VOLUME 12 • ISSUE 1 • APRIL 2018 • COMPLIMENTARY
CALLAWAY GOES ROGUE LPGA Legends Coming to White Horse in June Joel Dahmen’s Unlikely Road to the PGA Tour NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS
2018 CG Cup Features Best-Ever Course Lineup NORTH
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Edgar Esta Caliente ! Mariners Legend Edgar Martínez on his golf game, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, and the Hall of Fame
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #1 Seattle,WA
CASCADE A LOOK INSIDE
Volume 12 • Issue 1 • APRIL 2018
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 90,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound region.
Departments 4 6
VARSITY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 4114 198th Street SW, Suite 5 Lynnwood, WA 98036 P: (425) 412-7070 F: (425) 412-7082 varsitycommunications.com
P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Katie Erickson FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (425) 412-7070 ext. 103 email@example.com
ADVERTISING & MARKETING STAFF VICE PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR OF SALES Kirk Tourtillotte SALES & MARKETING Simon Dubiel, Ian Civey, John Tipping FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Simon Dubiel • (425) 412-7070 ext. 100 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Big changes at Chambers • Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship • Puget Sound Senior Golfers • Local course & Tour updates • SG EXTRA: CG Cup’s best-ever lineup
22 TEEING OFF 24 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• TaylorMade M3 & M4 • Callaway Rogue • Cobra King F8 • PLUS: Wedges, Putters, Rangefinders
37 RISK VS REWARD • Wine Valley G.C. No. 7
60 SAVE SOME GREEN • Eastside values
• Building the perfect golfer
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted.
PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
50 Big Momma’s Back LPGA legends return to White Horse this summer. BY BOB SHERWIN
56 BY BRIAN BEAKY ON THE COVER
Edgar Martinez is rapidly closing in on Hall of Fame election — but he’d rather talk about his work to cure muscular dystrophy. Story on page 22. Photo by Ben Van Houten / Seattle Mariners
HERE'S TO THE WINNERS of December’s CG Swag! We didn’t skimp on our enter-to-win contests in December’s issue, giving away trips to Hawaii and Palm Springs, and more! If these folks seem a little more tan than they should be at this time of year, you’ll know why:
And, of course, we’re kicking off 2018 with even more great swag, including rounds of golf to four of our favorite tracks, thousands of dollars in savings with the Northwest Golfers Playbook, and a chance to go inside the ropes at June’s LPGA Legends Tour event at White Horse!
Maui Stay-and-Play Darren Mach • Lynnwood
• FOUR Northwest Golfers Playbooks Page 18 • Twosome to Highlander G.C. Page 21 • LPGA Legends Tour VIP Experience Page 54 • CG Jackpot: Eight Rounds of Golf! Page 62
Mega Palm Springs Getaway Randy Rainier • Seattle Northwest Golfers Playbook Kim Burnett • Puyallup
An unlikely but true PGA Tour underdog story.
Designer Dan Hixson takes us behind the scenes at Oregon’s reversible Silvies Valley Ranch.
COPYRIGHT 2018 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.
Walking With Tigers
Hixson's New Twist
The all-new TaylorMade M3 highlights the year’s new drivers. More on page 24.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA
BY JOHN BLACK
• We got Edgar!
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! APRIL 2018
Hats Off To The Seattle Golf & Travel Show
iberating. Nerve-wracking. Grateful. These are words I use to describe how it felt to buy and produce the 2018 Seattle Golf & Travel Show, which took place in March. I was just 29 years old when our company, Varsity Communications, teamed with the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and PGA Pacific Northwest Section to start the Seattle Golf Show 20 years ago, all working together to lift the show off the floor. I remember how that felt then, too. To see a line of people ready to come into a brand-new show — I couldn’t believe it. It lit a fire, for sure. In the two decades since, the show has been wellcared for, first by the golf associations, and later by John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson. Owning and operating a consumer expo is not for the faint of heart. Rent, labor, media and other costs are expensive. You have to sell 100,000 square feet of retail space, create fun and informative programming, and then invite thousands of golfers to come and enjoy it. You can’t take shortcuts. Since starting the Seattle show in 1998, we have launched or re-launched golf shows in 13 other markets nationwide, and will host our 100th show in 2019. Seattle, though, is our first show — our home show — and to be back producing it again as owner in its 20th year was a huge deal for us.
There are three things that I personally took from this experience that will never be forgotten. One, my connection to my business partner, Kirk Tourtillotte, who signed up for the risk and reward of this with me. It was gutsy what we took on here, but we trusted each other. Second, our local experts — Bobbi Kramer, Pam Titland, Simon Dubiel, Brian Beaky, Ian Civey, Rob Becker, Katie Erickson, Tony Dellino, Melinda Haynes, Nicole Early and others — pulled together like champions and rocked it. Lastly, the newfound friendship with John Tipping. I have always respected John. This show was his baby for years, and his fingerprints are all over it. We've had a friendly rivalry with John over the years, as we have sold, done business and traveled in the same circles for almost two decades. But, John joined our team this year and played an important role with all our shows, in addition to helping transition Seattle back to Varsity. It was a great reminder to never burn bridges, and always be hard on issues, but soft on people. We were taught that by Ozzie Boyle, our company founder, who was the creative force behind the original Seattle Golf Show. I know he’s smiling down on this effort. THANK YOU to all that supported and attended this year. It’s Seattle’s show, really — we are merely stagehands. Enjoy this first issue of 2018 and TAKE IT EASY!
SHORT GAME Chambers Bay Begins Re-Sodding Greens In Hopes Of Future U.S. Open
Chambers Bay will convert all of its greens to poa annua, including the beautiful 17th.
ometimes, you just have to eat your broccoli. A little less than three years after complaints by Henrik Stenson, Billy Horschel and other players about the condition of the greens at Chambers Bay during the 2015 U.S. Open — Stenson likened the invasive Poa annua grass to “broccoli” — threatened to overshadow what turned out to be one of the most thrilling tournaments in Open history, officials at Chambers Bay have decided to let the broccoli win. A little background: most Pacific Northwest golf course greens are composed of Poa annua. Poa thrives in cool, damp conditions, and when properly maintained, creates a beautiful, smooth putting surface. It’s also invasive, so trying to plant anything else is usually a futile effort. At Chambers Bay, though, designers were eager to create a course entirely from fine fescue — one of very few like it in the United States — and worked hard over the years to purge the fescue greens of the invasive Poa, often picking patches of Poa out one-byone on hands and knees. This worked well enough, as evidenced by the success of the 2010 U.S. Amateur, which resulted in some changes to the course, but few complaints about the quality of the green surfaces. In 2015, however, an unusually warm and dry winter, combined with temperatures in the 80s throughout May and June, put the fescue at risk, forcing greenskeepers to
water more than usual in the days and weeks leading up to the tournament — and with more water, came more Poa ... at exactly the wrong time. Having debated many possible solutions, course officials ultimately settled on two plausible scenarios: one, preserve the course’s fine-fescue reputation and continue futilely fighting the Poa, or; two, allow the Poa to take over, and focus on creating greens that, while not fescue, will be of a quality and condition to match that of the rest of the course. Ultimately, in consultation with the USGA, Chambers Bay has chosen the latter, allowing the Poa to take over an increasing share of the green surfaces. In the fall, three greens — the seventh, 10th and 13th — were completely re-sodded with Poa shipped in from British Columbia, with plans to begin re-sodding the remaining greens as necessary (preferably in the off-season) over the next few years. Poa tends to be softer than fescue, however, and Chambers Bay officials want to keep the course’s greens firm and fast — thus, the Poa at Chambers will be irrigated and maintained differently than at most Northwest tracks, resulting in a firm, smooth, links-style surface that preserves Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s initial vision for how the greens at Chambers Bay would play. Players visiting in 2018 will definitely notice a difference — obviously, the three Poa greens are a stark contrast
to anything played at Chambers Bay before, though in line with the best-conditioned greens at any local Northwest course. More notably, the remaining greens have a more mottled complexion, as the dark green Poa slowly expands its footprint across each surface. Course officials insist, though, that while the greens may look “unconventional...(during this) somewhat ungraceful transition,” they do provide a consistent roll across all surfaces. As a result of the project, the U.S. Amateur FourBall Championship scheduled for 2019 has been pushed back to 2021. Officials at both Chambers Bay and the USGA, though, expect that the finished project will put our local gem right back in the mix for another U.S. Open, potentially as early as 2026, though more likely sometime after 2030. “It is all part of staying on course in bringing major championships back to Chambers Bay,” says Matt Allen, the course’s general manager. The USGA agrees: “All of us at the USGA commend Chambers Bay and Pierce County for re-grassing the putting greens, as it will have long-term benefits for the facility,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships and governance. Hey, whatever brings the Open back to Chambers Bay, right? If that means going all-in on broccoli, then we'll take all the broccoli you can serve. cascadegolfer.com
Woodinville’s Joseph Andy Earns $1,000 Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
veryone has a golf origin story — usually, a parent or grandparent who gave you your first set of clubs, or took you to the course as a kid. Most, though, aren't as painful as Joseph Andy’s. As a seven-year-old living in Indonesia, Joseph suffered a devastating break of his right hand, resulting in a six-hour surgery, and two steel pins, to put his bones back together. After a second surgery nine months later to remove the pins, the athletically minded — and, notably, right-handed — youth began asking about sports he could play using primarily his left hand, and his grandfather suggested golf. He started hitting a few balls and, after his hand healed months later, signed up for his first golf lessons with a teaching professional. Less than two years later, Joseph was one of Indonesia’s top young golfers, earning scholarships from Malaysia’s CIMB Bank to attend the prestigious CIMB Preferred Golf Academy outside Jakarta, Indonesia, a program run by PGA professionals with the goal of developing Indonesia’s next generation of professional golf stars. From there, Andy qualified to attend a PGA TOUR academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, learning from some of the top teachers in the game. After his family moved to the United States in the fall of 2016, Andy joined the golf team at Woodinville High School, where he is blasting 300yard drives, participating in DECA (an organization that prepares students for careers in business and finance) and maintaining a 3.88 grade-point-average — despite speaking English only as a second language. Oh, and he also volunteers with the video production team at his local church, and spends his spare time developing an interest in photography. For all of this and more, the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship committee was honored to recognize Joseph as the recipient of this month’s $1,000 scholarship, to be used towards golf or educational expenses in Joseph’s continuing development. “Wow! It is a surprise!” said Joseph’s father, Andy Sutedja, when informed of the committee’s decision. Sutedja noted that Joseph hopes to pursue a college scholarship, and knows that even if his dream of playing professional golf does not become reality, the game will help him “make deals and make friends with many business people in the future.” “It’s clear from reading about Joseph that he has had to work hard and overcome many obstacles to get where he is today, both as a golfer and a student, having so much success in a country where he has lived for less than 18 months, and in a language that is not his own,” says John Moscrip, COO of Duke’s Chowder House, which sponsors the quarterly scholarship. “That kind of
Junior Golfer Scholarship
commitment and work ethic is exactly what we look for when identifying scholarship recipients, because that’s someone that we know will not take this scholarship for granted, but will instead use it to further their growth and development. Joseph is a real inspiration.” Started in 2016 by Duke’s founder, Duke Moscrip, and his son, John, the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship awards four $1,000 scholarships annually — one in each issue of Cascade Golfer — to Puget Sound area youths of high school age or below with strong academic records, a proven commitment to golf (through participation with teams, clubs or local youth programs) and a stated desire to pursue a career in the golf industry, either on the competitive or business side of the game. In the two years since, Duke’s has awarded nearly $10,000 to boys and girls ranging in age from 12-18, and from all economic backgrounds. If you think you know a young person — maybe a son, daughter, niece, nephew, student or friend — who would be deserving of Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship, we want to hear from you! Email email@example.com, and be sure to include the student’s name and any background information you feel will bolster their nomination — certainly, golf accomplishments and career goals are important, but also academic achievements, community service and any extra-curricular activities. Winners are notified via email and published in each issue of Cascade Golfer. There are thousands of incredible kids out there — yours could be next! See CascadeGolfer.com to learn more!
Get $1,000 from Duke’s Chowder House for your young golfer! Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
SHORT GAME The Difference Makers: Tindall’s Tree Still Spreading Roots
ver the last year, we’ve been highlighting individuals — “Difference Makers” — who have helped shape the golf landscape we currently enjoy today. Past issues have shined a spotlight on “The Legend,” Ken Still; “The Pioneer,” Bill Wright; and “The First Family,” the Harbottles. In this issue, historian Jeff Shelley sits down with “The Teacher,” Bill Tindall. Bill Tindall is, quite simply, the quintessential golf pro. He enjoyed a fine amateur career that culminated when he won the USGA Boys Junior Championship in 1960 — the first of 10 USGA appearances, including three U.S. Senior Opens, where he made the 36-hole cut each time. He’s also logged several important Northwest titles and remains a fine player. One of his fondest memories came at the famed “Massacre at Winged Foot,” the 1974 U.S. Open, which marked his only appearance in the national championship. “I have a photo of the scoreboard after Round 1,” Tindall told writer Joel Zuckerman in a 2012 Cybergolf story. “It shows me at 75, with Jack Nicklaus and Johnny
Miller a shot behind at 76. Too bad the next day, when I needed three pars coming home to make the cut, I made three triple-bogeys instead! After the first triple, I lost my enthusiasm.” Yet, despite his success as a competitor, it came naturally for the Seattle native to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bob, as a club pro. Bill’s first head pro job was at Longview Country Club in 1969, thus begetting a sparkling 43-year career, including 22 years at Broadmoor (where he also served as head coach of the Washington men’s golf team), and stops at Aldarra and Tumble Creek. For the past five years, he’s focused on teaching golf at Redmond Ridge in the summer, and at Palm Desert’s College of the Desert during the winter months. Now 74, Tindall is widely recognized as a “pro’s pro” by his peers, including the Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA, which inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2000. The modest Tindall feels truly blessed to have enjoyed a long and illustrious career, taking particular pleasure in the many assistant pros of his who have gone on to earn head pro jobs.
“I’m most proud of the success many of my former assistants have experienced,” he said. "Golf has given me more than I have given back.” — Jeff Shelley
Who’s On Tour?
ith our laser-focus on golf news and views of specific impact and interest to Puget Sound golfers, we don’t spend too much ink writing about the day-to-day events on golf’s major professional Tours. I mean, let’s be honest — you’re not picking up Cascade Golfer to read a recap of The Masters. (Though, if our publisher ever wants to send us ...) That said, we do like to keep an eye on the careers of our Home Teamers — that is, the golfers with local ties. Some were born here, some went to college here, some still live here today — indeed, we know for a fact that some get this very magazine in their mailboxes, just like you. Here’s where you can find your favorite Home Teamers in 2018 (with a reminder that golfers can play up or down throughout the year, as their priority points change): PGA TOUR Kevin Chappell • Owns a home in Seattle, member at Gamble Sands Joel Dahmen • Clarkston native, played at UW Ryan Moore • Puyallup native, heavily invested in local courses C.T. Pan • UW alum Andrew Putnam • Tacoma native now lives in University Place Jordan Spieth • Caddy, Michael Greller, lives in University Place Kyle Stanley • Still lives in hometown of Gig Harbor Nick Taylor • UW grad calls Vancouver, B.C., home Andrew Yun • Tacoma native, attended Bellarmine Prep LPGA TOUR Erynne Lee • Silverdale native Jing Yan • Part of UW NCAA Champion team WEB.COM TOUR Andres Gonzales • Olympia native now lives in Lakewood Brock Mackenzie • Yakima native, UW alum Alex Prugh • Spokane native, UW alum CHAMPIONS TOUR Fred Couples • Seattle native Kirk Tripplett • Moses Lake native SYMETRA TOUR Ying Luo • Played at UW Sadena Parks • UW alum Charlotte Thomas • UW alum Kim Welch • WSU alum MACKENZIE TOUR (CANADA) Derek Barron • Still lives in hometown of Tacoma Chris Killmer • Bellingham resident, UW alum Richard H. Lee • UW alum Cory Pereira • UW alum Chris Williams • UW alum LPGA JAPAN Cyd Okino • Played at UW LPGA KOREA Soo-Bin Kim • Played at UW Jennifer Yang • Played at UW
SHORT GAME Local Courses Undergo Changes
year ago at this time, Bob Sherwin wrote a story for Cascade Golfer highlighting the struggles faced by smaller, local golf courses and businesses, in a world where a majority of golf courses are controlled by a relatively small number of corporate conglomerates. Diversified companies like Columbia Hospitality or HNA Holdings (which bought out Oki Golf in late 2016) might be able to move money around to cover an extended rainy season, but a couple of additional months of bad weather can ravage the books of a smaller track that counts on a strong playing season to keep the doors open year-round. Likewise, players have become conditioned to hunt for bargain rates at sites like GolfNow.com or Groupon, which leave almost no margin for golf courses, but still require staffing and maintenance to accommodate the rounds played. Those dynamics — and others, of course; nothing is ever quite as simple as the above paragraphs would suggest — claimed another few victims this past year, as Lipoma Firs, Riverbend and Wayne Golf Courses all sold all or part of their properties to developers. The sale of the 27-hole facility at Lipoma Firs, rumored for much of the last decade, finally became reality last summer when a deal was struck to sell the course to home-builder D.R. Horton, which officially closed the course’s doors in November. The city of Kent, meanwhile, voted to sell off the par-3 course at Riverbend Golf Course to a developer with plans to build apartments; while still open as of this writing, the par-3 course was expected to close its doors in the first quarter of 2018. City leaders expressed hope that the revenue from that sale, plus the reduced expenses of staffing and maintaining the course, will bolster the 18-hole championship track at
Kent’s Riverbend G.C. will close its nine-hole par-3 course this spring, while the 18-hole course will remain open.
Riverbend, which is remaining open. And, finally, the long-winding saga of Bothell’s Wayne Golf Course — a complicated, three-year tangle involving the course’s original owners, the city of Bothell, King County, the State of Washington, numerous citizen protests of a proposed development, and a land trust, Forterra, that stepped up in 2016 to purchase the land with the goal of preserving its natural state — came to an end in December, when the city bought back the land from Forterra and re-opened the former Wayne Golf Course property as an as-yet-unnamed 87-acre public park. The moral, of course, is to support our local golf courses however, and whenever, we can. It’s likely that you got your start on a local public course like these — maybe even one of these three courses, specifically. And the more courses we have, in more diverse communities, and at varying price points that grant access to all kinds of individuals, the better chance we have of keeping the game strong, so that the next generation can get their start, too.
Puget Sound Senior Golfers Put a New Spin on The Men's Club
aul Quay loves to golf. He just doesn’t have many friends to golf with. A 68-year-old professor of oceanography at UW, Quay came to golf late in life, and says that his busy teaching and research schedule, and the unpredictable Northwest weather patterns, have typically made it hard to plan far enough ahead to organize rounds with friends. Thus, he’d usually just keep his clubs in the car, and pop over to one of the local Seattle munis when he found himself with free time on a sunny day, playing alone, or with 1-2 strangers he was paired with at the course. In our April 2017 issue, though, Quay read about 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. “I thought, ‘Why not?’” Quay recalls. “I don’t get out as much as I want to, and I thought that maybe having a group to commit to would make me stick with it more. And, knowing that I’d be playing with people about my age, that was appealing, too.” So, Quay signed up and, come late March, when the first tournament of the year rolled around, found that his theory was indeed correct. “It must have rained the first three or four meetings,” he says, chuckling. “In the past, I’d have woken up and seen it was raining and just gone, ’Nah.’ But, in this case, you pay your entry fee the week before, so I was already committed. And I’m glad I was, because it was a lot of fun.” 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 lineup includes The Home Course, Snohomish, The Classic, Mount Si, North Shore, Auburn, Kayak Point and others. Members can play either the forward tees or middle tees, and can choose to play with existing friends, or be randomly paired with other group members each week. Players are sorted into divisions by skill level (no handicap required), and earn prizes for net and gross scores, plus a bevy of side games and hole contests. Golfers can pick and choose which events they attend throughout the year, as well, meaning you don’t have to commit to all 16 up front. It’s like being a member of a men’s club — only, with the added benefit of being able to play multiple courses throughout the year, and only having to compete against players your own age. Quay says that he found both of those qualities appealing.
“There are four things that I really liked about it,” he says. “First, the commitment, which guarantees that I will play at least every other week. I want to do that, but am not always good about actually getting out to the course and playing, so this keeps me honest. Second, I got to play a lot of new courses that I’ve never played before, which was fun. Third, there’s a real range of abilities — some guys shooting close to par, and some probably closer to double-bogey. I wasn’t ever the best guy in my group, but I wasn’t ever the worst, either, so that helped me feel comfortable. And fourth, it’s just a good atmo-
sphere — most of the guys didn’t take it too seriously, and were pretty low-key.” Annual dues are just $45, and golfers pay just $33 per round, which covers not only the greens fees (which, in almost all cases, would be higher otherwise), but also prizes, meaning golfers not only get to try out new courses, but at discounted rates, to boot. “All in all, it was a very positive experience, and I’m definitely doing it again this year,” Quay says. “I guess that says it all, right?” Indeed it does. To learn more, visit www.tpssg.net.
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WhidbeyGolfClub.com • (360) 675-5490 2430 SW Fairway Lane, Oak Harbor WA 98227 APRIL 2018
SHORT GAME Leupold's New Rangefinders Put Focus On Accuracy
t seems that every couple of years, we come back to rangefinders. The truth is, we receive more questions about rangefinders than all other golf accessories combined, an indicator of consumer interest reflected by the large number of rangefinders ranked among the leaders in U.S. golf accessory sales figures. Despite all of the added features and technological advancements, there remain two basic kinds – GPS and laser. GPS rangefinders typically have a lower price point, but are often limited in the number of points that can be targeted on each hole (usually just hazards and greens), and can only be used on courses that have been pre-mapped by the service provider, which hit most of the big boys but often overlook those tucked-away munis where so many of us make our hay in between destination rounds. Furthermore, some require monthly or annual subscription fees that can nearly wipe out the difference in up-front cost, and suffer from suspect performance in cloudy weather. For those reasons, we’ve always been willing to pay a little more up front for a high-quality laser rangefinder. Not only is laser guaranteed to work wherever you are, it also allows you to target any location on the course with a simple point and click, while many models will factor in slope to give you a “plays like” yardage for your shot (as opposed to just the real point-to-point yardage), or vibrate when locked on to a flag. There’s a reason that professional caddies all use laser when mapping the course during their practice rounds — quite simply, it’s the most accurate, the most flexible, and the easiest to use.
And, when it comes to laser, it’s tough to beat the latest models from Leupold. The GX-5i3 is the most accurate rangefinder that the award-winning manufacturer has ever released, with accuracy to one-tenth of a yard. It can also be programmed to memorize your distances with each club, and give recommendations based on the distance, slope and — get this — environmental conditions. That’s right — play on a damp, cold, early-March morning, and the 5i3 will give you a different distance and club recommendation than it would on a warm August afternoon, when your limbs are loose and the fairways are rolling firm and fast. Try to get your GPS rangefinder to do that. In 2018, Leupold is adding updated versions of its 3i and 4i families to the fold as well, with the GX-3i3 and GX-4i3 offering similar features to the top-of-the-line 5i3, at a slightly lower price point. Lastly, there’s the 1i3 and 2i3, each offering similar features to those above, with slightly shorter ranges, and available at rates that are great for someone looking to dip their toe into the wonderful world of laser. (Note: we are not telling any readers to apply lasers to their toes — that seems like a bad idea.) To learn more about these sweet new gadgets, visit your local Puetz Golf.
The Home Course • DuPont
Trophy Lake Golf & Casting • Port Orchard
Photos by Rob Kelly
Home Course, Trophy Lake Join Strongest-Ever Cascade Golfer Cup Lineup — CG Cup Kicks off April 21 at Chambers Bay Region’s largest amateur tournament series to award $100,000 in prizes to golfers of all skill levels!
don’t think it would be a stretch to say that of all the things we do — the magazine, the website, the golf show, the Players Card, the Playbook, etc. — our favorite is the Cascade Golfer Cup. The seven-event series that we started back in 2009 to give golfers of all ability levels the chance to experience the thrill of tournament golf, has given us a chance to make new friends, visit the best courses in the state (just wait until you see this year’s lineup), and, of course, hand out a truckload of prizes. Since that first tournament in 2009, in fact, we’ve given out more than $800,000 in prizes — seriously, that’s insane! — including golf vacations to almost every corner of the world, tickets to the U.S. Open, Masters and British Open, stay-and-plays to the top resorts in the U.S., twosomes and foursomes to Washington’s best courses, plus equipment, apparel and more. Yet, every year, we continue to ask ourselves: How can we make this even better? I have no idea how we are going to answer that question next year — because this year is going to be tough to beat. For the first time ever, all seven of our Cascade Golfer Cup events will be held at courses that ranked in the top-12 of our most recent Top-10 Courses in Washington feature (CG, August ’17), including six of the top-10 and three of the top-five. Meanwhile, the list of prizes remains as strong as ever — stay-and-plays to Maui, Bandon Dunes, Central Oregon, Palm Springs, Las Vegas and Reno-Tahoe; twosomes and foursomes to tracks like Chambers Bay, Wine
Valley and Salish Cliffs; plus rangefinders, golf bags, golf clubs and more, all doled out to the top-15 net and top10 gross-scoring teams at each event. Let’s go back to that course lineup, though, because it’s by far the best we’ve ever had: after following in the footsteps of Jordan, DJ and Rory at Chambers Bay on Apr. 21, we’ll head to Washington National on May 12, then visit Salish Cliffs on June 2. Then, we make our first-ever visits to 2010 U.S. Amateur host The Home Course, on June 23, and Trophy Lake, on July 21, before wrapping up the season with a trip to the No. 1 public course in Washington state, Gamble Sands (Aug. 11), and the season finale at White Horse on Sept. 8. If you’re counting, that’s the state’s No. 1 course (Gamble), No. 2 course (Chambers), No. 5 course (Salish), No. 7 course (Home Course), No. 9 course (White Horse), No. 10 course (Trophy) and No. 12 course (Washington National). That’s right: Washington National — a course that in 2017 received multiple votes as the best public course in Washington — is the lowest-ranked course in our lineup this year. That’s crazy! Those who have played regularly in our events over the years know what to expect — fun, professionally run, two-player team events with a laid-back vibe, beer on the course, a post-round meal and tons of outstanding prizes. All events are open to any player with a verifiable handicap, and with prizes for both net and gross divisions, it doesn’t matter how good you are, as long as you can play your best on that one day. Our careful vetting of handicaps and varying formats at each event have resulted in 54 different net champi-
ons in the 66 events we’ve run, with winners ranging in handicaps from scratch to 28. We have husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, co-workers, best friends and just about any other combination you can imagine — shoot, we’ve even had kids as young as 12 years old going toe-for-toe with seniors over 60. What’s more, you don’t have to compete in all seven events to have a great time: sure, some teams compete in a bunch and earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup title, but many — even the majority, probably — just pick and choose one or two throughout the year and compete for the 25 team prizes, six hole contests and other goodies up for grabs in each event. It’s totally up to you. “This is a great series,” said Shoreline’s Rob Longstreth, a first-time player in 2017 and single-digit handicapper whose team placed fourth in the final gross standings in 2017, and 15th in the net. “We'll definitely be back next year.” Added Rob Brautigam, a longtime player along with his son, Andy: “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.” If you’re a fun-loving golfer with a handicap and a partner — be it a friend, sibling, spouse, parent or child — you, too, can join us for any or all of this year’s events, which kick off in April and run throughout the summer. To learn more, visit www.CascadeGolfer.com/Cup, or e-mail Simon Dubiel at email@example.com. cascadegolfer.com
Cascade Golfer Cup Over $10,000 in prizes at every tournament April 21 • 10 am • Chambers Bay Season Opener May 12 • 7:30 am • Washington National Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship
Net and Gross Prizes
June 2 • 2 pm • Salish Cliffs Cascade Golfer Challenge June 23 • 1 pm • The Home Course Michelob ULTRA Open
July 21 • 8 am • Trophy Lake Srixon Golf Invitational Aug. 11 • 9 am • Gamble Sands Sept. 8 • 8 am • White Horse Puetz Golf Shootout
Great Competition • Great Camaraderie
To Register Visit
cascadegolfer.com Click on the Cup! PRESENTING
Contact: Simon Dubiel firstname.lastname@example.org (425) 412-7070 ext.100 SUPPORTING
Joe Siegel won the 2017 CG Match Play Championships.
Experience The Thrill of Match Play In Net-Based Competition
f you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to play in a high-stakes match play tournament, you’re not alone. And, you don’t have to wonder any longer. Each year, up to 128 players take to courses throughout the Seattle and Portland areas to participate in the Cascade Golfer Match Play Championships, a summer-long series for players of all skill levels. In preliminary rounds, players are grouped as best as possible by handicap and geographic location, and arrange their own matches at the courses of their choosing — last year’s tournament featured matches played at Chambers Bay, Gamble Sands, Rope Rider, Newcastle and Gold Mountain, plus plenty at local favorites like Willows Run, Legion Memorial, Snohomish and West Seattle. Once the field is whittled to eight, the quarterfinalists gather in September at Salish Cliffs Golf Club for a 24-hour golf extravaganza, including quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Friday, and the championship match the following morning. Scoring is net-based, allowing everyone — from a scratch golfer competing regularly for club championships, to a weekend warrior who’s just happy to break 90 — to have a chance to compete; indeed, last year’s quarterfinalists included players with handicaps ranging from 0.7 to 14.8, and ages ranging more than 20 years. And, after a pair of 2&1 wins, Seattle’s Joe Siegel faced off in the final against Frank Coyle, who coasted through his first two matches by margins of 5&3 and 4&3. The finals, though, were a different story — Siegel jumped out to an early lead and never let go, ultimately claiming a 6&4 win after Coyle found himself in trouble on Salish Cliffs’ bedeviling par-4 14th.
CASCADE GOLFER MATCH PLAY
Siegel’s prize? A trip to Las Vegas — where he can really get those competitive juices flowing. Every other finisher in the top-32, meanwhile, took home their own sweet prize as well, including twosomes to Wine Valley and other terrific local tracks. Heck, every single golfer that pays the $75 tournament entry fee receives a 2-for-1 to Salish Cliffs (a $50 value), which means you’re basically putting up just $25 for the chance to experience the thrill of match play, and maybe pocket some fantastic prizes, too. If the idea of head-to-head golf competition makes the hairs on your neck tingle the same way it does ours, be a part of this year’s event! Visit CGMatchPlay.com to learn more, or contact email@example.com.
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 four weeks to play their match each round, at a time and venue agreed upon with their opponent. • The Final Eight will be played Sept. 14-15 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. • The 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.
Save Big On Golf With the 2018 Northwest Golfers Playbook
Prospector at Suncadia
WE’RE GIVING AWAY FOUR NORTHWEST GOLFERS PLAYBOOKS!
hink the Northwest Golfers Playbook — with thousands of dollars in golf savings, for just $39.95 — sounds like a pretty great deal? Then you’re going to love this. We’re going to send four different Cascade Golfer readers their own personal Playbook, packed with deals to courses all over the state! Enjoy 2-for-1s, 4-for-3s and other savings at tracks like Chambers Bay, Palouse Ridge, Suncadia and many of your local favorites, too. Use it to save at courses close to home, or to convince friends to check out a fun destination track — either way, you’ll be saving a bundle! Enter to win your Playbook today at CascadeGolfer.com!
e’ve never met a single golfer who doesn't enjoy saving money on golf. It's the main reason we started this magazine in 2007, and is why, when we first got our hands on the Northwest Golfers Playbook in 2017 — packed with 2-for-1s, 4-for-3s, discounted greens fees, free cart fees and other coupons to courses throughout Washington and Oregon — we knew it would be a hit. What we didn’t anticipate, though, were the reasons that golfers would give us for picking one up. We figured “saving money on every round of golf” was the only reason people needed, right? Nope. ”My friends and I all bought books last year and used them everywhere we went,” said Carl Nilsson, who found us at this year's Seattle Golf Show to re-up for 2018. ”The best part was going to visit some new courses that we might not have checked out without the discounts.”
Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
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”Every summer, we take a guys’ golf trip to Central Washington and play Suncadia, Desert Canyon and Bear Mountain Ranch, and mix in some of the smaller courses, too,” emailed reader Jim Gorney. “Just one Playbook saved us nearly $100 per player — so, almost $400 overall. I’ll definitely be getting another one next year.” We heard from golfers like Jim, who used the Playbook to save on pre-planned trips to top destination courses throughout the state, but also from others who had long wanted to check out some of those courses, but had never been able to convince their friends to splurge for the higher greens fees. Still others, like Carl, told us that they used the Playbook to check out new courses they’d been curious about, to finally get lessons they’d been putting off for years, or just save a few bucks at their favorite local tracks. The fact is, with over $4,500 in savings, and deals to more than 100 courses in Washington and Oregon, there are deals for you, no matter how or where you play. Don’t have anyone to play with? More than half of the deals in the book can be used by an individual golfer. Only available on weekends? Fully 89 of the 121 deals can be utilized on Saturday or Sunday. Don't care about traveling to play tracks like Suncadia, Wine Valley, Palouse Ridge, Tetherow or Pumpkin Ridge? Nearly half of the deals are to courses and businesses in Western Washington. In fact, every single deal, and all restrictions, are posted online at NWGolfersPlaybook.com, so we encourage you to browse the site first and scan all the deals to make sure that you can take advantage of the ones that intrigue you most. You certainly won’t use every deal — though, if you do, please tell us, as we'll definitely want to write about it — but at a price tag of just $39.95 (or $29.95 if bought online using the discount code CASCADEGOLFER), it takes using just one of the higher-value deals to pay for itself. Use just about any two or three, and you’ve covered your nut. Whether it’s to save some green at your local muni, or convince your buddies to cross the mountains, the Northwest Golfers Playbook will have you saving money before you’ve even set foot on the golf course this year. Check them out today at www.NWGolfersPlaybook.com. cascadegolfer.com
WE H T R O N THE
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10 Rounds of Golf — Including Salish Cliffs — For Just $24 Apiece? Believe It! Highlander Golf Course
Region’s best players card value returns with $591 in golf for just $240
ow would you like to play Salish Cliffs — the course Cascade Golfer readers ranked No. 5 in the state — this summer? No problem — the peak weekend greens fee is $109. Now, what if I told you that instead of paying that greens fee, you could buy a Cascade Golfer Players Card for just $240 and get that same $109 round ... plus additional rounds at Apple Tree (a $75 value), Eaglemont (a $71 value), Highlander (a $65 value) Port Ludlow (a $55 value), Whidbey Golf Club (a $55 value), Mount Si (a $49 value), Leavenworth (a $49 value), Cedars at Dungeness (a $47 value) and Snoqualmie Falls (a $44 value)? That’s 10 rounds of golf — including that $109 round to Salish Cliffs — for $24 a round. You’d say I was crazy, right? Well, that’s exactly what this year’s Cascade Golfer Players Card delivers. Each of the 10 rounds can be used on weekedays or weekends after noon, and none expire before Dec. 31,
meaning that if you’re available anytime other than a weekend morning, you’ll be able to take full advantage. And, even if you don’t plan to head across the mountains this summer, you’ll easily turn a profit playing just the Western Washington courses alone — play just Salish Cliffs (the biggest must-play on the card), Mount Si, Snoqualmie Falls and any one of the other Western Washington tracks, and you’ll already be ahead. Play all 10, and you’ll have saved enough on greens fees to spring for a new driver at an end-of-season sale, or buy yourself an airplane ticket to Palm Springs for a winter golf getaway. Or, perhaps ... treat your spouse to a few fancy dinners to say thank you for putting up with all the glorious golf you’ve been playing. The catch? Only 200 players cards are being printed — after all, these courses can’t afford to have 1,000 golfers cashing in these incredible deals. They sell fast every year, so visit CascadeGolfer.com to get yours today before they’re gone!
WIN A CENTRAL WASHINGTON TWOSOME!
ondering where the sun is? It’s over the mountains, which is why we’re sending you and a friend to Highlander Golf Course in East Wenatchee. Ditch these pesky spring rains and tee it up under the warm, Central Washington sun, high on a ridge overlooking the Columbia River and Wenatchee Valley. You’ll love it so much, you may not want to come back! Enter to win today at CascadeGolfer.com!
2018 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
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Mt. Si Golf Course
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Whidbey Golf Club
10 Rounds of golf for only $240 cascadegolfer.com
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cascadegolfer.com APRIL 2018
For Mariners Legend Edgar Martinez, It’s Not a Golf Club — It’s a Light Bat
fter more than 20 years in the sports business, I don’t often have butterflies when talking to professional athletes. I’ve played golf with Kasey Keller, shot pool with Emmitt Smith, and sat down to dinner with Steve Young. I don’t take these experiences for granted, but, as just about anyone working in sports media will tell you, chatting up athletes that would have left the 12-year-old version of yourself speechless eventually becomes a somewhat routine part of your job. When the Mariners PR director says to me, though, “OK, I’m going to hand the phone to Edgar,” I’m a pimply-faced 12-year-old all over again. For the first few minutes of the interview, I’m on my heels — I mean, this is Edgar! I’m talking to Edgar! Questions I had carefully pre-planned suddenly seem dull and uninteresting — I don’t care who his mentors are, I want to hear about that double against the Yankees, I want to know if he ever really dated my friend’s mom (a hot rumor at my high school circa 1994) ... I want to hear him say, “It's a light bat!” The fact that you won’t see any of those questions in this interview transcript is a testament to the small scrap of my adult sanity and professionalism that was able to hang on throughout the 16 minutes and 49 seconds we spent on the phone. I don’t know if I’d have made it one minute more. The fact is, Edgar Martinez just has that effect on people. It’s why, more than a decade after he retired, his name is still among the first out of the mouth of any Mariners fan asked to name their favorite player of all-time. It’s why his number 11 will never be worn again by a Seattle Mariner, why Major League Baseball’s designated hitter award bears his name, and why he drives to work every morning on Edgar Martinez Dr. And, ultimately, it’s why — despite spending most of his career as a designated hitter, a position half the league thinks shouldn’t even exist — he has seen his Hall of Fame voting percentage tick up year after year, from 27 percent in 2015, to 58 percent in 2017 and 70.4 percent in 2018. His career statistics haven’t changed over the last three years — When did you start playing golf? “I was probably 16, 17, and still living in Puerto Rico. There was one course in our town, probably about four or five miles from where I grew up, and I would play there from time to time. I kept playing on and off throughout my career, and it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.” Is golf popular in Puerto Rico? I don’t feel like you hear of many Puerto Rican golfers. “Well, there’s Chi Chi Rodriguez, he’s probably the biggest name. He helped take the game around the island and make it popular. But yeah, it is [popular] — baseball is the number one, but then golf is right up there. It has a good following, and there are a ton of good golf courses around the island.” 22
people just love Edgar, and the sheer intensity of their passion is winning over others. If all goes well, that percentage will tick over 75 percent next year, and Edgar will join Ken Griffey, Jr., and Dave Niehaus in Cooperstown — where he belongs. In addition to coaching Mariners hitters, Edgar continues to lend his name and time to the Edgar Martinez Golf Classic, an event held each summer in the Seattle area to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Western Washington. Last year’s event, at The Golf Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, sold out, adding to the more than $1 million that Martinez has helped raise for the foundation in the 10 years since the event began. Details of this year’s tournament will be posted to the MDA Western Washington’s Facebook page once they become available. Ultimately, I made it through the interview, though I will confess to wondering briefly afterward whether I could cut up the audio into a voice mail greeting for my phone. (I can’t.) You see, even when you’ve had 1-on-1 interactions with dozens of famous athletes, there’s just nobody quite like Edgar.
How would you describe your game now? What are you good at and what do you struggle with? “Oh, I still struggle with all parts of the game. I’m comfortable with the driver, it’s a good club for me. But when I am having trouble, I’ll go to a three-iron, and that helps. The short game comes and goes. I can have one day where I score 84, and the next day be in the high 90s.” What’s your favorite thing about golf? “I love getting out on good golf courses. I enjoy the scenery. On a beautiful day, it’s just nice to go out to a beautiful golf course and play.” Do you have favorite places to play around the Seattle area?
“Newcastle is where I have gone the most. Also, Snoqualmie Ridge, where we have had the tournament before. It’s a beautiful course also.” How did your tournament come about? “I have a nephew who has muscular dystrophy, so I have always been close to events that benefit muscular dystrophy. I talked to someone years ago about how to raise funds, and they [suggested], ’How about a golf tournament?’ So, they helped me out that first year, and after that, I have just kept doing it. The Muscular Dystrophy Association has been a great help through the years.” Of your past teammates, were there any that were particularly good golfers? “Bret Boone can play, he’s pretty good. [Mike] Blowcascadegolfer.com
Photo by Ben Van Houten / Seattle Mariners
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
ers is a good golfer. Also, Jay Buhner can play. Dave Valle, too — those guys are the ones I played with in the past, and they’re all pretty good. Junior can play, too, of course.” Are there any parallels between the baseball and golf swings? “Yeah, sure. The best hitters in the game use their legs in a similar way to how golfers use their legs. When I see a hitter that doesn’t transfer their weight from the backside to the frontside when they swing, I usually ask them if they play golf, and try to have them make that connection, because the way you transfer the weight is the same.” How has coaching changed your perspective on the game? “When you play, you learn to take care of yourself. But when you coach, you have to learn to help 10-12 different guys, and sometimes you wish they’d have a little bit more experience, especially with the younger guys. But, that comes with time, so you have to have patience.” What’s the most important lesson you try to communicate to young players? “The biggest thing is trying to stay positive with them. The game is about confidence. If they’ve never been around a major-league environment, then sometimes the mental aspect can block the skill. That's one thing I always liked about [former Mariners hitting coach] Lee Elia — he was always positive, positive, positive. Not all coaches will be like that; they focus on what
the player is doing wrong and try to fix it. He was more of a mentor, and I try to be that way.” How has the game changed over your 30-plus years in baseball? “Now, it’s all about information. There’s a gadget for everything, there’s software for everything. It’s a lot of numbers. There’s also much more video. At the beginning, when I started, there was some video, but not many people relied on them. I would go by feel, what I felt in my body. But now, there’s a lot more information. And it's valuable.” I know you don’t like to brag about yourself, but when you look back at your career, what are you the most proud of? “Consistency over a long period of time. You know, if you fail seven out of 10 times, you’re still good, but you’re facing a lot of failure. A long career has a lot of ups and downs, so staying consistent can be difficult.” What would it mean to you to get that Hall of Fame call next year? “It would mean a lot. I mean, it’s a great honor just to be mentioned, but it’s the ultimate honor as a ballplayer. Last year, I paid more attention to it, so I am sure that as that day gets closer, I’ll probably be paying even more attention this year. But, we’ll see — I try to keep it realistic; there’s always a chance that it goes in the wrong direction. It will be a special day, though, if that happens.”
What’s a more nerve-wracking situation for you — coming to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, World Series on the line, or the few seconds between the time that phone rings on Hall of Fame day next year, and when you reach to answer it? “I think the call. [laughs] When you come to the plate in the last inning ... you do it for so long, that you’re not really nervous anymore. You learn how to do it. So, definitely the call will be more nerve-wracking.”
BAG PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM
e all wish we could hit a driver like Dustin Johnson. And while we might not have DJ’s height, strength and athleticism, or the small army of coaches, personal trainers, private chefs and other consultants that help him be his best week-in and week-out ... his driver? That’s something we can have. In fact, we can have the same clubs played by just about all of our favorite pros. Maybe you’ll never win The Masters ... but you can mimic some of Sergio’s greatest shots with his Callaway Rogue fairway woods. It might take decades to develop a short game like Phil’s ... but it only takes a few minutes to snap up one of his Mack Daddy wedges. And sure, we aren’t going to make as many clutch putts as Jordan Spieth ... but playing his Scotty Cameron putter certainly won’t hurt our chances. That’s part of the magic of golf. Among major sports, only basketball — where every great player designs or endorses their own sneakers — draws such a distinct connection between the game’s stars, their equipment, and the general public. Who among us hasn’t watched a PGA TOUR star play a club, then gone out and picked one up in the hope that it might do the same for us? It’s an addictive rush, and one of the main reasons that this is our favorite time of year. We may not be the world’s greatest golfers (Jordan, if you’re reading this, you can skip this part), but that doesn’t mean we don’t have dreams. Here are some new 2018 clubs that will get you closer to realizing yours. 24
M3 & M4 Driver
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Rogue Driver2 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
M3 $499.99 M4 $429.99
fter crunching data from half a million shots, TaylorMade researchers noted that the traditional driver face design — a slight, consistent bulge from heel to toe and crown to sole — was causing shots high on the toe and low on the heel (the most common misses for amateur golfers) to fly farther off-target than they should. In response, the new “twist face” on the M3 and M4 drivers is curved such to guide those misses back towards the target — reducing the average high-toe mis-hit from eight yards to one, and the average low-heel mis-hit from six yards to two. Combined with a redesigned speed slot that includes two thin stabilizing bars (allowing the face to be milled thinner for faster ball speeds) and a thinner crown and sole, the M3 and M4 are both faster and more forgiving than last year’s M1 and M2 (just ask DJ, who crushed a 433-yard drive with his new M4 at Kapalua in January, coming just three inches from a hole-in-one). The M3 features a new, Y-shaped channel with two moveable weights that allow for more than 13,000 unique setups, while the M4 swaps the channel for a deeper CG, making it the most forgiving of the two. See a Puetz rep to figure out which one’s the best fit for you.
few years ago, Callaway was all about clubhead speed, working with Boeing engineers to develop the super-aerodynamic XR driver. Last year, the company’s GBB Epic driver introduced Jailbreak, a design tweak which increased ball speed by transferring more energy back into the ball. So, what’s the logical next step? If you said, “How about a super-aerodynamic driver with an improved version of Callaway’s Jailbreak technology?” then ding-ding-ding for you — you just invented the Callaway Rogue. Noting that the vast majority of Epic players used either the neutral or draw settings on the sliding track, Callaway did away with the track entirely in the Rogue, creating simply neutral and draw versions instead. That weight savings makes the club 16 percent more forgiving, even as lighter, hourglass-shaped Jailbreak bars behind the face produce a stiffer body with a hotter face, for increased ball speeds. It’s longer and flatter than the Epic, too, which will make it appealing to mid- and high-handicappers who prefer a wider sweet spot, and aren’t as concerned about shaping their shots. And, for golfers who tend to miss right, the draw-biased version is as good as it gets.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441 cascadegolfer.com
M3 & M4 Irons
King F8 Drivers
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
M3 Starting at $124.99/club M4 Starting at $112.49/club
f all the new drivers we’ve seen this year, this one looks the coolest. We’ll start outside and work our way in. You may not realize it, but nearly all driver faces are still at least partially hand-milled. Not these — Cobra’s new F8 and F8+ feature the first 100-percent CNC milled faces, resulting in extremely high tolerances with less variability, and a face that is both lighter and thinner than the F7’s. And, it’s truly a work of art, with a sweet spot so big, you’ll be puffing your chest out with confidence. The crown and sole also combine artistic flair with functional benefits in the form of Aero360 channels that reduce drag for maximum clubhead speed. If you’re following along, that’s a thinner face (for faster ball speeds) and better aerodynamics (for faster club speeds); now comes the fun of seeing where all that speed goes. Every F8 and F8+ driver (the F8+ adds a forward weight slot for golfers who want a lower trajectory) comes with Cobra Connect, a Bluetooth sensor in the grip that combines with an app on your phone to track the distance and trajectory of every drive you hit. It’s like having a swing coach in your pocket — and it’s really cool.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
s it did with the new stabilizing bars on its M3 and M4 drivers, TaylorMade has turned to RIBCOR technology to stabilize the face of the cavity-backed M3 and M4 irons, resulting in a face that can be milled thinner (thus flexing more, for better ball speeds), and directs more of the energy created at impact back into the ball. Likewise, the RIBCOR bars help stiffen the toe and heel of the club, allowing the center of the face to remain hot while reducing the amount of twisting that takes place on mis-hits, for consistent speed and distance across the face. And, while the RIBCOR helps out with heel and high-toe misses, the SpeedPocket (a more curved shape, again to increase consistency) helps with balls hit low on the face, while the face slots on either side of the sweet spot maximize distance on center strikes. The M4 is the slightly larger of the two, with a deeper CG for added forgiveness, while the M3 will be preferred by mid-to-low handicappers who desire a mix of forgiveness and shot-shaping ability, or players who prefer a thinner topline or more traditional look. We recommend to hit them both, and see which one is a better match for your swing.
Starting at $112.50 per club
fter years of delivering clubs targeting mid- and high-handicappers — that is, most of us — it seems that manufacturers have tilted back a bit in recent years to focus on better players ... just think about TaylorMade’s P790s, Callaway’s Apex or PING’s i200s, all targeted to the game’s best. This year, though, the pendulum has swung back — in a big way. You probably won’t see the stock version of Callaway’s Rogue irons in the hands of many PGA TOUR pros this year, but you’re going to see them all over the local public tracks — because they’re one of the best game-improvement irons we’ve ever seen. The now-standard 360 Face Cup and Variable Face Thickness (VFT) result in a hotter face with more consistent ball speeds on high and low hits, while a tungsten weight in the sole of the longer irons varies in size and position to maximize the desired ball flight of each club. In addition to the player-friendly Rogue, there’s a Rogue X, a beefed-up version with stronger lofts that produces even longer distances and ball speeds at similar forgiveness levels, and a smaller Rogue Pro, which will no doubt be the preferred choice of lower-handicappers.
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IN THE BAG
SM7 Vokey Wedges
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $149.00
n 2016, famed wedge designer Bob Vokey brought the concept of progressive center-of-gravity — that is, putting the center of gravity of each club at a location unique to that club’s desired shot trajectory — to wedges, going higher on the high lofts (where the club tends to strike the ball higher on the face) and lower in the low lofts. The SM6 quickly became the most popular wedge on the PGA TOUR, and consumer demand skyrocketed. This year’s SM7 wedges boast CGs that have been even more finely tuned to produce more consistent performance and better feel, while the Spin-Milling process (that’s the “SM”) has been refined such that the line’s plated wedges (Tour Chrome and Brushed Steel) offer the same high tolerances and consistent spin as the raw offerings (Jet Black and Raw). Just two weeks after making their Tour debut, the SM7 was already the No. 1 wedge on Tour, with players like Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Webb Simpson and others adding it to their bag. Best of all, you can even get them personalized, just like the pros — talk to a Puetz rep to find out how.
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Mack Daddy 4 Wedges H2 303 SS Wedges8 7
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $149.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting
hen shopping for a wedge, you could do a lot worse than to simply ask, “What does Phil play?” The truth is, though, there’s more to Callaway’s new Mack Daddy 4 than simply Lefty’s endorsement. Most notable is Callaway’s new “Groove-in-Groove” design — that’s right, the grooves have grooves. There are the standard 16 grooves milled into the face that provide plenty of grip on their own — but within those grooves are additional micro-grooves, resulting in 84 total contact points between the club and the ball — that’s a lot of extra spin. There’s also a new grind called “X Grind” that will be of particular use to us Northwest golfers — a high-bounce grind, it’s designed specifically for players with steeper attack angles, and is best suited to softer course conditions. Call it your “April” wedge. Plus, there’s the progressive CG now common in wedges, and a range of colors, lofts, bounces and grinds to match any golfer’s specific preferences. Of course, what really matters is who plays it — so, follow in the footsteps of Sergio, Henrik and others and have a Puetz rep fit you to find the perfect grind and sole for you.
f you’re a gearhead, then you’re probably familiar with the Bettinardi name. Their putters are often some of the prettiest and most innovative on the market, and have regularly graced these pages (as they do once again just a few inches over to the right). We’re not talking about a putter here, though — we’re talking about a wedge. In 2018, designer Robert Bettinardi has brought his forward-thinking methods from the green to the green-side, debuting a new wedge called the H2 303 SS. Everything you need to know is right there in the name — “H2” refers to the “High Helix” grooves, a honeycomb pattern that looks similar to that used on Bettinardi’s popular Queen B putter face. That pattern creates dozens of additional grip points, which impart significantly more spin than a typical wedge. The “303 SS,” meanwhile, refers to the club’s all303 stainless-steel construction, something that Bettinardi says no other wedge maker is currently using, and which makes the wedges especially durable. There aren’t a ton of different loft and lie options available, but it’s still worth consulting a rep for the right fit.
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It seems that every year, rangefinders get smaller and more powerful. Here are the ones that caught our eye this spring:
Hybrid Rangefinder PUETZ GOLF PRICE
aser or GPS? It’s the question golfers have been asking since GPS rangefinders first came on the market roughly a decade ago. Bushnell says ... both? The new Hybrid rangefinder combines both laser and GPS elements into one — target the pin in your viewfinder, and not only will you receive the exact distance to the flag (long an advantage of laser), but also the exact distances to the front and back of the green, plus an image of the green itself (the latter, advantages of GPS). Add to that the ability to target any position on the course — trees, bunkers, hazards, lay-up points, etc. — plus the ability to use the GPS feature to see around doglegs and other hazards, and you may have just found the last rangefinder you’ll ever need.
Scotty Cameron Putters BB Series Putters 9
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
wenty-five years ago this month, Bernhard Langer won the 1993 Masters using a Scotty Cameron prototype putter. A year later, Titleist snapped up the up-and-coming young golf club designer, and for the last quarter-century, there has been no name as synonymous with the flatstick as Scotty Cameron. Tiger used them to win 13 of his 14 majors; so did Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth — heck, last year, three of the four major winners sunk their final putts with a Cameron putter. This year, Cameron has released seven new models for pros and amateurs alike, including four blades — the Select Laguna, Select Newport, Select Newport 2 and Select Newport 2.5 — and three mid-mallets, the Select Fastback, Select Squareback and Select Newport 3. All feature Cameron's exquisitely crafted face inserts, plus a new four-way balanced sole design (face-to-cavity, heel-to-toe) that accounts for the weight of the shaft and grip to help the putter sit square at address. Pick out your favorite at your local Puetz store, and let 'er rip.
X10 GPS Watch PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ettinardi's BB Series putters have always been some of the industry's coolest-looking, and this year is no exception. All four new models — the BB1, BB29, BB39 and BB56 — come in a black-matte finish, with bright yellow highlights that make you feel a bit like Batman when you pull them out of the bag. The BB1 is a traditional blade, with an all-new Super Fly face-milling pattern that gives a more responsive feel, a common request of past Bettinardi players. The BB29 is a slightly larger blade, with more offset for players who prefer to keep their hands ahead of the blade at impact. The BB39 is a half-moon mallet that will be the pick of players who struggle to keep the clubface square — the added mass allows for weight to be shifted to the perimeter, reducing the amount of twisting that occurs on off-center hits. Lastly, there's the big daddy of the group, the BB56, a 350-gram head similar in shape and size to an Odyssey 2-Ball. It's good for golfers who tend to bounce their putts off the face, as a higher center of gravity counteracts that tendency and gets the ball rolling more smoothly.
he Garmin X10 is the GPS for a golfer who doesn’t want all the bells and whistles — no e-mail or text notifications (we golf to avoid work, right?), no social media components. Instead, it simply gives you the information you need to know — distances to the front, back and middle of the green (even under tree cover), plus hazards and doglegs on every hole. As you near the green, it will even give you the exact layout of the green surface relative to your position, with the ability to touch the screen to drop the pin to its exact location on that day. With over 41,000 pre-loaded courses, no subscription fees and free updates, it’s a great pick for anyone who has been thinking about GPS.
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RISK vs. REWARD Wine Valley Golf Club Hole No. 7
510 yards (Blue tees)
By Simon Dubiel
This may just be the best hole, at the best course, in the state. The tee shot is a slight dog-leg left with a bunker protecting the corner. A small pot bunker on the right side can be deadly, but a good tee ball should catch the slope and roll back towards the fairway. Your approach will target one of the most enjoyable greens in the state, with a punchbowl shape that brings your imagination into play. A 35-yard bunker sits short and right of the green, while a small pot bunker is a tough spot for anyone that misses left.
The sooner you get your ball to the green, the sooner you can get it in the hole. The tee shot is straightforward, unless you want to get greedy. The approach shot leaves a large landing area for making birdie, although you’ll have to be on your game to make a three, particularly when facing a front pin location. If you play it passive, your first two shots will be easier, but it’ll take a perfect third to guarantee a two-putt par. Might as well make those two putts for eagle and birdie instead.
The risk on this hole is two-fold. Off the tee, do you cut the corner to leave a shorter approach? An approach shot that finds the greenside bunker, meanwhile, leaves one of those 30-yard sand shots that everyone loves, while the pot bunker left can quickly turn birdie into bogey. Even if you do get home in two, you’re hardly guaranteed a circle on the scorecard. Any ball on the back part of the green, putting towards a front pin placement, will be a challenging two-putt for even the most skilled players.
You woke up in Western Washington, drove to Walla Walla and now find yourself playing one of the best holes you will play all year. Did you really come here to lay up? Some want to kick the extra point and settle for the tie. Not on this hole. We are going for two, and getting home in two. Give yourself a crack at adding a double circle to your scorecard. It will make that Syrah in the 19th hole that much more enjoyable and something to reminisce about on the drive back home as you look forward to getting back to WV. Giddyup!
WALKING The true story of two best friends — Washington’s Joel Dahmen and Idaho’s Geno Bonnalie — and their unlikely, unconventional and unforgettable journey to the PGA TOUR
Sunday, Aug. 16, 2016
Excerpted from the book, Walking With Tigers, by John Black
alking With Tigers is an amazing but true underdog story. I had the pleasure of documenting this unlikely journey, which covers the rookie season of two incredible young men — Clarkston native and former University of Washington golfer Joel Dahmen, and his caddie, Lewiston, Idaho’s Geno Bonnalie — trying to carve out a career on the PGA TOUR. There are moments of high drama — for instance, Joel goes head-to-head with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson on a magical Sunday afternoon in Dallas, an experience that still brings goose bumps when the memory is evoked. But, mostly, the tale is about coping with failure and disappointment on the biggest stage in golf. When the story began, I, as an author, had no idea how many outside challenges were working against a PGA TOUR rookie, especially one like Joel who isn’t surrounded by swing coaches, sports psychologists, trainers or corporate sponsors. There are no limos or private jets in Joel’s world. There is only he and Geno. Against the world. If you choose to read this book (see page 49 for information on how to purchase a copy), you will be rooting for these young heroes. They are good guys and you will get to know them very well. You will share their dreams and their fears. You will laugh with them. Sometimes, you will feel their pain. This is Walking With Tigers. 38
PUMPKIN RIDGE GOLF CLUB Near Portland, Ore. | 6:10 p.m.
he mission was clear for Jack Maguire as he walked to the 18th tee on the iconic Pumpkin Ridge golf course. If he made birdie, he would make enough money at the WinCo Foods Portland Open to earn his PGA TOUR card and become eligible to enter the tour’s tournaments in 2017. However, if the former Florida State University star made par or worse, he would fall short, and could only get into tour events through other, more difficult qualifying methods. The Golf Channel’s live coverage made it possible for viewers to share the drama. Maguire had put himself into this precarious position by missing makeable birdie putts on the three previous holes. Now, he had absolutely no margin for error. But, there was a good chance he would succeed. Pumpkin’s 18th, the tournament’s 72nd and final hole, is a reachable par five, and while he did not reach the putting surface in two, he did the next-best thing by leaving the ball in perfect position for a simple, straightforward cascadegolfer.com
pitch shot. Getting the ball in the hole in two more shots seemed likely for a player with Maguire’s talent. The pitch shot seemed perfectly struck, but ran a bit more than planned and ended up some 12 feet from the cup. Suddenly, Maguire’s odds of making birdie swung to about 50/50. He began to study his putt. Even through the lens of the television camera, you could feel the tension.
oel Dahmen and two friends were sitting 15 miles away, in a rental house in Beaverton, the tension every bit as intense as it was on the green at Pumpkin Ridge. At this exact second, Dahmen sat 25th on the money list of the Web.com Tour. If Maguire missed the putt, he would remain in that position and it would be he, not Maguire, who would be getting the coveted PGA TOUR card. For most of the year, earning the card seemed a cinch for Dahmen. He got off to a fast and consistent start and was earning a check almost every week. Getting into to the top-25 seemed to be a no-brainer, and the attitude of Dahmen and those around him was one of quiet confidence. He was headed to the big-time, the Mecca of professional golf. There was no stopping him. Then, suddenly, things turned ugly. He missed five cuts in a row and took another week off, citing fatigue. He had fallen to 22nd on the money list, and it now looked like he had to make the cut in the tour’s final event to secure the right to play on the higher-paying and more prestigious tour in 2017. But, it didn’t happen. Dahmen shot an opening-round 73 on Thursday, followed by a demoralizing 74 on Friday. He was suffering on the back-nine Friday as the reality of the situation sunk in. As far as he knew, his dream of playing on the big tour was gone. “I had a really big cry with my girlfriend, Lona Skutt, right out in the middle of the driving range,” he said. “I was crying the entire back nine, as I knew I was missing the cut and felt I had let everyone down.” Caddie Geno Bonnalie was suffering with Dahmen and sharing his pain. “It was a helpless feeling,” he said. “I was watching my best friend suffering with every step and there was nothing I could do to help. Finally, I just hugged him and said, ‘I love you, man,’ and kind of broke down.” Geno’s wife, Holly, had flown to Portland the day before the opening round. She immediately felt that things were different. “Usually, Joel is calm and relaxed before a tournament, but the minute I saw him I knew things were different,” she observed. “He wasn’t himself and it was obvious that he was very nervous.” Joel agreed. “The slump created a pressure I had never experienced. It was different than anything I had ever felt on the golf course and I didn’t handle it,” he said. “I had rented this big house many weeks previously and had invited friends and family to join me for what was to be
“I had a really big cry with my girlfriend, Lona Skutt, right out in the middle of the driving range,” Dahmen said. “I was crying the entire back nine, as I knew I was missing the cut and felt I had let everyone down.” a major weekend celebration. Now, there would be no victory lap. Friday night was a real downer.” Skutt went to Geno on Friday evening because she knew he was adept in analyzing odds and assessing probabilities. “Straight up, what are his chances now?” she asked. “Sadly, only about 2 percent,” Bonnalie predicted. “Too many things have to fall just right.” But, things brightened a bit on Saturday morning. A supportive text from Joel’s father, Ed, pointed out that he still had a chance if the right sequence of events happened during the weekend. Then, Joel’s chances got even more realistic when he learned that the players ranked 23rd to 28th on the money list had also all missed the cut. By Sunday evening, it all came down to the 18th hole, and a 12-foot putt by Jack Maguire.
eno and Holly made the 350-mile trip from Portland to their home in Lewiston, Idaho, on Sunday morning. They arrived when Maguire was on the 14th hole and, at that exact second, they knew the importance of Maguire’s situation and its potential effect on their future. With their nerves on full-scale alert, they went to Geno’s parents’ house to watch the drama on his father, Jim’s, 70-inch big screen. “But, Geno couldn’t watch. He turned his back, sat on Jim’s Bowflex machine and listened to the audio,” Holly said. “Geno’s parents and I watched nervously. We knew what was at stake for Geno and Joel, and we had major butterflies. But, Geno? He was in a frenzy,” she laughed. Bonnalie has been Dahmen’s caddie since 2014, and their relationship is special. They grew up playing golf together and have been friends since boyhood. They had grown even closer on the tournament trail, with its ups and downs. For the past two years, they had survived on a meager budget, rushed from town to town and, in the words of the old Wide World of Sports, had seen “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” They had worked hard on and off the course, and went through countless ordeals, periods of loneliness, thoughts of self-doubt and all the other emotions and
experiences that had put them on the road to getting a coveted PGA TOUR card. Now, their fate rested in the hands of someone else.
PUMPKIN RIDGE GOLF CLUB 18th Hole | 6:30 p.m.
aguire strikes his putt. Back in Lewiston, Jim Bonnalie says, “He missed it left!” Geno Bonnalie turns around and, tapped by his mother, screams, screams and screams some more. At the rental house in Beaverton, Dahmen watches the putt roll past the cup and bows his head in relief. Geno phones Joel and there is more screaming, yelling and distant high fives. “We’ve made it! We’re on the PGA Tour!” Geno yells. And, indeed they were. Their joint dream had come true. They had earned the right to go head-to-head with the best golfers on the planet. They were about to go walking with tigers.
PART ONE: PAY THE KIDS
ne doesn’t have to be around Joel Dahmen too long before realizing he is a bright and determined young man. His early years were right out of a “Leave it to Beaver” script, complete with loving and supportive parents, comfortable living conditions and a boatload of friends. He was the second child born to Ed and Jolyn Dahmen in Lewiston, Idaho, in 1987. Brother Zach was two years older. His grandfather, Dick Riggs, is a Lewiston community icon, a noted educator who was a school superintendent and teacher for over 40 years. Nearly everyone in the small community knows and respects him. “We had a great life,” Dahmen reflected. “My dad worked long hours to make sure we had everything we needed and our childhood was filled with nothing but love and great family memories.” His mother, Jolyn, was a high-school basketball player who fulfilled her childhood dream of being a Vandal by playing ball at the University of Idaho. It became apparent at a young age that Joel had inherited her talent and love for sport. He played in all the youth sports leagues and was one of those kids who excelled at whatever he tried. Ed introduced him to golf and, by age six, he was able to play along with his dad’s group at Bryden Canyon Municipal Golf Course in Lewiston. “The rule was simple. I could play as long as I kept up. If I fell behind, I had to pick up," Dahmen said. “I APRIL 2018
Having floundered for much of the 2010-2013 seasons on the Mackenzie Tour (PGA TOUR Canada), Dahmen began working with Bonnalie in 2014 and earned two victories, ultimately claiming the Order of Merit as the Tour's top-ranked player.
learned quickly.” Ed told a story about Joel before he started playing on the golf course. “The Bryden Canyon owner/operators held a youth golf camp and, even though Joel was only four and a half, they let him in the seven-and-under group because his attention span was so good,” he recalled. “At the end of the camp, a putt, chip and drive competition was held and they allowed Joel to enter these also. In the long-drive segment, all the older, bigger kids
had hit their drives and little Joel stepped up as the last entrant. Those who were measuring moved toward the little guy so they could measure his drive, and were left agape when Joel sailed the ball way over their heads and up the fairway,” Ed said, beaming. “It was very funny to watch their expressions.” Young Joel’s golf development was so quick that at age nine, shortly after his family moved across the river to Clarkston, Wash., he was encouraged to join the heralded Washington State Golf Association’s junior program.
Joel showed his ability to compete right away, winning or finishing near the top in almost every tournament he entered. In fact, he won his first of many state championships at age 10, while competing in the 11-and-under age group. He was beginning to make a real name for himself.
eno Bonnalie was born on March 19, 1984, in Orofino, Idaho, in the heart of logging country. His father, Jim, had a thriving logging business at the time and still builds logging roads for the Potlatch Corporation. The family moved to nearby Lewiston a few years later, and Geno graduated from Lewiston High School in 2002. Jim was a competitive archer and he taught Geno to shoot when he could barely walk. “We would go to a tournament almost every weekend and I won my first trophy when I was four. It was great and my dad was my best friend, so it was really special,” smiled Geno. Jim Bonnalie said Geno was a natural archer. “He caught on right away. He was able to focus on the target and block out the distractions around him, and that is not easy. He once shot a perfect score in a contest and that is a real rarity for anyone, let alone a
At age 17, Joel was on top of the world. His potential upside seemed unlimited and, locally, he was a true celebrity. Things were as bright as they could be. Then, things changed. young guy,” Jim said. At age eight, Jim introduced Geno to golf, and gave him a few old golf clubs. Geno would hit balls all over a nearby field for hours on end. “Then, one day, I hit this shot that flew all the way over the field, over the road and hit a house!” Bonnalie said, laughing. “I was hooked for life.” In the summer, Geno’s mom would drop him off at Bryden Canyon Golf Course on her way to work and pick him up on her way home at night. He would play golf all day, every day, and did odd jobs like picking up range balls to earn lunch and practice-range privileges. This was ideal for Geno, who loved every minute, and
the employees at Bryden Canyon welcomed his company. He was liked and respected by people of all ages. At age 12, Jim asked Geno to make a decision. He would either take him to the national junior archery tournament or buy him a new set of TaylorMade Burner golf clubs. Geno chose the clubs, and his love affair with golf blossomed further. Geno’s passion for the game was legendary around his home, but his talent never quite measured up to his inner passion, and he had an okay but largely unremarkable junior golf career.
oel was 12 when 15-year-old Geno called and asked him to be his partner at a tournament in Grangeville, Idaho, a small town about 70 miles from Lewiston. Joel was excited as could be. This would be his first non-junior tournament, and this cool, older kid from Lewiston wanted him as a partner. The boys were the only young people in the entire field. They did well in Saturday’s round, and right after they finished, Ed got a call from an excited Joel. “Dad, they have this horse-race thing and Geno and I can win a whole bunch of money. Can I bet on myself, dad?” he asked. Ed wasn’t sure if this was a good idea, but said okay,
reminding Joel that he would be risking his own money. The Horse Race field included a bunch of men and, for many, it was as much a beer-drinking event as a best-ball golf game. Every team member put in 10 dollars, and the lowest score on a hole won the pot. If one tied, all tied, and the players moved on to the next hole, where 10 more dollars was added to the pot. The first two holes were tied, but Joel won the third with a birdie. A vocal participant then bellowed, “Pay the kids!” This became the tournament chant when Geno eagled the fifth and sixth holes, and closed things out with yet another birdie on the ninth. “The kids” went on to dominate the tournament, and won multiple prizes. “Joel came home with this wad of cash and he was absolutely glowing,” Ed Dahmen joked. “I guess this was his first experience of golf for money.” Grangeville marked the first of many winning experiences for Geno and Joel, and a kind of big brother/ young brother bond was formed that is still very much in place today. Joel was a boy with a man’s golf game, and Geno’s encouragement and insight helped him take his game to the next level. The relationship was perfect for both of them. In the following years, Joel piled up junior wins. He stunned the area’s golf community by winning the Washington State high school tournament as a freshman, and
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continued to win everything in sight, often as defending champion. The news articles about his junior victories fill four scrapbooks and his trophies liberally grace the Dahmen and Riggs residences. This run of excellence also resulted in an offer of a full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington, which was readily accepted. At age 17, Joel was on top of the world. His potential upside seemed unlimited and, locally, he was a true celebrity. Things were as bright as they could be. Then, things changed.
olyn was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October of 2004 and, six months later, she passed away at age 46. Joel was very close to his mother and her sickness hurt him more deeply than words can describe. Dealing with the long, terrible illness and watching his mom die a slow death put him in a major mental tailspin. The problem was accelerated because, though Joel had been a great communicator, he refused to talk about his mother’s situation. Instead, he went into a shell and watched her die, day by day, refusing to grieve properly or openly share his feelings. This still bothers Ed. “I look back and feel very bad,” he said. “I didn’t do
enough or pay enough attention to my boys. I was so focused on prayers and hoping the Lord would spare Jolyn that I wasn’t thinking as much about them as I should have been. Sure, I was hurting, big-time, but so were they, and I should have insisted on grief counseling or something to help them cope better. I regret the way I responded as a dad.” It was against this backdrop that, in August of 2006, 15 months after Jolyn passed, Joel went Seattle to claim his University of Washington scholarship. Things didn’t work out. “Golf-wise, I was okay, but I lacked life focus and maturity and just quit going to class,” he said. “Things were too far gone. I was a small-town kid without a lot of drive or direction to do anything. l missed my mother and didn’t handle that well at all. I plain flunked out.” With no other options on the table and a bitter taste in his mouth regarding college, Dahmen moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, and declared that he was now a professional golfer. He bounced around the mini tours, played in local Gateway events and tried to advance his position in the golf world. Things were moving slowly, and he was having very little success. “I wasn’t getting any better. I was with a bunch of other golf wannabes and we spent a lot of time partying and exercising practically no discipline,” Dahmen admitted.
“We were more about having a good time than getting better at golf. Our work ethic sucked.” In 2010, Joel moved in with two golf companions from his high-school days who were now attending Arizona State University. Trevor Arnone graduated from ASU and later returned to the Lewis-Clark Valley to become a successful investment advisor. Kyle Rogers now works for Amazon in the Seattle area. Arnone and Rogers enjoyed a good party as much as anyone, but both had jobs and were going to school, so they had pretty full schedules. Joel, on the other hand, did practically nothing. He played in some skin games with other guys from the area and played in mini-tour events once in a while, but mostly he sat around and watched television or played video games. “If he did practice, it was late in the day and short in duration,” Arnone recalled. Plus, there was to be more cancer in his life. His brother, Zach, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and successfully treated. Then, in 2011, Joel got the same diagnosis. “I remember when he told us,” Arnone said. “We were sitting in the living room and he shared the bad news. We were shocked. Guys our age aren’t supposed to worry about things like that.” Dahmen had surgery to remove the testicle and underwent chemotherapy treatment that would go on eight
hours a day, every day, for several weeks. Dahmen was sick, weak and prone to throwing up. “At the beginning, it was tough,” Dahmen said. “You’re not sure where to go or what to do or how healthy you’re going to be or what your long-term goal can be. I was saying, ’Why me?’ I was pouting a lot.” Luckily for Joel, in February of 2012, he had met Lona Skutt, a pretty, young graphic artist who was working as a waitress at the time. They hit it off immediately and soon became a couple. It was Lona who provided a badly needed “kick in the butt when I was at my lowest point,” Joel said. “In the winter of 2013, I was playing lousy golf and getting nowhere. I was broke and depressed. We were pretty much living off of Lona’s earnings and I was laying around the house pretty much feeling sorry for myself,” he continued. “One day, she got fed up and told me to get off my dead butt and either aggressively go after my golf dream or give it up and get a job! She told me she was sick of being part of my pity party. So, I took my last bit of money and took a golf lesson,” Dahmen recalled. “I went to PGA professional Scott Sackett, who was highly recommended, and I told him I needed to learn how to change my swing so I could perform better under pressure. He gave me a couple of positive thoughts and,
“I look back and feel very bad,” says Ed Dahmen, at left, about his response after Joel’s mother, Jolyn (second from left) died in 2005. “I was so focused on...Jolyn...that I wasn’t thinking as much about them as I should have been. Sure, I was hurting, big-time, but so were they. I regret the way I responded as a dad.”
three weeks later, I won $15,000 on a Gateway event. That was a fortune to us.” Skutt’s talk also inspired a better work ethic. “I renewed my respect and outlook on the game and changed my goals. My practice habits and several other things weren’t on track with PGA professionals and I re-dedicated myself and began a more disciplined approach,” Dahmen said. “Then, I kept it going and played my best golf ever on the Canadian Tour in 2014.”
Indeed he did. After floundering in 2013, he got rolling in 2014 and won the Canadian Award of Merit as the Canadian Tour’s leading money winner, which included a full exemption to the Web.com Tour for 2015.
PART TWO: GENO
any people go through life content with the status quo, never wanting to rock the boat. Geno Bonnalie is not one of them. In the days leading up to Christmas in 2010, Geno
decided he wanted to make golf history, so he contacted the people at the Guinness Book of World Records to get their guidelines on how to set a recognized record for the most holes played in a week. He also decided to challenge the birdie record for the same time frame. The previous records were 1,880 and 310, respectively. Geno saw this as a golden opportunity to do something special for his wife, Holly’s, seven-year-old cousin, Tina Flerchinger. She had been suffering her entire young life from a rare disease called Cystinosis, and Bonnalie decided to combine his quest with a fund-raising effort for research. He got pledges from individuals and was able to donate $15,000 to the cause. He worked with the staff of the Lewiston Golf and Country Club to set up a course that would meet the Guinness distance requirements and created “Geno tees” for all 18 holes. Dozens of club members served as combination scorers and witnesses, others ran ahead to place balls on the tee for him, and still others drove in front of him to alert on-course players that, “Geno’s coming through!” On June 27, 2011, he teed off at 4:22 a.m. and the race was on. He played 18 rounds (324 holes) on the first day and could barely crawl out of bed the next morning. He developed sore muscles, blisters and had to fight 100-degree heat and fatigue, but he kept going and going, day after day.
Finally, at 7:30 p.m. on July 3, Geno called it quits. He had played an even 2,000 holes in one week — breaking the Guinness World Record — and had also shattered the birdie record, carding 493 of them. “The very worst thing was the first shot of each morning,” Bonnalie said. “My grip felt like I was grabbing razor blades and I would literally whimper.” The feat drew tremendous interest locally and people put signs in their windows. The Lewiston Morning Tribune and KLEW-TV kept locals up-to-date and people yelled encouragement from the street, golf carts, patios, and clubhouse as he rolled around the course from dawn to dusk at an amazing clip in his distinctive lime-green golf cart. Finally, at 7:30 p.m. on July 3, Geno called it quits. He had played an even 2,000 holes and had also shattered
the birdie record, carding 493 of them. “There was another 90 minutes of sunlight and I could have pressed on, but I thought 2,000 was a pretty cool number and I was so, so tired,” he remembered. Geno’s mother, JoAnne, was extremely proud of her son and his feat, but she was glad to see him quit when he did. “He had sores and blisters everywhere, including very bad ones under his armpits. Plus, he had to get a shot in his knee in the middle of the week,” she recalled. “The physical toll was way too much for most people.”
any people have dreams, but never take the initiative to make them come true. Geno is not one of those people, either. On Sept. 16, 2014, Geno sent the following e-mail to Joel: “Hey buddy...First off, I want to tell you how proud of you I am. I’ve believed since you were a little tike at Clarkston that you were going to make the Big Time. ...I truly believe you will be one of the best players in the World. That being said, I would like to officially apply for the position of ‘Joel Dahmen’s Caddy’ for the Web.com
In his first season on the PGA TOUR in 2017, Joel (at right, pictured with Geno at Pebble Beach) played in 16 events, making seven cuts and earning $344,000. Already in 2018, he has made six of 11 cuts, and is ranked just outside the top-150.
& PGA TOUR. I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I don’t want to put any pressure on you to hire me, I just want to explain why I would be a good fit for the job and let you decide. ...First off, I want to tell you that Holly and I are comfortable financially and we would not rely on you winning in order to live. I don’t want you to have any additional weight on your shoulders of you thinking you have to perform so I can eat. This is a job and I understand there may be weeks without any revenue. Last time we spoke, you said something along the lines of, ’It’s not as fun as you think it is ...’ I don’t think you realize how much I love golf, everything about it. It literally consumes my thoughts. I promise you that no one would work harder than I would. I will be at the
course earlier than everyone, I will be a charting/documenting machine. I feel like you and I have the type of relationship where this would be a good fit. You are one of my best friends, and I feel like I can express my opinions and concerns to you without having it affect us personally (not that we would have any issues… just saying). I also understand that you need alone time and time to spend with your friends on Tour. I do not
plan on spending every waking second with you, but we will definitely have our time to celebrate after successful tournaments. ...I think I could make it work. ...I already have a plan to get rid of my truck, and buy a Honda Civic and modify it to be my house. I have also looked at the schedule and know that there are some weeks where it is over 1,000 miles to the next location. That’s okay. That’s only 16 hours & $125 in gas…easy. I know there would be a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my future, but I have a way of surviving on nothing. ...I do have some requirements from you though if you do consider me for this: I expect you to give it 100% every week Never give up Be completely honest with me at all times Again, I don’t want you to feel like you have to hire me. I want you to hire me because you think I will be the best person for the job. If you think someone else will do better and be a better fit…great. As long as you are successful, happy, and come home to play golf with me every once in a while, I will be a happy camper. Keep me posted because if you do decide to go another route I need to find a new job. I love you, and I am so proud of you! WOOOOO!"
ahmen laughed. “Geno sent me this formal e-mail applying for the job as my caddie and I kind of laughed,” he said. “I told him no for four months because I didn’t want him sacrificing a paycheck and missing time with his wife and [son].” Holly Bonnalie, though, told him, “Look, he believes in you and he wants to be out there with you. He doesn’t want to jump on the train when you get on the PGA Tour, he wants to help you get there. “Also, I love this man to death and I don’t want him looking back when he is 45 years old and saying, if only…” The pep talk sealed the deal and, six months later, the Dahmen-Bonnalie duo made their Web.com Tour debut. TO BE CONTINUED ... Read more about Joel and Geno's remarkable first year on the PGA TOUR in Walking With Tigers, which can be ordered from Amazon or directly from the publisher, Black Rose Writing. The cost is $16.95, plus tax and shipping. Or, for a signed, personalized copy, you can order directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEGENDS ARE MADE ne hundred and 24 years ago, in 1894, America was not yet fully defined. The American flag had just 44 stars. Horse power was restricted to horses. Women were a generation away from voting. Susan B. Anthony, Geronimo and Old Tom Morris were still alive. Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart and Bobby Jones had not even been born. It was against that backdrop that the United States Golf Association, hailed as the country’s governing golf body, was organized. The USGA worked in cooperation with Scotland’s Royal & Ancient Society to establish the rules of golf, shape the handicap system and sponsor amateur and professional competitions. From the beginning, the USGA was an equal supporter of both men’s and women’s amateur golf, with each gender’s championship dating back to 1895. Professional golf, and higher-level USGA championships, though, took a little longer to come around. But, when it did, the state of Washington would play a significant role. Fifty-one years after the founding of the USGA, the first U.S. Women’s Open was held in 1946 — at Spokane Golf Club (now Kalispel Golf & Country Club), in fact. The first USGA Girls Junior championship started three years later, in 1949 — in its second year, a 17-yearold Seattle high schooler named Pat Lesser would take home the title, beating future LPGA star Mickey Wright 4&2. (For more on Lesser, along with husband John Harbottle, see the August 2017 issue of CG.) Lesser would go on to win the U.S. Amateur in 1955, kicking off a run of seven U.S. Amateur wins in nine years by Western Washington golfers, including three each by Kirkland’s Joanne Gunderson and Everett’s Anne Quast. The first U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur championship began in 1962, and it wasn’t long before a Washington golfer brought home that title, too — Edean Ihlanfeldt was first, in 1982, followed shortly by Anne Quast (by that time, Anne Quast Sander), who captured four of seven Women’s Senior Amateur titles from 1987-1993. Something, however, was clearly missing. The USGA recognized and honored each gender and every age distinction over its long existence, except one — professional senior women. They have been on their own, unappeased and disregarded, for 124 years. Until now. 50
This summer’s LPGA Legends Tour event at White Horse is just the latest chapter in the storied history of women's golf in Washington state
n 2018, golf’s ruling body will finally recognize that 50-year-old professional women golfers exist, granting that long-neglected group the chance to compete for their own trophy July 12-15 in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at the Chicago Golf Club. And, in preparation for that event, most of the world’s top senior women’s professionals currently competing on The Legends Tour will make a visit to White Horse Golf Club in June for the first-ever Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup, the final regular-season Legends Tour event prior to the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Players like Pat Bradley, Michelle McGann, Betsy King and, yes, even Gunderson herself, will tee it up at White Horse, marking the first official women’s professional golf event of any kind in the area since the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee in 2016, and the first regular-season professional women’s event since the Safeco Classic ended its 18-year run at Meridian Valley Country Club in 1999. “I’ve been pushing for it for a long time,” says the 78-year-old Gunderson (now Joanne Gunderson Carner) of the Women’s Senior Open. “I just got frustrated because [the USGA] ran all kinds of events except a women’s senior open.
BY BOB SHERWIN They’ve had the men’s senior open for years.” Indeed, the initial U.S. Senior (men) Open began in 1980. “No matter what we said, they wouldn’t do it,” adds Carner, who won 43 times on the LPGA Tour and is a Hall of Fame member. “They gave all kinds of alibis — not enough senior players, and so on. I said, 'We got a whole bunch!’” Carner, now at an age and condition (recent left hip surgery) that precludes a run at another USGA title, has had a personal stake in it. She won eight USGA titles in her career, including the aforementioned 1956 girls junior title, the Women’s Amateur (1957, 1960, ’62, ’66, ’68) and the Women’s Open (1971, ’76). Only Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods have more — nine, to be exact, with each being afforded many more annual opportunities. “I wish it came at least 10 years sooner, but at least they’re finally doing it,” she says. Jane Blalock, a 27-time LPGA champion who once had a record string of 299 Tour cuts made, says, “We had all the male and female counterpart (tournaments), except ours. We tried everything; butted heads with them. We documented everything, but could not get them to budge.”
By 2013, the USGA started bending under pressure — perhaps not coincidentally, shortly after signing a $1.1 billion television contract with Fox Sports. It took three more years to announce the new competition, and another two since to include it on this summer’s slate. Some of the most strident veteran LPGA golfers were on hand in 2016 when the USGA held its press conference committing to the tournament. Pat Bradley, another LPGA Hall of Famer with 31 career victories, was asked by the gathering media if the event was now on her calendar. “It has been on my calendar for 17 years now,” Bradley said.
hy 17 years? That’s how long Bradley and her fellow LPGA veterans have been competing on The Legends Tour, created by Bradley, Carner, Blalock, Nancy Lopez, Julie Inkster, Beth Daniels and 18 other LPGA greats who put their money and efforts towards creating a senior women’s professional tour, patterned after the PGA TOUR Champions Tour. The Legends Tour is a vehicle designed to keep women professional golfers aged 45 and APRIL 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW DATES: JUNE 6-10, 2018 Location: White Horse G.C. Field: 30 LPGA Legends Tour pros Format: 36 holes of stroke play with no cut Purse: $175,000
THE SCHEDULE June 6 — Women’s Amateur Team Competition June 7 — Practice Rounds / Welcome Reception June 8 — Pro-Am June 9 — First Round June 10 — Final Round
VOLUNTEERS Volunteers pay $50 and receive merchandise, uniform, meals, parking and two grounds passes. Opportunities are limited, so apply online at www.thelegendstour.com/volunteers.
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over competing for championships — and a check. It was their collective response to those who believed that veteran women’s players were not viable or valuable to the game. From those initial 24 members, the Tour has grown to include more than 120 players, including 14 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famers. Those members have combined for more than 750 LPGA Tour victories, including 84 major championships. That first year, in 2000, the organization staged one event in Green Bay, Wis. — and it drew a stunning 18,000 fans each day. The Tour will host eight tournaments in 2018, highlighted by the Senior Open in July, and the Senior LPGA Championship in October — and, of course, the inaugural Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup in June. The two-day tournament will feature a field of 30 professional players competing for a $175,000 purse. Many of the greatest names in the history of the women’s game are expected to be there, such as Hall of Famers Carner, Bradley, Blalock, Daniel, Inkster, Jan Stephenson, Amy Alcott and Patty Sheehan. There will be a one-day pro-am on Friday, June 8, followed by a 36-hole competition, with no cut. What started the ball rolling for the Seattle stop was the inclusion of one of the most powerful women in the state, former Governor Christine Gregoire, who lent her support to the effort. The Suquamish Tribe, which purchased the course in 2010 and committed to significant improvements, agreed to host the tournament, using its nearby 186-room Clearwater Resort Casino as the host hotel. The fact that a woman, Cynthia Dye McGarey, was White Horse’s original architect, didn’t hurt the effort. “With us having a Seattle stop,” Bradley said, “we’ve added credibility to the tour.”
ou don’t have to walk The Legends Tour players through the state of Washington’s history as a reliable friend of women’s golf — they’re well aware of that first Women’s Open, and our history of great players. Indeed, many of them have first-hand experience, having played in the Safeco Classic at Meridian Valley from 1982-99. Legends Tour members who are past Safeco Classic champions include three-time winner Sheehan (1982, ’90, ’95), Inkster (1983, ’88), Brandie Burton (1993), Bradley (1991), Stephenson (1987), Judy Dickinson (1986) and Carner (1985). “I won my 29th event at Meridian Valley after a playoff with Rosie Jones,” Bradley recalled. “At that time, you needed 30 to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame. That helped me get into the Hall of Fame, so I’ve always had a soft spot for Seattle. Now, we get back to playing in front of those great people again.” Bradley added that she was at Sahalee Country Club in 2016 when it hosted the KPMG Women’s LPGA Championship, where she welcomed Inbee Park into the Hall of Fame. With that tournament, Park earned enough career points to become the 25th member of the Hall. The Sahalee event also is remembered for its Executive Women’s Conference, a luncheon that featured prominent female executives discussing ways to encourage and empower women in business. Another prominent Seattle area golf course, Chambers Bay, which hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open, also has intentions of hosting an LPGA major, which would be the third in state history. “Seattle has been on our radar for 10 years,” says Blalock, who runs The Legends Tour. “Everyone loved going to Seattle.” The historic commitment of the state to host events such as the U.S. Women’s Open, the cascadegolfer.com
Safeco Classic and Sahalee’s LPGA major, contributed to the Legends Tour stop. “Northwest golf fans, men and women, have always been great supporters of women’s golf,” Bradley said. “That’s the reason why the Seattle area looked at having us back. “I’ve always enjoyed watching Fred Couples,” she added. “He’s from that area, as is one of the greatest women’s golfers ever to play our game, JoAnne Carner. I know she’s looking forward to playing in front of Seattle fans again.” Despite a struggle to regain her game after recent hip surgery, Carner said she will take part in the White Horse event. How could she miss it? “I won the Safeco in 1986 [sic]. It’s always fun to come there,” says Carner, who now calls Florida home but still has plenty of family members in the area. “There are so many great courses around there, and scenery. I’m looking outside right now at a palm tree, not a 100-foot high fir tree.” Carner is the one woman in the field who most appreciates how far women have come to earn these competitive benefits, albeit late in the game for many LPGA veterans. Her career began on the Seattle public links courses such as Jefferson Park, Jackson and Fircrest. After the aforementioned stellar amateur career, she turned pro in 1970 and won more than $2.9 million in a career that spanned 35 years. “That takes a long time to add up,” says Carner, who took home winner’s checks as little as $1,500 and $3,000. “These young, healthy LPGA players now make almost as much in one year as I made in a career.” Carner recalls that early LPGA players sometimes had to use their cars as locker rooms, because there was no women’s clubhouse and the men’s facilities were off-limits. Pro-am events are customarily held on Wednesdays, but there were times when they were cancelled because they conflicted with men’s day at the club. Collectively, the women worked together to improve their conditions. The tour hired a fulltime agronomist to prepare the courses ahead of the event, a club repair trailer followed the schedule, courtesy cars were available — even a surgeon was put on retainer. “We may have started the fitness thing first. Dinah Shore helped in that area,” Carner says. “We were the first to set up a retirement plan. I think the men looked at ours before they set up theirs.” That kind of cooperative effort to improve the LPGA Tour and the conditions for women golfers served as a guiding force in formulating The Legends Tour. Women supporting women has been crucial in the effort, but Carner said men have also played a significant role. She estimates a typical gallery at a Legends Tour event cascadegolfer.com
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is usually 40-percent men, at least. “We’ve always drawn a lot of men, because women’s swings are slower,” Carner says. “They can see a good golf swing. They can break it down more and relate to it better. These women can still hit it 290 yards while not swinging as hard. What guy does that, unless you’re a young one?” Bradley’s nephew is Keegan Bradley, a 10-year veteran on the PGA Tour. She agrees with Carner “100 percent” that the women are more interesting to watch. “When my nephew, Keegan, plays in the Pro-Am, he’s back at the farthest tee,” Bradley says. “The guys are right with us, on the same tee, in our Pro-Ams. There’s a lot more interac-
tion. They see the actual swing, up close. Keegan is 150 yards back and you can’t see much of his swing, because it’s so fast.”
hat the Legends Tour and the Women’s Senior Open have essentially done is create a new era for the women’s game. Everything old is new again. There are opportunities to interact with the fans again, to renew friendships and rivalries, and draw out their competitive juices. Yet, for many of the biggest names expected at White Horse — Bradley, Carner, Inkster and others — what was gained can’t really be attained. A U.S. Open championship, which they fought so long and hard to achieve, is likely out of reach for these over-60 veterans. As the standard for a USGA tournament, the Women’s Open will be contested over 72 holes, played over four days, with no carts allowed. They’ll need to walk every day in the steamy, Midwest, mid-July weather. Most likely, one of the younger players just making the jump from the LPGA Tour will take home the title. Their generation has done so much to build the game and pave the way for another generation of stars, but now that they finally have the championship they’ve worked so hard to achieve, they’re at an age and level in the game that makes a run at the trophy unrealistic. It’s an obvious question to ask ... “Do you ever feel like you were born too early?” “I don't think so,” Bradley says. “[Women’s golf] has been transformed into a global game. It’s...grown in so many countries. I’ve taken the sport to the highest level. The game has given me so much more than I can repay it. “I have no regrets.” Bob Sherwin is a veteran of The Seattle Times and The New York Times, a frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer, and the co-publisher of GolfersWest.com. He last wrote about the struggles facing family-owned golf courses in the April 2017 CG.
If You Build It, They Will Come
The first hole on Silvies Valley Ranch's Hankins Course plays the opposite direction as No. 17 on the Craddock Course.
he world’s first reversible golf course opened in 1552. Players teed off from the clubhouse to the sea, then turned around and played backwards to the same greens, to complete the circuit. You may have heard of it: The Old Course at St. Andrews. While it still occasionally plays in its reverse configuration today, The Old Course — like other early golf courses developed in a similar style — has largely gone to a standard 18-hole format, playing the same direction, day after day. Hale Irwin built Idaho's Teton Reserve to be reversible in 2008, but for logistical reasons, it’s rarely set up that way, while other reversible projects by architects like Bruce Charlton and Robert Trent Jones, Jr., have mostly focused on squeezing 18 holes into a nine-hole plot of land. In 2009, though, while still previewing Walla Walla’s Wine Valley Golf Club, architect Dan Hixson received a call that set him on a path towards opening Silvies Valley Ranch, just the second reversible, 18-hole course in America. Preview play of the ranch — including two 18-hole courses, a separate nine-hole course and a seven-hole “challenge” course — began last summer, with public play scheduled to begin this year. At three hours from Bend, and more than four from Walla Walla or the Tri-Cities, Silvies Valley Ranch isn't close to anything. But, neither is Bandon Dunes, and that hasn’t stopped the Oregon coastal resort (just up the road from Hixson’s first design, Bandon Crossings) from taking over the golf world. If the golf is good enough, golfers will come — and by all accounts, the golf is very, very good. Hixson stopped by the Seattle Golf Show this year (our Seattle Golf Show!) to talk to us about his latest project.
new reversible course in Eastern Oregon is no gimmick INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
Tell me a little about Silvies Valley Ranch. “Silvies is out in Eastern Oregon, between John Day and Burns, on Highway 395, which goes from the Tri-Cities all the way down to Reno, Nevada. We have two 18-hole courses that sit on the land of one, so on one day you play it one direction, and on the next day, you play it the opposite. Nine holes have double greens, while the other nine have a green on each end — so, there are 27 total greens for 36 holes. We also have a small nine-hole course, and a seven-hole course that will open later this summer.” Where did you get the idea for a reversible course? “For me, it started too many years ago than I’d like to admit, when Eugene Country Club reversed its routing — the 18th hole became the first hole, and so on all the way around. I was just a kid then, and I remember seeing that course under construction and thinking that I wanted to be a golf course designer. It also put into my mind the realization that the main part of a hole is the fairway, and that many of them could quite easily be played in either direction. So, the idea has kind of been evolving in me forever.”
Eight years after opening Wine Valley, Dan Hixson is back with Silvies Valley Ranch, a 52-hole golf paradise whose centerpiece is an 18-hole championship course that plays in alternate directions on odd and even days.
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Improve your golf game at 8 Premier Golf locations! Now Are there any other courses like this in the world? “Tom Doak opened one in Michigan just a couple of years ago. We took seven years to build Silvies Valley Ranch, and actually started before Tom did, but he finished sooner. Of course, the real roots come from the Old Course at St. Andrews, the original routing of which was reversible. They don’t play it that way very often anymore, though, so we're fairly unique in designing a full, 18-hole reversible golf course. It’s really just the couple that have opened here in the last few years.” It seems like a very environmentally friendly way to lay out 36 holes. “Yeah, and that’s really the overall theme of the retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch, is that it’s an eco-friendly resort. So, putting 36 holes on the ground of a little more than 18 makes a lot of sense, both in terms of the hard costs to build and maintain, and then in limiting the resources needed — water, fertilizer, gas for the mowers — as well.” How did you get the commission? “Projects come from all different angles. Silvies was unique in that we were literally opening Wine Valley — in fact, I was playing golf with [regular CG contributor] Tony Dear at a media preview when I got a call on my cell phone and ended up wandering off for an hour to talk to a plumber, Vernie Santos, in Portland, who worked for the owners of Silvies Valley Ranch. The owner had been looking for an architect to build a golf course on his property, and somehow, through some number of people, Vernie the Plumber was patched through to me, and here I am, eight years later.” And what did they say when you suggested making the course reversible? “When you lay out a golf course, you just try to find holes on the ground, and you’re not really sure when looking at it the first time how it’s all going to lay out. It’s not like you design the first hole, then the second, then the third, and so on. So, often times you see a golf hole out there, but you're on both ends of it, and you consider what it would be like to play it in either direction. I had actually made drawings to make Wine Valley reversible, because the land is so perfect to play in any direction. We even staked it once to see if it would fit. At Silvies, as I was staking it and doing a lot of drawings, it started to evolve that I could maybe make six holes in the middle of the course reversible. The owner isn’t a hard-core golfer, so I threw this out there, and he just looked at me like I was crazy. But, then I told him about St. Andrews and he was intrigued, and he said, ‘Why not just do the whole thing?’ I actually think that him being a non-golf guy really helped in that way — he was more open to a wild idea than somebody who has been in the business a long time may have been. So, once he said that, I was off and running.” What are some unique or challenging aspects, design-wise, to building a reversible course? “You have to look at everything twice. Even a green that is only going to play from a slightly different angle one day to the next requires you to design it with different approaches in mind — what's in front, what’s behind, how it’s shaped to hold the approach shot, et cetera. Another thing would be the fairway bunkering. At most courses, the fairway bunkers are designed to be a little higher on the back side than the front; the result is that you can see them clearly from the tee, but if you look back from the green, you can’t really see them. On a reversible course, though, if you have a bunker that is going to be played both ways, it has to be visible from both sides — so, we designed bunkers that still have a high face, but a face that wraps around the side of the slope so that it can be seen from both tees.” Are there any similarities at Silvies to either Bandon Crossings or Wine Valley? “Each of the properties themselves are quite a bit different. But, I would probably be called a minimalist as a designer; I try to leave the ground alone wherever possible. It’s a lot better for the land, and a lot less expensive to build that way. In that sense, they’re the same — native, rugged bunkers, greens with quite a bit of movement on them. Ultimately, the property really dictates what we do, as do the goals of the owners at each location. A golf course that is being built to try and draw a Tour event will be different than if you’re building a course in a retirement
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BELLINGHAM www.lakepaddengolf.com Lake Padden GC www.PremierGolfCenters.com APRIL 2018
community. For example, I’m starting on a course down in Roseburg, Oregon, that’s completely different from anything I’ve done before — it’s on a old sand and gravel quarry and, unlike at Crossings, Wine Valley or Silvies, you wouldn’t walk out there and see a golf course waiting to happen. But, in a way that excites me just as much, because I am going to really have to work to create a golf course that will excite people.” Hey, we know around here what a good designer can do with a sand and gravel quarry. “Exactly. Except, unlike Chambers Bay, which is built on the side of a hill, ours is flat. I was actually coming to the Seattle area a lot while working on Wine Valley, and would come by and watch Chambers Bay being built. That's really impressive — a great site that I would have loved to have been able to do.” Are there other courses in the Puget Sound region that, as an architect, you find particularly appealing? “I‘ve always been a big fan of Tacoma Country & Golf Club — it’s an excellent golf course — and I’ve had a soft spot for A.V. Macan, the architect at Broadmoor, Overlake and several others (including Inglewood C.C., Lake Spanaway and numerous renovations, including Seattle G.C. and Everett C.C.). But, I haven’t played a lot of the public courses.” Obviously, visitors are going to want to play the course both ways to get the full experience, which at the very least means staying overnight. Is there lodging on site? “Currently, we have 34 rooms, roughly half of which are redone log cabins. They’re very well put-together, and all in the Western theme, in tribute to the ranch, which is a working ranch.” Right, and I've heard that golfers can bring some of that ranch lifestyle out on the course with them.
A view of the Chief Egan Course from the back deck of the clubhouse.
“Yeah, the ranch is an active cattle and goat ranch, and the goat herd is one of the most popular features at the ranch. People who visit always want to go see the goats. At one point, someone suggested that we ought to turn the goats into caddies and, boom, an idea was born. So, we’re having some saddles built and you'll be able to take the goats out with you on McVeigh’s Gauntlet — that’s our seven-hole challenge course that’s routed over some really rugged terrain. You’ll be able to stick the six or eight clubs you’ll need for the course into bags on the saddles, put a little leash on them, and play golf with a goat. [laughs] It’s meant just for fun, obviously, but it's recently taken on a life of its own. The goats were recently on Good Morning America! I’m over there shoveling and digging and running a ’dozer and breathing in dust for seven years, and then the goats come on the scene and instantly get tons of publicity. But, it’s a pretty neat deal.” How much do you tip a goat? “Peanuts.” Silvies Valley Ranch opens for public play this spring. To learn more or schedule a trip, visit www.SilviesValleyRanch.com.
Leavenworth Golf Course
...Located in the beautiful Washington Cascades
15% OFF Coupon Book your tee time today! (509) 548-7267 Leavenworth Golf Course 9101 Icicle Rd. Leavenworth, WA 98826 Offer not valid with any other discount offers
Leavenworth Golf Course • (509) 548-7267 • 9101 Icicle Rd., Leavenworth, WA 98826
18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth cascadegolfer.com
SAVE SOME GREEN FOOTHILL FAVORITES BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
e’re blessed in the Northwest with dozens of terrific public courses — so many, in fact, that it’s easy to take the “little guys” for granted. What might be thought of as a gem of a course in another part of the country — given its conditioning, its views and its rate — can’t even sniff the top-10 around here. Think about courses like Druids Glen, McCormick Woods, Port Ludlow, Avalon, Eaglemont or Eagles Pride. Or the poor Cascade Course at Gold Mountain — a fun and fantastic course that can’t even rate the best on its own property! In this month’s Save Some Green, we highlight a couple such tracks in the Cascade foothills, but we encourage you to patronize all your favorite “little guys” this year. Every region has its big-name tracks, but it’s the abundance of courses like these that make the Northwest second-to-none.
Mount Si. G.C. • North Bend
Mount Si Golf Course NORTH BEND
Exactly 10 years ago, in April of 2008 — just the third-ever issue of Cascade Golfer — we visited and wrote about Mount Si Golf Course for the very first time. At the time, we wrote, “Mount Si combines beautiful landscaping and picturesque views with a well-maintained, 18-hole, par-72 course that puts all of the Northwest’s green beauty on display, while leaving your green where it belongs — in your wallet.” A decade later, Mount Si has become one of our most frequent haunts, and we’re happy to say — nothing has changed. Well, that’s not entirely true — while the course has remained in excellent shape and the routing has continued to both beautify (the front nine) and bedevil (the back nine), the Mount Si Restaurant has undergone some mostly cosmetic renovations over the years, making it a terrific place to grab a plate of ham and eggs before your round, or kick back and soak in the views over a nice, cold brew afterward. It’s the golf that we come for, though, and it’s the golf that keeps us coming back. The front nine serves as a proper warm-up for what’s ahead, a mix of straight-ahead par-4s, mid-range par-3s and one of our favorite risk-reward holes, the par-5 second, where a player bold enough to carry the trees left of the fairway off the tee can find themselves with an easy iron to the green. It also features one of the state’s most scenic holes, the par-4 sixth, whose green is backdropped by the towering stone edifice of Mount Si itself. If you keep the ball straight, you’ll probably score well — and you’d better, because the back nine is a different animal. Starting at the par-4 10th — just 300 yards from the tips, but with a sharp dogleg left and a large swale separating the fairway and green — the next several holes require more than just a straight
shot, but the ability to think one shot ahead. That tricky par-4 is followed by the course’s longest par-3 (206 yards from the blue tees) and a true, three-shot par-5 — not only is it 581 yards, but it curves constantly left through a narrow passageway of trees, with a sharp turn just shy of the green. Leave anything left, and you won’t be able to maximize the distance on your subsequent shot — which, when you need to cover 581 yards, is a problem. After a relatively tame front nine, you can very easily go bogey-bogey-bogey (or worse) to start the back, and find yourself fully on tilt the rest of the way. It’s just enough of a challenge to keep even the best golfers on their toes, while the remainder of the back nine will give bogey golfers the chance to get back on track. With rates that start under $20 in the spring (weekday, super-twilight times) and peak under $50 on a stunning summer weekend, it’s one of our region’s best values — readers named it seventh-best in the Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue Metro area in 2017 (ahead of such notables as China Creek and West Seattle) and the third-best course in the state under $50, behind only Spokane’s Indian Canyon and the aforementioned Cascade Course at Gold Mountain. We weren’t surprised — it’s been that way for the entire decade we’ve known it, and will likely be the same for at least a decade to come.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,475-6,261 (72) RATES $18.42-$49.72* TEL (425) 391-4926 WEB www.mtsigolf.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Snoqualmie Falls G.C. • Snoqualmie
Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course SNOQUALMIE
While not the longest (just 5,465 yards) or most difficult (64.8 rating, 102 slope), Snoqualmie Falls is a fun and scenic course, one that’s laid back in a way that more courses should really be. No one’s going to send you away for having an untucked shirt, or because you left your golf shoes in the other car and have to play in sneakers. Far to the contrary, general manager John Groshell and his staff (including son, Jeff, one of the course’s PGA teaching pros) go out of their way to make every player feel like family, and ensure that everyone walks onto the first tee feeling relaxed and confident. While its par-4s are short, Snoqualmie Falls does give players the chance to pull out their drivers on each of its four par-5s, the shortest of which measures a reasonable 490 yards. Of course, daring players can pull driver on nearly every hole if they so choose — most of those par-4s are of the straight-and-narrow variety, so if you’re confident in your ability to keep your ball out of the trees, then by all means, fire away. Many golfers remember Snoqualmie Falls fondly as the first place they broke 90, or 80, or the first course at which they made multiple birdies in a round. The point is, it’s fun, and stress-free … exactly how you want to end a long day of golf. It’s best played in the summer or fall, when the Snoqualmie River is at its ebb, providing just enough scenery without flooding the fairways. Tee off after 1 p.m. through May 13, and for just $27, the number of holes you play is limited only by the time the sun finally slips below the horizon. Wait until summer, and the same deal (after 3 p.m.) is just $30. That’s one we’ll happily take to the bank.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,076-5,465 (71) RATES $27-$44* TEL (425) 441-8049 WEB www.snoqualmiefallsgolf.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
P R ESENTED BY
Building The Perfect Golfer
By Brian Beaky • CG Editor
ne of my favorite aspects of the game of golf is one some might say is a good reason to avoid the sport altogether — no matter how well you play, you’ll never have a perfect round. I’m not even talking about a perfect score (18, of course — good luck with that), but simply a round after which you can’t think of a single thing you could have done better. No matter what you shoot — 89, 79, 69, 59 — there’s always at least one shot, one putt, one chip that, if executed just a little bit better, could have cut even one more stroke off of that score. Like a rodent in a hamster wheel, it’s that one nagging shot (or, more often, those 20 or 30 nagging shots) between us and perfection that keeps us coming back time and time again, thinking maybe today will be the day it all finally comes together. Even the pros can’t achieve perfection. Dustin Johnson can seemingly hit golf balls to the moon, but come the weekend, often struggles to put opponents away. Tiger Woods has the killer Sunday instinct that DJ lacks, but can’t keep the ball in play enough these days to even get to the weekend. Phil’s a whiz around the greens, but can’t hit it as far anymore as the young guns on Tour. Jordan Spieth’s putter let him down in 2016, Rory has struggled with the driver the last few years, and Jason Day will try almost anything to avoid hitting a fairway wood. In other words, no one golfer is perfect — not even the best. But ... what if we could cobble together the best traits of the world’s top golfers, living or dead, and create a super golfer, an uber-golfer, a ... Frankengolfer? Could we achieve perfection? We went to our followers on Facebook, Twitter, and online at CascadeGolfer.com, and asked the following question: “If you were trying to build the perfect golfer by combining qualities of other golfers’ games, what would be the winning mix?” So sit back and imagine a world where these golfers dominated the landscape — we think it’s about as close to perfection as any of us will ever come.
“John Daly’s long drive, Ben Crenshaw’s putter, Miguel Angel Jimenez’s hole-out ability, and Adam Scott’s accent. You don’t need a short game in this mix.” — Travis Scudder
“Adam Scott’s driving, Jason Gore’s iron play, Jason Day’s scrambling, Phil’s bunker play, Jordan Spieth’s putting.” — Karen Miller
“Adam Scott’s fashion, Jordan Spieth’s smile, Rory McIlroy’s accent, Dustin Johnson’s chiseled jaw, Dustin Johnson’s physique, Dustin Johnson’s ... OK, maybe just Dustin Johnson.” — Jennifer Davies
“Ben Hogan’s iron play, DJ’s tee ball, Tiger’s putting, Seve Ballesteros’s scrambling, Walter Hagen’s charisma.” — Austin Beatty
“Tiger’s power, fight and all around game (circa 2001) with Fred Couples’s swing and charisma.” — Peter Herrera
“Give me 2000 Tiger Woods and I’ll play him straight-up against any of these other fools.” — Keith Kozlowski
ENTER TO WIN EIGHT ROUNDS OF GOLF!
eading about golf is fun. But playing golf is oh, so much better. We’re sending one lucky reader and the playing partner of their choice to play two of our favorite North-end tracks — the Links at Avalon and Whidbey Golf Club. Plan a killer 36-hole day, or spread the love over two fantastic weekends — it’s up to you! Then, head across the mountains for a foursome at one of America’s top-ranked university courses, and the course ranked sixth in the state overall by readers of Cascade Golfer — the fabulous Palouse Ridge! That’s eight rounds of golf, at three of the top public courses in the state! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win.
Palouse Ridge G.C. • Pullman
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