golf caddy. However, you’re also responsible for keeping the player’s clubs clean, replacing ball marks and divots, raking bunkers, locating wayward balls, tending pins and — perhaps most importantly — managing your player’s emotions, whether they’re having a good day, or a bad day. Know your role and be prepared for any situation that may arise. Preparation breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success.




Golf anytime Monday – Friday, and Saturday – Sunday after 12:00pm LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE Winter Unlimited Golf Card is valid only at property where purchased Includes Players Card benefits at other Oki Golf public properties until 3/31/15 Other fees may apply, see website for complete terms and conditions

*Listed price is for 2014 and 2015 Players Cardholders. Additional fee charged for non-cardholders.

Photo courtesy Michael Greller

penalties and make the best choices when they’re in trouble. It’s also important to understand the nuances of the game, and be able to properly analyze the risk and reward inherent in any shot.

As a caddy, your No. 1 job is to ensure that your player has a positive experience. Some players will score well; others will not. It’s your job to treat both with the same respect, and give the same quality and consistency of effort. Regardless of the skill or attitude of the player, do your job with the utmost professionalism. More than anything, that will set you apart from your fellow loopers, and increase your chances of being put on the bag should the next Jordan Spieth come walking in the door.



He has a Super Bowl ring — now Seahawks center Max Unger needs a hole-in-one


t figures that Max Unger could pick up a

ing the 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in

golf club for the first time and, within just a

Super Bowl XLVIII.

few short years, be better than the majority of

With the NFL players locked out in 2011,

golfers across America. There isn’t much that

Unger needed a challenge to keep his com-

Unger, in the middle of his sixth season an-

petitive juices flowing, and turned to golf. At

choring the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line,

6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds, it’s fair to

hasn’t excelled at over the last decade.

say that he stands out from the crowd on the

An All-American at the University of Ore-

practice green, whether at Newcastle, Gold

gon and an All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler

Mountain or any of his other favorite North-

with the Seahawks, Unger added “Super Bowl

west tracks. Once he hits the first tee, though,

champion” to his resume in 2013, starting 16

he’s no different than the rest of us — except,

of the Seahawks’ 19 games at center, includ-

of course, for that diamond-encrusted ring. A CG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR

How’s your game? (laughing) “My golf game’s rough. Actually, last year wasn’t bad, I got down to the low 80s towards the end of the year. I had two rounds in a row under 85, so I was happy. But I finally have a set of clubs that work for me, so it’s getting better.” What kind of clubs do you use? Do you have to get them custom-made? “They’re Nike Coverts, the red ones. They’re awesome. One of my buddies works for a golf shop, so we kind of tweaked them a bit. He added maybe three quarters of an inch on steel shafts.” Do you have a go-to club or shot? “Probably my nine iron from about 150; I feel good about that one.” How often do you get to play? “I’m from Hawaii, so I spend the whole offseason back there. I try to get out 50, 60, 70 times or so. We just jam, and try to play pretty much every day. It’s perfect. When [the Seahawks are] here, we’re usually done working out about noon, and there’s about five guys who will go out every day, so you can always jump on with someone.” Who’s your favorite teammate to hit the links with? “Jermaine Kearse, Steve Schilling, Bryan Walters, Steve Hauschka ... that’s pretty much the crew. And we have a couple of other guys that are starting to come along. It’s fun. We go out quite a bit.” 22


Who’s the worst golfer on the team? “I’m up there. Me and Luke Willson. We’ll fight it out for the bottom. Luke just got a set of sticks, so he’s picking it up. We can just go out together and hack it around.” Where are your favorite places to play around here? “We go up to Newcastle a lot. But I’ll go anywhere on the peninsula — Gold Mountain is one of my favorites. We went down to Salish Cliffs this offseason, and that place is killer. That’s way up there on my list. Suncadia, Newcastle ... I’ll go wherever, man.” Does the beard ever get in the way of your swing? “Oh, man, I shaved that thing off so fast last year. I shaved it right after the Super Bowl, so it doesn’t interfere with my golf game at all. It would have, though — severely. I didn’t grow it back this year, either ... it was way too crazy.” What are your favorite courses to play back home on the Big Island? “Oh, there’s a bunch. Mauna Kea’s really cool. There’s a private course called Nanea that’s cool. The Hualalai Course, and then Mauna Lani. Really, any course is great. When you go out up north on the Big Island, there’s green fairways and then just straight lava. You hit it over there, and it’s not even like jail — it’s like a destroyed ball. Even if you see your ball, you can’t walk out to go get it. It’s hazardous, I’ll say.” Have you ever had a hole in one? “No, I have not.”

If I told you that you could have a hole in one for sure, but you’d have to intentionally false start at some point this season as a trade-off — you can choose when, it could be when you’re up 20 in the fourth quarter — and nobody would ever find out ... would you do it? (laughs) “I think that’s illegal. I think there are some moral ramifications for that. I couldn’t do it.” What was your favorite moment from the Super Bowl? “The game itself was so much chaos, plus the whole week leading up to it. I didn’t really get a chance for it to set in until we got the rings. We got them at the end of June, so that was kind of the capping off and the finishing of it. That was my favorite time.” Do you wear your ring all the time, or do you keep it someplace special? “Very, very rarely. I wore it down to a game at Oregon this fall, but other than that, I haven’t broken it out.” My favorite aspect of the Super Bowl run was how it brought the community together for those few months. How much do you guys pick up on that during the season and does it impact your play on the field? “Absolutely. That’s one of the coolest things that I’ve heard from people is when they just say, ‘Thank you,’ for bringing the championship to the Northwest and saying what it did for them and how much it meant to them and the people around them in the community. Hearing that is really cool.”



RISK vs. REWARD Rope Rider at Suncadia

Hole No. 11 Par 5 498 yards (Blue tees) The Setup: Coming off the short, par-4 10th, this is a great chance to keep the momentum going, or watch it get soaked. Not overly long, a solidly struck tee shot that splits the fairway bunkers should leave the average hitter in green-light territory. The left side of the fairway creates a better approach angle to a green guarded by a pond on the right and three bunkers left.

The Risk: This is really the “go-for-broke” moment. The average hitter will have 220-240 yards to go with next to no margin for error. A well-struck shot brings the reward, but anything less will likely leave a nasty number on your scorecard. Furthermore, the green is 35 yards from back to front with

By Simon Dubiel

plenty of slope, so merely finding the short stuff doesn’t allow the gambler to start collecting their winnings right away.

The Reward: When you are tipping back a glass of wine on the deck of Swiftwater Cellars after your round, do you think your buddies want to hear you talking about your great layup shot, or how pure you struck that 220-yard approach to get home in two? You get the point. A great shot leaves you a birdie at worst. A poorly struck shot, if left, still gives you a chance at making birdie, or at worst a par.

Final Call: You corked your drive 270 yards and find yourself with 218 to the middle of the green. If you aren’t pushing

in your chips at this point, you just don’t have any gamble in you. Haven’t you ever birdied a long par-3? Well, hit that same shot here and you can put a double circle on your scorecard. Remember, if you aren’t living on the edge, then you are taking up too much space.






Just the fourth pair of brothers to appear on the PGA TOUR in the same season, Tacoma’s Michael and Andrew Putnam have a distinct bro-vantage.


hen it comes down to it, golf is a selfish game. On the PGA TOUR, it’s as much about chasing dollars as chasing birdies. You putt for dough — as much bread as you can make. Earn enough money each year – usually around $750,000 – and you remain a member in good standing within one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, limited to a revolving-door cast of just 150 members. Your fortunes rest solely on your skills. Your coaches, sponsors, investors, friends and family members can follow your every shot; your caddy can detail distances, direct where to land approaches and advise on the subtle slopes of the greens. But it’s strictly up to you, the player, to take each shot — to drive the ball onto narrow fairways and guide snaky putts into the hole. No pinch-hitters, no substitutes, no injury replacements. And no distractions. A good walk can be spoiled by life. Any off-course issue involving the wife, kids, parents or friends must be bifurcated into a remote corner of the brain for the sake of on-course concentration. In a world of harsh survival, it’s every man for himself — unless, of course, one of the other men out there is your own brother.



By Bob Sherwin That’s the world into which Michael and Andrew Putnam will tread this season, having to strike a delicate balance between selflessness and selfishness to both come out on top. “The one thing about golf, it is very selfish. You can only control what you’re doing,” says younger brother Andrew, 26, embarking on his rookie PGA TOUR season. “But there is a little distraction. When you see your brother’s name on the leaderboard, sometimes you compare yourself to him. There’s that (sibling) competitiveness. It’s usually a positive when he’s playing well. It spurs you on.” The pair, who grew up in Tacoma, are just the fourth set of brothers in Tour history to play together, and the first to do so regularly in almost two decades. Michael, 31, now in his fourth full PGA TOUR season, admits having his brother on his peer level can unwittingly seep into his psyche. “For sure, I do fall into the trap and watch the scoreboard, either on-line or on my phone, at times when

I probably shouldn’t,” Michael says. “It’s tough because I care as much about what Andrew’s doing. But that’s the learning curve this year. We both have to get past that. Care for each other each Wednesday, then by Thursday (when the tournaments start), you want to beat him as bad as anyone else. We’re playing for ourselves as well as cheering for each other.” Curt Byrum joined the PGA TOUR in 1983, and was joined by his brother Tom in 1985. They each won one tournament, both in 1989. Curt says, “When all is said and done, it’s all positive’’ having a sibling on the PGA TOUR. “I’m sure Michael can help Andrew by telling him where to stay, he can help plan his schedule for the type of courses he should play,’’ Curt says. “It’s another tournament player for him to lean on. He can probably help with his swing or alignment. He can say things to his brother that he probably couldn’t say to another tournament player.’’ Curt adds that playing in the same tournament or even in the same pairing could be a distraction, because they both want each other to play well, “but I don’t see it as a huge distraction. I think the positives way out-weigh any possible negatives.’’

“For sure, I do watch the scoreboard at times when I probably shouldn’t,” says Tacoma’s Michael Putnam (left page), whose younger brother, Andrew (right), joined him on the PGA TOUR this fall. “It’s tough because I care as much about what Andrew’s doing. But we both have to get past that. Care for each other each Wednesday, then by Thursday, you want to beat him as bad as anyone else.”


his is a relatively new experience for the Putnams, at least on this grand stage. Growing up, they rarely played competitively against each other. Michael is five-and-a-half years older than Andrew. His playing buddy was (and still is) Andres Gonzales, an Olympia native and Lakewood resident who will also be joining the brothers on the PGA TOUR this year. His rival was Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, a year older. Andrew trailed well behind, following nearly six years behind his brother at Tacoma’s Life Christian Academy, and then again at Pepperdine University. It wasn’t until two years ago on the Tour that the brothers finally were on the same competitive level. “And he kicked my butt,” Andrew says. Michael finished first on the Tour in 2013 and was named Player of the Year. He hasn’t been back to the “junior” circuit since. “I’m almost six years older but now we’re playing professional golf and seeing each other on a daily basis,” Michael explains. “We’re working for the same goal. It’s more of a peer-to-peer or friend-to-friend relationship, not the older brother. It’s been great hanging out and a pretty cool story.” Andrew, who finished eighth in the 2014 Tour to earn his PGA card, essentially had a path to the Tour paved by Michael. Their parents, Daniel and Karin Putnam, were members at Fircrest Golf Club and introduced the game to Michael at age 7. He took to the sport well. Michael developed into a boomer off the tee, turning heads by pounding the ball 300 yards at a young age. But he played mostly regional tournaments and his name was not on college coaches’ lists until late in his prep career. “The first time I saw him was on the 14th hole at Torrey Pines South (in the Junior World Championship),” says John Geiberger, the brothers’ coach at Pepperdine, now a consultant for a golf-ball manufacturer. “That was his first tournament out of the Northwest. I thought, ‘There’s a lot of good things to work with here.’ He definitely stood out. It was almost like he was getting started. “To me, the upside was there. The game looked easy to him. He was effortless hitting the ball. I thought the sky was the limit.” With that exposure, Geiberger suddenly found himself fighting off scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU, USC and the Northwest schools, before successfully enticing Michael to Pepperdine.

Michael improved every season with the Waves. He earned All-America honorable mention honors as a sophomore, then third team, followed by first-team AllAmerica his senior year. He also won the Byron Nelson Award as a senior, an honor that involves not just athletic excellence but scholarship and community service. In 2005, he advanced to the NCAA finals against Washington’s James Lepp, who shot the course record on the final day at Caves Valley in Baltimore to force a playoff. Lepp won the title on the fourth extra hole. But rather than turn pro, Lepp put his efforts into building Kikkor Golf, a golf shoe company. “I think about it all the time,” Michael says. “I’ve seen him since and he said if he knew he didn’t want to play professionally then, he would have wanted me to win.” So much for that. But Michael did win – three times, in fact, all on the Tour — which shaped his professional journey. Two years ago, he dominated, winning $515,184, third-best ever on the Tour, with nine top-10s. This past season on the PGA TOUR, he took home $818,799, making 23 of 30 cuts and qualifying for the FedEx Cup. Entering this wrap-around 2015 season, his career earnings already were $1,883,141. “He’s in a good place,” Geiberger says. “At 31, he’s in his prime and could play for another 15 years.”


ndrew watched his older sibling’s career develop. More importantly, so did his parents. They understood that Andrew needed to play more outof-state tournaments for better name recognition and scholarship possibilities. “My parents figured things out once he went through it,” Andrew says. “We traveled quite a bit.” One of his highlights was reaching the semifinals of the USGA Junior Amateur in San Diego, beating Rickie Fowler along the way. “[Andrew] took a different path than Michael. He played more tournaments and was more polished earlier,” says Geiberger, the son of longtime PGA star Al Geiberger. “I remember Michael telling me, ‘My brother is getting pretty good. I played him this winter and he beat me.’ That was the first real piece of knowledge that hit me.” Andrew signed with Pepperdine, following his brother. Geiberger said Andrew was not influenced by the fact that

his brother played at Pepperdine, nor was he deterred by his brother’s lofty legacy there. “I asked him whether what his brother did would hinder him and he said, ‘No, that just motivates me to be better,”’ Geiberger says. “I still remember that answer.” Andrew was a three-time honorable mention AllAmerican at Pepperdine and two-time academic AllAmerican. When it came time to leave the college ranks in 2011, Andrew sought what Michael wanted, only faster. “Andrew told me he did not want to play the mini tours,” Geiberger says. “‘I want to be good quick, coach. I’ll show you.’ He took that approach.” He spent two full seasons on the Tour, with one win, one second and seven top-10s, finishing with $320,438 in 2014 to earn his card. Now, in 2015, both brothers are living the big time. “It is a little weird. It’s a different feeling going into tournaments together,” Andrew says. “(But) it’s much better than the Everything is upgraded. It’s pretty cool. Everything’s bigger. Lots of craziness going on. You walk out on the range and see all the players you’ve watched on TV.” Geiberger, having coached both players, has perhaps the best perspective on the Putnams’ potential. He said being together “will raise the level of both of their games. They are competitive with each other. Andrew has someone out there to help him with the ropes and Michael will not let Andrew beat him.” This is not to say that the boys have the same game or are comparable in body or mind. Michael, at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds — known as “Big Putty” to his friends — can mash it off the tee, averaging 301.5 yards last season for 33rd place overall, while hitting a decent 72 percent of greens in regulation. The only thing holding him back from breaking into the top- 50 is his putting. Last season, Michael ranked 165th in total putting, 157th in strokes gained putting and 153rd in putts per round. This is not breaking news. He knows what he needs to do and has been working with a putting coach this fall. Andrew, at 6-1 and 170 pounds — known as “Little Putty” (older brother Joel Putnam, Michael’s caddy, has earned the “Silly Putty” moniker) — does not have the same distance off the tee but may have a steadier overall game. His issue this year is adjustment. He’s playing with the big boys now, with little margin for error. These guys are good; he needs to match that. DECEMBER 2014


“Lots of these guys have played these courses 15 years in row with the pins in the same places,” Andrew says. “It’s hard being a rookie, competing against guys who are basically playing on their home courses. I show up Monday and play two practice rounds to see the course. The veterans show up Wednesday and they’re ready to go. It’s more challenging the first year. I have to keep up with the learning curve.” But as Curt Byrum alluded to, Andrew has a ‘brovantage’ that most other rookies never had. This is where selflessness pop up, a sort of sibling altruism. Michael has seen all these courses. He understands the the specific course management. He wants to win, but the best scenario is for Andrew to finish second. “A lot of the courses are new for him. This is my fourth or fifth year,” Michael says. “I can definitely help with a lot of strategic things, help him learn the courses without having to go through the mistakes I made. How to get up and down, when to be aggressive, when to be safe, be more patient.” Michael can help off the course as well, with the right hotels, restaurants, time management and travel schedule. In fact, with a large South Sound contingent, including Moore (Puyallup), Gonzales (Olympia), Troy Kelly (Tacoma), Kyle Stanley (Gig Harbor), older brother Joel and Andrew’s caddie Johnny McArthur, “It’s like having a family traveling to the same events. That’s huge,” Andrew says. “Life on the PGA Tour, with all the hotels and stops, you’re doing your own thing. You’re kind of alone. We create a community of people hanging out. We bring



teams, particularly the Seahawks. In fact, Michael and his buddies have taken in a couple Seahawks road games, against San Francisco last year and San Diego this year. Both losses. “I’ve been telling him to stop traveling,” Andrew says. “They lost each time. He needs to quit doing that.”

T Andrew Putnam says of the Home Team, featuring six south-sound golfers on the PGA TOUR this year, “It’s like having a family traveling to the same events. Life on the PGA TOUR, with all the hotels and stops, you’re doing your own thing. You’re kind of alone. We create a community of people hanging out. We bring home with us.” home with us.” Gonzales and the Putnams are regulars at Tacoma’s Meadow Park Golf Club between weeks on Tour, with Michael returning this past September to play alongside amateurs in the 2014 Tacoma Open. The “Home Team” players, as they’ve been called, also have a common background and common interest in the local sports

he Putnams also share are the same goals. They both want to win; Michael came close last season with a fourth-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open. They both want to improve from week to week. They both want to retain their cards, which means earning around $750,000 in 30 or so tournaments. They both want to qualify for the FedEx Cup and they both want to play in all four majors, particularly the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, the University Place course less than a mile from Michael’s home. For them, however, it’s not a singular effort. They’re not alone. They’re doing this together — same tour, same courses, same hotels and inevitably, same pairing. “The USGA tends to pair up special groups,” Andrew says. “Maybe it’ll be us at the U.S. Open at Chambers.” Bob Sherwin is a veteran of The Seattle Times and The New York Times, a frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer, and the co-publisher of He last wrote about the Boeing Classic in the June 2014 issue of Cascade Golfer.


Sea of Sand

From Palm Springs to Phoenix, the southwest desert is where golf season never ends


y now you’ve heard the coming winter is going to be relatively dry and mild.

According to KOMO meteorologist Scott Sistek, it’s going to be drier than normal, and the average temperature could go up half a degree or more. Whoopdee-do. A half-degree rise in temperature and the prospect of a little less rain is nice, but it certainly isn’t enough to keep golfers at home in the Northwest, when Arizona, California and Nevada are bathed in sunshine, temps are in the 70s, and golf courses

SilverRock Resort • La Quinta, Calif.

are in glorious condition. Of course, even with the benefit of all the maps and stats available to him, Sistek couldn’t say with any certainty what we have in store. “Guess we’ll have to wait and see if we do end up with a mild winter,” he said. You can wait and see if you like, Scott, but Northwest golfers won’t be hanging around to find out. This winter, we’re taking our games south.


alm Springs has been in the doldrums for the last few years, but the city that once rightly called itself “The Golf Capital of the World” certainly hasn’t gone away. In fact, while there might not be any new courses to speak of, golf facilities all over the valley (the Coachella Valley has less than one percent of Southern California’s population, but approximately 28 percent of its golf courses) have pulled out the stops to keep Palm Springs golf relevant and the winter golf scene thriving. All manner of specials, deals and player incentives have appeared. Courses have improved their service and continue to offer superb conditions. One course that may have flown under your radar, but which a nose for good golf will lead you to eventually, is SilverRock (760-777-8884,, an Arnold Palmer design that opened in 2005 and was a host course of the Bob Hope Classic from 2008-11. The course lies in the golf-mad city of La Quinta, where it seems there



California By Tony Dear must be a golf hole, if not an entire course, for every resident. SilverRock is owned by the City of La Quinta, and can stretch to 7,578 yards, though five other sets enable it to activate the time-worn phrase “suitable for all levels of golfer.” Let’s assume from here on that every course we mention is “suitable for all levels of golfer.” As you’d expect of a muni, SilverRock does a lot of business – 47,000 rounds last year. Despite the traffic, though, general manager Randy Duncan says this is not your typical municipal. “For a start, the course is in good enough shape to host a PGA TOUR event any time,” he says. “There are no homes on or around the course, we have state-of-the-art GPS carts, a superb driving range, and a clubhouse patio with views of the mountains.”

Then there’s the greens fee — $170 from Dec. 26 to Apr. 30. That’s not your standard muni rate but, as Duncan pointed out, this is not a standard city-owned course, and rates do fluctuate according to demand – they call it “dynamic pricing.” One rate that isn’t listed on the course’s web site, but which has proved incredibly popular since being introduced last year, is the $40 “Work the Rock” super-twilight that begins two hours before sunset, and is available from November through April. Another former Bob Hope Classic venue designed by Palmer, and one that you can play for about $140 throughout the winter (or $25 if you’re active military or a public servant) is the Classic Club in Palm Desert (760601-3600,, on the north side of I-10, and adjacent to the Coachella Valley Fringe-Toed Lizard Preserve. The course, which was developed by a local charitable organization, holds many charity tournaments during the year, and in 2014 will enable charities to raise

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Classic Golf Club, Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Springs Golf Club and La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST represent four of the Coachella Valley’s most enjoyable golf experiences.

over $500,000 for good causes. The Classic Club is managed by Troon Golf, meaning visitors benefit from the company’s pace of play and family golf initiatives. Troon Family Golf offers free golf to juniors (15 and under) after 3 p.m. each day, provided they play with a paying adult. Juniors also receive free club rental and free instruction, again with paying adults. In addition, “Troon Values Your Time” assigns each course its own Time Par — a realistic assessment of how long it should take to play, based on the course’s length and topography. Classic’s Time Par is four hours and 20 minutes. Kris Strauss, Troon’s VP of Sales and Marketing, says the program is working. “GPS data is showing the pace of play is improving,” he says. “Our customers appreciate the fact we are setting the expectation on the amount of time a round should take. We get positive feedback from golfers about having a pace of play policy we are serious about.“ While Palm Springs has dozens of courses worth traveling all the way from the Northwest to play, one course you wouldn’t have even crossed the street for at the turn of the century was Indian Springs Golf Club (760-2008988,, on the border between Indio and La Quinta. Now it’s a hugely popular layout with golfers from the cold, wet, white North, thanks largely to

a redesign in 2000 by David Ginkel, who didn’t so much rework the existing course as dig the whole thing up and start again. “It really wasn’t in very good shape,” Ginkel says. That’s putting it mildly. The greens were reportedly as hard as rocks, the fairways completely bare, and any golfer that came near the place was merely passing by on his or her way to La Quinta, about five miles to the south. Owner Neil Finch, who bought the course in 2008 after spending years as general manager, used to joke there were 102 courses in the area and Indian Springs barely made the top 100. Ginkel spent $4 million over seven months moving well over a million cubic yards of sand and dirt to create the new layout. Now, it attracts 35,000 rounds a year and is a favorite among women, though it’s a good, fair challenge for everyone. It’s also one of the Valley’s few sub-$100 rounds. Giving good value is a big deal for Finch, who prides his course on “great greens, great conditions, and great service.” You’ll find all that plus two of the best courses in California at perennial favorite Indian Wells Golf Resort (888-753-1270,, which was recently named 2014 California Golf Course of the Year by the California Golf Course Owners Association. It’s also

the only property in the Golden State to have two courses in the top-25 of GOLF magazine’s “Best Courses You Can Play” and Golfweek’s “Best Municipal Courses.” Indian Wells may not be what the forefathers of American municipal golf envisioned when they opened the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park G.C. in 1895, and with a $144 green fee and the benefits of an $80 million renovation in 2007, it definitely isn’t cut from the same cloth as Jefferson Park, Jackson Park or West Seattle. But it is a muni nevertheless. The Celebrity Course, designed by Englishman Clive Clark, has an adornment of artifices that may seem overthe-top in the context of today’s trend towards more minimalist design, but one absolutely cannot deny that it is pretty as a picture. Oregon native John Fought was a little more restrained when building the Players Course, which the 1977 U.S. Amateur champion modeled on some of America’s classic courses, such as Riviera, Augusta National and Winged Foot. “The bunkering is more Riviera than anything else,” says Fought. “Beyond that, I tried to create some interesting strategy, because I think the Golden Age designers did that so much better than designers from any other era. The greens do not have levels, but rather subtle movements that make putting interesting.” DECEMBER 2014


Also a Troon-managed property (Time Par: 4:33), Indian Wells possesses a roomy clubhouse featuring the acclaimed VUE Sushi Bar and the VUE Grille and Bar, which opened in November 2013. Vue is also home to the desert’s largest selection of whiskies and bourbons. Indian Wells, Classic and Shadow Ridge are widely considered the cream of Coachella Valley public golf, along with the two La Quinta landmarks — La Quinta Resort and Spa (, 760-564-4111) and PGA WEST (, 800-742-9378). At the former, you can play Pete Dye’s fabulous Mountain and Dunes courses (each $119 midweek in January), while the latter features six layouts, including three — the Nicklaus Tournament, Greg Norman Resort and Dye’s wildly entertaining TPC Stadium Course — open to public golfers. A mid-week morning round on either the Norman Resort or Nicklaus Tournament Course in January also costs just $119, while the extra thrill of the Stadium Course (and the chance to lose more balls on one of the most challenging courses in the U.S.) is worth an extra $20. If you can combine your round with a stay in one of the 620 newly renovated casitas and suites, or any of the 98 villas at the historic, 45-acre Waldorf Astoria-owned La Quinta Resort, then your winter golf getaway will be all the more memorable. Another facility that makes many people’s “best of” lists is Desert Willow (760-3460015,, in Palm Desert — another of the Valley’s I-can’t-believeit’s-not-private venues. Built by the City of Palm Desert and designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, with assistance from PGA Tour player John Cook and local landscape

A PLACE TO CALL HOME Every snowbird needs a nest — and nobody knows Palm Springs like Joe Vetrano of California Lifestyle Realty. A former college golfer and the son of the former 49ers player and coach of the same name (the latter a lifelong friend of UW and 49ers legend Hugh McElhenny), Vetrano is one of PGA WEST’s most respected agents, with the combined knowledge of golf and real estate to find the right house, on the right course, to meet every golfer’s needs. To learn more, visit or call 760-963-0587.

The Golf Club at Terra Lago • Indio, Calif.

architect Eric Johnson, Desert Willow possesses two courses — Firecliff, which extends to 7,056 yards and opened in 1997, and the more lenient, merciful Mountain View, which opened a year later and reaches 6,913 yards. If you plan on making Desert Willow your winter home, we strongly recommend you purchase a Desert Willow Platinum Club card. It costs $329 but the benefits are considerable – all sorts of pro shop, driving range, and clubhouse discounts, plus savings on green fees of up to $100. The Golf Club at Terra Lago (760-775-2000, on the north side of I-10 in Indio, is another venue you should find some time for. Both the North and South Courses opened in 1999 and were designed by Brian Curley who, in recent years, has been making something of a name for himself in China alongside design partner Lee Schmidt. Formerly Landmark G.C., Terra Lago hosted the Skins Game from 1999 to 2002 — the winners were Fred Couples, Colin Montgomery, Greg Norman (who won all 18 skins and a cool $1 million) and Mark O’Meara.



Nevada Lakes Course at Primm Valley Resort • Primm, Nev.

Angel Park Golf Club • Las Vegas, Nev.




wo hundred and eighty miles northeast of Palm Springs is Las Vegas, where golf could well be the primary purpose of your trip … but might not be. Again, there are numerous excellent courses which have gained national recognition either by hosting PGA TOUR events, costing outrageous fortunes to build, or courting publicity in other ways. Thanks perhaps to its location 45 miles southwest of Vegas on the Nevada/California border, Primm Valley Golf Club (, 888-PRIMMNV) has never become quite as familiar to Northwesterners as Cascata or Shadow Creek, with which the Lakes Course at Primm Valley shares a little DNA – all lush paradises completely alien to their arid desert surroundings. Tom Fazio designed both courses at Primm — the Lakes opening in 1997, the slightly more natural-looking Desert a year later. Both offer serious eye candy — low on subtlety but big on conspicuous, eye-catching features. The views of the Mojave National Preserve and McCullough Mountains are spectacular. Stay and play package deals are also available at Primm’s casino resorts, as well as other area hotels. If your game stinks, it might be worth scheduling a lesson with the Bob May Golf Academy, based at Silverstone in Las Vegas but which often visits Primm Valley. And when you’ve played two of Nevada’s finest courses, and had the 2000 PGA Championship runner-up reboot your swing, you can head to Buffalo Bill’s Hotel and ride The Desperado roller-coaster, which was the tallest in the world when it opened in 1994. There are too many good courses in Las Vegas to mention them all, but one that can’t be overlooked is the remarkable Angel Park Golf Club (, 702-2544653) which never seems to get the love and attention it deserves. Managed by OB Sports, Angel Park is just a few minutes west of the Strip in a golf-rich part of town – Badlands, TPC Summerlin and TPC Las Vegas are all nearby. There are 57 holes here – 36 designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay (Palm and Mountain), the 12-hole Cloud Nine par-three course designed by Bob Cupp (nine holes are floodlit each evening), and the nine-hole putting course, Seventh Heaven. In a town where everything has to be the biggest or the best, Angel Park is not slow to bill itself as the “most complete golf experience in the world.” That’s up for debate, certainly, but what isn’t in question is that Angel Park is a great day out. General Manager David Bogue has been at Angel Park since 2003 and says he has never felt prouder to be associated with it. “I wouldn’t have said that five or six years ago,” he adds. “The courses weren’t in great shape at the time, but we spent a lot of money during the down market and it has really paid off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the courses looking so good.” Eighty miles east of Las Vegas is Mesquite, whose Palms Course, which opened in 1990, spawned a new

A Sea of Sand golf destination and viable alternative to Vegas and Scottsdale. Six more 18-holers have since been built here — seven if you include the Jack Nicklaus-designed Coyote Springs, 45 minutes to the west via I-15 and State Route 168, along which you will most definitely start doubting your GPS, checking how much gas you have and wishing you had stocked up on water and snacks at the last gas station. Don’t worry, you’ll find it eventually and be very glad you did. Virtually all of Mesquite’s courses are surrounded by, or actually built on, the sort of scenery that makes for good calendars. While Palms is the oldest, Conestoga Golf Club (702-346-4292, is the city’s newest course, having opened in 2009. It was designed by Scottsdale-based architect Gary Panks, who made the most of the site’s remote setting and magnificent landforms, although he says finding a course out here, let alone building it, wasn’t easy. “We had to hike to some points because we couldn’t get a vehicle out there,” he says. “It was by far the largest earthworks project I’ve been involved in. I think we moved five million cubic yards of dirt.” Fortunately, Panks adds, the earth was fine silt and had few rocks or boulders in it, “so moving it wasn’t actually too big a problem.” The results are amazing. Despite the huge earth-moving effort, and the fact that this is definitely not one of

those sites where the architect would have said something like, “God meant this to be a golf course,” Conestoga looks remarkably natural. It’s the sort of place you expect to find archaeologists and paleontologists digging in the dust, but in between the sandstone peaks you actually find bright green fairways, large sand bunkers and the odd lake. Green fees between New Year’s Day and Apr. 30 begin at $69 and top out at $169. Cody Law, Executive Director at Golf Mesquite Nevada — a consortium of six courses, including the aforementioned Coyote Springs, as well as Coral Canyon, Falcon Ridge, the John Fought-designed Sand Hollow and the 36-hole Oasis Golf Club, the latter including a spectacular Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay layout — says Mesquite is growing in popularity every year because golfers are beginning to appreciate the ease with which they can get around to the various courses and hotels, promoting a stress-free vacation. Golfers can plan entire Mesquite getaways on, from hotels to tee times and more. “The main thing that sets Mesquite apart is the proximity of our golf courses to the hotel and casino resorts,” Law says. “You are literally a five-minute drive from hotel to golf course. Golfers return to Mesquite because they feel they will get a more intimate experience with their group than they would elsewhere. Many say it feels like a second home because of the warm reception they receive every time.”

Conestoga Golf Club • Mesquite, Nev.

Canyons at Oasis Golf Club • Mesquite, Nev.



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hree hundred and fifty miles south of Mesquite, Gary Panks left another impressive footprint in an equally stunning setting. The Sedona Golf Resort (928-284-9355, has to be played to be believed. Admittedly, the temperature here at 4,350 feet above sea level, and 115 miles north of Phoenix, isn’t the same as it is down in the Valley of the Sun, but it should remain in the mid-to-high 50s in January, so you’ll survive a day playing a course surrounded by the famous red sandstone rocks and what is surely one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world. Morning tee times in December and January can be had for a very reasonable $79, while the price goes up to $100 from February-May. Rates start dropping after midday and go as low as $49 at 3:30 p.m. And the postround pint on the patio of the Juniper Bar and Grille, Sedona Golf Resort • Sedona, Ariz. with the incredible panoramas, might be the most enjoyable of the winter. Then, of course, there is Scottsdale, the Queen of Desert Golf (not really, I just made that up). Your Scottsdale winter golf event begins five minutes before you land at Sky Harbor in Phoenix as you look out the window of the Alaska Airlines 737 you’re more than likely sitting in and see the staggering amount of green (with patches of light brown and blue) spread out in the valley below. Scottsdale is the high-end of the metro Phoenix area and the golf can be expensive in winter, but the experience is so unlike what you receive elsewhere it’s definitely worth shelling out a few extra bucks. Desert golf with 50-foot tall, hundred-year-old saguaro cacti looking on is a singular experience. The sky’s blue, the courses are in superb shape and the service in the clubhouse is invariably top-notch. The words “what’s,” “not,” “to,” and “like” spring to mind. Courses where you can treat yourself to the wonders of Scottsdale/Phoenix golf are the OB Sports-managed Longbow, Eagle Mountain, the Raven at South Mountain, and McDowell Mountain, which Phil Mickelson and his manager Steve Loy purchased the operating rights to in spring 2011 before launching into a major renovation. Troon also operates its share of public courses in this part of the world, too — Lookout Mountain, Ocotillo, the Boulders, the Phoenician, the Westin Kierland, Whirlwind, and the quintessential desert classic, Troon North. You will drop plenty of money at every one of these courses, so take advantage of every coupon, discount, loyalty card, and temporary membership program you can find.


he deserts of the Southwest are waiting for the annual invasion of golfers from the Northwest. Be sure to join them.

Tony Dear is an award-winning golf writer, frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer, and publisher of He last appeared in the December 2013 issue of CG, writing about David McLay Kidd and the new Gamble Sands Golf Course. 42









By Brian Beaky CG Editor

he air hits you like a wall the second you step off the plane — the heat, the humidity and the fragrant aroma of thousands of Kaua’i’s colorful flowers. For a traveler from the Northwest, it can be momentarily disorienting, a stark reminder that you’ve left our cool mountain climate behind and arrived in a tropical paradise. After six hours of nothing but blue, shimmering ocean, my first glimpse of Kaua’i is like a blind man’s first glimpse of a rainbow; the vibrant, green slopes of Kaua’i’s mountains are like no green I’ve ever seen, while the ridges cascading down from their peaks appear painted by some heavenly brush in streaks of orange, purple and red. To my wife’s amusement, I find myself humming the theme from Jurassic Park as we glide across the final few miles of ocean to the tiny Lihue airport, echoing the scene from the film when the characters first approach the island by helicopter, the beautiful Kawaikini Mountain and stunning Waimea Canyon just as breathtaking in person as they were on film. After picking up our bags, we hopped on the shuttle to Enterprise Rent-A-Car (, 808246-0204), where manager Justin Hidalgo quickly had us out the door and into our new ride for the week, a fully-equipped, four-wheel drive, convertible Jeep Wrangler. Trust me, there’s no better way to experience

Princeville Makai Golf Club • Princeville


Kaua’i Lagoons Golf Club • Lihue


Kaua’i; six days later, we’d return the Jeep with the top off and the hood and sides caked in mud from an offroad adventure into the heart of the island. The curious — and undeniably envious — looks of renters stepping out of their smaller cars were all we needed to know we’d made the right choice. Just a few minutes later, we were walking into the lobby of one of the most opulent hotels we’d ever seen, the Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach (808-2455050, Calling it a lobby isn’t even fair — it’s a garden befitting a palace, complete with floral trees and shrubs, tropical birds and fish, marble floors and towering columns. The pool area is the same, ringed with columns, palm trees and waterfalls, and decorated with animal-shaped fountains spouting streams of water into the largest hotel swimming pool in Hawaii. Best of all, the hotel is sited on one of the

most spectacular harbors in all of Kaua’i, Nawiliwili Harbor, whose calm waters are perfect for swimming, body-boarding, or the world’s most popular new water sport, stand-up paddleboarding. When you lay on a lounge chair and feel the sun on your skin, staring past the volleyball players and sunbathers on Kalapaki Beach to the harbor and Hoary Head Mountains to the south — or better yet, indulge in a luxurious massage at the Alexander Spa & Salon — it’s easy to wonder why anyone ever goes home. By the time a hotel staff member places a complimentary mai tai in your hand, you’ve already forgotten that you’ve ever been anyplace else.


he trade winds dictate nearly everything on the island — even the blades of grass on the greens, which lay in whichever direction the predominant wind blows. It

Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach • Lihue

Poipu Bay Golf Course • Poipu

was a tip I received upon my arrival at Kaua’i Lagoons Golf Club (800-634-6400, the following morning, and one that would prove valuable throughout the week. Kaua’i Lagoons might well be the island’s most photographed course, boasting the longest stretch of continuous ocean holes in Hawaii, with more than a half mile of jaw-dropping views of the ocean, mountains and Nawiliwili Harbor. Located just steps from the front entrance of the Kaua’i Marriott Resort, it’s the first course you see when landing on the island, and the one whose ocean holes burn longest in your memory after you depart. While bunkers line almost every hole, the course plays easier than it looks. Each hole offers one tough shot — perhaps a long forced carry off the tee, or a green closely guarded by bunkers. Manage that challenge, and birdies are there to be made. Course designer Jack Nicklaus oversaw a recent renovation of the Kiele Moana Course, most often played as the back nine. The result is stunning — from the tee box at the par-4 Moana No. 4, to the green at Moana No. 7, the Pacific Ocean is a constant presence. The par-3 Moana No. 5 evokes Pebble Beach’s famed seventh hole or any of the fantastic oceanside par-3s at Bandon Dunes, a shot as exhilarating for its natural beauty as its physical challenge. It’s followed two holes later by the course’s signature hole, the reachable, downhill, 285-yard sixth, where a lighthouse near the green marks the entrance to the harbor. Staring back across the green at the lighthouse framed against the harbor mouth, I closed my eyes to experience the moment with my other senses — the tropical breeze on my skin, the fragrant plumeria and pikake, the sound of the crashing waves mixed with the chattering of the native nene. It was heaven. Following the round, I rejoined my wife for an unforgettable meal by the Marriott pool at Kukui’s, where the peppered tenderloin and ono (a white fish similar to mackerel) melted in our mouths, while the forbidden rice — black Thai rice, pineapple, avocado, red onion, cucumber, sweet potato and Tamari sesame vinaigrette — fired flavor across every taste bud. A glass of red wine and a taste of the chocolate laulau as the sun disappeared behind the Hoary Head Mountains capped a perfect day in paradise.

Puakea Golf Course • Lihue


t one time, sugar plantations dominated Kaua’i, with over 70,000 acres of sugar cane fields stretching from the Hanalei River on the island’s northeast coast, to the Mana Plain on Kaua’i’s southwest side. Just three decades after Hawaii’s sugar industry peaked in the 1980s with over one million tons produced annually, however, not a single active sugar mill remains on the island. As Kaua’i’s economic focus has shifted from agriculture to tourism, land that was once dominated by endless waves of sugar fields has been replaced by ziplines, ATV off-roading parks and, of course, golf courses. On Lihue’s Puakea Golf Course (, 866-773-5554), one can practically hear the echoes of a gentle breeze rattling the sugar cane that covered the course property for more than a century. As the cost of sugar production increased, the family that owned the land sought to keep it green by converting it into a golf course, opening 10 holes in 1987 and completing the 18hole circuit 10 years later. Today, a sign calling Puakea “a place to call home” invites thousands of visitors a year to share in the natural beauty of the family land, which features dramatic views of the mountains and ocean, and more than a few memorable holes. The course bends and twists with the natural landscape across numerous ravines and grass-covered slopes, heading towards the mountains, then the ocean, before turning back for home. Standing on one tee box and gesturing to the eight-foot high grasses waving beautifully in a field to my right, I noted that I felt like I was in a scene from Jurassic Park — only to be informed that, indeed, the movie’s famed stampede scene was filmed in a field just beyond Puakea’s No. 6 green. I could see right away why Puakea is a favorite course of local players, if not as well-known by tourists heading off to the big-name resorts at Poipu Bay and Princeville. By the time I plucked my ball from the cup at the end of my round, I truly felt that I’d found my Kaua’i “home” course, the best pairing of greens fee and quality. If I lived here, this is where I’d play the most.


aua’i’s first sugar mill was built in Koloa, on the island’s southern shore, in 1835, and remained in operation for over 150 years, before international competition and a destructive hurricane season closed its

doors in 1992. Today, the rusted hulk of the mill rises from the overgrowth barely a mile from the Poipu Bay Golf Course, as much a part of the island’s history as the low stone walls and “heiau” (meaning, “places of worship”) that the native Hawaiians built centuries ago on the bluffs that would become Poipu Bay, believing the spot to have a special spiritual power. Today, the heiau have been preserved on the course property; along with views of the mill, the course is as authentically Hawaiian as they come. Home to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 19922006, Poipu Bay (800-858-6300, www.poipubaygolf. com) tops nearly every tourist’s list of must-play tracks. With photos of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and others lining the hallway outside the pro shop, it’s natural to assume that the course is among the island’s toughest tests. In reality, however, Poipu Bay can play to as short as 6,127 yards from the white tees, with a rating and slope (68.9/125) roughly equal to the whites at our own Northwest public tracks. Perhaps it was the rainbow that spanned the first hole as I fired my first tee shot of the day, the 360-degree mountain and ocean views or the possibility of spotting a humpback whale offshore; whatever the reason, Poipu Bay was a blast. Certainly, Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s design was a contributing factor — open fairways give confidence off the tee, while multi-tiered greens reward players with a good short game. Jones designed the course such that six holes play into the prevailing wind, six play across the wind, and six play with it. That last set of six includes each of the course’s four finishing holes, which run along a cliff high above the crashing surf of the Pacific below. For all its beauty, though, the golf course might only be the second-prettiest property on the peninsula, which it shares with the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa (808742-1234, From the parking lot, the Grand Hyatt boasts a low profile; from the beach and pool area on the opposite side, the true size and scope of the resort is apparent. More than 600 guest rooms cascade down the bluff past the quiet adult pools and spa; the lagoon-style family pool area dotted with lava rocks, bridges and a waterslide; and a man-made, sandy beach, shallow enough for little ones, but deep enough to take a kayak for a spin. The real beach — including some of the best boogieboarding in Kaua’i — is just steps away. Where the Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach DECEMBER 2014



Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa • Poipu wows you with international opulence, the Hyatt uses the best of Kaua’i to its advantage. Tropical gardens, palm trees and natural roofs on the hotel’s lower wings make the entire property almost disappear into the landscape. Likewise, the pool area is broken up into a sequence of interconnected, smaller, shaded areas, providing the illusion of privacy and seclusion. We capped our day with a soothing couples massage in a private, outdoor cabana at the hotel’s own Anara Spa, followed by dinner at Tidepools, an award-winning restaurant on the hotel property nestled over a pond filled with koi and turtles. The wasabi-crusted ahi and Kula lavender-crusted steak were cooked to perfection, while the molten chocolate cake was a volcano of flavor. After nearly two hours spent savoring the food and the atmosphere, we took our last glasses of wine (a Washington-made Amavi Syrah, of course) down to the beach and sat on a rocking bench, listening to the waves and staring up at the infinite expanse of stars over the Pacific Ocean on a warm, crystal-clear Kaua’i night.


ar up the eastern shore of the islands, the town of Hanalei sleeps quietly on one of the most picturesque bays you’ll ever see — the majesty of a waterfall cascading seemingly from the summit of a mountain all the way to its base; the bright, blue bay protected by a tropical reef filled with colorful fish and giant sea turtles; the majestic mountains of the far western edge of the famed Na’Pali Coast. It’s that sensory-blowing panorama that greets guests upon arrival at The St. Regis Princeville Resort (808-8269644,, located on the southern shore of Hanalei Bay in the resort community of Princeville. A luxurious lobby with vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, darkwood paneling and marble floors gives way to indoor and outdoor dining rooms featuring window walls looking out across the breathtaking beauty described above. To dine at the hotel’s Kaua’i Grill at sunset, as we would on our final night on the island — enjoying chicken samosas in cilantro yogurt, steamed Kona lobster and a succulent filet mignon, paired with a California cab personally matched to our menu choices by the on-site sommelier, and followed by a salted caramel ice cream sundae — is to soak in one of the finest dining experiences of your lifetime. The hotel pool by the beach below is more peaceful than those on the busier southern part of the island, reflective of Princeville’s more quiet, refined atmosphere.



The Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club • Princeville The bay and surrounding beaches, meanwhile, offer some of the finest snorkeling to be found in Kaua’i — at Tunnels beach, just a few miles north, we spotted no fewer than four sea turtles in just 20 minutes in the water, while famed Hideaways Beach is just a short walk from The St. Regis entrance. For as clearly as Kaua’i’s breathtaking scenery comes across in films like Jurassic Park or The Descendants, it’s much more difficult to communicate its “aloha” spirit. One island native explained that the word “aloha” is really two words — “alo,” meaning face-to-face, and “ha,” meaning “breath of life.” When Hawaiians greet family and friends, they often touch foreheads and exhale, literally exchanging the breath of life between them. It’s a spirit on full display at the hotel’s fabulous Halele’a Spa, where my wife indulged her skin with a Halele’a custom facial while I indulged my golf game at Princeville’s two Robert Trent Jones, Jr., courses. Originally built in the late 1960s, the Princeville Makai Golf Club (808-826-1912, was the first Kaua’i course built by RTJII, who fell in love with Hanalei and still maintains a home there. Both nines feature numerous holes on the ocean, with the front nine offering additional views of Hanalei Bay from the par-5 second and scenic, downhill, par-3 third. From behind the infinity green at No. 6, golfers can look down at the Queen’s Bath, a natural pool amidst lava rocks that is popular with swimmers and sunbathers in the summertime. Just steps away from the tee box at the par-4 7th, golfers look down to Turtle Cove, where giant sea turtles often frolic. For as much as there is to see on the front nine, the back might be even better. Long par-3s combined with risk-reward par-4s and -5s make for an exciting finish. No hole on Kaua’i thrilled me more than Makai’s par-4 14th, a 288-yard carry across a gaping canyon, with the Pacific Ocean to my right and the beach down below. Miss out on your birdie there, and you’ll get another chance at the 505-yard 18th, where a good drive that cuts the corner of a pond will leave you 220 yards to a well-guarded green. The Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club (808826-5001, has been described by RTJII as one of his “master works,” and it’s immediately apparent why. The course tumbles down from the top of a hill towards the ocean below, winding through various forms of terrain along the way. Like a symphony, it starts with a dramatic opening hole, requiring two precise shots

valley floor, with the par-5 15th dropping golfers one last time from an elevated tee box to a green tucked among the valley trees. The final three holes are like a climb back to heaven, the 18th offering one last chance to look back at the ocean and valley views, before heading to the luxurious hilltop clubhouse. The St. Regis Princeville Resort • Princeville and some skill with the putter to avoid bogey. It eases over the next few holes, rolling across gentle hills and offering plenty of scenic views and opportunities for birdie. The par-4 sixth hole immediately brought to mind one of my favorite RTJII holes, the 10th at Chambers Bay — the hole starts wide before funneling into a chute near the green, tightly guarded by deep bunkers and thick grass into which a golf ball can completely disappear. The climax of the course’s first movement comes at No. 10, a unique par-5 requiring three well-placed shots to navigate the islands of fairway on the way to the pin. After a brief par-3 to catch your breath, the Prince’s second act begins when it plummets nearly 200 feet in one shot, dropping golfers from the tee box at No. 12 into the heart of the valley below. The next three holes wind around the


s the Pacific Plate moves slowly to the northwest, to collide with and eventually pass under the Philippine Sea and North American Plates, islands form over the hotspot of lava bursting up from the mantle, their geologically brief, violent creations followed by a long, peaceful existence, before eventually eroding back into the sea from which they came. Perhaps that fragile existence is why nearly everything about the Hawaiian islands feels fleeting and nostalgic — a magical place lost to time, someday to be lost forever. Millions of years from now, the islands will disappear back into the sea, replaced by others yet to form; so, too, must we eventually make our way back home, even as others arrive to take our place. Whether island, man or woman, our lives are but a passing trifle as measured by the forces that crafted a place such as this. Yet we are here; we are now. How lucky we are.

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POST GAME A Life’s Lessons Learned on the Golf Course


By Brian Beaky CG Editor

ost of what I learned from my Dad I learned on the golf course. From the time I was old enough to sit in a golf cart for five hours without complaining, my Dad rustled me out of bed at “oh-dark-thirty” on Saturday and Sunday mornings, dressed me up in a collared shirt and took me with him to his weekend game at the club. I’d putt around on the practice green until it was time to tee off, then would spend the rest of the day learning some of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned. I’m not talking about how to hit a driver down the middle of the fairway, or get up and down from a bunker, though I certainly witnessed my dad do each of those things on a regular basis. A former college golfer at Arizona State and a single-digit handicap well into his seventies, I’ve spent my entire life trying to hit a ball like my old man. I’m talking about more important lessons — things like discipline, etiquette, respect, patience and how to behave like an adult. I also learned humility, because as we all know, golf is a humbling game. It breaks you 10 times for every time it lets you taste the sweetness of success. There’s no other game in the world that is as good a metaphor for life, or as strong a test of character. It’s been said many times that if you want to know someone, take them golfing. Do they cut corners and improve their lie, or do they take responsbility for their mistakes? Are they impatient? Are they easily frustrated? How do they handle failure and disappointment? Do they lose control and let one bad shot become two or three, or are they able to compose themslves and recover? Golf also taught me not to take shortcuts — either do something right, or

don’t do it at all. What’s the point of a shortcut anyway? Like life, golf is best enjoyed as a journey, not a destination — the best memories you make and the lessons you learn don’t come at the end, but in what you do and learn along the way. For me at least, the most disappointing part of every round is the climax, when I reach the 18th green and realize there’s nothing left to play. Finally — and perhaps the most important lesson I’ve ever learned — like life, you can’t “win” golf. There’s no perfect score. Even the greatest round by the greatest golfer of all time will fall well short of a perfect “18.” Rather than strive for perfection, you can only do your best, accept and learn from your mistakes, and try to get better. My Dad reached golf nirvana in late August, shooting his age (78) — again — and winning almost $150 off of his buddies at the club in the span of three days. He fell asleep that night in his lounge chair in front of the T.V., a happy man with another tee time in the morning, no doubt dreaming of birdies and another wad of cash he’d spend on his “sweetie.” Only, he never did wake up. When I think about my Dad now, it’s not the big things I remember first — the vacations we took, the two times that we birdied the same hole together, or the first time I ever beat him over nine holes (I never did get him for 18). It’s the way his stubble felt when he hugged me and our cheeks touched. The way he thrummed his fingers on the dashboard when a good song came on. The smell of his cigar smoke on those cool, crisp summer mornings on the golf course. The way his smile would broaden and his

eyes would get wide with excitement after he made a big putt or a good shot. It’s the sound of his laugh, and the happiness in his voice every time he picked up the phone and heard it was me. He and my mother raised me in an environment of personal responsibility, respect, hard work and a passion for learning. They gave me the self-confidence to set high goals, and the tools to achieve them. And isn’t that the best you can ask of a parent? As with anyone who loses a family member, I know I’ll regret not reaching out more. But I know he loved me, and I’ll continue to stand for the things he taught me on those mornings on the course — loving your family, treating others with respect, and taking responsibility for your mistakes, learning from them and becoming a better person. As with all parents, he used to e-mail me lots of forwards. As with all kids, I deleted most. One, though, stuck with me, a poem written from the perspective of a son whose father used golf to teach him life’s most important lessons. It ends like this:

“His lessons have served me well in the years I’ve played this game. Because life is much like golf. Despite the bad shots, I’m always glad I came.”

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