VOLUME 11 • ISSUE 1 • APRIL 2017 • COMPLIMENTARY
CALLAWAY’S “EPIC” NEW LOOK
TIGER’S NEW GEAR WIN OVER $100,000 IN PRIZES IN 2017 CG CUP NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
Apple Tree Resort
Eaglemont Golf Course
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
2017Card Whidbey Snoqualmie Falls Golf Club Golf Course
2017 CG Players Cards Now On Sale!
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #1 Seattle,WA
Highlander Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
DUKE’S JR GOLF SCHOLARSHIP RETURNS
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Players Leavenworth Golf Club
UNFORGETTABLE A quarter-century ago, Coeur d’Alene Resort put Northwest golf on the map
CASCADE A LOOK INSIDE
Volume 11 • Issue 1 • APRIL 2017
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to 100,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound region.
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P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Katie Erickson FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103 firstname.lastname@example.org
SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Ian Civey, Alex Mroz FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100 email@example.com
• Six winners of Duke’s Jr. Golf Scholarship • NW native’s wood putters wow experts • Senior golfers come together • Our favorite wet-weather tracks • Ken Still is a NW icon • SG Extra: CG Cup schedule, Players Card & more!
20 TEEING OFF
• Q13’s Aaron Levine is all aces
The Pioneer Coeur d’Alene Resort was the first NW public course to capture the imagination of national golf writers — fortunately, it’s no longer alone. BY TONY DEAR
22 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• Tiger’s new sticks • Callaway EPIC driver • PING, TaylorMade, Callaway wedges • Our favorite 2017 flatsticks • Rangefinders: Laser or GPS?
31 RISK VS REWARD
44 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Prospector at Suncadia • No. 11 • Spring’s sweet spots
ADVERTISING & MARKETING STAFF VICE PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR OF SALES Kirk Tourtillotte
• New (Golf) Year’s Resolutions
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS Pages 6-7 | 26-29 | 48-49
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland
As the golf industry becomes more concentrated in the hands of corporate interests, family-owned courses and businesses must innovate to stay alive. BY BOB SHERWIN ON THE COVER Northwest public golf can be divided into two eras — before Coeur d’Alene, and after Coeur d’Alene. Story on page 32.
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2017 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
Congratulations to the winners of December’s CG Swag! The December issue is always one of our best for swag, with trips to Palm Springs, Hawaii and more. Here’s who’ll be teeing it up among the palm trees this spring: Mega Palm Springs Stay-and-Play Mark Cleven • Edmonds Maui Golf Getaway Tom Matson • Bothell 2 Hours at Clubhouse Golf Center Travis DeFries • Mill Creek
Didn’t win? Well, good news — you have three more chances in this month’s issue! • Clubhouse Golf Center Page 8 • Bradley Golf Putter Page 13 • Palouse Ridge & Northwest Golfers Playbook Page 16
Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and follow us online for your chance to win. And follow us on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) for even more giveaways and contests!
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Spring has sprung, bringing new offerings from us to you
ere we go again on another golf trip around the sun. I am embarking on my 40th year with the sport. Sometimes, like last year, I come right out of the gate playing as much as I can. From daylight savings to July, I was loving it. Then, probably around the time my oldest was getting ready to move away to college, I put the clubs away. And, they stayed away — I haven’t touched a club on a course since late last summer. But, I feel renewed. This winter, we produced eight consumer golf expos around the U.S., and I must say that we have seen a lot of products, clubs, gizmos and golf opportunities. Not every one is a thunderbolt from the sky, but I have seen a few that caught my attention. The Callaway Epic is an interesting product, with its new jailbreak technology. And Titleist has supposedly improved upon their new ball, making this year’s ProV1 their best ever. I will soon give it a go. But, my game has not evolved like this equipment – I’m laughing as I write that, as evidence of utter truth. I know I need to focus on the equipment holding the equipment, which is why Tathata Golf’s ads on Golf Channel have me intrigued. Martial arts and golf – who knew? I think I’ll give it a go this year; if I have any luck I’ll share with you my thoughts. And, we would love to hear what you are doing this year. New year’s golf resolutions start in the spring – I’ll
bet you have some. The newer and weirder, the better. New for us is the Northwest Golfers Playbook. There’s $4,700-plus in golf course value in there. We sold these at the Portland and Seattle Golf Shows, and it was a huge hit. You can buy it on CascadeGolfer.com, at our partner Puetz Golf and other golf courses in the Northwest. You make your money back as soon as you use just one deal, and it’s small enough to put in your bag. In addition to the new, we’re bringing back all of your favorites, too. The Cascade Golfer Cup will continue to host our readers in two-person tournaments around Puget Sound. Play in one or play in them all – we assure you that it will be worth your time. Also, check out our Match Play series and play head-to-head. Our annual Players Card is also on sale, with 10 rounds to great courses, including Salish Cliffs, for just $240. Only a few remain, so move fast to take advantage. Last, but not least, is our Duke’s Chowder House Junior Golf Scholarship, which is funding the dreams of young golfers throughout the region. We are grateful to our program partners John and Duke Moscrip for sharing their passion and desire to make a difference. So, as you can see, we are full of news, views and opportunity this year for you. Enjoy spring, and as always, TAKE IT EASY.
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EVERETT Legion Memorial GC & Walter Hall GC
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LYNNWOOD Lynnwood GC
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APRIL 2017 APRIL
SHORT GAME Play Golf Your Way With the Puget Sound Senior Golfers
Warm Up At the Clubhouse Golf Center — For Free!
e’re sending one CG reader to play some of the best courses in the world, in a place where the temperature is always perfect, the beer is always flowing, and the big game is always on, night or day. We’re talking about Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center, where six full-size simulators give golfers the chance to swing their own clubs, and hit real balls, while playing tracks like Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews and others. You’ll get two hours of free simulator time — which should be more than enough to play a full 18, even with a friend! So log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win!
ost of the golfers we’ve ever met have said they enjoy the game for one or more of the same reasons — the peace and beauty of golf course properties, the camaraderie among friends, and the fun of friendly competition. It’s those same qualities that prompted a group of senior golfers in 1987 to form the Puget Sound Senior Golfers (TPSSG), a group of men aged 55 and older who meet several times per year to engage in friendly, casual competition on various courses throughout the Puget Sound region. Beginning in late March and continuing through September, the group meets bi-weekly on Thursday mornings at a different course each week — this year’s calendar includes tournaments at The Home Course, Snohomish, The Classic, Mount Si, Willows Run, North Shore, Echo Falls, Kayak Point and others. Members can play either the forward tees or middle tees (“We very much support the ‘Play It Forward’ initiative,” group organizers say), and can choose to play with existing friends, or be randomly paired with other group
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members each week. Players are sorted into divisions by age and skill level (no handicap required), and in addition to the usual low-net and low-gross prizes, there are numerous additional competitions like fewest putts, closestto-the-pin and more. Essentially, it’s like being a member of the men’s group at your local club — only, with the added benefit of being able to play multiple courses of varying difficulty, style and scenery throughout the year, and only having to compete against players your own age. “I enjoy the senior-level, relaxed atmosphere that the TPSSG provides,” says Dennis Gorley, President of the TPSSG. “I like playing with many of my retired co-workers and catching up on old and new times.” Of the 75-110 players that typically turn out for each event, roughly 60 percent choose to play the forward tees, an effort that organizers say not only reduces playing time but also increases the enjoyment of players who “just don’t hit it like they used to.” Golfers can pick and choose which events they play throughout the year, as well, meaning you don’t have to commit to all 16 events to make it worth your while. “It’s gotten me back into playing after a forty-year hiatus from the game,” says Bob Telzrow, who just joined in 2016. “There was no pressure from anyone and that certainly helped. Folks were out having a good time and were welcoming. Making the financial commitment — albeit small — meant I was less likely to back out on any given day. I was invited by a friend who reassured me that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself because everyone was just out to have fun.” Annual dues are just $45, and golfers pay just $33 per event, which covers both greens fees and prizes — obviously, a significant discount over the greens fees alone at many courses. So, not only are you playing more golf at new courses, you’re saving money, too. “It turned out to be a great opportunity to play some golf on a regular basis, catch up with some old friends and play different courses around Puget Sound,” says Bob Graham, another new member. “I have not in the past belonged to any sort of men’s club, but this was the perfect opportunity to both belong to a club of my peers and play golf. The every-other-week schedule is great.” To learn more, visit tpssg.net. cascadegolfer.com
In celebration of our 10th year, we’re highlighting some of the individuals who have made the Northwest golf scene what it is today
The Legend: Ken Still
he guy was a storyteller and enjoyed people. And people enjoyed Ken Still, and couldn’t help but admire his golf accomplishments. The Pierce County native, who died in March at age 82, won three PGA TOUR events, played on the 1969 Ryder Cup team, had two top-10 finishes in majors, and boasts a network of friends that extends from the local grocery store to various halls of fame. For all of his accomplishments, though, one of Still’s biggest contributions to the local golf scene was an indirect one. It was his friendship with Jack Nicklaus that led the Golden Bear to design the back nine that opened last year at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course. Nicklaus’ fee: Nothing. Still called Nicklaus during a Veterans Course board meeting and said, “Jack, I need you involved.” Nicklaus paused 10 seconds then answered, “Ken, count me in.” When the new nine opened last year, Still was chosen to hit the first tee shot. Still’s introduction to golf was as a caddie at Fircrest Golf
for a series we’re calling “The Difference Makers.” This month, Craig Smith sat down with Seattle’s first great golfer — Ken Still.
Club in 1950. In a year, he went from a 16 handicap to scratch. He turned down a University of Oregon scholarship offer after graduating from Clover Park High School and turned pro. He played in the 1958 and 1959 U.S. Opens and was a PGA TOUR regular in 1960. He later played on what is now the Champions Tour. Three stories stick out from Still’s storied career. The first is from 1968, when Still had a ticket for a Braniff flight from Houston to Dallas in the event that he missed the cut at the Houston Open — an outcome that seemed likely after a first-round 78. Never a quitter, Still played hard the second day and rallied with a 69 to survive – literally. The plane was struck by lightning and all 85 people aboard were killed. “I didn’t sleep well that night,” Still said. The second came a year later, when Still and partner Dave Hill won a rancorous match in the 1969 Ryder Cup. This was the Ryder Cup where Nicklaus conceded a missable 3-foot putt to Britain’s Tony Jacklin on the 18th hole,
Ken & Linda Still
on the final day. The teams finished in a tie, but the U.S. retained the Cup. The last is from 1974, when Still met his wife, Linda Evans — at a funeral home where Still was making arrangements for his mother’s services. “In five minutes, I knew I was going to marry that woman,” said Still, who was 49 at the time and had never been married. Indeed, Still was so instantly happy being around her that Linda quipped, “I don’t see a lot of grief.” Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax, a close friend of Still’s, would later stand beside him in their wedding. Still died Mar. 20, as this issue was going to press. Despite requiring kidney dialysis, he had repeatedly refused a transplant, saying that younger patients are more deserving. “I’m 82. What if someone 25 years old or younger needs a kidney? I’m not going to take it from them. That’s not my style.” — Craig Smith
SHORT GAME Shoreline Ballerina Dances Her Way to Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
ver the last year, we thought we’d seen just about everything one could write in a junior golf scholarship nomination — overwhelmingly impressive academic achievements, exemplary community service efforts, glowing recommendations from teachers and community members, and, of course, plenty of sweet skills with the sticks. Rob Longstreth, though, sent us one we hadn’t seen before — a ballerina. Shorecrest senior Jac Longstreth may be one of the state’s up-and-coming young golfers today, with three state championships appearances under her belt and a tie for 13th in 2016. A few years ago, though, her future seemed more likely to lie on the boards than in a bunker — Longstreth spent six years training with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, including several appearances in the PNB’s acclaimed “Nutcracker,” before turning her attention to golf entering her freshman year of high school. I mean, any athlete who can do an Arabesque and stick a 5-iron inside three feet is an impressive one, indeed. But that’s not all. In addition to her success in bal-
let and golf, Longstreth also competes on Shorecrest’s gymnastics team, where she has risen to the rank of team captain and qualified for the state championships on the balance beam. In 2016, Shorecrest named her the Female Athlete of the Year for her class. Longstreth also maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, despite having taken a rigorous schedule including numerous advanced-placement classes, starting in her sophomore year. She also serves as assistant editor of the school’s creative arts publication and founded a psychology club at Shorecrest out of an interest to “try to make sense of human behavior.” It’s little wonder that the Shorecrest faculty awarded Longstreth their Merit Award for Citizenship and Leadership “for demonstrating superior honor, discipline, respect and caring within the classroom.” But that’s still not all. In whatever free time she has left after practicing for two sports, voluntarily researching human psychology and curating Shorecrest’s artistic talents, Longstreth also volunteers throughout the community, in-
cluding at the Shoreline Area Youth golf tournament each summer. She also plays in WJGA events and is a talented artist in her own right, hand-lettering shirts and other items for her teammates and creating original designs that she publicizes on her Instagram page. OK, that’s all. Satisfied? “As one of the most impressive all-around candidates we’ve seen, Jac made our first selection of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship for 2017 a very easy choice,” says Duke’s COO John Moscrip. “’Well-rounded,’ ‘dedicated’ and ‘driven’ are a few of the words we would use to describe this current senior at Shorecrest High School, with aspirations to do whatever she wants to do in life — and no doubt do it successfully!” Longstreth, who has already been accepted to Oregon State University and has applications out to other colleges as well — where, like all golfing ballerina gymnasts, she plans to study biochemistry — says that the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship was “a huge surprise.” “My parents didn’t tell me that they had nominated me for it until they knew that I had been chosen, so I had no idea it was coming! It’s not every day that you receive a completely unexpected scholarship for something so important to you,” she says. “Golf has been a big part of my life through high school and even before that, and I am very honored to be receiving this award.” Do you have a young golfer that you think would be worthy of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship? Nominees need only be of high-school age or younger, with strong academics and a passion for golf that they’ve demonstrated through participation with clubs, teams or other organizations. A commitment to community service, and a desire to pursue golf careers at the next level certainly doesn’t hurt, either, though it’s not absolutely required. We’ll identify one golfer in each issue of Cascade Golfer to receive $1,000 from Duke’s Chowder House — and, as you’ll see on the following page, we may kick in a few “honorable mentions” as well. All nominations can be emailed to editor Brian Beaky at firstname.lastname@example.org. cascadegolfer.com
Five Additional Local Youth Players Earn Duke’s Honorable Mention
ast year was an incredible first year for the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship. At the start of the year, we had planned to award one $1,000 scholarship to a deserving young golfer. As the nominations began rolling in, though, it was clear that one scholarship would never be enough, so Duke’s Chowder House representatives John and Duke Moscrip agreed to up their commitment to four $1,000 scholarships, one per issue. Well, it turns out even that wasn’t enough. By the end of the year, we still had a backlog of incredible nominees that we couldn’t recognize. So, we’ve picked out five of our favorites and awarded them “honorable mention” for the 2016 year — with each receiving $100 to put towards their growing love of the game.
Roman Antolin A seventh-grader at St. Anthony School in Renton, Roman has been golfing since the age of seven, when he expressed an interest and his parents signed him up for The First Tee program. He has been playing in the PGA Junior Golf League for three years, and looks forward to his opportunity to become a coach and mentor to other young golfers. He also participates in numerous extra-curricular events, including Cub Scouts, church, Student Council, Band and CYO sports. He is planning to pursue golf as a career for as long as he can, and hopes to play in college and beyond.
second season on the Enumclaw golf team. He has also encouraged his father to begin golfing, and the two of them now play regularly together. Quinn is also an Eagle Scout, and an excellent student who began earning college credit through the Running Start program last fall.
Mikey Lambert A high-school junior, Mikey Lambert is an academic honor student, three-year student council member and three-year member of the golf team. Mikey began golfing at a young age, and it has become a passion. In addition to his play, he has served as a volunteer at the U.S. Open, a caddy at Seattle Golf Club (where he has achieved “A” caddy status) and a volunteer junior instructor for The First Tee of Seattle, mentoring young golfers at Jackson Park. Congratulations to each of these outstanding young golfers!
Legion Memorial Golf Course
little sand can go a long way. That’s the case at many of the courses listed below, where either a sand-and-gravel base or a heavy sanding of fairways and greens help keep conditions dry throughout the year — which, as any local golfer knows, makes a significant difference in both your score and your state of mind. If you want to play a quality round without getting your socks soaked this spring, or losing a perfect drive to a plugged fairway, these are your best bets: Capitol City • Olympia Cedars at Dungeness • Sequim Chambers Bay • Univ. Place Classic • Spanaway Gold Mountain • Bremerton Hawks Prairie • Lacey Home Course • DuPont Legion Memorial • Everett Loomis Trail • Blaine
Maplewood • Renton Newcastle • Newcastle North Bellingham • B’ham Oakbrook • Lakewood Raspberry Ridge • Everson Redmond Ridge • Redmond Trophy Lake • Port Orchard Wash. National • Auburn White Horse • Kingston
Jordan Baird Jordan Baird is a senior at Tumwater High School, where he holds a 3.6 GPA and is captain of the golf team. He is a three-time all-league golfer and league MVP in 2015, in addition to winning the Tacoma Junior Golf Association city championship, and has twice competed at the state championships. He has also worked three years at Tumwater Valley Golf Club, earning multiple promotions for his hard work and strong personal responsibility.
Dylan Christoffer Also a senior at Tumwater, Dylan Christoffer earns strong grades while serving as the AA League and District champion, and is interested in pursuing golf at the next level.
Quinn Hood Quinn Hood is a junior at Enumclaw High School. Amusingly, his nomination notes that his passion for golf far outweighs his actual golf skills. However, he is devoted to improving, practicing constantly as he prepares for his cascadegolfer.com
SHORT GAME You’ve Never Seen a Wood Putter Like This NW Creation
hat did you do between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day? Saw a few movies, celebrated the holidays with family and ate far too many cookies, sure – maybe, if you were feeling really crazy, you even managed a few honey-dos around the house. Heck, I’ll bet some of you didn’t even take down your Christmas lights. Meanwhile, Bradley Converse came up with an idea for a putter company, incorporated, submitted a patent, built initial models, traveled the nation showcasing his putters at golf expos from coast to coast, and earned top billing in Golf.com’s reviews of the Best Products at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show. Ah, to have the energy of the young. “I came up with the idea on Black Friday, and by Wednesday, I had two putters made,” says the 28-year-old entrepreneur, who handcrafts each putter in his garage in Grants Pass, Ore. “Two weeks later, I was making sales.” Why are golfers so eager to get their hands on Converse’s putters? The heads are made from burls, those dense, woody lumps you sometimes see growing on tree trunks. What makes burls ideal for putter construction, Converse says, is their perfect hardness and low density, a combination which makes them lightweight, durable and adjustable. Indeed, Converse can custom-fit each putter to the buyer’s stroke by adding weight anywhere in the head. Of course, a burl is still a weird-looking piece of wood. The first time Converse debuted his putters was at a local golf course in Grants Pass, where he channeled fellow Northwest native Karsten Solheim and approached golfers on the practice green to have them try the putters. “When people look at it, they’re like, ‘This is a sucky putter.’ Then they try it and are like, ‘This is a good putter;’ then they start draining putts with it and are like, ‘This is an amazing putter,” he says. That’s the reaction that Converse, a mechanical engineering major from Oregon State who spent a decade constructing nuclear-blast-proof materials for the Defense Department, has been getting
everywhere he’s taken his putters in the few short months since building that first prototype. Now, Converse is focused on selling the putters through his website, BradleyPutters.com, and placing the putters into golf shops throughout the region. More than just making money, though, Converse wants to tell a story, that of the town and region he loves. He says a goal is to create vacation packages whereby golfers could travel to Grants Pass to be fit for his putters, then spend several days enjoying the glories of the region while he custom-builds their putter in his shop. “My number-one reason for doing this is to build up the community of southern Oregon,” he says. “I want to give people 18 holes worth of stories to take back home.” Also, he wants to give them a heck of a putter. While your partners may marvel at your ability to drain putts with a wood putter, you’ll still be enjoying the same high-MOI, forgiving qualities of their putters … it’s just that in a Bradley putter, that’s all hidden beneath a highly-engineered, natural-looking, beautiful hood. Converse can even custom-fit a putter without meeting you at all, simply by knowing what type of putter you currently play or prefer. Despite not knowing about the PGA Merchandise Show until after the registration deadline, Converse’s putters ended up being the talk of the town among industry heavyweights in Orlando, who marveled at the feel, feedback and consistency of putters made from what most of us would think of as funny-looking wood (though, in fact, according to Converse, material costs for the burl wood alone – not to mention shafts, grips, weights, etc. – exceed the entire material cost of a Scotty Cameron putter). The praise he received on-site, and in articles and blog posts that followed the show, has affirmed for Converse that he’s on the right track. “It’s been a really nice validation to see how much excitement there is,” he says. “When you buy a Bradley putter, it shows that you care about people, that you care about craftsmanship and American-made products. You’re part of a story.”
Win Your Own Bradley Golf Putter!
ne of those Bradley Golf putters would look pretty sweet hanging over your desk, right? Or maybe you’d even like to try one out on the course? We know — we’ve been ogling one in our office for the past few weeks, arguing over who gets to take it home. Since we can’t decide, we’ve decided to give it to one of you instead — just log on to our website, CascadeGolfer.com, and click the “CG Swag” button and you can enter to win this incredible piece of Northwest-made craftsmanship, along with other great prizes! Enter to win at CascadeGolfer.com today!
Cascade Golfer Cup Returns With Top Courses and Over $10,000 in Prizes At Each Event
Chambers Bay • University Place
Play in one or play in them all — compete with friends and family in net- and gross-scoring divisions
f it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Last year, we had one of the best lineups in Cascade Golfer Cup history, with tournaments at Chambers Bay, Washington National, Salish Cliffs, Oakbrook, McCormick Woods, Gamble Sands and White Horse — five of which have appeared in our Top-10 Public Golf Course rankings over the last three years. For just a few bucks over the regular greens fee, golfers could tee it up on a Saturday alongside their friends at these top-flight tracks and compete in net and gross categories for over $10,000 in prizes at each event, including stay-and-plays, twosomes and foursomes to the state’s top tracks and more. We also expanded the gross prizes from five teams to 10, kicked in additional prizes at the Year-End Awards Party and scrounged up some incredible tee prizes as well, like a free round at Salish Cliffs, a 2-for-1 to Gamble Sands and more. So, this year, we’re hitting the repeat button — the same seven courses, on the same weekends, will play host to the Northwest’s most popular amateur tournament series, the Cascade Golfer Cup. Starting with the Season Opener at Chambers Bay on Apr. 15, the series features
seven events, each offering the chance to compete in fun, team-scoring formats against fellow Cascade Golfer readers. You don’t have to play all seven — or even more than one — to enjoy the fun and win the best swag, as each tournament offers prizes like stay-and-plays to Hawaii, Palm Springs and Las Vegas, golf to places like Chambers Bay, Palouse Ridge, Wine Valley, Salish Cliffs and more. Golfers who do choose to play in multiple events, however, accrue points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup standings, the winners of which (in both net and gross categories) earn their choice of amazing prizes, headlined by the 2018 Summer of Golf package, loaded with twosomes to Washington’s most exclusive public tracks. Prizes at all tournaments are awarded to the top-15 net teams and top-10 gross teams, plus six hole contests and additional contests and giveaways throughout the day. With the field limited to just 64 teams at each event, that means that even at a sold-out event, nearly half the teams in the field have the chance to prize out! We’ve handed our trophies to fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and
dozens of best friends, coworkers and old golfing buddies. And with the fun formats and both net and gross divisions, golfers of all abilities have the chance to win — the 59 total tournaments we’ve held over the years have crowned 49 different net-champion teams, with handicaps ranging from scratch to nearly 30. Just play your best, or ham-andegg it with your partner, and you, too, could be kissing the hardware at the end of the day. Don’t just take it from us, though. Here’s what some of our longtime players have to say about why they enjoy the Cascade Golfer Cup tournaments year after year: “My son and I have been playing in the Cup for the last several years, and it has been a great experience!” says Rob Brautigam. “I’ve met several great people and it’s always fun to see familiar faces and meet new competitors. The prizes are great, it’s always well-organized, and the CG Cup team does a great job of creating a competitive tournament that is fair to all entrants.” “The Cascade Golfer Cup is by far the best tournament series in the area,” adds Tom Carroll. “Well-priced, wellrun, and extremely fun and competitive. It doesn’t matter if you play in one or all of the tournaments, you are guaranteed to have a good time and there’s a great chance you will walk away with a prize. Looking forward to 2017!” And lastly, from Tanner Parot: ”The Cascade Golfer Cup is an amazing series of team-style tournaments that I love participating in. They continue to provide excellent events year-in and year-out. It’s an amazing experience for golfers of all skill levels and everyone has a legitimate chance at winning. Along with great events, the prizes that are up for grabs at each event are phenomenal. I have always felt like I got my money’s worth and then some.” If you’re still on the fence, you can browse the full schedule, details, rules, entry fees, prizes and more anytime you like at CascadeGolfer.com/Cup. We’re just a few weeks away from kicking things off at Chambers Bay, though, so don’t delay — visit the tournament website at www.CascadeGolfer.com/Cup and register today! 2017 CASCADE GOLFER CUP
APRIL 15 — Chambers Bay MAY 13 — Washington National JUNE 3 — Salish Cliffs JUNE 24 — Oakbrook G.C. JULY 22 — McCormick Woods AUGUST 12 — Gamble Sands SEPTEMBER 9 — White Horse See CascadeGolfer.com/Cup for details!
10 Rounds For $240 — Including Salish Cliffs and Apple Tree? The CG Players Card Returns
Apple Tree Resort
t took us five years, but in 2016, we finally figured out this Players Card thing. After four years of tinkering with the right mix of courses (some local, to make it worthwhile, but also a couple of sexy, bucket-list tracks) and price to create the best possible value for our readers, we finally had our Doc Brown moment of inspiration. Not only was the 2016 card our biggest — with a record 10 greens fees — but it was also our best, including Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree, Port Ludlow, Eaglemont, Whidbey Golf Club, Highlander, Leavenworth, Cedars at Dungeness, Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls. That’s the state’s best new course of 2011 (Salish Cliffs), its most iconic course (Apple Tree and its famed apple green), its driest course (Cedars at Dungeness), some of its most scenic courses (Highlander, on a cliff high above Wenatchee; Leavenworth and its breathtaking Cascade Mountain views; and Mount Si’s dramatic backdrop), as well as three of our local favorites (Port Ludlow, Eaglemont and Snoqualmie Falls) and a course
that, until recently, only a privileged few had ever played (the formerly private Whidbey Golf Club). Indeed, six of these 10 tracks appeared in our rankings of Washington’s best public courses in 2015, either in the overall top-10, or the rankings by region. And what did we charge you to play those tracks? How about a cool $24 apiece. Shoot, you can’t even get a cart and a hot dog for less than that at some courses these days. So when creating this year’s card, we decided to do … nothing. We’re rolling out exactly the same card in 2017, for exactly the same price — $240 for one greens fee each to the 10 courses listed previously, a total value of $591. There’s no catch, no gimmicks … just $240 total to play 10 of the finest courses our state has to offer. Now, you probably have questions. What if you don’t think you’ll play all 10 rounds, or know you’ll never make it across the mountains? No worries — play just Salish Cliffs,
Eaglemont Golf Course
Cedars at Dungeness
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Salish Cliffs G.C. • Shelton Highlander Golf Club
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Leavenworth Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
Snoqualmie Fal Golf Course ls Whidbey Golf Club
Eaglemont, Whidbey and Port Ludlow (or Salish Cliffs, Apple Tree and either Eaglemont or Whidbey), and you’ve already broken even. Everything after that is pure profit. You might also wonder, why would we give you $589 worth of golf for just $240? For the same reason we give away $10,000 in prizes at every Cascade Golfer Cup event, or twosomes, foursomes and trips all over the country in the magazine — because when you play more golf, everybody wins. And we want you playing as much golf, for as good a price, on the best courses that you can. That said, these courses can’t offer these deals to everyone, which is why we’re printing just 200 cards. And if last year proved anything, it’s that when you hit the right formula, these cards go fast. Get yours today by logging on to CascadeGolfer.com and clicking the banner, or emailing email@example.com.
Cascade Golfer Cup Over $100,000 in prizes!
April 15 • 10 am Chambers Bay Season Opener
July 22 • 1:30 pm McCormick Woods Scramble
May 13 • 7:30 am
August 12 • 9 am Gamble Sands
Washington National Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship June 3 • 2 pm Salish Cliffs Cascade Golfer Challenge June 24 • 1:30 pm • Oakbrook GG Michelob ULTRA Open
To Register Visit
cascadegolfer.com Click on the Cup!
Contact: Simon Dubiel firstname.lastname@example.org (425) 412-7070 ext.100
Sept. 9 • 8 am White Horse Puetz Golf Shootout
Net and Gross Prizes 2-Player Format
Get a Handicap • Get a Partner
Get Inside the Ropes!
Save Nearly $5,000 at Courses Throughout the State With the Northwest Golfers Playbook
PLA S R E F L O G
LS EAT DEA
rs Bay Gold Mou
n December, we introduced you to the all-new Northwest Golfers Playbook, a coupon book packed with nearly $5,000 in savings to more than 90 courses throughout Washington and Oregon. And not just the rinky-dink, out-of-the-way tracks, either, but premier tracks like Chambers Bay, Gold Mountain, Newcastle, Washington National, Trophy Lake, McCormick Woods, Semiahmoo, Suncadia, Desert Canyon, Wine Valley, Palouse Ridge and more. At under $40 per book, in many cases it takes using just one deal to make the book worthwhile — leaving you another 100-plus deals to take advantage of as pure profit. Hundreds of golfers jumped at the chance to save big on practically every round of golf they’ll play in 2017, and Northwest Golfers Playbooks are already turning up in the hands of golfers at courses throughout Western Washington. Wondering whether the Northwest Golfers Playbook is right for you? Here are a few of the most commonly-asked questions:
available to be reviewed at NWGolfersPlaybook.com before you buy. Some might offer a free cart with greens fees, others might offer 2-for-1 or 4-for-3 greens fees, while still others might offer significant discounts on greens fees (up to 50 percent in some cases), stay-and-play packages and more. As an example, Chambers Bay offers a 4-for-3 deal that, if used, would save everyone in your foursome $43 off their $175 greens fees — a 25-percent discount — while Avalon will let you play unlimited golf all day long for just their 18-hole rate.
How much does it cost? The Northwest Golfers Playbook retails for $39.95. However, savvy golfers who purchase their books online at www.NWGolfersPlaybook.com can save $10 using the code SAVEBIGONGOLF.
I’ve been trying to convince friends to play some nicer courses. Will this help? Absolutely! The Playbook includes deals to higher-priced tracks like Chambers Bay, Suncadia, Desert Canyon, Semiahmoo and Bear Mountain Ranch, which give foursomes a 25-percent discount off their greens fees through 4-for-3 deals, plus dozens of other 4-for-2s, 2-for1s, etc., that can be used by groups looking to check out pricier courses at a discounted rate. Buy one book, play any of these courses, and you’ve already pocketed more in savings than you paid.
What courses are included? Are they all local? More than 90 courses contributed deals to the Northwest Golfers Playbook. Of the 129 total deals in the book, nearly three-fourths are to destinations in Washington, and one-fourth in Oregon, primarily in and around Portland. Of the 91 Washington deals, 70 are to locations west of the mountains. What kinds of deals are you talking about? Deals vary widely from course to course, and are all
Are there any restrictions? Yes. All restrictions can be read online before buying at www.NWGolfersPlaybook.com, and any golfer considering one should definitely look first to make sure you’ll be able to use the rounds included. We’re confident, though, that no matter your schedule, there’s well over $39.95 in value for any golfer.
What if I don’t have any golf buddies? Am I out of luck? Absolutely not. While many of the deals are indeed for groups of two or four golfers, there are dozens for single golfers as well, including — just on the Washing-
or at Sunc
RATES SPECIAL TS DISCOUN s 2 FOR 1 FFERS BONUS O GET YOUR
ton side alone — Palouse Ridge ($35 off the $99 greens fee, seven days a week), Gold Mountain (25-percent off), Avalon (play all day for price of 18), Wine Valley, The Classic, Legion Memorial, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, West Seattle, Mount Si, Leavenworth, Bellevue, Cedarcrest, Lynnwood, Lake Wilderness, Walter Hall, Fort Steilacoom, Lake Spanaway, Sun Country and Canyon Lakes, plus businesses like GolfTEC ($50 off lessons) Oki Golf (50-percent off membership), Puetz Golf (50-percent off lessons, plus store savings), The Clubhouse Golf Center (free half hour of simulator golf) and more. Can I split one with a friend? You can! One Playbook can be shared by multiple golfers, though each specific coupon can only be used once. Split the cost of one Playbook up over two or four golfers, though, then take advantage of 2-for-1s and 4-for3s across the state, and you’ll reap even more savings. Do the deals expire? Most expire at the end of the year — just in time for the 2018 Northwest Golfers Playbook! Again, check the website www.NWGolfersPlaybook.com for all restrictions and expirations. Egads! I must have one! OK, we’ll admit to writing that one. But if that’s how you feel — and we certainly hope you do — go online to www.NWGolfersPlaybook.com today and start saving!
YOUR Play Palouse Ridge and Earn a Northwest Golfers Playbook — On Us!
he deals in the Northwest Golfers Playbook are so good, it feels like we’re practically giving them away for nothing — so, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. One lucky golfer is going to win a foursome at Palouse Ridge, plus a Northwest Golfers Playbook for every single player in his group — that’s four Playbooks in all, packed with nearly $5,000 in offers to local and destination courses throughout the region — simply by logging on to CascadeGolfer.com and entering to win. So what are you waiting for? If you want to play one of Washington’s top-10 courses and save big on golf this spring, go to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
Palouse Ridge G.C. • Pullman cascadegolfer.com
2017 Players Card
591 in golf for only 240
Good for one 18 hole greens fee at all ten courses! Apple Tree Resort
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Eaglemont Golf Club
Cedars at Dungeness
Port Ludlow Golf Club
Highlander Golf Club
Leavenworth Golf Club
Mt. Si Golf Course
Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course
Whidbey Golf Club
10 Rounds of golf for only $240
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Go Head-To-Head With Fellow Readers In The CG Match Play Championship
e’ve said for years that the PGA Championship should go back to match play. It’s the only major that lacks a distinct identity — the Masters has Augusta, the U.S. Open is “the toughest test in golf” and the British has its unique courses and weather. Plus, there’s this simple little matter ... match play is a heck of a lot of fun. Especially for golfers like ourselves, who from time to time have been known to string a few bad shots together and post some pretty lopsided numbers, match play is a relief — throw up a triple or quadruple bogey in stroke play and you’ll be chasing those strokes all day long; do the same in match play and you can get right back to even with a one-stroke win on the next hole. So, rather than wait for the PGA to come to its senses, we decided to start our own match play tournament a few years ago — the CG Match Play Championship, in which a field of as many as 256 golfers tee it up throughout the region to see who can channel their inner Brandt Snedeker and emerge as the king — or queen — of the Northwest. In the three years since, we’ve been responsible for put-
ting together more than 240 spine-tingling, knee-knocking matches at courses from Portland to Suncadia, and three golfers have earned the title of CG Match Play Champion. So how does it work? Golfers in the early rounds are grouped into pods based (as best as possible) on location and skill level, then schedule their own matches at mutually agreed-upon courses. Prize values increase with each round, including rounds of golf at some of the region’s top tracks, with the quarterfinalists each invited to Salish Cliffs Golf Club for a three-round, 30-hour extravaganza (including overnight lodging for all four semi-finalists) to crown the ultimate CG Match Play champ. All rounds are played in net formats (with handicaps individually vetted by tournament staff), so you don’t have to be a stick to win — indeed, the list of golfers to reach Salish Cliffs has included scratch golfers and bogey golfers alike. Just play your best — whatever that is — and you’ll have a great chance to make it all the way. Tournament entry is just $85, and includes your entry
CASCADE GOLFER MATCH PLAY
Salish Cliffs will host the final three rounds of the 2017 CG Match Play Championship. fee and, should you qualify, all rounds of golf from the quarterfinal round through the finals. Furthermore, every single player that enters will receive a 2-for-1 round at Salish Cliffs (a $99 value) and a one-year subscription to Golf Digest. In other words, enter the tournament, stink up your first-round match, and you’ll still break even on your entry fee. Make it all the way to the finals, though, and in addition to that thrilling weekend at Salish Cliffs — a total package valued at $470 — the Cascade Golfer Match Play Champion will take home a golf getaway to sunny Las Vegas, while the runner-up will console themselves with a sweet prize of their own. Whether you’re a match play veteran or an up-andcomer looking for a new thrill, the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championship is a ride you won’t want to miss. Register today at CGMatchPlay.com, or contact Simon Dubiel at email@example.com to learn more.
THE ROAD TO SALISH CLIFFS Matches played locally at the golf course of your choice. • Net-based matches. • Open to all golfers with an active handicap. • 128 golfers from Oregon and Washington compete in pods and regions, bracket-style.
GET INSIDE THE ROPES!
• Starting in May, participants have 4 weeks to play their match each round at a time and venue agreed upon with your opponent. • The Final Eight will be played Sept. 29-30 at Salish Cliffs Golf Club. Greens fees for all matches from the Final Eight on will be comped for all players. • All golfers receive a 2-for-1 to Salish Cliffs. • Top 32 prize out. Prizes improve with each match won.
For more information or to register visit
• Overall champion receives a golf package to Las Vegas.
From Stanford Golf to Seahawks Saturday, Aaron Levine Charts His Own “Dream Job”
A CG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
ost Northwest residents got our first look at Q13 sports director Aaron Levine in 2004, when the now-veteran Seattle sports reporter was one of 12 contestants on ESPN’s “Dream Job,” a nationwide contest to find the next great “Sportscenter” anchor. While “Dream Job” didn’t work out for Levine — he finished second — the show gave him a break into broadcast journalism, helping land his first full-time broadcasting job in Bakersfield, Calif., before relocating to Seattle in 2007. While Levine was largely unknown in these parts prior to “Dream Job,” however, he was wellknown in Southern California’s junior golf scene. A regular in junior tour events statewide, Levine was good enough to walk on to the golf team as a freshman at Stanford, and was one of hundreds teeing it up across the state in U.S. Open qualifying in 2015. Between a new baby — Kaden, born in December — and a schedule that includes five daily sports broadcasts, his weekly commentary on Sundays, and a host of additional programming during Seahawks season, Levine doesn’t play as much as he’d like, which is probably why his handicap has skyrocketed all the way to an obviously unacceptable 5.6. Wouldn’t we all like to be that bad ... When did you first start golfing? “I started when I was seven, then started playing competitively when I was 11. I learned mostly from my parents on weekend afternoons at the golf course. But I was such a pain in the butt to play with, throwing tantrums on the course, that they never liked playing with me, so I started playing by myself a lot around 12, 13 years old.” Did you go to Stanford with the goal to play golf? “Once I got into Stanford, I wasn’t going to try to play anywhere else. I didn’t want to regret not trying. I called the golf coach and he allowed me to come out for a walkon tryout, which went well enough to keep me on the team for a couple more weeks. I trained with the team, and got a bunch of free gear, before one day the coach came to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I just can’t keep you on. You’re just not good enough.’ And he was right — guys were beating me by six or seven strokes every time, shooting four or five under while I was shooting four or five over. I wasn’t expecting to make the team to begin with, so I wasn’t overly disappointed, and in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened. I went to write for the student newspaper instead, where my first beat was covering men’s and women’s golf. So, it allowed me the opportunity to stay around the game, while also pursuing what would eventually be my real career.” I read that you actually gave up the game for a while. “To be honest, I quit playing golf, outside of once or twice a year, for the next decade. I was just burned out. I had played competitively throughout my junior and teenage years, and when the golf coach at Stanford made that final decision for me, it was almost a relief. I needed to step away from the game.”
What made you pick up the clubs again? “I eventually got sick and tired of playing once or twice a year in charity golf events and being horrible. So, I decided to re-dedicate myself to the game, took lessons at GolfTEC, and rebuilt my swing from scratch.” How’s your game now? “Now? It’s terrible again. But it was really good when I tried to qualify for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. I was down to a 1.4 at the time. Now it’s a 5.6, though I probably play more like a 12 most days. The last round I played, though, was two weeks before my son was born in December, and I had my third-career hole-in-one. My first hole-in-one came two weeks after my Bar Mitzvah, my second came two months before I was married, and my third right before my son was born. It’s kind of crazy.” What are the best and worst parts of your game? “The worst part of my game is my putting, and my mental game. It’s probably one of the reasons I never succeeded in competitive golf, because I was a head case. It’s why I shot 73 from the tips at The Home Course three days before U.S. Open qualifying, then shot 85 or 86 the day of. As far as what I’m good at, I’d say shots from 150 yards out. Give me an 8-iron and I’m good.” What are your favorite places to play? “I’m a member at Meridian Valley, and my favorite two courses in the state are Aldarra and Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, with Chambers Bay a close, close third.” How does the golf scene here compare to other places? “The scenery is unbelievable. One thing I’m still getting used to, though, even after a full decade, is that the golf season is so much shorter. Especially being from
Southern California, it’s taken me a while to learn to cope with going out in the cold in January or February.” With five shows a day, plus Q It Up Sports and extra Seahawks shows, when do you have time to play? “It’s not easy. And talk about golf season being short — the weather’s not good until May, and then I’m hanging up my clubs at the end of July, when Seahawks training camp starts.” What’s the most unique story you’ve ever covered? “Probably when I went to the home of former Husky basketball player Todd MacCulloch, on Bainbridge Island, to do a story about pinball. He was ranked in the top-100 in the world in pinball, and he’s got a ton of pinball machines and arcade games throughout his house. I felt like I was on an episode of ‘Cribs.’” What part of your job do you enjoy the most? “Being able to cover the biggest events in sports. Broadcasting live from above the ninth green at Chambers Bay during the first U.S. Open in the history of the Pacific Northwest. Getting a chance to be on the field during Seahawks preseason games, and having been a part of championship runs for the Seahawks, Sounders and Storm ... it’s really been fun. I also really enjoy putting together my weekly commentary for Q It Up Sports on Sunday nights; it allows me to utilize my creative writing abilities, which was the reason I got into this business in the first place.” Who would be in your dream golf foursome? “I’d want to play with Tiger, for sure. When I was a freshman, Tiger came for a football game, and the golf team all got to meet him. It was totally cool. The other two are trickier ... I’ll go with Fred Couples, and my dad.” cascadegolfer.com
BAG PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR
Tiger’s Got A Brand New Bag
hen Nike decided last fall to shutter its golf manufacturing business, it was international news, affecting millions of golfers with brand loyalty to the Northwest company’s drivers and irons. But when it came time to choose new equipment, only one of those golfer’s decisions proved to be international news — Tiger Woods. Tiger’s early loyalty gave Nike Golf a seat at the big-boy table in 2000, and his chip-in at the 2005 Masters — with the ball hanging on the lip of the cup just long enough to give the millions watching on TV a long look at that ubiquitous swoosh before dropping into the hole — was the most iconic moment any golf manufacturer has ever had. Tiger and Nike have been inextricably linked — so when the 14-time major winner announced in December that he’d be playing mostly TaylorMade clubs going forward ... yeah, it was a big deal. So, we’re dedicating this issue of “In the Bag,” at least in part, to Tiger’s new bag — including his M1 and M2 metalwoods (he’s using the M2 driver and 3-wood, for now, and the M1 5-wood), along with the latest Scotty Cameron putters, with which Tiger has won 13 of his 14 majors (for now, he still plays his old Nike Forged irons, while working with TaylorMade to design a new line). We’re also cruising through some of our other favorites this spring, from Callaway’s EPIC line to the all-new wedges, putters and rangefinders from our favorite manufacturers. Golf season is back — get yourself a new stick or two and get out there and enjoy it.
APRIL APRIL 2017 2017
M1 & M2 Metalwoods
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
M1: Driver $499.99 Fairway $299.99 Rescue $239.99 M2: Driver $399.99 Fairway $249.99 Rescue $199.99
Drivers $499.99 Fairway $279.99
nce the most feared bomber on Tour, Tiger’s been forced to spend most of his rounds in recent years scrambling for pars from the rough. So, of course he picked the most forgiving metalwoods TaylorMade has ever made. TaylorMade’s new M1 driver is a tweak on last year’s popular model, with a slightly larger footprint, extended tracks and a lighter crown and toe panel. The combination of those factors results in more distance on shots from all areas of the face, while the extended track allows for 64 percent more front-to-back CG movement — behind the face for maximum distance, or deep in the heel for maximum forgiveness, with a second weight added in for as much as 25 yards of left-right adjustability. The M2 — Tiger’s driver of choice — is the non-adjustable version of the club, with the two sliding weights in the sole replaced by a speed slot for maximum ball speeds and similar levels of forgiveness.
peed slots, moveable weights, far-forward (or farback) CG ... over the last 10 years, manufacturers have been in a constant battle to discover the next design breakthrough, soon to be copied by all others. If there’s going to be one such breakthrough in this year’s crop of drivers, it’s probably going to be Callaway’s new “Jailbreak” technology. A pair of titanium bars connecting the crown and sole just behind the face (resembling prison bars when the crown and face are removed) result in an overall stiffening of the head. How does that help you? That extra stability means that the force of impact is absorbed almost entirely by the face, resulting in more flex, and a greater springlike effect on the ball. A new Epic Triaxial Carbon that is lighter and thinner than previous Callaway materials results in more forgiving weight distribution and a hotter face for even more distance and forgiveness, while an adjustable weight allows for up to 17 yards of left-right flight adjustment, and up to 450 rpm.
cascadegolfer.com Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441
Mack Daddy Forged Wedges4
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
here isn’t much that PING needed to do to improve upon the original Glide wedge, which was one of the year’s top sellers in 2015. As such, they’ve focused on subtle changes to improve the performance of the club in specific situations, as opposed to any significant redesigns. For starters, the new Glide wedges feature two types of grooves — smaller, shallower ones in the lower lofts, to maximize distance and consistency, and larger, deeper grooves in the higher-lofted wedges, which are more likely to be used from sand or deep, green-side rough. They’ve also added additional grooves to each wedge for increased spin across the face, resulting in an increase of as much as 1,500 rpm among PING’s Tour pros. Each of the seven lofts comes with four sole options; make sure you’re fit by a professional to know exactly which bounce is right for you.
Milled Grind Wedges5 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ome traditionalists may not like the look of the new Mack Daddy’s cavity, with its four blue holes bored into the back part of the sole — so, I guess it’s a good thing we’re not traditionalists. Not only does it look super-cool to us, the holes also serve a function: by changing the depth of the holes across the various lofts, Callaway can move the CG position throughout the head — lower spin in the lower lofts, for greater distance, and higher spin in the sand and lob wedges, for more control. Flip the Mack Daddy Forged over and you’ll notice the extra groove, for more spin on shots struck low on the face (typically chips, short pitches, etc.), plus a new pattern on the face, part of Callaway’s effort to increase grip and spin from sand or wet rough. The new Mack Daddy comes in two finishes — a smooth-looking satin chrome and the all-black slate, which will rust over time. Being non-traditionalists, I think you know which way we’re going.
ou may not realize it in this age of mass-production, but many — if not most — wedges are still hand-ground by teams of technicians. They’re following the same guidelines, but it’s obviously impossible to ensure that each wedge will be identical — in fact, it’s all but guaranteed that there will be subtle, even imperceptible differences in each technician’s work. That’s why TaylorMade converted to a Milled Grind technique in its new 2017 wedges, with the sole and contours of the club ground with total precision by TaylorMade computers. That means that the sole of every wedge coming off the line matches TaylorMade’s design perfectly, resulting in greater performance and consistency. The new wedges also feature a polymer insert in the heel which allows the center of gravity to be shifted behind the face, and a new groove design that results in the addition of one extra groove, and steeper sidewalls — all of which combine for higher spin, better contact and more controllable launch angles throughout the set.
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $99 and more • exceptions apply
APRIL 2017 APRIL
IN THE BAG Queen B
Starting at $299.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
etween researching this feature four times a year and traveling to consumer golf expos all over the country, we see a lot of new golf clubs, and hear a lot of techno-speak from manufacturers and their representatives. So it takes a lot to make us go, “Wow.” Yet, every year, Bettinardi manages to do it, with putters that are practically works of art. They’re more than just a pretty face, though — Bettinardi putters have 20 PGA TOUR wins to their name, including two majors. As is usually the case, the company has flooded the market with eight new models in 2017, including five in the Studio Stock line (one blade putter, the 8; two mallets, the 3 and 3 Counterbalance; plus the new 28, a small mallet that comes with both Arm Lock and center shaft options) and three new Queen Bs, with their sweet honeycomb-style face. The Queen B 8 is a hybrid blade-mallet, while the 9 is a small mallet. Each putter will function slightly differently depending on your specific stroke, so it’s important to be fit for the right one for your game.
APRIL APRIL2017 2017
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Futura X5 Dual Balance
Starting at $379.99
hen Tiger switched clubs, the golf world waited to see whose drivers and irons he’d put into his bag. His putter, though? That was never in doubt. Tiger has always been loyal to designer Scotty Cameron, using Cameron putters to win 13 of his 14 majors. Having used a Nike Method putter since 2010, Woods switched back to his old Scotty Cameron Newport 2 “the day that [Nike was] no longer part of the hard goods side,” he says. Cameron’s 2017 putters include one new Newport Select mid mallet and seven Futura mallets. The Select Newport 3’s lighter material allows for more favorable weight distribution and increased forgiveness, while customizable weights reduce twisting at impact. The Futura 5CB and 5MB are mid-mallets (a cavity back and a muscle back) while the 7M adds a “bar back” to move weight behind the face. The 6M (also available in a dual-balance model with a heavy head and weighted grip) combines the bar back of the 7M and the heel-toe weights of the Newport, the 5W features the wrap-around face-sole technology debuted in Newport putters last year, and the 5S features the straight-shaft setup preferred by Tour players.
O-Works Putters8 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
dyssey’s “White Hot” insert has been one of the most successful innovations of all time. So why mess with a good thing? Well, as balls have become softer and softer, some golfers have found that the soft elastomer insert doesn’t give enough feedback on a soft ball, leading to various attempts to design a new type of metal insert that will perform like White Hot, but with a more pleasing sound and feel on today’s balls. Enter the O-Works and its new “Microhinge” insert. What amounts to basically dozens of tiny little stainless-steel hooks grip the ball at impact and impart forward spin, getting the ball rolling more quickly. Odyssey even tried turning the hooks the other direction, facing up, and found that they in fact created backspin, so they know the effect is real. Testing showed the new insert increased spin rate by as much as 165 percent, while players (like Phil Mickelson in the 2016 Ryder Cup) praised the new sound and feel. Odyssey is releasing O-Works versions of all of its most popular putters in 2017, including the 2-Ball, blade-style #1, mallet-style #7 and their various Tank equivalents, among others.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441
Dial It In: Laser or GPS? From high-end lasers to dazzling GPS displays, there’s no shortage of new rangefinders that caught our eye at January’s PGA Merchandise Show. Which one’s right for you? Laser typically costs a little more, but is more accurate in overcast weather, and gives you the option to target anything you can see. GPS, meanwhile, typically includes more features — scorecard, club distances, in some cases even texting and email — at a lower price point. Here are some of the top performers in each category:
COOLSHOT 80 VR & 80i VR
Tour V4 Shift PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
80 VR $399.99 80i VR $499.99
ikon’s newest laser rangefinders both feature its new vibration-reduction (VR) technology, which reduces inaccuracies caused by the subtle vibrations of your hand. The laser also aligns more quickly, so there’s less chance of accidentally targeting a tree or bush behind the flag, and less time spent hitting the button over and over to find the right target. Both rangefinders display distances up to 1,000 yards in under half a second, with the 80 exclusively measuring distance, and the 80i incorporating slope as well.
GX 1i3, 2i3 & 5i3 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
1i3 $299.99 2i3 $329.99 5i3 $549.99
eading manufacturer Leupold released three new models in its GX line, at three different price points. So what’s the difference? The 1i3 is the most basic of the three, offering distance measurement only, to an accuracy of less than half a yard. The 2i3 is a beefier version that factors in slope and environmental conditions to its distance readings, while also giving club recommendations based on current conditions and your known distances with each club. The 5i3, meanwhile, is the most accurate rangefinder Leupold has ever made, with distances accurate to just one-tenth of a yard, plus all of the other features of the 2i3.
ushnell’s new Tour V4 Shift is an upgrade over its previous Tour V3, both smaller and more comfortable to hold, and with a faster processor that delivers lightning-quick readings. The “shift” in the name refers to Bushnell’s new “Slope-Switch Technology,” which makes it simple to shift between slope and non-slope mode for tournament play. As with other Bushnell models, the Shift incorporates the “JOLT” technology for confidence in pin-seeking, with a 1,000-yard range and two-year warranty.
Approach G30 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
he new G30 is one of those all-inclusive GPS rangefinders we referred to above. A color display with oversized numbers makes it easy to read distances to bunkers, hazards and doglegs in all lighting conditions, while a dedicated “green view” feature shows the exact shape of the green, with a movable pin for the most accurate display. Furthermore, the G30 can be used to track scores and stats for as many as four players, track your hole-by-hole playing history, receive text and email notifications, and even — when combined with the Garmin TruSwing analyzer — record data like swing speed and club path.
Pro X2 JOLT PUETZ GOLF PRICE
n designing the Pro X2, Bushnell reps combined the most popular features of the Tour Z6 and Tour X models into a rangefinder with an accuracy of a half a yard at a range of up to 1,300 yards. Those features include the company’s patented “JOLT” technology, which vibrates when the laser finds the flag, giving you confidence in the distance displayed, plus a new Dual Display that toggles between red and black depending on preference and conditions. Golfers can also toggle between slope and no-slope features without having to remove a face panel, while a fully waterproof casing gives peace of mind in our Northwest climate.
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RISK vs. REWARD Prospector at Suncadia
Hole No. 11 Par 5 498 yards (Blues) The Setup: After playing No. 10, one of the coolest tee shots in the state, you find yourself on No. 11 with yet another scoring opportunity. This dog-leg left par-5 favors a slight right-toleft draw off the tee. If you get loose to the right, you can be caught up in the evergreens, while cutting the corner too far left can leave you in a flower-shaped bunker. Either scenario will force one to lay up. The approach shot is slightly downhill to a green protected by a large bunker short and right, two bunkers left and a small bunker long and right. A runway leads up to the green if one comes up short, and is a good spot to chip from.
The Risk: We’ve all over-swung, trying to milk a little extra out
By Simon Dubiel of our drive, only to indeed hit the ball further ... off-line. Get out of position on this hole and you’ll be licking your wounds.. Even with a gutted drive and a downhill second shot, you’re still playing with fire. Leave your shot in the front-right bunker and you have that always-fun 30-yard bunker shot. Get it really crooked and you’ll be spending more than your allotted time trying to find your ball, with a questionable lie your best result. Get greedy, get broke.
The Reward: At just under 500 yards, this hole is in “go” range for many playing this set of tees (and a must-go from the 470yard whites). A well-executed tee shot may leave you in the 200- to 240-yard range, with even less club considering the downhill approach. This is a prime-time opportunity to
make a bet and push in your chips. Tap-in pars are nice, but two-putt birds are even better. Even banging something up close to the green in the landing area or rough gives one a great chance to get up and down for the circle or, at worst, a par. But a nice little draw that hops up on the green … as Teddy KGB said in “Rounders”: “Pay the man his money.”
Final Call: Hopefully you put up a nice score on No. 10 and have a little Uncle Mo on your side. Let’s keep it going. Anyone with a little gamble in them needs to check their head if they stripe a drive and choose to lay up. Even David Simms with Roy McAvoy barking in his ear might make a go of it here. Take dead aim at the center of the green. Big dog, meet ball. Ball, meet dance floor. Let’s get it on!
A quarter-century ago,
A CRAZY IDEA in a beautiful setting put Northwest golf on the map BY TONY DEAR With additional reporting by Brian Beaky
t could easily be called the most important day in the history of public golf in the Pacific Northwest. So, it’s appropriate that strong wind and rain nearly brought it to an early end. The day was May 1, 1991, and, after well over a year of discussion, planning, experimenting, design, testing, construction and assembly, the floating green at Coeur d’Alene Resort was ready to make its long-awaited debut. Completed the previous September, the green was unveiled to the press by Idaho governor Cecil Andrus in October, but had sat anchored close to the north shore of the lake ever since. The PennLinks bentgrass putting surface and perimeter geranium beds had been groomed to perfection, and the resort’s marketing machine had kicked into gear ensuring golf’s spotlight would shine on the Pacific Northwest. At the time, most golf writers barely knew the Northwest existed. While private enclaves like Sahalee, Spokane Country Club, Eugene
Country Club and others were hosting USGA Championships and delivering world-class golf to the Northwest’s privileged few, barely any of those public courses we now consider our crown jewels – and that regularly dot the national rankings of America’s public courses – were in existence. There were two courses at Black Butte Ranch and … that’s about it. To the world’s most famous golf course architects, the Northwest was no-man’s land, a rainy, muddy corner of the country where it simply didn’t make sense to invest resources into golf. Why bother building a course in Oregon, Washington or Idaho – where demand (and, thus, pay) was low, the playing season was short and no one outside the region had any desire to travel – when you could instead build one in Palm Springs, Scottsdale or Palm Beach and enjoy packed tee sheets and perfect conditions nearly year-round? Because you’re Coeur d’Alene Resort owner Duane Hagadone and you see something that no one else sees: you see the future.
The Western world measures time using “B.C.” and “A.D.” — around here, we might as well measure the Northwest golf scene using “B.C.D.A.” and “A.C.D.A.”
BEFORE & AFTER 1937 Sun Valley (Trail Creek)
1982 Black Butte Ranch (Glaze Meadow) 1991 Coeur d’ Alene Resort 1992 Pumpkin Ridge 1993 Desert Canyon
1996 Gold Mountain (Olympic) 1996 Aspen Lakes
1995 Crosswater at Sunriver 1995 Langdon Farms
1999 Trophy Lake 1999 Newcastle (Coal Creek) 1999 Bandon Dunes
1997 Running Y Ranch 1997 The Reserve and Vineyards
2001 Pacific Dunes 2001 Whitetail
2000 Washington National
1972 Heron Lakes 1972 Black Butte Ranch (Big Meadow) 32
Coeur d’Alene Resort • Hole No. 14
n Seattle sportswriter Blaine Newnham’s 2015 book, “Spectacular Golf Courses of the Northwest,” he writes of the green that would forever change the public golf scene in the Pacific Northwest: “It began with a sudden fit of inspiration, the owner of the industrial property walking his dog, gazing out at a tugboat towing a nearly round raft of logs on Lake Coeur d’Alene. He asked himself, and his dog, ‘Why couldn’t that be a green?’” Coeur d’Alene native and resort owner Duane Hagadone had opened his 18-story Lake Tower and Resort on
2003 Pronghorn 2003 Circling Raven 2004 Prospector at Suncadia 2004 Jug Mountain Ranch
the Lake, on the site of the old North Shore Resort, in 1986. A hugely successful entrepreneur who made his fortune primarily in newspapers before branching out into hospitality, real estate, aviation and boating services, Hagadone understood the unique challenges of the endeavor he was about to undertake, having already built three marinas on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Initially, he chose a single-unit concrete pontoon whose advantages included high strength and long life expectancy with near-zero maintenance. But the depth
2007 2007 2007 2007
Chambers Bay White Horse The Home Course Brasada Canyons
of the lake where the green would be positioned was surprisingly too shallow and, with time running low, he chose a modular concrete design whose draft could be accommodated and which would take considerably less time to build. The modules would be built at Bellingham Marine Industries, then assembled in secluded Blue Creek Bay toward the east end of Lake Coeur d’Alene, about five miles from the golf course. The final design featured 104 modules in two layers, each module weighing 25,000 pounds. Lightweight Ex-
2010 Old MacDonald
2011 Salish Cliffs 2011 Rope Rider
2009 Wine Valley 2008 Palouse Ridge 2008 Tetherow 2005 Chehalem Glenn 2005 Bandon Trails
2014 Gamble Sands
* Years indicate when course first opened
panded Polystyrene (EPS) would fill the gaps to give the structure buoyancy, and the modules would be connected by steel link plates, the two layers held together with steel through-rods. Two 4,542-liter tanks were built into the top layer to provide drainage and a water-collection system so water that had irrigated the green could be pumped back to shore, rather than leak into the lake. Of course, designing a floating green is one thing. Building a 2,500-ton pontoon with a golf green on top, which needs to have a 50-year shelf life – oh, not to mention a world-class golf course to go with it – is quite another. Arnold Palmer bid on the job, as did four other architects, each of whom had to give a $5,000 presentation to Hagadone. Among those was Scott Miller – despite, amusingly, a personal distaste for island greens. “I wasn’t terribly fond of holes like the 17th at Sawgrass,” says the Colorado State graduate, who headed up Jack Nicklaus’s western USA office before deciding to go it alone in 1989. “But I was still eager to win that contract as I really wanted to work with Mr. Hagadone. He was very committed to the town and the resort. He had an incredible eye for detail, and it was obvious he was willing to invest whatever time and money it took to get the course he wanted.” The clincher for Miller might have been the promise Hagadone made him. “He assured me the course would always be maintained in the best possible condition, and that I could
bring any potential clients out there in future,” Miller says. “There’s not many owners that would say that.” Before construction could commence, however, thousands of tons of lumber and other debris had to be cleared from the site of the old Potlatch timber mill close to what is now the seventh fairway. “It took two months to clear the area of timber and chemical waste, and haul it all to a landfill,” says Miller, who spent far more time on-site at Coeur d’Alene than was typical for most architects. “That’s just the way I wanted to work,” he adds. “I had decided I would only take a few jobs a year so I could devote as much time to each as I could.” Also putting in long hours was the Soushek family. Patriarch Bob Soushek set up his Maple Valley-based golf course construction company, Fore, Inc., in 1971, and had worked on a number of Western Washington’s finest courses, including Port Ludlow, Indian Summer and Bear Creek. With him were his sons Dan and Jim, and daughter Lisa. “The whole crew numbered about 25,” he says, “some of whom stayed in an old, abandoned motel close to the course and which Mr. Hagadone had purchased. We moved about half a million cubic yards of dirt, and blasted 385,000 square feet of rock.” While Dad was the foreman, Dan, 25 at the time and now owner of his own firm – Golf Plus Construction – did a bit of everything. “It was incredibly hard work at times,” he says, “espe-
cially getting soil up the hill to the fourth, fifth, and sixth holes. And I’d never worked on a course with so many different grasses. We had PennLinks greens, PennCross tees, PennEagle fairways, and Kentucky Bluegrass rough. Seeding the course was very time-consuming.” Dan, however, loved every second. “Mr. Hagadone was an amazing man to work for,” he says, echoing the sentiments of Miller and, indeed, those of virtually every other Hagadone employee. “He knew exactly what he wanted, and was quite demanding, but not in a bad way. I saw him wash concrete cart paths for four hours once. And one evening, quite late, I remember coming across a man out walking his dog on the construction site. I told him it was restricted and that he’d have to leave. He told me he owned the place, and we ended up having a very pleasant conversation.” Soushek’s more immediate boss, however, was Miller – whom, he says, shared a few qualities with Hagadone. “Scott was likewise very clear about what he wanted done,” Soushek recalls. “I really liked the way he worked. Some architects would suggest building this or digging that, and next day say, ‘Nah, that won’t work, let’s move it.’ Scott wasn’t like that.” This disparate cast of characters that contributed to the success of the course included a crack team of engineers, a family of golf course builders, a former Jack Nicklaus employee on his first solo project and, of course, Steve Mass. The construction superintendent who had
grown-in Colorado’s Castle Pines Country Club and Arizona’s Forest Highlands, Maas passed up an offer of a similar role at Loch Lomond in Scotland to go Idaho instead. “Mr. Hagadone wined and dined me, and took me to Riviera,” says Maas. “He made it very difficult for me to turn him down.” Another member of the Hagadone fan club, Maas says the owner told him to “work smarter, not longer,” after he remarked on how long some of the days were becoming. “That has stuck with me ever since.” He’d argue that every green, tee and fairway was as important as the next, but surely Maas’s most crucial job during his two years at Coeur d’Alene was ensuring the surface of the floating green rolled smooth and quick. After the engineers had delivered the barge, and Miller had established his routing, Maas became the man whose performance would most influence the world’s perception of Coeur d’Alene. A beautiful putting surface and well-manicured island would score the resort serious publicity points. Anything less and Maas would never hear the end of it. The barge was moved from Blue Creek Bay out into the lake by tugboat operator Fred Finney, who skillfully avoided the stanchions suspending I-90 above the lake near Higgins Point. “He had a few inches to spare on either side,” says Maas. “I think there were some Highway Patrol or other law enforcement people out there. It was pretty nerve-wracking for a while.” Once the barge was in place, with the cables and drain lines (which Maas referred to as the “umbilical cord”) hooked up, Maas got to work. Four inches of pea gravel and two inches of coarse sand went down beneath 12 inches of greens mix. Maas ordered the PennLinks sod – “We needed sod for the floating green, not seed,” says Maas. “We needed it to look good quickly.” – from West Coast Turf in Palm Desert, Calif., who transported the turf rolls in a refrigerated truck. “We had the tugboat and a small barge ready to load it onto the barge and then onto the green to be laid,” says Maas. “We walked on plywood. The green was rolled and we made sure the irrigation was working as planned.” Maas then mowed, top-dressed, and rolled the green a number of times before sitting back and praying for a mild winter.
Coeur d’Alene Resort • Hole No. 5
blow, and whitecaps jumped and splashed across the lake. Before long, the anemometer read 40 knots and fivefoot waves began slamming into, and breaking over, the pontoon’s back wall. Sand was blown out of the island’s two bunkers, and the handful of trees dotted around the edge came down. All play, on this most important of days in Northwest golf history, was ground to a halt. Did engineers pace their offices, dreading the call telling them their barge had succumbed to the elements and run aground, or worse, been torn apart and sunk? “I wasn’t even aware there was a storm until I heard from Glosten a while later,” says project engineer Craig Funston, referring to the Seattle-based company that
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Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
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o it was that on May 1, 1991, the entire golf industry had its eyes on a Pacific Northwest public course, eagerly anticipating the first day of play on a course with a hook so novel that it captured the imagination of the nation. Golf writers from all the major magazines were there, as was seemingly the entire population of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, all eager to see the floating green in action. “The idea of a floating green seemed somehow straight out of the western ideal,” recalls Tom Cade, editor of Pacific Northwest Golfer and the director of communications for the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. A few hours after play got underway, however, clouds started to gather overhead, a southwest wind began to
played a crucial role in developing the “floater” alongside his own firm, Geiger Engineers of Bellingham (Funston is now the founding principal at Redpoint Structures). Similarly unperturbed, about the floating green at least, was Maas. He was more concerned about the strength of the wind causing the bentgrass seed he had only recently sown on the fairways at 11, 12, and 13 to mix with the Bluegrass seed in the rough. Sure enough, he would have to germinate the seeds, kill the resulting turf, and re-seed the affected areas. Such lack of concern for a structure that one assumes cost millions of dollars to build (every company involved in its creation had to sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding them from ever revealing the cost) and upon
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which the reputations of dozens of individuals, construction and design companies – not to mention the future of the Coeur d’Alene Resort itself – ultimately depended, is perhaps a little surprising. But if you’d had the benefit of watching it be built, if you had seen the care, effort and ingenuity that went into its creation, you’d be at peace, too. These guys knew what they were doing – and they knew they had done a masterful job.
oeur d’Alene’s famous floating green is halfway to its life expectancy now, having celebrated its 25th anniversary last May. Currently groomed by superintendent Kevin Hicks, it is as immaculately turned out as ever, and the rest of the course likewise continues to impress, especially following the greens’ successful transition to T1 bentgrass. Though lengthened in 2003, when Miller added about 500 yards and used “a lot of explosives” to create a newlook fifth hole after Hagadone requested “more sizzle,” the course retains the architect’s original routing and look. “Even though the region has boasted wonderful courses and hosted important golf championships over the past 100 years, Coeur d’Alene’s floating green helped bring a lot of modern-day attention to Idaho and the Pacific Northwest,” says Jeff Shelley, co-founder of Cybergolf.com and author of “Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest.” “It’s pretty fun to play, too.”
Coeur d’Alene Resort • Hole No. 6
Longtime Seattle Times sportswriter and noted area golf historian Craig Smith recalls, “The floating green was a staple for awhile in golf conversations. ‘Did you hear about that floating green on the new course at Lake Coeur d’Alene?’ It was similar to hearing guys say in 2007 and 2008, ‘Have you played Chambers Bay yet?’” White Horse Director of Golf Operations Bruce Christy says that Coeur d’Alene changed the perception of golf in the Northwest. “At the time that Coeur d’Alene was being built, Washington and the Pacific Northwest courses really were not part of the active golf scene discussions,” he says. “It helped to reinforce just how beautiful the area is and how something so unique like the floating green could act as a magnet to draw players out to the resort in Idaho. It
helped put Northwest courses on the map and made golf resorts out west impressionable for traveling players.” Miller may not have liked island greens all that much – but this one, and the golf course he built around it, have had a lasting legacy that goes far beyond the resort perimeter. And Miller is just fine with that. “Coeur d’Alene is definitely one of my top achievements,” he says. “I’m very proud of it. Golf architects aren’t supposed to have favorites among their own courses, but it would be hard for me not to favor it. It’s very special to me.” Bellingham-based Tony Dear is an award-winning author and journalist, and a longtime contributor to Cascade Golfer. Find his golf books online at Amazon.com.
Family The Links at Avalon • South No. 2 • Burlington
Once the majority of the golf industry, family-owned courses are becoming fewer and farther between
hat guy behind the counter, the one ringing up the greens fees, knew your name and the names of all your family members. And you knew his. Conversations were brief but invariably included a laugh over a flagging swing, a inside joke or retelling a story that transcended your shared experience. That was a time when spending five hours at the golf course felt like a family visit. You showed up at the same time each week, your foursome’s names were already on the starter sheet, and your favorite turkey/mayo sandwich, prepared by the wife of the guy who rang you up, was waiting in a cellophane bag in the snack shop at the turn.
By Bob Sherwin
Those friendly-and-familiar, family-owned local golf courses, at one time abundant and prosperous, have been on a power fade over this past generation. “A lot of what we do depends on relationships,’”says Ron Hass, whose family has owned The Links at Avalon in Burlington since 1988. “There’s a lot of mutual loyalty. That’s vital to what we do. That’s the fun part of being in this business. It’s a personal business.” Hass, who has tried to conduct business in the same fashion for the past three decades, has witnessed significant changes in the game during his time. Golf has changed so much that about the only constants are pro-
fanity and gravity. Equipment has evolved to the point that if you don’t keep pace with the technology every two or three years, you’ll always be 10 yards behind your buddy. Rules and course boundaries have been retrofitted to address the modern excesses of this ancient game. But among the biggest changes is not how you play or what you play with, but where you play. There’s a good chance that the first course you played as a youngster is no longer around, folded into a housing development or strip mall. While many courses have been built, many others have closed, and most of the survivors have consolidated into various marketing conglomerates.
Snohomish Golf Course • Snohomish
“It’s good being with a family,” says Fred Jacobsen, who has had working responsibilities with a couple north-of-Seattle golf courses over the years, but primarily has worked at Snohomish Golf Course, owned by the Richards family for more than a half century. “They (families) understand the peaks and valleys of the business.” The disappearance of family-owned courses “hurts all of us,” Jacobsen says. “Single-family ownership is the backbone for developing golfers. It’s hard to develop golfers on a full 18-hole course.” Last year, the humble Wayne Golf Course in Bothell, owned by the Richards’ for 63 years, was sold. A conservation group purchased the property with initial plans for a park, moving on from hackers to hikers. Another north-end course that has been transformed into a city park is Ballinger Lake in Mountlake Terrace. The nine-hole layout was once thriving, teeming with golfers. In 1987, more than 61,000 rounds were played at Ballinger, among the highest count in the nation for a nine-hole circuit. However, that number dwindled to fewer than 16,000 rounds by 2013, forcing course operators Tyrone and Carol Hardy to back out of their lease with the city. They conceded that the slow recovery from the 2007-09 recession and poor weather conspired to erode their financial stabilty. The Hardys were among the many family-operated golf courses swept out by the recession. Wellington Hills Golf & Country Club in Woodinville, operated by various families for more than 80 years, closed in 2012 to make way for a sports complex. Tall Chief Golf Course, a dandy, wooded 18-hole tract in Fall City, shuttered completely in 2013 in favor of a housing development and RV camp site. At least a dozen locally-owned courses around the state have closed, or sold out, since 2010, changing the face of golf ownership from your neighbor, to a number — one as likely to reach China as Chehalis.
t wasn’t always this way. A generation ago, back when family-owned courses ruled the pastures, there was little need to promote, as courses were turning away nearly as many golfers as they sent to the first tee. Business boomed in the 1980s. Millions took up the game and thousands of courses opened across the land. cascadegolfer.com
“The growth lasted until about 1992,” Jacobsen adds. “There were so many courses built. We doubled the courses — but we didn’t double the golfers.” According to the National Golf Foundation, play is on a steady decline. Thirty years ago, there were 35 million golfers (age six and older) playing the game. That figure dipped to 30.6 million by 2003. Corporate fundraisers were greatly reduced at courses, an indication that the millennials are not taking up the game at the same rate the previous generation once did, and junior programs have seen steady declines in participation over the past three decades. Yet, those warning signs were largely ignored by the monied class, as courses continued to be built well into the current century, many with accompanying housing developments. Over a 20-year span — from 1986 to 2005 — 4,500 new courses were up and running. Then, it was hang-on time. The economy began sinking and golf went down with it. For eight straight years — 2006 to 2013 — more golf courses closed than opened, according to the National Golf Foundation. Over the past decade, 800 were shuttered, at one point one approximately every two days. By 2016, that number that had stood at 35 million golfers in the 1980s, and 30 million just 15 years ago, was down to just 24.1 million. And it’s not just courses, either — Mike Livingston, general manager of the regionally-based Puetz Golf Superstores, says, “It’s been a perfect storm of challenges that we’ve faced the last nine years. Everything in golf was overbuilt, and it reached a crescendo in 2008 and ‘09. And we will have, for a number of years, declining net growth.” Like solo golf courses, the Puetz family has also had to overcome these challenges without the resources and marketing reach of the national chains such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority and PGA Superstores. Livingston, who has been with Puetz for 27 years, says there are several factors that have helped Puetz remain viable, mostly unique to the Northwest. For one, the major national retail chains have not been as aggressive in the Northwest as in other regions. Also, the local economy has rebounded quicker and more substantially, and there has been a healthy and respectful competition with Puetz’s main regional rival, Pro Golf Discount. “We’ve had a disciplined competition on favorable APRIL 2017
grounds, instead of the price wars that we’ve seen in many, many markets,” Livingston says. “We’ve tried focusing on the service end of things — better visual aspects, better customer service and personal fittings, instead of just engaging in a race to the bottom.” A victory of sorts for family-owned tracts came in 2014, when the celebrated Gamble Sands opened in Brewster. The course was the vision of Cass Gebbers, CEO of Gebbers Farms, one of the biggest apple producers in the country. His motivation was to build a destination course that would bring in a new wave of tourists to diversify the economy. Of course, this high-powered family is mostly immune from typical family-owned challenges. For those limited-resource solo operations, it has been a bumpy, red-knuckle ride that shook out the most vulnerable. “We’ve tried to take the long-term approach, ride it out and hope that we’d emerge on the other side financially stable,” says Avalon’s Hass.
o many courses, however, were forced to consolidate in order to play another day, bunched together in corporate collections or signed over to a management company. Washington has been a witness. In 1994, Oki Golf began buying individual courses, starting with The Golf Club at Echo Falls in Snohomish. Oki then added Washington National Golf Club in Au-
Despite growing corporate influence nationwide, Puetz Golf has remained family-owned since opening its doors in 1945.
burn, The Golf Club at Hawks Prairie, Indian Summer Golf & Country Club in Olympia, Trophy Lake Golf & Casting in Kitsap County, The Golf Club at Newcastle, The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, Harbour Pointe Golf Club in Mukilteo, and The Plateau Club in Sammamish. Just a few months ago, another layer wedged between
the club and the player, with the China-based HNA Holding Group purchasing those eight Oki courses for $137 million. As part of the agreement, Oki Golf will stay on to manage the courses. There’s also, of course, Premier Golf Center, which manages 15 courses at 13 facilities, including most of the city-owned tracks in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and Everett; as well as PGA TOUR star Ryan Moore’s RMG Golf Club Management, which owns and operates Moore’s home course, The Classic, plus McCormick Woods and Oakbrook Golf Club, and whose management partner, Columbia Hospitality, also represents Gold Mountain and The Golf Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, and recently took over management of the formerly family-owned North Shore Golf Course. Then there’s Access Golf, which owns Willows Run, Druids Glen, Kayak Point and Capitol City; plus the numerous courses that have either been built or purchased by Native American tribes in recent years, including White Horse Golf Club, Salish Cliffs Golf Club, the Cedars at Dungeness, Swinomish Golf Links and more. Those five groups alone — Oki, Premier, Access, RMG and the various Northwest tribes — account for more than 40 Western Washington public courses, including just about all of the region’s most-played tracks. With such large management groups and deep-pocketed ownership, and all the attendant marketing resources, it’s little wonder that our region’s “little guys” have found themselves squeezed out — or, in some cases, reluctantly selling out.
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ount Si Golf Course in Snoqualmie has been connected to the Barter family since the course opened in 1927. Scott Barter, who has been the do-everything general manager/CFO since 1988, has helped his property come out on the other side of the recession with all its pins intact. Like most single-family course operators, Barter is irreplaceable. He can’t pass it off to a management company “because I’d have to fire myself.” His hands are deep in the turf. He understands, better than anyone, what it takes to stay solvent. His staff numbers 15 during the winter to 50 at peak summer. His water usage at mid-summer could reach 300,000 gallons per day. Equipment breaks down. Taxes rise, temperatures fall. He has to keep track of it all — along with a full-service restaurant — with a sharp pencil. All courses have similar expenses, but the solo enterprises are at distinct disadvantages. They can’t pool their resources as the multiple-course operations can, such as equipment, bulk buying power and all-important marketing. “Our marketing tools are more difficult in this era,” Barter says. Mount Si doesn’t have a marketing reach much beyond the Snoqualmie Valley. “I think we’re recognized by a good core group here. There’s a lot of loyalty. But that’s become a smaller group, too.” Avalon’s Hass added that “the challenge with a
Mount Si Golf Course • North Bend
stand-alone operation, you are responsible for everything. You can’t defray your marketing costs.” There’s one bottom line, and it’s hazardous to cross. Hass says the current nation-wide challenge, particularly for small-budget courses, are the national on-line tee time discount sites. He said their only interest is to drive down prices while offering little or no benefit to
individual courses. “It takes a certain amount of dollars to operate a course. You have to have a certain revenue to keep the doors open,’’ Hass says. “Those Ma and Pa operations are not collecting enough revenues.” But Hass is optimistic. He said the junior programs in his area “are far better than when golf was in its hey-
77 Years of Continuous Operation Snohomish Golf Course
Battle Creek Golf Course
Gamble Sands • No. 16 • Brewster
SnohomishGolfCourse.com (360) 568-2676
BattleCreekGolfWA.com (360) 659-7931
7805 147th Ave SE Snohomish, WA 98290
6006 Meridian Ave N Tulaip, WA 98271
Free online tee times
day. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve seen an emphasis on golf that far exceeds what it was when I grew up.” He said local outreach and local support is vital to survival. Avalon offers are variety of junior programs, gives high school and college golf teams access to the course and is involved in every local fundraiser. “I do this because I love the game,’’ Hass adds. “Most of us have been working here for a long time. It’s fun being part of a smaller, family operation. You develop relationships with the staff and I really think that the customer can tell the difference.” Bob Sherwin is the co-founder of GolfersWest.com, and writes regularly for Cascade Golfer, The New York Times, The Associated Press and MLB.com. His feature on former Husky golfer Richard Lee (CG, Aug. ‘13) won an NWGMA media award in 2014.
SAVE SOME GREEN APRIL SHOWERS BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
pring is by far our trickiest golf season. A 65-degree, sunny day when you teed off can become a total downpour by the sixth hole, then nice again a few minutes later. That’s why we usually keep our spring plans pretty low-key. Not being able to plan ahead keeps us close to home, while the unpredictable weather means we stick to lower-priced courses — it hurts a lot less to be rained out when you’ve only paid $30 to play five minutes from home than it does when you drove an hour and paid twice that. In this month’s Save Some Green, we highlight two courses that fit our spring golf bill, close to home and in our price range. Our weather may not be predictable just yet, but a good, affordable round of golf at either of these tracks is a safe bet.
In the “Sun Belt” At The Golf Course
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Camaloch Golf Course
Walter Hall Golf Course • Everett
Walter Hall Golf Course EVERETT
I’ll admit — despite living in the Seattle area for more than 20 years (and, specifically, the last 11 in South Snohomish County) — I had never played Walter Hall Golf Course until just last spring. I’ve played Legion Memorial (Walter Hall’s “sister” course in the Premier Golf Everett family) plenty of times, as well as Lynnwood, Harbour Pointe, Kayak, Snohomish Golf Course, Battle Creek, Echo Falls, The Nile and all of the other main north end courses. For whatever reason, though, I had never been to Walter Hall. OK, “whatever” reason isn’t quite accurate. I know the reason — I had heard, years ago, probably just once or twice, that it wasn’t worth my time. When I first moved up to the north end, I was told that Walter Hall was too wet, too unkempt — I was better off plunking down my hard-earned dollars at Legion, Snohomish or any of those other courses above, all of which give good value for their greens fees. Last February, though, I took the official CG dog to a new dog park, only to lay eyes on Walter Hall for the first time — and you know what? It didn’t look half-bad. Thus it was that I finally teed it up a month or so later, not sure what to expect. I couldn’t have been more surprised. Where I expected a wet course — especially given the winter we had in 2015-16 — I instead found a course that, while certainly damper the closer you got to the tree line, was in surprisingly excellent shape. No standing water on any greens or in any bunkers, no pools of mud, no splashes of water from every divot. Where I expected to find roughly-mown and debris-strewn fairways, I
instead found well-maintained turf that wouldn’t have seemed out of place at a course with twice the $33 greens fee. And where I expected to find spotty greens, I instead found perhaps the smoothest and greenest greens I’ve played in the last year, greens even Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel would appreciate. In otherwords — I found a fun, well-maintained golf course, at a great rate, to boot. How exactly was it I hadn’t been here before? Maybe I just had old info — after all, the City of Everett poured a significant amount of money into the course in 2013-14, adding 14 bunkers, renovating the greens and improving course maintenance. I can’t speak for what it was like before the renovation, but I can say that the end result has certainly been positive — a course that is in great shape (even in the worst of seasons), not overly challenging (though the back nine, with its tighter fairways and occasional hazards, certainly asks much more of the golfer than the front), and with a greens fee as low as $16 at twilight times. It may have taken me 23 years to check out Walter Hall, but it certainly won’t be that long before I go back.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,140-6,426 yards (72) RATES $16-$33* TEL (425) 353-4653 WEB everettgolf.com/walterhall * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Start your season off with
2 Great Spring Events
Maplewood G.C. • Renton
3 Days of Golf! 2017 Men’s Invitational May 27-28 Practice round Friday May 26 Entry: $225 Format: 36 Hole Stroke Play 1 practice rd. • 2 tourn rds. • 2 lunches Saturday Night Dinner • Tee prizes Over $10,000 Prize Fund
2017 Two Person Best Ball Saturday April 29 Entry: $90 Over $4,000 Prize Fund
WhidbeyGolfClub.com • (360) 675-5490 2430 SW Fairway Lane, Oak Harbor WA 98227
Maplewood Golf Course RENTON
Owned and operated by the City of Renton, Maplewood is popular among locals for its surprising variety of holes, low rates, and the adjacent driving range and restaurant. That popularity can make for longer rounds at peak hours, which is why we prefer to sneak out at early bird or twilight times and take advantage of both lower greens fees and lighter congestion. One of the first things most newbies notice about Maplewood is the trees — lots of them, surrounding nearly every hole. If you can hit it straight, then you’ll likely score well, with back-tee yardage of just 6,122 yards. If you’re misfiring, though, you can spend an entire day punching under and around the towering firs and maples that give the course its name. The second thing you’re sure to notice is the water. Ponds, creeks and streams come into play on at least 10 holes, including two par-3s where the shortest path to the pin carries directly over the wet stuff. That combination of water and trees — not to mention plenty of doglegs — requires most golfers to think one shot ahead throughout the round, a quality not often associated with muni layouts. Most importantly, the wet stuff stays confined to its borders — where many courses stay wet well into June, Maplewood dries out faster than most, another good reason for playing it early in the year. We’re suckers for a reachable par-5, and Maplewood has one that’s too good to resist. A golfer’s second-shot decision on the 476-yard 15th hole (467 from the whites) will come down to two things — where is your ball, and how have you been striking it? The approach narrows like a chute towards the pin, with a hazard left, and a bunker and large maple right. If you’re on the short stuff and hitting it pure, then grab an iron or wood and let it rip. If not, a good layup still leaves a strong chance at birdie. By the time you reach the 18th, a tempting little 276yard par-4, you’ll know how you’ve been hitting ‘em — and exactly what that little circle on the scorecard would mean to your score. If you make it, toast yourself in the RiverRock Grill — if not, the covered, heated driving range will give you the chance to fix that drive.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,155-6,127 yards (72) RATES $18-$40* TEL (425) 430-6800 WEB rentonwa.gov/living * See website for current rates 46
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Resolutions For Golf’s New Year
The Golf Club at Hawks Prairie, Links No. 14 • Lacey
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
PHOTO BY ROB PERRY
’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I can say that I want to exercise more, or eat healthier, or finally see a doctor about my chronically aching back. But, exercising is agony, doctors are expensive, and pizza is delicious. Why make a promise I know I’m not going to keep? As I’ve seen our courses thawing out from a colder-than-usual winter, though, I’ve found myself making some different kinds of resolutions. Specifically, some golf resolutions. No, I’m not going to break 80 this year — and anyway, that’s a goal (some who have seen me play might say, “pipe dream”), not a resolution. But I can commit to working on my game, seeing more of our great state, and being the best playing partner I can be. Some of the resolutions below probably apply to you, too — in fact, we hope they do. Let us know your resolutions via our Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) accounts, or in the comments section of this article at CascadeGolfer.com.
Play More Golf
2 Play At Least Five New Courses 3 Spend More Time On The Range
This is an easy one, right? As a golf magazine staff, you’d think we spend every waking minute on a golf course. The reality is that most of the job is spent on the phone or at a keyboard. Sure, we can play on a weekday and call it work (um ... don’t tell the boss, though), but because of that, our families generally frown on weekend play. So, we’re left with basically just the free days in our work schedule — which, like yours, aren’t all that many. This year, though, I’m going all-out to increase rounds by at least 20 percent over last year ... just as soon as the rain stops.
We all have our favorite tracks, whether it’s the club where you’re a member, or the local muni with the reasonable greens fees. And it’s easy to settle into that groove, stepping up to the same tees every weekend — heck, it probably even helps your handicap to know the course so well. The fact is, though, our region is incredibly rich in fantastic golf courses — when visitors travel here from out-of-state, they’re amazed that courses with the quality and scenery of, say, a Gold Mountain, White Horse or Druids Glen can be played for under $50. And truly world-class destinations like Chelan, Coeur d’Alene, British Columbia, Central Oregon and Bandon are a halfday’s drive or less or away. My goal this year is to play at least five courses that I’ve never played before — not only will it make me more knowledgable about our state and region, I just might discover a new favorite.
4 Take a Golf Vacation
5 Be A Better Steward of Our Courses
This is one I’ve actually been pretty good about over the last few years. While I love playing our local tracks, it’s fun sometimes to get away, whether to a different part of the country, overseas, or even just beyond the borders of Western Washington. Whatever your time and budget allows, give yourself a few days to play golf in another area — not only will you likely discover some amazing new courses, you’ll appreciate even more what we have back home.
As stated above, our courses — municipal, Tribal, public and otherwise — are incredible, and deserve to be kept that way. Too many people — groundskeepers, superintendents, agronomists, etc. — work too hard to keep our tracks in tip-top shape to have it all go to waste because golfers can’t or won’t do their part. I’ve always been good about fixing ball marks, replacing or filling divots and raking bunkers, as are the vast majority of golfers I’ve played with. But, I’ll confess to sometimes fudging the “cart path only” rule, or striking the ground in frustration, or stomping through some flowers or shrubberies to find a lost ball. Not this year. And the next time I have to wait for a greenskeeper to finish mowing a green or moving a sprinkler, I’m going to say thanks when I drive past — they put up with a lot from us golfers, and without them, we wouldn’t have such beautiful courses to enjoy.
Nobody likes practice. But besides raw athletic talent and unlimited access to top coaches and equipment (you know, those little things) it’s the main difference between pros and amateurs — pros work on their game constantly, spending multiple hours on the driving range or putting green for every hour spent on the course, while amateurs jump out of the car, check in, hit 20 balls or so if there’s time, then head straight to the first tee. Then, we wonder why we can’t just be more consistent. My goal this year is to visit the local driving range at least once for every three rounds I play. Is it pro-level training? Not even close. Is it significantly more than I — and probably most of us — am doing now? Absolutely. Will it make me a better golfer? Well, if you’ve seen my game, you’d know it certainly can’t make me worse.