VOLUME 12 • ISSUE 2 • JUNE 2018 • COMPLIMENTARY
SUMMER’S SWEET STICKS WASHINGTON’S TOP-10 SUMMER ROAD TRIPS WIN A STAY-AND-PLAY TO CENTRAL OREGON NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
LENNY WILKENS TEES IT UP AT NEWCASTLE
From where to go, to how to save — and even who to bring — your summer golf road trip starts here Suncadia Resort • Prospector No. 10
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Volume 12 • Issue 2 • JUNE 2018
• Local kids shine at Augusta • Duke’s awards $1,000 golf scholarship • Flatstick Pub taps into South Lake Union • Highlander goes high-tech • Volunteer for the Boeing Classic • WSGA puts kids on course for $5
18 TEEING OFF
• Dishin’ with “Coach”: Lenny Wilkens
20 IN THE BAG
• Patrick Reed’s PING G400 • TaylorMade P790 driving iron • Honma’s latest hits • New shoes for dad ... or mom • PLUS: Irons, Putters, Wedges
33 RISK VS REWARD
• Gold Mountain (Olympic), No. 11
56 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Where to play when you can’t get away
• CG’s road trip survival guide
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Summer’s here, so grab your partners and hit the road — just be sure to kiss the kids, because these trips are so good, you may never want to come home. BY BRIAN BEAKY
48 PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS 24-31
Congratulations to the winners April’s CG Swag! We handed out swag left and right this spring. Here are April’s CG Swag winners: Eight Rounds of Golf Dan Costello • Gig Harbor Highlander Twosome Dolly Eide • Des Moines NW Golfers Playbook (4 winners!) Gary Stevens • Kent, Carl Berkman • Tacoma Louise Creighton • Bellevue, Mike Dye • Lynnwood LPGA Legends Tour VIP Experience Judy Stuart • Edmonds
TOP-10 WASHINGTON ROAD TRIPS
Want to really get away, without blowing your budget? Look no further than these Northwest favorites. BY TED ANDERSON
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted.
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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.
Didn’t win? No sweat. For our Northwest travel issue, we’ve put together some of the sweetest packages of the year to get our readers out of their comfort zones and onto some of the greatest tracks the Northwest has to offer — including TWO Central Oregon getaways! • Foursome to Avalon • Page 39 • Foursome to Palouse Ridge • Page 46 • Central Oregon Stay-and-Plays • Page 54
Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win. And follow us on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) for even more giveaways and contests!
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Tiger’s Roar Is Real — Just In Time For Him ... And Us
’m almost 50, which means that I have spent most of my golfing life following Tiger Woods. Not just over his 21-year professional career, but ever since he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show way back in 1978 as a 2-year-old being honed by his father, Earl, and mother, Kultida. I was 10 years old when I saw that show, and I went out of my way in the coming years to follow his exploits, watching him win every USGA and AJGA event in sight. By the time Nike’s Phil Knight sewed up the biggest talent in the sports world after Tiger won the 1996 U.S. Amateur, at Pumpkin Ridge (two years after winning the PNGA Amateur at Vancouver’s Royal Oaks – I was as big a Tiger fan as there was. I won’t write his biography here – you know the story. What I want to say, though, is how RELIEVED I am to see him compete at the top of the table again. Relieved for the sport, the industry, his fans and golf’s TV ratings, to be sure, but for him, too. While he was out of the spotlight and his game and world ranking plummeted, professional golf rebuilt itself on the backs of exciting young players. I like the new guys and what they bring. But, like Jimmy Con-
nors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg were to tennis, so, too, was Tiger to golf. We were all missing that certain something that made even the casual fan check the Sunday leaderboard. Well, he’s back. He’s not hitting on all cylinders yet, but the final-round red shirt is once again a factor. Ratings are double what they were a year ago and the young guns get to measure up to the game and hype they never had the chance to before. Can he win another title, or even a major? I will stand bold and say yes. His swing and putter are almost a duet again. Where he used to be closed-off and keep the public at arm’s length, I see a man that is now more engaging. He smiles and interacts differently with fans and media. He’s humble. Maybe it’s his caddie, Joe LaCava, having an influence — LaCava was on Fred Couples’ bag for years, and that union was a chill as it comes. Every week he plays, I can’t wait to watch. The sport works without him, but it’s more exciting with him. We have seven-plus years left before he’s ready for Champions Tour play – I wonder what he has in store for us? Enjoy the summer and TAKE IT EASY!
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SHORT GAME Bothell 9-Year Old Wins National Championship at Augusta
Bothell’s Taighan Chea was congratulated by the game’s top players, including Sir Nick Faldo.
ith a crowd of hundreds gathered around the 18th green at Augusta National, nine-year-old Taighan Chea thought only about the 15-foot putt before him. Eight other competitors in the 7-9 year-old division of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, held at Augusta National on Masters Week, had already attempted the putt, and Chea and his coach, Brian Pflugstad, had noticed something the other competitors hadn’t. “The initial break was right to left, but the putt slid left to right at the hole,” noted Pflugstad, who teaches at both Inglewood Country Club, where Chea’s family are members, and Echo Falls. Chea had placed third in the driving portion of the competition, and second in the chipping, and had rolled a 30-foot putt to just one foot, three inches. With just this final putt remaining in the competition, Chea knew that he needed to putt it within eight feet, seven inches to take the lead, at which point leader Miles Russell would have one final chance to putt for the win. Instead, he nailed it. As the putt dropped over the front-right lip of the hole, Chea celebrated with a Tiger-like fist pump, before high-fiving Masters officials, Pflugstad and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, who helped oversee the final round from the putting green. “I think my hand still hurts,” Pflugstad said, more than a week later, “but it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.” Russell could still have won by putting his final putt 6
within four feet, three inches, but when he didn’t, the trophy was Chea’s to claim. “I [told myself] just stay focused, and don’t goof around,” Chea told K5’s New Day host Margaret Larson of his thoughts going into the competition. “[As the putt rolled,] I was like, ‘It has a chance ... yes! ... yes!” Chea was joined at the trophy ceremony by Watson and three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo. Over the course of the competition, he also met Gary Player, Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia and his personal favorite player, Rickie Fowler. Each was as impressed by Chea as he was by them. “How special is that?” Watson said. “Twenty, 30 years from now, heck, for the rest of his life, he’s going to be able to tell everybody he made that putt. No matter if he becomes a professional golfer or the President of the United States.” Chea, who will turn 10 in August, has been playing golf for only five years, but already has an impressive resume. He first competed in Drive, Chip and Putt — a national program started by The Masters, the PGA and the USGA five years ago — in 2015-16, when he was just seven years old, and reached the regional qualifying round in 2016-17 before making it to nationals this year. The Drive, Chip and Putt program, for boys and girls ages 7-15, begins with qualifiers at the local level — seven of which are scheduled to take place in Washington state this summer, including four in the Seattle area — where competitors showcase their skills in each
of the three areas, with drives scored on a combination of distance and accuracy, and the latter two categories on distance remaining to the hole. Players who score high enough advance to regional competitions later in the summer, with the regional winners then earning the right to compete in the national finals at Augusta National the following spring. The entire program is free to all kids who enter. A full list of local qualifiers, and answers to most additional questions, is online at drivechipandputt.com. For Chea, who plans to continue his training with the hopes of playing one day in college, watching that winning putt drop into the hole was a moment he’ll never forget. “It was amazing,” he said. “It felt like I won The Masters.” Of course, Chea wasn’t the only local player who made waves at Augusta this year. Conrad Chisman, a 13-year-old from Stanwood, became the first player in program history ever to make both the 15-foot putt and the 30-foot putt at Augusta — a feat even Jordan Spieth would be hard-pressed to replicate. The putting champion in the boys 12-13 age group — obviously — Chisman placed fourth overall in the competition. Pflugstad, who has watched Chea develop over the last several years, and accompanied him to Augusta along with Chea’s family, says that it takes a special talent to accomplish what Chea — and Chisman — did this spring. “It was pretty special,” he said on New Day. “I’m pretty sure I still have goosebumps.” cascadegolfer.com
Precision Pro Is Laser-Focused on Affordable Rangefinders
he year was 2013, and Clay Hood had just moved to California to find work as a teaching professional. The trouble was, the work wasn’t there to be found. “I just remember thinking, ‘Well, is there another way I can put my knowledge of the game to good use?’” he recalls. “That’s when I met my business partner, and things just went from there.” Hood and his partner focused in quickly on the notoriously high-priced market for laser rangefinders. “We asked ourselves, ‘Why does this specific product have to be so expensive?’” Hood says. “And, could we do this at a lower price?” The answer, happily for all of us, is yes. In the middle of 2014, Hood debuted the Precision Pro rangefinder, which offered all of the advantages of a traditional laser rangefinder — the ability to use it straight out of the box, to target any point on the course, push-button simplicity and accuracy in almost any kind of weather condition — at a price point that was as much as $150 lower than comparable rangefinders from bigger brands. “It turned out that we hit the market at just the right time,” Hood says. Did they ever. With such limited options at the time, golfers jumped at the chance to put a laser in their bag for less than the cost of many GPS rangefinders. In the four years since, the company has grown from its two founders to nine employees, who now manage development and sales of Precision Pro rangefinders nationwide, including — since 2017 — at Puetz Golf stores in the Seattle area. Those nine employees, Hood says, are all golfers — part of the company’s commitment to its one and only focus, making outstanding laser rangefinders at a reasonable price. “We’ve really tried to bring in people who are just like us, and just like our customers, who love golf and want to make the game easier and more affordable,” he
says. “We’re not interested in hunting, or cameras, or any other function ... we’re just golfers, trying to make a great golf product.” The company’s latest product — the NX7 Pro — just might be its best. A 400-yard range is more than enough for any shot you’ll hit on the course, while a vibration feature gives you confidence that you’ve locked onto the pin, and a slope feature can be toggled on to take elevation changes into consideration. It also comes with the Precision Care Package, including a 90-day, money-back guarantee, free battery replacement, a two-year warranty and a trade-in allowance if you decide to upgrade down the road — all for just $249. A simpler version, without the slope and vibrating feature, is just $199, before rebates. “We were the first on the market with a laser rangefinder under two hundred dollars,” Hood says. “And we’ve stayed focused since then on keeping our manufacturing costs down and our margins low, so that we can hold on to that position in the market. It’s been fun.” Check them out for yourself at Puetz Golf, or online at www.PrecisionPro.com. 2018
Summer Blowout — NW Golfers Playbook Now Just $19.99!
e’re about a fourth of the way into the 2018 golf season, and those golfers who bought a 2018 Northwest Golfers Playbook earlier this year have no doubt already made back their $39.95 investment. After all, it only takes one deal — say, a 4-for-3 to Chambers Bay ($199 savings, or $50 apiece split four ways) — to come out ahead. And, with more than 100 deals in the book — including 2-for-1s, 4-for-3s, free carts, discounted rounds and more, to courses throughout Washington and Oregon — you’re going to use more than one. Since we’re approaching the midway point of the playing season, we’re knocking the price of the book down by 50 percent for the remainder of the year (use promo code HALFOFF). If you like local courses, you’ll cascadegolfer.com
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find plenty of deals in the book to tracks throughout the Puget Sound region, from the Peninsula to the Cascades, and Olympia to Everett. Or, maybe one of our features in this issue will inspire you to take a road trip — bring a Playbook and save on rounds at Apple Tree, Bear Mountain Ranch, Desert Canyon, Highlander, Palouse Ridge, Suncadia, Wine Valley and other incredible destination tracks, plus south-of-the-border favorites like Pumpkin Ridge, Aspen Lakes, Pronghorn, Tetherow and more. Either way, you’ll be putting money back into your pocket every time you pull out your Northwest Golfers Playbook this summer. All restrictions are listed online at NWGolfersPlaybook.com, so browse before you buy, then click the button and start saving! JUNE 2018
SHORT GAME Edmonds Teen Frances Monahan Earns $1,000 Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
t was 2015 when Frances Monahan’s life changed forever. Just 15 years old, Monahan was first on the scene of an accident where her mother, Priscilla, was severely injured. With events already beyond her control, Monahan watched with a mix of fear and awe as emergency personnel took action to save her mother’s life. It was in that moment when the Edmonds teenager decided what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. “I’ve always had the passion to help people, but that passion grew as I saw the first responders treating my mom when she got hurt,” Monahan recalls. “Over time, I have gradually been leaning towards becoming a firefighter due to the fact that they are first on the scene as first responders and require hands-on and team work.” In the three years since, Monahan has committed herself to a future as a firefighter and first responder, taking classes at Edmonds Community College through the Running Start program, and enrolling at Skagit Community College, where she will begin training in the school’s twoyear firefighting program this fall. She will also be competing on the school’s golf team, having earned a partial scholarship following an exemplary prep and junior golf career, including four years on the Edmonds-Woodway High School varsity, the first three of which ended with trips to the 3A state finals. Monahan has also played in several Washington Junior Golf Association and Pacific Junior Golf Tour events, including numerous top-five finishes, and one win. Her best round in competition? A not-too-shabby 77, fired just this March at Willows Run. She’s also a star student, with a 3.76 grade-point average in her high school classes, and an active community member. Monahan plays electric guitar in two different church bands, and has worked on extended service projects up and down the West Coast, connecting with organizations like the Union Gospel Mission and Mary’s Place to provide food and supplies to homeless adults and children. And, most recently, she has added coaching to her already-busy schedule, working with the Run to Win organization in 2017 to lead youth sports camps throughout the area. She says that witnessing a child’s growth and helping put a smile on their face “lights up my day.” For all of these reasons, Duke’s Chowder House is pleased to award Monahan $1,000 as the recipient of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship for the Summer quarter of 2018. One of four such scholarships awarded quarterly, in each issue of Cascade Golfer, the money is intended to help young golfers throughout Western Washington pursue their dreams at the next level, whether in golf or in life. Monahan says the scholarship will have a big impact. “Receiving this scholarship lifted me up as it will help me achieve my goals,” she says. “Any support I can get,
whether it’s through golf, family, or friends, continues to motivate me to work hard.” It was her father, Sean, who nominated her earlier this year, sending a poignant email that highlighted all of the reasons Frances would make an ideal recipient. That letter, and others submitted by families throughout the region, was reviewed by a committee including Duke’s founder and CEO Duke Moscrip, Duke’s COO John Moscrip and others, before the final selection was made. “I’m literally just speechless, and so thankful that you’ve given Frances this honor,” said Sean. “Ever since she was young, Frances has had a strong desire to support and serve others. When she puts her mind to it, she can accomplish almost anything.” For John Moscrip — who, along with his father, Duke, created the scholarship in 2016 to provide financial assistance to young golfers with a passion for the game and a desire to use golf, either directly or indirectly, to pursue their career goals — Monahan embodied all the qualities that a nominee should have. “Golf is an expensive sport, which can be prohibitive for young people who, after heading off to college, often find themselves footing their own bills for the first time,” he says. “Our goal with this scholarship was to provide funds that would help those young golfers maintain and develop their passion for the game as they move into that next chapter of their life. With her combination of excellence on the golf course — and an established commitment to play in college — along with her strong academic and community service efforts, Frances checks all of the boxes that we look for, and then some.” Do you know a young golfer (high school age or younger) who might be a good fit for the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship? If so, visit CascadeGolfer.com and click on “Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship” at the bottom of the page for more info, or send an email directly to our editor at email@example.com. Be sure to include a photo, and any and all information that you think might be relevant to the committee — academic record, community service efforts and, of course, evidence of their commitment to, and passion for, the game we all love. Maybe you’ll see your young golfer in these pages next month! JUNE 2018
SHORT GAME Flatstick Pub Brings Birdies & Brews to South Lake Union
am Largent had a good career. He was a 39-yearold Eastside accountant, making good money and building a solid nest egg on which to retire someday. And then, one day in 2014, he thought to himself: What if I could drink a beer ... and play mini-golf ... at the same time? Most of us would have thought, Yeah, that’d be cool, and gone back to our jobs. Largent, though, saw a niche in the neighborhood entertainment market that he thought he could fill. “Yeah, no investors were interested,” he laughs, recalling his initial pitch to try to raise money for what would become the Flatstick Pub. Without any capital coming in, Largent cashed in his life savings, cleared out his 401K, and opened the first pub himself. You’d better believe they’re interested now. Just four years after that initial grand opening in Kirkland, Largent has expanded the Flatstick Pub to three different locations, including Pioneer Square and, this summer, South Lake Union. Each pub includes a full-service bar with dozens of Washington beers and ciders on tap (plus a full list of
Washington wines), and a food menu specific to the location — delicious pot pies from 314 Pie in Kirkland, and street-style guisado tacos from Manu’s Tacos at Pioneer Square. In addition, patrons can have food delivered from any number of local eateries, and enjoy it right at their seat. “We’re committed to local breweries, and committed to customer service, and I think that has really resonated with people,” he says. What sets Flatstick apart from a regular bar, though, are the games, starting with a nine-hole putting course — including a unique, Seattle-themed one at Pioneer Square — with water hazards and other obstacles, along with Duffleboard, a hard-to-explain original game that’s a mix of billiards, shuffleboard and golf — and a heck of a lot of fun. Best of all, each pub is open to all ages prior to 7 p.m., making it a fun rainy-day activity for a golf-mad family.
“It’s a fun activity to do when you’re going out with your friends,” Largent says, while estimating that more than half of the “golfers” who pick up a putter at Flatstick have never set foot on a golf course. Due to Flatstick’s growing popularity (especially for private parties), mini-golf tee times are best booked in advance, though the Duffleboard tables at each pub are available anytime — and completely free to play. With a new pub opening in Seattle’s hottest neighborhood in July — one that Largent notes has “a lot of people, but not a lot of entertainment” — the 43-year-old former accountant says he’s feeling good about that “crazy” decision four years ago to turn his life upside down. “It was definitely a risk, but it’s worked out really well,” he says. “I had an idea that I thought would be successful, and it’s turned out to be a unique product that a lot of people like.”
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SHORT GAME Highlander Goes High-Tech For Year-Round Recreation
Highlander G.C. • East Wenatchee
or the last few years, golfers have been raving about the new exterior at East Wenatchee’s Highlander Golf Course (www.highlander.com, 509-884-4653) — particularly, the new 17th and 18th holes that were created as part of the course’s gradual remodel from 2011-13 (and which we put on our cover in April of 2014). This year, though, the talk is all about what’s inside. Earlier this spring, Highlander installed a series of simulators that will keep its business going year-round — while helping golfers dial in their swings, as well. The installation includes two, state-of-the-art Full Swing simulators loaded with 84 courses from around the world, plus an additional Laser Shot simulator for sport shooters who want to refine their game in hunting’s off-season. It’s part of an effort to make Highlander — already one of our favorite summertime destinations — the Wenatchee area’s premier recreational choice, 12 months out of the year. “Not only will this have a big impact on our business during golf’s offseason,” says Joe Gordon, Highlander’s director of golf, “but we are also going to be able to use the simulators for lessons, clubfitting, tournaments, bachelor parties, special events ... it’s really going to be a yearround thing.”
Gordon says it’s that in-season use that will be particularly noteworthy. With its state-of-the-art laser measurements, the Full Swing will allow Highlander’s clubfitters to dial in golfers’ swings like never before, giving instant data on ball flight, swing plane and more, while allowing the golfer to see the results of small changes in their swing or setup. “That’s where I think we will really see a difference, is in the clubfitting,” Gordon says. “Someone came in here recently with clubs that had been custom-fit by someone else, and it was clear from just a couple of minutes on the Full Swing that his equipment was way off. That’s the part I’m most excited about.” Gordon says that Highlander has come through the wet, snowy winter in good shape, and expects another strong year as golfers from west and east of the mountains alike continue to familiarize themselves with the course’s new look and layout. “It’s shorter, and I think that’s been the hardest part for folks to adjust to — people think that a course has to be 7,000 yards to be good,” he says. “What they’ve found, though, is that it’s a lot of fun, and that’s what keeps people coming back.”
Boeing Classic Brings Golf’s Greats Back to NW in August
ay what you will about the “Seattle freeze” — when friends and neighbors ask for our help, we’re there for them. When the U.S. Open came to town in 2015, the 5,000 available volunteer positions filled up in just 36 hours. It usually takes at least a month. The same phenomenon occurred at the 1998 PGA Championship, 2010 U.S. Senior Open, and the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, all held at Sahalee Country Club. And, in 2018, we have the opportunity once again. As is the case each summer, the PGA TOUR Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic — which returns to The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Aug. 20-26 — gives golf lovers the chance to go inside the ropes as a volunteer at our region’s only annual PGA TOUR event. Volunteers work a wide range of positions, including cart operations, course marshals, scoreboard operations, player and staff transportation, and even helping the national broadcast networks. Perhaps the coolest job is that of standard bearer, walking alongside each group and carrying (and updating) a hand-operated scoreboard. Volunteers pay $85 and receive two Cutter and Buck golf shirts, one Cutter and Buck jacket, a hat, meal vouchers and two weekly passes to the tournament (a $120 value by itself), plus preferred parking on shift days and admission to the Volunteer Appreciation Party on-site. It’s a killer way to check out one of our favorite sporting events of the year, featuring past major champions like Mark Calcavecchia, Lee Janzen, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh, plus fan favorites like John Daly, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rocco Mediate, Jesper Parnevik, Kenny Perry and, of course, our very own Fred Couples and Kirk Tripplett. (Note: Players listed here include past participants only, check BoeingClassic.com for an updated 2018 player list later this summer.) All competing in one of the most beautiful settings in the Northwest, The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, with its views of Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls. Complete tournament info — including links to register as a volunteer, buy tickets and more — are available at www.BoeingClassic.com. We’ll be there — hopefully, we’ll see you there, too!
• $25 18 hole green fee w/cart Good Monday - Thursday • 20% off Green Fees good Friday - Sunday Must bring in coupon to receive offer.
SHORT GAME Kids Play For Just $5 Through Youth On Course
an you remember the last time you played a round of golf for just $5? Yeah, neither can I. Thanks to a new program called Youth On Course, being operated in partnership with the Washington State Golf Association, however, there are millions of kids nationwide who are able to answer that question with an affirmative, “Yes!” Here’s how it works — kids aged 6-18 pay $20 to the WSGA to become a Youth On Course member and receive an official YOC card. After completing a brief online curriculum covering the rules of golf and common golf etiquette, golfers receive their card in the mail and are then eligible to play at any WSGA YOC Participating Course for just $5. The program was started in 2006 by the Northern California Golf Association, which recognized that in order to create the next generation of golfers, the game needed to be more affordable and accessible. In the decade-plus since, Youth On Course has expanded to 22 states and subsidized more than 600,000 rounds. Launched in Washington in the summer of 2016 with just 14 courses, Youth On Course now includes more
than 50 Washington tracks — including Chambers Bay, Suncadia Resort, Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course, McCormick Woods, Desert Canyon, Indian Canyon, Bear Mountain Ranch and dozens of smaller local tracks — and more than 750 nationwide, each one of which will accept a YOC card from any state. “How can you beat a program that allows you to take your kid to a quality course for five bucks?” asked CG contributor and 710 ESPN Radio host Jim Moore, in a 2017 interview with fellow CG writer Tony Dear for the WSGA News (read the full story at www.wsga.org). “It’s terrific that Youth on Course gives me the chance to play with him so cheaply. And I love the variety of
participating courses.” It’s a great deal for the courses, too, which are able to fill largely unused, dedicated tee times with paying golfers, while also helping to grow the game. In addition, the national Youth On Course Foundation will reimburse courses for each round played, though many choose not to take advantage of that feature as part of their support for the initiative. “Youth on Course drives competition and makes kids play more,” says executive director Adam Heieck. “We’re trying to provide access to opportunities and that’s what [the program] is all about.” To learn more, visit www.youthoncourse.org.
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Cascade Golfer Cup Over $10,000 in prizes at every event!
Michelob ULTRA Open June 23 • 1 pm The Home Course Two-Person Aggregate Stableford
Srixon Golf Invitational July 21 • 8 am Trophy Lake Two-Person Best-Ball
Gamble Sands Aug. 11 • 9 am Two-Person Stroke Play
Great Competition • Great Camaraderie • Great Fun! Contact: Simon Dubiel firstname.lastname@example.org (425) 412-7070 ext.100
To Register Visit
cascadegolfer.com Click on the Cup!
SHORT GAME Strangers In The Night: Local Duos Take CG Cup Season Opener at Chambers Bay
s of Friday night, on the eve of the Cascade Golfer Cup’s Season Opener at Chambers Bay in April, Brian Wood and Josh McCleary had never met. Twenty-four hours later, they were making plans to go to Maui. Wood and McCleary — two veteran CG Cup players who were paired by tournament organizers after they couldn’t find a teammate to join them in the year’s first event — posted 10 net birdies and one net eagle en route to 47 Stableford points and the overall net championship, earning themselves a five-day, four-night trip to Maui, including lodging and two rounds of golf. We’re guessing they’re good friends now. Meanwhile, another pair of veterans — Bryson Agnew and Nick Miller — fired scores of 79 and 77, respectively, en route to 37 Stableford points and the overall gross title to earn a Maui vacation of their own. In all, more than 100 players kicked off the year at Chambers Bay, enjoying sunny skies, free beer on the course, tee prizes and a post-round meal — not to mention sharing in 25 team prizes, including stay-and-plays, rounds to Chambers Bay, Palouse Ridge, Wine Valley, Salish Cliffs and other great Northwest tracks.
Most of all, they had fun, which is what the Cascade Golfer Cup is all about — giving the typical, daily-fee golfer (folks just like ourselves, in other words) the chance to experience the fun of tournament golf, and compete for real prizes in a low-stress, high-fun environment. It’s what we always wanted in a tournament but could never find, so we went and made it ourselves. The tournament kicked off what is shaping up to be the most exciting year in Cup history, including a stellar course lineup — Chambers Bay, Washington National (whose Muckleshoot Casino Invitational took place just after this issue went to print), Salish Cliffs (June 2), The Home Course (June 23), Trophy Lake (July 21), Gamble Sands (Aug. 11) and White Horse (Sept. 8) — a record list of prizes and a summer with plenty of sun in the forecast. All tournaments are played in two-player, team formats (including best-ball, stroke play and Stableford) and are open to any golfer with an established handicap. Furthermore, each event features its own outstanding list of prizes, like those above, meaning you can pick and choose the tournaments you want to play and be guaranteed an outstanding prize pool. Teams that do
Brian Wood and Josh McCleary
Nick Miller and Bryson Agnew play in multiple events, however, also earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup standings, featuring additional stay-and-plays and golf getaways for the top-performing teams. And, if you’re worried that you don’t have a partner? Don’t be — Brian Wood and Josh McCleary didn’t have partners either, but do you know what they do have? A heck of a trip ahead of them later this year, filled with sun, sand and as many Mai Tais as they can handle. Five more tournaments await, which means five more chances to win your own golf vacation. To register, visit www.CascadeGolfer.com, or email tournament director Simon Dubiel at email@example.com. We’ll see you there!
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 JUNE 2018
Three-Time Hall of Famer (Not A Typo!) Lenny Wilkens Has Seen It All
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
here are plenty of three-time All-Stars, even a few three-time MVPs. But, a threetime Hall of Famer? There’s only one — Lenny Wilkens, who grew up in Brooklyn, but for the last 40 years, has been officially “Seattle’s own.” The basketball legend was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1989 — following a career that included nine All-Star appearances (and an All-Star Game MVP) and a spot on the NBA’s 50th Anniversary team in 1996. At the time he retired, in 1975 — after six straight years as a player/ coach — Wilkens had scored more than 17,000 points, and had 7,211 assists, second only in NBA history at the time to Oscar Robertson. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame again in 1998, this time as a coach, following a 35-year career in which he racked up more wins — 1,332 — than any NBA coach who had come before. Wilkens was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1994, coached four All-Star teams, and took one team — our team — to the 1979 NBA Championship. But, Wilkens still wasn’t done. In 2010, he was back on the Hall of Fame podium again, this time as a member of the original “Dream Team,” the 1992 U.S. Olympic team featuring Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and others. An assistant coach in ‘92, he would lead the U.S. to a second-straight gold as head coach in 1996. There’s hardly a basketball honor you can name that Wilkens can’t go find somewhere in his Eastside home. But, rather than stare at his honors, Wilkens prefers to spend his days advocating for others — particularly children — through the Lenny Wilkens Foundation. Over the past 40-plus years, the Wilkens Foundation has poured more than $6.5 million into the Seattle-area community to fund numerous youth programs, most notably the Odessa Brown Clinic, which provides low-cost or free health care to children from low-income families. One of the ways Wilkens raises funds for Odessa Brown is through his annual Lenny Wilkens Foundation Celebrity Weekend Golf Classic at Newcastle each summer, where Wilkens and many of his famous friends from decades in the NBA join local golfers for a oncein-a-lifetime experience at one of our state’s most beautiful tracks. This year’s tournament is scheduled for Aug. 12, and golfers can register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When did you start golfing? “When I came to Seattle, in ‘69. I had played golf once or twice, but I mostly played tennis. I started doing some charity stuff, though, and it was easier to put together a golf tournament than a tennis tournament. I just watched the game, and ... I don’t know, for some reason, it was easy to pick up.” Where did you play back then? “I played at Glendale Country Club, also played at Broadmoor, Inglewood, then started to play at Echo Falls and Newcastle. These days, I probably play Newcastle the most. That’s where our tournament is, and the vistas are fantastic.” Do you have any specific, memorable experience you want to share? “When I first came out here, I played with Lee Trevino in a celebrity tournament. I was using my 3-wood all the time off the tee, and he began to tease me. He took my driver out and turned it upside down — because I’m left-handed — and he must have hit the ball about 250 yards. (laughs) I’ll never forget that.” How do we get more young, minority kids around the country to play golf? “You have to expose them to the game. When I was growing up, I knew what golf was, but I didn’t live near a golf course and couldn’t afford golf clubs even if I did. For me, baseball and basketball were easy, because there were no barriers to play. Also, we had heroes — Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson. Tiger Woods has been great for the game, but we need to make it easier for minority and lower-income kids to have access.” What was the inspiration for starting the Lenny Wilkens Foundation? “I’ve always encouraged young people to work hard for success. They need to know that they can make a difference, and that there are people willing to support them. When I was at Providence, I was on the Big Brothers board to encourage young people to be successful. I was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks and worked with high-school dropouts there, and when I went to Cleveland, I worked with a program called Shoes For Kids. When I came here, I met some people who were working with the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, and I wanted to be a part of their mission. We started out with a roast, then switched to a golf tournament, and now have the tournament, a dinner and an auction.”
What inspired you specifically to advocate for children? “In high school, I was a big Dodgers fan, and got the chance to meet Jackie Robinson. He was a man, on the field, and off the field. I was so impressed with his integrity, and his work ethic. People like that helped me to understand that I could make a difference.” You mentioned Jackie Robinson. It seems like we’re in a time again where athletes are taking vocal positions as social activists. What are your thoughts on that? “We live in a great country. A lot of people don’t know that I was in the military — I was in ROTC in college, and after my first year of pro ball, I had to go on active duty. I missed a whole year and a half. But, when you see an injustice, you have to talk about it. You can’t feel that, because you’re an athlete, you can’t have a voice. That’s baloney. You pay taxes, your kids live in the community. We need to be able to speak up when we see something wrong. We shouldn’t allow it to be swept under the carpet.” What was your secret to lasting 45 years in professional basketball? “Love of the game, and also understanding the game. And then, the ability to relay that to young people and help them improve their games, that was something that wasn’t difficult for me, and I enjoyed it. I probably could have played a little longer, but I was ready to get a head start on being a coach.” Do you think we’ll ever see a player/coach again? “No. There were a few that did it back then, but I don’t think you’ll ever see it again. It just requires too much time, too much work.” If you could pass a message back through time to 23-year-old Lenny, what would it be? “I’ll tell you the same thing I told myself in 1971. I had played in eight All-Star Games, and I would usually just pass the ball and get people involved, and mostly wound up just sitting on the bench. So, finally, in 1971, I said, ‘The hell with that, I’m going to shoot the ball.’ And would you know, I got the MVP? (laughs) So, I would tell myself to look to score a bit more.” cascadegolfer.com
BAG PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR
Here’s to Dad — And Mom, Too
t’s a good bet that you learned the game from your dad. While, according to a recent online study, nearly one-fourth of all golfers today are female, that number has been steadily increasing over the past 50 years, meaning that, in all likelihood, if you learned the game when you were a kid, you were probably tagging along with dad to the driving range, or riding in the cart during the Saturday morning Nassau. But, millions of moms have played an important role, too. While my dad was indeed my primary golf instructor, both of my parents played golf, and my mom did a lot to encourage my growth. So, thanks, Mom, and to all the other moms who did the same. The golf calendar, though, doesn’t make room for moms. The U.S. Open often falls on Father’s Day weekend, leading to endless stories about pro golfers and their fathers or children, but May — a time when it would make sense to do the same for moms — is the one month between April and September without a PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour major. Our publishing schedule is the same — the Spring (April) issue is usually about what’s new this year, while the Summer (June) issue skips right past Mother’s Day and focuses on great gift ideas for Dad. Well, the heck with that. In this issue, we’re highlighting some cool new sticks — many of which include men’s and women’s versions — along with an entire page dedicated to gifts you can buy this summer for Dad OR Mom. Because, no matter who got you into the game, there’s never a bad time of the year to say thanks.
G400 Max Driver PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ew golfers are as unique as Patrick Reed. While the 2018 Masters champ is notoriously difficult to work with (players last year voted him the one they’d be least likely to support in a fistfight), he’s also one of very few pros who play without any kind of equipment deal. Since leaving Callaway in 2017, Reed has been commitment-free, making his an interesting case ... what clubs would a top player choose to hit, if given total freedom? When it comes to the big dog, at least, the answer is the PING G400. We first wrote about the G400 last August, noting its streamlined head that reduces drag (up to 15 percent overall) for faster swing speeds, its fully-forged face that flexes more for higher launch speeds, and its Dragonfly technology that makes it lighter and more forgiving. This spring, though, PING released a new version, the G400 Max, a larger and even more forgiving version of the club Reed and others having been using to tremendous success. Tony Finau was one of the first to switch to the Max, and soared to second in total driving distance, with five top-10s, including The Masters. Between Finau and Reed, the PING G400 is off to a fast start — pick up a Max, and you might be, too.
BERES S-06 Driver 2 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Starting at $899.99
e introduced our readers to the Honma brand exactly one year ago, noting that the shaft and head of every Honma club is manufactured on-site at Honma’s Japanese headquarters, with nearly the entire process done by hand, to incredibly precise specifications. With the new BERES S-06 driver — the latest entry in Honma’s ultra-premium line, with each club finished in titanium and 24-karat gold — the focus was on making the club lighter and larger, a combination not easily accomplished. The result was to flatten the head of last year’s S-05, resulting in a wider, flatter sole and crown, and a longer face, plus a center of gravity that is pushed deeper and lower in the clubhead, all resulting in a measurable increase in forgiveness. In addition, Honma joined the ranks of those cutting slots in the sole behind the clubface — in this case, called the “Key Groove Area” — which makes the face flex more for longer ball flights, while increasing the size of the sweet spot overall. Weight reduction was accomplished through the use of ultralight titanium in the body and face, plus a lighter ARMRQ X shaft, increasing clubhead speed without sacrificing feel or durability. Check one out at an upcoming Puetz Demo Day to see if it’s the right fit for you.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441 cascadegolfer.com
BERES IS-06 Irons
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Starting at $219.99
ven Dustin Johnson sometimes gets a little nervous pulling out the big dog. In fact, it was feedback from Johnson and many of TaylorMade’s other big names — including Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm — that inspired this spring’s all-new P790 Ultimate Driving Iron (UDI). The players noted that on tee boxes where hitting driver wasn’t a smart play, they generally reached for a fairway metal, even though, all things considered, they are more comfortable — and accurate — with an iron in their hand. Would it be possible, then, to create a club that would give those players the distance of their metalwoods, and the accuracy and feel of an iron? Thus was born the P790 UDI, which carries the DNA of TaylorMade’s popular P790 players irons — including the L-shaped steel face insert that wraps around the sole, and a SpeedPocket for higher ball speeds on off-center hits — but with its own unique mutations. On the outside, players will notice a slightly thinner topline and less offset, plus a slightly shorter blade length, while the inside is injected with low-density Speed Foam to reduce vibration without affecting face flex. The result is a stronger, more stable iron, with a hotter face — exactly what the game’s top players need when driver just won’t do.
n addition to an update to its gold-plated drivers, Honma has also released a new version of its super game-improvement irons for 2018. That’s right — just because Honma is a premium brand and plates its BERES clubs in 24-karat gold, doesn’t mean that they’re only focused on the game’s best golfers. The BERES IS-06 are the latest proof of that fact, with a face that wraps around to the sole (similar to TaylorMade’s P790) for a lower center of gravity and higher trajectory, and three slots (er, “slits,” Honma calls them ... don’t want to get anyone in trouble here) cut behind the lower part of the face to increase flexion and ball speeds for those who strike the ball low on the face. The long irons, too, feature slightly wider soles and bigger heads to give the player extra confidence at address — they still look like irons, to be sure, but give the performance of a hybrid, so you can get the benefit of that hybrid technology while still swinging sticks that look like something only a pro could handle. It’s not just the plating that’s gold, either — Golf Digest awarded the irons a gold medal on its annual “Hot List,” one of just seven handed out in that category this year.
G700 Irons 5 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
$162.50 per club
n the market for a game-improvement iron that looks like a players iron, but aren’t quite ready to make the leap to a set of Honmas? No worries, PING has you taken care of this spring with the all-new G700 line, which upgrades features from its 2016 GMAX iron line, while cribbing a little from the popular G400 and G400 Crossover, as well. For starters, it doesn’t look like many other game-improvement irons we’ve seen — yes, it’s definitely larger than a PING iBlade, with a thicker sole and topline, but the sleekness of design overall, and the decision to reduce shading and coloring on the cavity, give it that pure, forged look that will certainly make your friends question whether you’ve shaved a few strokes off since the last time they saw you. And, what’s more, your performance may back up that assumption — a hollow core and more flexible face than on previous PING irons produces shots that fly higher, longer and straighter, without having to turn to special polymer inserts to create a pleasing sound and feel. A tungsten toe weight further adds forgiveness by balancing out the screw at the base of the shaft, reducing the iron’s tendency to twist at impact. Longer, higher, straighter — and it looks cool, too? We’ll take it.
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $99 and more • exceptions apply
JUNE 2018 JUNE
IN THE BAG
King Black Wedge PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Sigma G Putters
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
here’s little harder, or more durable, than a diamond. That’s why Cobra’s new King Black wedges have been coated in what the company is calling “Dimonized Black Metal.” No, that’s not a typo — the club isn’t actually made from diamonds, but rather from 8260 carbon steel developed in Cobra’s forging foundry and applied to the new King wedges, resulting in a pure, black finish that lasts longer and performs better than any other on the market. And, while many manufacturers have been thinning their faces to create faster ball speeds, Cobra has actually gone the opposite direction with the King Black, on the assumption that a thicker face creates better feel, and that feel is more important in wedges than pure distance. The face of each wedge, furthermore, is customized in both roughness and groove construction to create the ideal amount of spin at each loft. Lastly, the King Black comes with Cobra’s patented bluetooth Cobra Connect technology in the shaft, which sends shot data to the Arccos 360 app, so you can keep track of its on-course performance.
JUNE 2018 JUNE 2018
e’re not quite done with PING yet. The sigma symbol has been used by mathematicians since Classical Greek times to indicate the summation of everything and, with 16 different putter styles in two different finishes — plus further customization available when it comes to grips and swing weights — you can certainly see why PING has chosen the name to adorn its latest G-series flatsticks. Furthermore, eight of those 16 styles are brand-new to PING, while each one is meant to serve a different swing style — needless to say, you’ll want to take advantage of a putter fitting to find out which one is just right for you. While styles range from the classic Anser blade putter, to the more exotic, mallet-style Wolverine, the center-shafted Tess, or the forked Tyne (currently being played by Lee Westwood), each with either a platinum or black nickel finish (the Anser is the only one available in both), they share a similar technology under the hood. A new PEBAX elastomer insert provides a nice, soft feel, while the aluminum face utilizes PING’s TruRoll grooves that get shallower as they move out from the center, for consistent speed across the entire surface.
O-Works Black Putters 8 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Starting at $109.99
hen you buy an Odyssey putter, the magic is in the fitting. Using Odyssey’s mirror-based EyeFit system, each golfer can find the exact Odyssey putter that matches their swing. There’s more to choosing a putter, after all, than just looks and feel — each golfer has a unique putting stroke, and each Odyssey O-Works black putter is designed to perform best with a specific stroke, whether slow or fast, straight or arced, inside-out or outside-in, etc. This year’s update to the popular O-Works line, whose Microhinge insert (literally, a face insert featuring thousands of tiny hinges that impart topspin on the ball at impact, to start it rolling right away) marked a sea change for golfers when it debuted in 2017, comes in eight different models, including the blade-style #1 and #2W (a slightly wider blade), the mini-mallet 330M and #3T, and the mallet-style #7, Jailbird, Marxman and ever-popular 2-Ball, many further customizable by swing weight (with Callaway’s “Tank” setup) and hosel shape. The black finish, meanwhile, comes at the request of Tour players, who prefer the low-glare look of black, and the ease with which it offsets the bright-white alignment aids on the crown.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441
IF THE SHOE FITS ... We don’t know about you, but we like buying new golf shoes in the summer. It’s good to get a least a few months out of them while they’re shiny and new, before we start slogging through the mud again come October. We’ve listed some that would make a great gift idea for Dad this Father’s Day, but we haven’t forgotten Mom, either. Here are our top-three this summer on each side of the docket.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Women’s Sport Retro $249.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
f you’re looking for a more stable shoe in our often slippery weather, look no further. The FootJoy Tour S features one of the widest bases the company has ever made, with Champ spikes that actually extend slightly beyond the width of the premium Pittards’ full-grain leather upper. Further stability comes from the lace-tightening knob in the BOA version, that adjusts the full shoe tighter or looser, while there’s also been a lot of work done under the (camouflage) tongue to make the shoe more comfortable, breathable — and, important for us, waterproof — than its predecessors.
ne of our favorite trends in golf shoe design has been a shift towards shoes that transition easily from the course to the clubhouse — or, even, the club. FootJoy’s spikeless Sport Retros are a sweet summer pick, with a look that says “Billie Jean King” and a performance that screams “Lexi Thompson.” The molded, gum-rubber outsole keeps your sole closer to the ground, while the lightweight, linen-textured upper is both breathable and comfortable. Given the linen look, lack of high-grip spikes and only one-year waterproof warranty, these aren’t shoes you’re going to put on in December ... but dang, are they going to look good in July.
GO GOLF Eagle Lead
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
hen reviewing the latest shoes from Puma, almost all you need to know is right there in the name. “Ignite” refers to Puma’s proprietary Ignite foam, which extends throughout the entire midsole and contracts and rebounds with each step, both acting as a cushion and imparting a modicum of energy back into your foot. “PWRADAPT,” meanwhile, calls attention to the stabilizing PWRFRAME, a layer of TPU designed to give support to the heel and midfoot. That’s cool, but our favorite feature is the spikes, which sit in a flexible pod that allows them to move in any direction as you step, for maximum comfort and grip.
adiPower Bounce PUETZ GOLF PRICE
kechers has earned a reputation over the years for making shoes that are stylish and comfortable, and generally at a lower price point than their competition. That’s certainly the case for the two models we’re discussing here, including the Skechers GO GOLF Eagle Lead and, below, the GO GOLF Eagle Pro. The Lead is a spikeless alternative to a traditional golf shoe, modeled from Skechers’ popular GOWalk series, with a Goga Matrix outsole and Goga Max insole that provide stability and traction, a 5GEN midsole for superior cushioning, and H2GO Shield water resistance that will hold up through a light spring or fall rain.
GO GOLF Eagle Pro
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ny Husky fans out there looking to support their new apparel partner? This one’s for you. Start with the “bounce,” a full-length insole that works with the cloudfoam sockliner to provide comfort and stability. Then, move to the climaform stretch microfiber leather upper, which is durable and lightweight, with a one-year waterproof guarantee. Some golfers have complained before that adidas shoes can be too tight in the toe — not these, which feature an expanded forefoot and more rounded toe shape for additional comfort, while adidas’s latest, low-profile thintech EXP cleats are a great choice for those firm summer fairways.
Ignite PWRADAPT PUETZ GOLF PRICE
hile the Eagle Pro shares many common features with its Eagle Lead sibling above — the Goga Max insole, Goga Matrix outsole and 5GEN cushioning, to name a few — it’s a more traditional (and durable) golf shoe, with replaceable SoftSpikes and a waterproof (not just water-resistant) rating. Not only do those differences make the Pro the better choice for golfers who want to use one shoe in all seasons, but they also help extend its life, as the spikes can be replaced if they wear down or fall out.
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RISK vs. REWARD Gold Mountain (Olympic Course) Hole No. 11 Par 5 521 yards (Blue Tees)
By Simon Dubiel Photo by Rob Perry/robperry.com
The Setup: On the surface, “Cross Bunker” lays out as a simple, medium-length par-5, but it is far from easy. At 491 yards from the white tees, and 521 from the blues, the distance won’t intimidate most players. The fairway narrows in the landing zone with a steep fall left into the rough, while anything right will either catch the fir trees or, worse, go straight through and run down a slope to No. 13. The layup must avoid a cross bunker 90 yards out that bites off half of the fairway. The approach shot targets a green that sits up on a plateau, with a bunker that lies below the left side of the green. Former UW coach Matt Thurmond once noted that this is one of the few par-5s that regularly averages over par in collegiate tournaments.
The Risk: Anytime you pull out the long iron or 3-wood, things can go sideways in a hurry. If you are looking to take on this hole in two, you’d better strike it pure. The elevated green is very tough to hit and anything that gets even a bit off line can end up snuggled
up between some Scotch broom and a fir tree, which are not exactly the outs you were looking to draw to.
The Reward: The green is challenging to hit with any club, and it’s not like the layup shot, trying to dodge that cross bunker, is a cinch, either — unless, of course, 90-yard bunker shots are just your game. If you can blast a 3-wood onto some short grass near the green, the up-and-down odds far outweigh trying to do the same from 100 yards out.
Final Call: The scorecard might suggest that this is one of the Olympic’s easier par-5s, but the words most golfers are muttering as they walk off the green would suggest otherwise. The dance floor is tough to find and playing too aggressive can lead to disaster. A wise man once said, “You can’t lose what you don’t put in.” Time to pull back the reins and take out your aggression on a different hole. Driver, 8-iron, wedge. Putt-putt-par.
ROAD TRIPS Where to tee it up this summer, from the Peninsula to the Palouse By Brian Beaky • CG Editor
hen we asked readers to submit their favorite Cascade Golfer stories as part of our 10th Anniversary issue last year, many of you chose one or more of our various road trips — particularly our one-day, whirlwind, thereand-back-again sojourns to far-away places like Gamble Sands, Palouse Ridge, or Wine Valley. Want to know a secret? Those are our favorite stories, too. You also said that you enjoyed the “listicles” — the various lists or rankings, including our bi-annual top-10 courses feature, but also those where we’ve ranked the best par-3s, the toughest par-5s, and the most scenic holes in the state. Want to know another secret? We like those stories, too. Why? Because listicles are easy to write, while road trips — especially those crazy 12- or 16-hour ones — are a heck of a lot of fun to ... uh ... “research.” So, for this issue, — in which we explore our favorite summertime road trip destinations throughout the Great Northwest — we thought, Why not make a list of our favorite in-state day trips? Each one of this trips is CG-tested, and CG-approved. It was tough work, to be sure, but we somehow made it through. In this article, we start with our top-10 golf getaways in Washington state, every single one of which can be done as a day trip (if you’re crazy, like us) or a fun weekend. Then, we expand to our neighboring states of Oregon and Idaho, where week-long golf adventures await those who crave the open road. Pick your favorite trip, then flip to the “Postgame” section in the back for our tips on how to survive a few hours — or a few days — in a car with your buddies. Wherever you go this summer, remember — you’re lucky to be there. And lucky to live here.
Courses: Avalon, Eaglemont, Whidbey G.C. Location: Burlington, Mt. Vernon, Oak Harbor Round Trip: 141 miles
of holes. When we visited Avalon in 2013 to see how many holes we could squeeze in between first and last light, we knocked out 88 — nearly five full rounds — rotating through the narrow, tree-lined North; the shorter, shot-makers West; and the scenic South nines as traffic dictated. It was a blast, and a must-do for any Washington summer golfer.
Gamble Sands • Brewster cascadegolfer.com
Not everyone is into driving halfway (or all the way)
The same is true at Eaglemont, where all-day rates
across the state and back for a round of golf. That’s cool
are just $15 above the standard $46-$71 rate, allowing
— there are plenty of great day trips and weekend adven-
you to cycle time and again through a course that has
tures to be enjoyed right here in Western Washington.
hosted USGA qualifiers, and is regularly ranked among
One of our favorites is a run up to Skagit County to tee
the best in the state. It’s a challenge, for sure — tree-lined
it up at three of our favorite tracks, Avalon Golf Links, Ea-
fairways, forced carries and plenty of elevation changes
glemont Golf Club and Whidbey Golf Club.
can be tough on first-timers, which is why we recommend
You can play two in one day, but, to be honest, that
playing it forward — then playing it again. Once you know
takes away from Avalon and Eaglemont’s biggest advan-
where to hit — and, where it’s OK to miss — Eaglemont is a
tages — the ability to play all day at just a fraction more
fun place to test your game on a sunny summer weekend,
than the cost of 18 holes.
with an excellent clubhouse restaurant to boot.
Avalon’s all-day deal — just $10 over the $44-$61
greens fee — is one of the best in the business, given the
where you can get a taste of the private life. Fully private
course’s 27-hole layout. That helps golfers spread out,
until a few years ago, and now open to limited public play
meaning you both play faster, and enjoy a wider variety
(public rounds must be booked through the pro shop, not
That leaves our third “north star,” Whidbey Golf Club,
online), it’s one of the region’s prettiest tracks, with water on several holes and the kind of conditioning you’d expect of a private course.
Rounds start at $55 on weekdays and climb to $100
(including cart) during prime times, which is why, if you’re planning to play all three, we recommend making Whidbey the first stop on your “North Stars” tour. Play at off-peak Apple Tree Resort • Yakima
hours to save nearly 50 percent, then crash for the night at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, located at practically the exact center point between the three tracks. You can hit the
golfer and, other than perhaps Coeur d’Alene’s floating
fore finishing with one of our favorite three-hole stretch-
tables at night and the courses by day, and enjoy some of
green, is the most memorable par-3 tee shot you’ll ever
es, including the tricky par-4 16th (with a downhill tee
the best golf Western Washington has to offer.
hit, at least in this part of the country.
shot and an uphill approach), that incredible 17th, and
a risk-reward, par-5 18th that gives a bold golfer the
But, Apple Tree, in fact, has tons of excellent holes.
By the time you drive up to that 17th tee box, you’ll have
chance to earn back a stroke or two at the end.
enjoyed so much of what’s come before, that you may
well have entirely forgotten about the hole you came to
we generally do Apple Tree as a day trip, or a stop on the
see in the first place. The front nine plays through an
CG Wine Trail, as we make our way towards (or from) the
active orchard, with small apple trees dotting the holes
Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. If you do, it’s about a 10-hour
and cart paths that wind through the orchard from hole
day, which isn’t too bad — leave the Seattle area at 7 a.m.,
You certainly know about Apple Tree’s infamous,
to hole. The back nine, across the road from the orchard,
and you’ll be back in time for dinner. In our book, that’s a
apple-shaped 17th green — it’s a must-take selfie for any
opens up to create more shotmaking opportunities, be-
perfect way to spend a summer day.
How ‘Bout Them Apples? Course: Apple Tree Location: Yakima Round Trip: 300 miles
Given the lack of other top-quality courses in the area,
It’s also one of the state’s most historic cours-
Wilkommen to Bavaria
Courses: Leavenworth, Kahler Glen Location: Leavenworth Round Trip: 234 miles
es, with a 90-year track record that even predates the town’s 1960s conversion to a tourist
Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club • Union
paradise. Its shorter length — just 5,699 yards from the tips — makes it popular with vacationing groups of mixed abilities, while the
roaring rapids of the Wenatchee alongside you for your
For many Western Washington residents, a trip to
copious trees and notoriously fast greens still make par
last few miles into town. Make plans to soak your feet in
Leavenworth — Washington’s faux-Bavarian village nes-
the river before heading home, and relish the fact that you
tled on the east slope of the Cascades — is an annual
live just a two-hour drive from scenery like this.
pilgrimage. During the holiday season, it’s a life-size snow
came, is Kahler Glen, which is a little longer (5,900 yards),
globe, trees and buildings ablaze with tens of thousands
and a little more challenging than its nearby sibling. Tucked
of colorful lights and horse-drawn sleighs carrying bun-
down at the bottom of a slope near Lake Wenatchee, it’s
dled-up families down Main Street, as polka strains filter
also a little more isolated, which keeps it from getting the
out from nearby German restaurants.
same traffic that Leavenworth often receives in the sum-
In the summer, though, it’s a recreational paradise,
mer. You’ll enjoy a mix of shortish par-4s (most top out
a launching pad for those who want to hike or climb on
under 400 yards) and fun par-5s, including the reachable,
the nearby peaks, float down the Wenatchee River — or
484-yard fourth, and the definitely-not-reachable 600-
tee it up on courses with terrific scenery and rates that
pletely isolated by thick woodlands and the calming Hood
never top $50.
Unlike some of these trips, the true joy of this one
Canal waters, Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club, and the near-
Leavenworth Golf Club is closer to town, less than a
is the drive itself, up Highway 2 and over Stevens Pass,
by Alderbrook Resort & Spa, represent one our favorite
mile down the turnoff from Highway 2 onto Icicle Road.
with the beautiful Skykomish River on the way up, and the
summer getaways — both physically and psychologically.
Just up the road, along Highway 2 back the way you
A Peninsula Pearl
Course: Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club Location: Union Round Trip: 166 miles (or, 90 via ferry) An easy drive from the region’s major cities, yet com-
For those who like to dip their toe in the water before diving in headfirst, Alderbrook is open to the public seven days a week at rates as low
Homestead Farms G.C. • Lynden
as $25 per player, with residents and resort guests having priority rights for tee times.
And, best of all, it’s one you can do on a single tank of gas.
You’ll hit a lot of drives this season, to be sure — a
drive to Alderbrook, however, might just be the most
Many of those who trod Alderbrook’s tree-lined fair-
ways own homes in Alderbrook Properties, a collection
memorable one on your list.
of home sites surrounding the course and resort. We don’t, but spend a weekend at the resort — including a
Run To The Border
full-service health spa, five-star restaurant, nature trails,
Courses: Homestead Farms, North Bellingham, et al. Location: Bellingham/Blaine Round Trip: 222 miles (max, varies by course)
chartered cruises and all the Hood Canal recreation you could possibly want — and, if you’re like us, you’ll certainly wish you did.
Alderbrook’s trees are its defining feature, blocking
out almost all except the fairways and greens ahead and the canal below. It’s a peaceful experience, made all the
more relaxing by the relative brevity of the course itself,
cade Golfer — in just our fourth-ever issue, in fact — re-
which plays to just 6,326 yards from the tips (including
mains, to this day, one of the best a Western Washington
a reachable par-5 right out of the gate at No. 1) and just
golfer can take.
2,981 yards on the back.
One of the first road trips we ever wrote about in Cas-
Outside of perhaps the Olympic Peninsula, there is
Avalon Links • Burlington
Hit The Links at Avalon — On Us!
here aren’t many deals in the state better than Avalon’s all-day rate, which is just $10 more than its standard 18-hole greens fee. With three distinct, nine-hole courses, you can easily bang out 54 in a day, while never playing the same nine more than twice. In fact, the only thing that might be better ... would be playing Avalon for free. That’s what one lucky reader will be doing, though, when we send you and three of your best golfing buddies to Avalon for a foursome of golf, on the house! The drawing will take place July 1, so log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today!
no place in the state of Washington that boasts as many
Best of all, rates at nearly all of these
excellent golf courses in as close proximity as those in
courses top out in the $50-$60 range, and the
courses themselves aren’t overly penal, mak-
ing this one trip that won’t break your game,
It’s made even more perfect, for our purposes, by the
fact that few of them — maybe outside of Semiahmoo
or your budget. perfect way to relax your mind and muscles before your
and Loomis Trail, both still open to the public (for now) — have achieved the kind of notoriety throughout the golf
community that drives up prices and packs the tee sheet.
Courses: Port Ludlow, Cedars at Dungeness Location: Port Ludlow/Sequim Round Trip: 150 miles (plus a ferry)
That means we can play 36 holes on excellent courses for the same amount we’d pay to play 18 on the top tracks in Central or Eastern Washington — while saving drive time and gas money, to boot.
Port Ludlow Resort • Timber No. 7
big day ahead. Start at Cedars to avoid both the mid-day crowds and the winds that blow in off the Strait in the afternoon, which can save you two or three clubs on holes that play towards the water. The crab-shaped bunker on No. 3 gets all of the attention, but, much like Apple Tree’s 17th, it’s an afterthought for most of your round, played across holes
All of the top Whatcom County tracks — including
the aforementioned courses at Semiahmoo Resort, plus
The Olympic Peninsula is rife with courses begging to
that vary just enough in orientation and elevation to make
Lynden’s Homestead Farms; North Bellingham G.C., Lake
be paired up — White Horse and Port Ludlow, Trophy Lake
you think. If you hit the ball straight — and stay out of the
Padden, Shuksan and Sudden Valley, all in Bellingham;
and McCormick Woods, or the two tracks at Gold Moun-
wind — you should walk off with a good score, and a good
and Raspberry Ridge in Everson, just to name a few — are
tain. But, we prefer this one, because of how the courses
start to your day. Take advantage of rates that include
as fun to play as any you’ll drive to this summer, making
complement one another, and because of the beautiful
lunch — because you’re only halfway home.
the region perfect for a 36-hole day trip (up and back in
scenery we get to soak in along the way.
no more than 13 hours, total), or a weekend getaway with
Unless you’re driving up from the south Sound, your
charm of Port Gamble, or detour for lunch in historic
your favorite traveling companions.
day is going to start with a slow float on a ferry, the
Port Townsend. Where Cedars is largely straight and
On the drive back to Port Ludlow, marvel at the
can make — which is why we make it almost
bump-and-run approaches or other avenues of attack —
music to ears of high-handicappers — though failing to find the right landing area makes a one-putt all but impos-
One Day In The Valley Course: Wine Valley Location: Walla Walla Round Trip: 508 miles Wine Valley G.C. • Walla Walla
sible for anyone this side of the PGA TOUR.
Simply put, it’s one of the most breathtaking rounds
you’ll play — and one you’ll certainly want to do again before heading home. Whether that is part of a 36-hole day trip, like the one we took in 2012, or as the centerpiece of a tour through Washington wine country, you can’t go
open, Ludlow is all doglegs, trees and elevation changes
— plus beautiful landscaping and some of the prettiest
Washington that beg any similarity to Wine Valley, and
Sound views you’ll find. Both of Ludlow’s nines — the
every single one of them finished in the top-six of last
Tide and Timber — start and finish atop a ridge over-
year’s public course rankings — Chambers Bay, Gamble
looking The Inn at Port Ludlow and Ludlow Bay, before
Sands and Palouse Ridge.
tumbling down to the valley below. Both give you a
While Chambers and Gamble play firm and fast,
chance to go for eagle — for those gutsy enough to fire
though, Wine Valley (and Palouse) combine a links golf
over water at the 465-yard fourth (blue tees) and strong
style with conditioning that can only be rivaled by the fan-
enough to power their approach uphill at the 452-yard
ciest courses around — think Snoqualmie Ridge, Tumble
18th — while also boasting some of the state’s best par-
Creek or Aldarra. After our first visit, we wrote that the fair-
whirlwind road trip to Palouse Ridge in 2015, we only
3s, especially Timber No. 8.
ways were so pristine, it was as if designer Dan Hixson had
planned to play 18, but fell so hard for the course, we
simply painted across the landscape with a giant, green
just had to play it again — even though it meant turning a
— and close to the Inn, should you decide to rest your
paintbrush. Six years later, it still looks perfect.
14-hour day into an 18-hour epic.
head. Of course, you can also play these two in reverse
order and hit the 7 Cedars Casino following your after-
quires as much brains as brawn. You won’t have much
even when pulling back into the driveway at midnight.
noon round. It’s one of the most versatile day trips you
trouble finding the fairway, and many greens welcome
Finishing at Ludlow leaves you close to the ferry
There are only three other courses in the state of
Similar to those other three tracks, Wine Valley re-
wrong. Just make sure it’s on your calendar this summer.
The Cougar Challenge Course: Palouse Ridge Location: Pullman Round Trip: 574 miles
A round so nice, we did it twice. When we made our
And, you know what? We didn’t regret it for a second, It’s hard to imagine a nicer University course anywhere
Palouse Ridge G.C. • Pullman
in the country (sorry, Dawgs). John Harbottle — who channeled everything great about Western Washington into Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course — did the same for Eastern Washington at Palouse Ridge, showcasing the region’s rolling hills and native grasses, and conveying a feeling of comfort, like a warm blanket on a cool summer night.
Like many of our state’s top courses, part of the fun of
Palouse Ridge is figuring out your own path to the hole, based on the distance of your drive, the accuracy of your irons, and the ball flight of your wedges. There’s a Redan-style par-3, where missing left is just as good as targeting the flag; par-4s that will no doubt tempt big hitters playing the middle (gray) tees; and three par-5s under 500 yards, though each with its own unique dangers. And, it’s all backdropped by one of the prettiest vistas in the state, including mile after mile of rolling, auburn hills, with Idaho’s Palouse Mountains rising to the east, and the redbrick buildings of the WSU campus poking up to the west.
2018 Frontier Building Supply
5 PERSON BEST BALL July 28th & 30th Entry: $160/player
(Member discounts available)
3 Days of Golf
The ability to stay over and add in all the spectacular
Spokane city and county munis (or duck over the border to Circling Raven, just an hour away) bumps this trip one spot above Wine Valley, but neither side trip is necessary to make your visit count.
There aren’t many courses worth driving four-and-a-
half hours each way to play. This is one.
(1 practice rd., 2 tourn rds., 2 lunches)
A Good Gamble
$ Over payout Optional Side Games Hosted Beer Garden
Courses: Gamble Sands, Lake Chelan Location: Brewster/Chelan Round Trip: 430 miles
Horse Race July 27th Optional $10 horse race
Come join us for an exciting weekend!
2 FOR 1 GREENS FEE if you mention this ad. Good after 1:00 p.m.
* Take advantage of this offer to come play the course before the event.
WhidbeyGolfClub.com • (360) 675-5490 2430 SW Fairway Lane, Oak Harbor WA 98227 44
If you haven’t checked out Gamble Sands by now
... well, what have you been waiting for? We first sang its praises on a sneak-preview site visit in 2014, and last year, our readers ranked it No. 1 among all public courses in the state — yes, including the one that just hosted the U.S. Open.
Wide-open fairways play to large, undulating greens,
all bordered by vast expanses of sand and high-desert scrub. Keeping your ball in play is easy — usually — though making birdie can be tricky if you find yourself putting cascadegolfer.com
Salish Cliffs G.C. • Shelton
Gamble Sands • Brewster Photo by Brian Oar
from 100 feet away. Shoot, you may even be putting from off the green — the firm turf and rolling fairways and aprons make all kinds of approaches feasible, from bumpand-runs, to irons bounced in off a greenside hillock or a sloping backstop, to wedges precariously dropped over large, sandy bunkers.
Gamble Sands looks hard, but plays easy, meaning
you’re all but certain to walk away with a good score ... and, not only that, but the feeling that you earned it.
You may well choose to stay in Brewster and play
Gamble again ... and again ... and again (if you do, just book at room at The Inn at Gamble Sands), but if you don’t, it’s worth a stop in Chelan to play at Lake Chelan Municipal. Don’t let the name fool you. While it may be a city course, it’s the only one we know of with a million-dollar view — in this case, Lake Chelan and the Cascade Mountains. Much like Gamble, it’s a fun track, though in a different, parkland style with mid-sized trees dotting the fairways and smaller, flatter greens. It’s tougher than it looks, too, with a rating of 70.7 and a 124 slope. And, it’s a bargain at $52 in-season.
The ability to pitch camp in Chelan and play Lake
Chelan, Gamble Sands, and even nearby tracks like Bear Mountain Ranch, Desert Canyon and Highlander — all while wine tasting, kicking it on the lake, or splashing in the waterslides at Slidewaters — make this summer road trip tough to beat.
But, not impossible.
One Trip To Rule Them All Courses: Prospector, Rope Rider Location: Roslyn Round Trip: 165 miles
Only two other road trips on this list are shorter than
Suncadia’s 165-mile round trip — and one of those (Sound Scenery) involves a ferry, while mileage for the other (North Stars) assumes you’re just playing one of the three courses listed. Likewise, only three recommended road trips feature courses that ranked higher on our 2017 list of the state’s best public tracks — and all three are going to cascadegolfer.com
At Salish Cliffs, It’s All About You
t requires a little adjustment, a tiny twist of the brain, when you play Salish Cliffs Golf Course and visit the adjacent Little Creek Casino Resort (www.little-creek.com) in Kamilche, a little over an hour outside Seattle on the scenic Kitsap Peninsula. Don’t worry — it doesn’t hurt. It’s subtle, but powerful. It’s the difference between customer service – what a provider does for you (or not), and whether you like it or not – and providing a high-end guest experience that fits you and your needs and preferences. Little Creek properties operate by the latter principle, and it runs deep. “If it hadn’t been this way, I probably wouldn’t have come out,” says David Kass, who left North Palm Beach, Fla., and traversed the continent to become Salish Cliffs’ first head pro when the course opened in 2011. When he talked to Squaxin Island Tribe officials about the job in late 2010, Kass says, it felt less like owners talking up their properties and more like proud parents bragging on their kids. He interviewed them: What did they want out of the golf course? If they’d said they wanted a $40-$50 greens fee and 40,000-to-50,000 rounds a year, Kass might still be in Florida. In fact, he says, the owners’ pride in the Gene Bates-designed golf course translated into clear direction for staff, from Kass on down: Salish Cliffs will be a premium golf experience for every player at a fee befitting its status as one of the best courses in the Northwest. Kass is now director of golf, spa and retail operations, and the vibe of customer care threads throughout the resort community. At the golf course — ranked in the state’s top-10 by Cascade Golfer readers each year since it opened — Kass, head professional Chris Koch and every staffer are paying attention, from the moment you park your vehicle. They are aware of your tee time … “1:10? Let’s start getting you ready. Can I put your bag on the cart? Got your range balls?” A smoker? There’s an ashtray in the cupholder. Some players, Kass says, want to show up, play their round and go, with little interaction with Salish Cliffs staff. That’s OK, too. “It’s creating the experience they want,” says Kass, “the little things. Everybody’s different.” And, just about everybody loves the course. One of the best-conditioned courses in the state, it’s also one of the most fun to play, with eagle opportunities at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 18, but also some of the toughest par-4s you’ll find. Whether you made bogies or birdies, you’ll want to soothe your aching muscles at the Seven Inlets Spa, where that little, three-letter word – S-P-A – unfolds multiple layers of relaxation. Seven Inlets offers a variety of massage therapies, organic facials and body treatments, and the ambiance, from the moment you check in at the spa’s front desk, is all about pampering. Advice: Don’t skimp on your pre-treatment time in the Meditation Room, lounging in the robe and sandals (supplied) to the soothing sound of trickling waters. On a recent visit, my skilled massage professional in the spa made it all about me … never painful or uncomfortable, not even once. After she worked on my feet and hands, she asked if I wanted my face done. Uh, yes, please. If you want to spend the weekend, stay-and-play packages include resort accomodations (allowing you to take advantage of the full-service casino downstairs), golf, range balls and more. You can also do it as a day trip, enjoying golf and a massage, and still return home in time for dinner. Forgive yourself, here at Little Creek, for feeling indulged. That’s the whole point, starting with your golf round in the morning right through your spa treatment later in the day. This devotion to a satisfying experience for guests at Little Creek – for you – might not be what you’ve known. You’ll get used to it. — Bart Potter JUNE 2018
require at least 12 hours round trip just to play 18 holes, let alone 36. Lastly, none of these trips — not a single one — features more than one course that was ranked in the top-12 by our readers last year.
For the quality of the golf, the variety of the courses,
Suncadia Resort • Prospector No. 10
and the proximity to your Seattle-area home, there is no
Win a Foursome to Palouse Ridge
hether you plan to drive over and back the same day, play it as part of a tour through Eastern Washington’s finest tracks, or squeeze in 18 before the Cougs kick off, you’ll be glad you made the trip to Palouse Ridge. And, we’re going to make it even easier on you by giving one lucky reader a foursome to enjoy our state’s crimson-and-grey gem ... grab three of your friends, hit the road, and enjoy a golf getaway on us! Enter your name at CascadeGolfer.com today!
better summertime road trip for a Western Washington
up in a fantastic round of golf. While the front nine echoes
golfer than a journey across Snoqualmie Pass to Sunca-
Prospector in its routing and style, the back nine is entirely
unique, crafted above two of the old coal-mining shafts
Less than 90 minutes from Seattle, Suncadia boasts
that first brought pioneers to the region over a century
two of the state’s most outstanding courses, Prospector
ago. It’s also a blast, with three eagle opportunities, beau-
and Rope Rider, each of which have been ranked by our
tiful par-3s, and a three-hole stretch that wraps around
readers among the state’s 10 best. And, they’re barely two
Tipple Hill, a pile of coal tailings left over from the site’s
minutes apart, making a trip to Suncadia one of the easi-
mining days. The course starts at ends at Swiftwater Cel-
est 36-hole day trips you can have.
lars winery, which serves as the Rope Rider clubhouse —
and boasts a secret back tee just off the deck for those
The tighter and more challenging of the two courses,
Prospector features some of our favorite holes, not the
willing to show off a little at No. 10.
least of which is the par-4 10th, with a panoramic view
from an elevated tee that has been featured in our pag-
Cabernet Sauvignon, while sitting on the back deck and
es more times than just about any other shot. Shoot, you
watching the shadows of the winery play across Tipple Hill
could poll 18 players about their favorite holes at Prospec-
as the sun goes down.
tor and get 18 different answers — they’re just all that good.
thankful for all you’ve enjoyed.
Rope Rider, meanwhile, is a history lesson wrapped
End your day with a glass of the latest Malbec or
When your glass is empty, it’s time to head home,
or nearly 60 years, from the end of the War of 1812 to the 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, Americans packed their families, their belongings and their dreams into the backs of rickety wagon trains and began a 2,000-mile, six-month journey west. They called it “Manifest Destiny” — the belief that the United States had a divine right to expand westward across the North American continent. Originally coined by politicians to refer to the national interest, the term came to represent the hopes and dreams of individual Americans, who believed that they, too, could find hope and prosperity if they could just make it to the fertile, untamed land the mapmakers called … Oregon Country. Nearly 150 years later, Oregon Country — which, in fact, included not just the state we now call Oregon, but also parts of Washington, Idaho and British Columbia — once again finds itself the terminus of a great American migration, one that while certainly made much more comfortable by modern forms of transportation, shares a basic founding principle with its 19th-century predecessor: a desire to cast aside conventional social and geographic borders for the promise of a new, and better, experience. Today’s migrants, however, are less likely to be seen with a wagon and a pitchfork than a pull cart and a pitching wedge. Once beckoning to America’s middle class with its abundant farmland and wealth of natural riches, Oregon today exerts the same siren call on the country’s golfers, drawn by the recent conversion of that same farmland into some of the world’s most unbelievable golf resorts. Eight Oregon courses appeared on Golf Digest’s list of America’s top-100 public tracks in 2017-18 (accounting for nearly 10 percent of the entire list) headlined, of course, by the four incredible tracks at Bandon Dunes Resort. But, Bandon’s tee shot into the global consciousness has also drawn some much-deserved national focus on the rest of the state’s golf climate, particularly that in Central Oregon. With its Cascade Mountain views, high desert and rolling farmlands, the region centered around Bend was almost exactly what most early pioneers had in mind when they set out on their journey west. And, with more than a dozen world-class golf courses within a one-hour drive of each other — not to mention award-winning resorts, mountain and river excursions and a burgeoning craft beer scene — it’s precisely what today’s Oregon adventurers are looking for, as well. Just a six-hour drive or so from Seattle, it’s the unquestioned No. 1 Northwest golf pilgrimage. So, pack your wagon and hop on the train — the summer’s best out-of-state road trip is about to begin.
Destiny Pronghorn Resort â€˘ Nicklaus No. 13
Pilgrims used to travel months just to reach Oregon Country â€” thankfully, our favorite out-of-state road trip is now just hours away By Ted Anderson
ROAD HOLES tetherow.com • 541-388-CLUB
If David McLay Kidd’s Bandon Dunes put Oregon on the links golf map, his Tetherow Golf Club in Bend — named America’s Best New Course in 2008 — has made the state the Western capital of the links golf empire. The photos alone tell you all you really need to know about the course that, in true links golf style, blends fescue fairways and the surrounding landscape seamlessly, making it almost impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. In addition to the eye candy within the resort’s 700-acre footprint, there’s plenty to be enjoyed in the surrounding area, with views of the Cascade Mountains and Bend’s trademark postcard vistas from nearly every hole. Of course, while that natural, minimalist philosophy makes for stunning beauty, it also creates unique challenges. Tetherow’s fairways are broad, but stray off of them, and you’ll pay a price. Large greens with roller-coaster contours make club selection and iron precision key, as a miss of just 5-10 yards on your approach can mean the difference between a two-putt and a four-putt. In the years since its construction, Kidd has returned to soft-
en up the course a bit — taking lessons from its development that he would later apply to Washington’s magnificent Gamble Sands — but it remains as stiff a test as you’ll find in Central Oregon. Course play is limited to residents (including Kidd himself and Washington State Cougars legend Drew Bledsoe), members, hotel and resort guests and locals. If you’re playing in Bend, though, it’s definitely worth the stay.
Black Butte Ranch Sisters blackbutteranch.com • 800-399-2322
In 1972, the opening of the Big Meadow course at Black Butte Ranch helped put Central Oregon on the map as a premier golf destination. Exactly 40 years later, the grand re-opening in 2012 of the resort’s second 18-hole championship course, Glaze Meadow, once again drew golfers to a region unmatched for its beauty, variety, and abundance of incredible golf. Acclaimed designer John Fought — brother of Black Butte Ranch Director of Golf Jeff Fought — was brought in to complete a $3.5 million overhaul of Glaze Meadow, including rebuilding all 18 greens and tee boxes, clearing trees to improve sight lines and give players more options,
Tetherow G.C. • Hole No. 17 and lengthening the course from 6,500 to 7,100 yards. While Glaze Meadow is tucked among the thick Ponderosa pines at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, Black Butte’s other 18-hole course, Big Meadow, features a more open layout, with wider fairways and larger greens. The renovation has made the two a perfect complement to one another, and fun “high mountain” alternatives to the more traditional high-desert styles of the region. Both courses have garnered numerous designations over the past 45 years, including Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Affordable Courses in America.” Black Butte is even more affordable for families, with a twilight playing rate of just $68 for a family foursome teeing off after 4 p.m., plus other amenities like horseback riding, bike trails, waterslides, river rafting, indoor
Photo by Mike Houska
Tetherow Golf Club Bend
Black Butte Ranch • Sisters, Ore.
Aspen Lakes Sisters
aspenlakes.com • 800-866-3981
and outdoor pools and more — all set in a quieter, more secluded locale than most area resorts. Black Butte’s amenities earned Conde Nast’s prestigious Traveller Award, while Zagat Survey recently gave the resort an “extraordinary” rating — its highest mark — and Golf Digest and Links magazine have both put BBR on their Top 100 Resorts lists. A wide range of vacation rentals, from one-bedroom, hotel-style rooms to luxury homes, offer amenities for every lifestyle and budget, while first-class restaurants and cafes, a full-service spa and the other amenities listed above promise to fill the hours between tee times. Stay-and-play packages combining lodging and unlimited golf start at just $139 a night per person, while non-resort guests can play for as little as $44.
This 19-year-old William Overdorf design will have you seeing red — but, hopefully not from shanking your driver. While most of the region’s courses ship in sand from other regions — a costly process that also runs the risk of introducing non-native pests — builders at family-owned Aspen Lakes instead constructed theirs from volcanic cinders scattered throughout the property, crushing them into a fine sand to create the course’s iconic red bunkers. It’s part of a commitment to preserving the natural environment that also includes breathtaking natural scenery and abundant wildlife — and greens fees well below what you’d expect for a course of this quality. A natural setting means less effort is required to keep Aspen Lakes in tip-top shape, savings that are passed on to golfers in the form of greens fees that never get above $78. Named one of America’s 10 Best New Affordable Courses by Golf Digest in 2001, Aspen Lakes strikes the perfect balance between mountain and high-desert golf. Ponderosa- and juniper-lined fairways test you on the tee, while an abundance of sage waits to swallow your
ball should you stray. Water comes into play on nearly half the holes and bentgrass fairways give you plenty of roll, helping you tame its 7,302 yards from the tips (down to just 5,594 from the red tees, with three additional sets in between). As you watch the eagles soar above the lake left of the 12th green, you’re reminded just how much of the Central Oregon golf experience is owed to an incredible environment — and appreciate a locally-owned course that is making an active effort to give back.
Pronghorn Golf Club Bend pronghornclub.com • 800-541-9424
Just as eye-popping as its fellow Bend resident, Tetherow, is the 36-hole Pronghorn Golf Club, consisting of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course and the Tom Fazio Course. And, no, those aren’t just names — Pronghorn is, in fact, the only place in the world with Nicklaus- and Fazio-designed courses side-by-side. The Nicklaus — the only one of the two courses that is open to the public — is fast and firm, with a links-style layout that incorporates the beauty of the landscape on every hole. Ranked second among America’s Best New Private Courses by Golf Digest when it first opened in 2004, it’s now a comfortable 36th among America’s top
Aspen Lakes G.C. • Sisters, Ore.
public tracks overall. It’s also one of the most beautiful, and most beautifully manicured, courses you’ll ever play, with a back nine that Golf Digest called “the most delightful Jack has ever designed, with gambling holes and gorgeous scenery at every turn.” Even the Golden Bear himself is partial to Pronghorn — despite having designed hundreds of courses worldwide, he checks in at Pronghorn more frequently than at many others, including a most recent visit last summer. The Nicklaus course is complemented perfectly by the Fazio, which blends resort and woodland features to create a unique challenge — if you’re lucky enough to play it, it will almost certainly be the first woodlands course you ever play that requires a carry over a petrified lava tube to a green surrounded on three sides by low, rock cliffs. If you want, you can even grab a lantern and explore the lava tube, one of many scattered throughout this formerly volcanic region, for a quarter-mile ... just don’t forget to come back out in time to hit your next shot. Pronghorn is truly the Ritz-Carlton of the Central Oregon vacation scene, with its two unforgettable courses, luxurious accommodations, five-star restaurants and other amenities. Best of all, you don’t necessarily have to fork over the three-digit greens fee — though, it’s more than worth it if it’s within your means. Stay-and-play packages through the resort website start at $407 in peak season, including a night’s stay in a Pronghorn suite and two rounds of golf on the Nicklaus – a rate barely higher than the room night alone (and one that drops to $327 in October).
Sunriver Resort Sunriver sunriver-resort.com • 800-228-6088
From a private marina on the Deschutes River (with canoes, rafting and other river activities), to horseback riding, a full-service health spa, a nature center with one of the nation’s largest telescopes, 35 miles of hiking and bike trails, an aquatic center with a lazy river, waterslides, spray pools, Jacuzzi spa, and indoor/outdoor pool — and of course, 63 holes of unbelievable golf — it’s quite simple to park your car upon checking in at Sunriver Resort and forget about it for the rest of your stay. And, that’s not even mentioning the numerous restaurants, grocery stores, markets and boutiques all within the resort grounds. While most golfers come to 52
ROAD HOLES Circling Raven • Worley, Idaho
Juniper G.C. • Redmond, Ore.
Central Oregon with a plan to make home base and explore the full region, Sunriver is truly an entire Central Oregon vacation unto itself. The resort boasts three courses, two of which — the Woodlands and Meadows Courses — are open to the general public at rates starting under $75, while the third, Crosswater, is open only to residents and resort guests. Ranked 50th in the Golf Digest top-100, Crosswater has hosted PGA, PGA TOUR and USGA events, and is home to the final round of the annual Pacific Amateur. This 600-acre, heathland-style course incorporates scenic woodlands and artfully preserved wetlands into its stunning Bob Cupp design, with the Deschutes River coming into play several times. It’s the gem in the resort’s crown, a course where the challenge lies as much in not being distracted by the scenery as by the hazards that abound. The Meadows, reimagined in 1999 by Northwest native John Fought (Trophy Lake, Washington National) begins in the open grassland near the river and winds back into the trees. Mount Bachelor provides a stunning backdrop to the tee shot at the par-3 16th, while the many deer that call Sunriver home lend the foreground its own bit of natural eye candy. The Woodlands, as one would expect, is tighter and more challenging, with more water and trees than its resort sibling. A Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design, the drama builds throughout the back nine to the terrific 18th, a 372yard par-4 that can play 100 yards shorter if a golfer wants to risk carrying the course’s largest pond to the green beyond. Lastly, the Bob Cupp-designed par-3 Caldera Links features holes of championship quality, but without the challenge. Kids under 11 play for free, while juniors 12-17 are just $10. For the hours in between recreational activities, the resort features 250 hotel rooms and more than 300 homes and condos for rent, with enough variety to match just about any budget and desired level of luxury — and, of course, any number of additional family members begging you to take them along for the trip.
Juniper Golf Course Redmond playjuniper.com • 541-548-3121
Depending on who you ask, the history of golf in Central Oregon traces back either to 1960, when Gene cascadegolfer.com
The Two Idaho Tracks On Every Golfer’s Bucket List
hile Oregon was the ultimate destination for many, if not most, travelers on the Oregon Trail, plenty chose homestead in Idaho instead, entranced by the state’s tall mountains, crystal-clear rivers and rolling farmland. And, like its sister state to the west, Idaho, too, has seen its share of golf development over the years. One Idaho course — the bucket-list Resort Course at Coeur d’Alene Resort — made the most recent Golf Digest list of America’s top-100 public courses, while another, nearby Circling Raven, cracked GOLF magazine’s top-100 public ranking. Alone, they’re both outstanding and memorable tracks. Put them together, though — perhaps even with a visit to Palouse Ridge, just a hop, skip and a jump across the border from Circling Raven, or to the outstanding municipal courses in and around Spokane, equally close to Coeur d’Alene — and you have one of the best road trips a Northwest golfer can take. Just 35 miles east of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene Resort and its world-famous floating green need little introduction. Conceived by property owner Duane Hagadone, the green — located on the 14th hole — weighs five million pounds and was designed by The Glosten Associates, a marine engineering firm based in Seattle. Tony Dear’s outstanding story in last April’s Cascade Golfer (“Unforgettable,” Apr. ‘17) tells the full tale of its unlikely and remarkable construction; suffice to say, while it is one of the world’s most iconic golf images today, at the time of its construction in 1991, there were doubts as to whether it would ever even see the light of day. “To be honest, I was very skeptical at first,” says course architect Scott Miller. “It was my first solo job and I obviously wanted it to be right. But with something as radical as a floating green in the plans, it could have been a total disaster.” The property’s perennial position among the country’s finest resorts suggests the funky green has been nothing of the sort. Unlike most other island greens that are actually connected to the “mainland” by a bridge or footpath, a boat is the only means by which golfers can reach the 15,000-square foot putting surface, kept afloat by 104 blocks of expanded polystyrene encased in concrete. An underwater cable system allows the superintendent to position the green anywhere from 95 yards to 203 yards from the tee. Miller returned in 2003 to add 426 yards, 21 bunkers and 257 ponderosa pines to the course, transforming it from a mere curiosity into a challenging test that is always in tip-top shape, regardless of the conditions. The greens fee for non-resort guests is upwards of $200, but there are a number of nice touches that make the round memorable, including hitting range balls into the lake, forecaddies, snazzy custom carts, massages, photographs at the signature 14th and a personalized bag tag. For another memorable — and somewhat more affordable — experience, head 25 miles south to Worley, home to Circling Raven Golf Resort. This fantastic design by Gene Bates (who followed up Circling Raven with another award-winning design at Salish Cliffs) covers a whopping 620 acres of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s 345,000-acre reservation, and will turn 14 in August. There’s much to love about Circling Raven – from its bridges, wetlands and sense of isolation, to the novelty of watching freight trains chug past at 20 miles per hour. Of much greater significance to the golf aficionado, however, is the outstanding bunkering that turns otherwise mediocre holes into attractive and strategic tests. The most notable example comes at No. 4, a fairly flat, medium-length par-4 that, with a diagonal string of five randomly-shaped, whitesand bunkers, is a superb hole where a sound decision on the line for the drive is every bit as important as its execution. Summer green fees range between $90-$105, though we’d recommend taking advantage of stay-and-play packages that combine golf and lodging, or golf, lodging and spa treatments, starting at just $219 per night. That gives you the chance not just to play the golf course — which, realistically, you are going to want to play more than once — but also to take advantage of the CDA Casino’s expansive gaming, live entertainment, multiple restaurants and more. Bates says that Circling Raven is truly one of America’s great bargains. “This course could conceivably charge twice as much without it being considered excessive,” he says. They don’t, though — which is what makes it one of our favorite summer getaways. — Brian Beaky JUNE 2018
ROAD HOLES Sunriver Resort • Woodlands Course No. 10 “Bunny” Mason first floated the idea of turning the region into a golf destination, or 1968, when Sunriver’s Meadows course opened along the banks of the Deschutes River. To that, long-time members at Redmond’s Juniper Golf Course just laugh. The first tee shot at Juniper was struck in 1952 — more than a decade before anyone stuck a peg in the ground at Sunriver. Thirty-five years later, Juniper expanded to 18 holes, just in time to capitalize on an explosion of interest in Central Oregon golf, with Juniper — conveniently located near the Redmond airport, the only easy way in or out of the Bend/Redmond/Sisters area — right at the center. All of which might make it odd to learn that Juniper was named one of America’s Best New Courses Under $75 by Golf Digest in ... 2006. No, it wasn’t a typo — FAA regulations forced Juniper to relocate two miles south of the original course, so acclaimed designer John Harbottle III (well known around these parts for his work at Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course and Palouse Ridge, among others) was brought in to construct a brand-new championship 18. Like those other Harbottle tracks, Juniper is stimulating to the brain, through a combination of beautiful scenery and creative layouts that allow holes to be played multiple different ways depending on the tee box chosen, the course conditions, and the landing positions of your drives and approach shots. Wide fairways aren’t too difficult to hit, but finding the right spots on each — and then, playing the correct approach shots to elevated and/ or well-protected greens — is what ultimately separates the bogey golfers from the scratch. Also typical of a Harbottle track, it’s a great value — less than $65 at peak times, and under $40 if you hit it
Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com
at twilight (after 2 p.m.) or super-twilight (after 4 p.m.) hours. Play the Tetherows and Brasadas to be sure, but when you need to save a buck, Juniper is tough to beat.
Brasada Canyons Powell Butte brasada.com • 541-526-6865
There’s no shortage of eye candy in the Deschutes River Valley. Brasada Canyons, though, calls the mountain views, canyon vistas and memorable bunkers of its Central Oregon companions, and raises with dramatic par-3s and pristine greens. Routed across a series of canyons and ridges atop Powell Butte, just east of Bend, Peter Jacobsen’s design is meant to showcase the full glory of Central Oregon golf, with elevated tees and sprawling holes set against the backdrop of views that extend for miles in almost all directions. By spacing the holes apart, a golfer gets a feeling of complete isolation on each hole, allowing you to focus on the glimmering, white-sand bunkers and per-
fectly conditioned turf. The back tees, stretching to nearly 7,300 yards, provide enough of a challenge for any golfer, bringing long forced carries and strategically placed fairway bunkers into play, and forcing longer approaches to tricky greens. Three other tees ranging from 5,400-6,500 yards, however, give golfers of all abilities the chance to succeed, while a 4,700-yard forward tee allows the entire family to have fun together.
s you’re standing over your second shot on the risk-reward, par-5 18th, wondering if you have enough left in the tank to get home in two, take one last look around at the beauty of Central Oregon golf … the mountains, the valley, the trees. There’s a reason people have been packing their belongings and coming to Oregon for over 150 years — they’re hopeful travelers in search of the good life, and in the high desert of Central Oregon, the good life is the only life there is.
We’re Sending YOU to Central Oregon!
Pronghorn Resort • Nicklaus No. 14
ant to play some of these incredible Central Oregon tracks? We thought so. Well, if we pick your name as one of the TWO winners of this month’s Muckleshoot Casino CG Swag Jackpot, not only will you be teeing it up at some of Central Oregon’s finest, but we’ll also be putting you up in some of the swankiest digs the region has to offer. We’re giving away TWO incredible Central Oregon packages, including a two-night stay at the high-end Pronghorn Resort, plus a round of golf for two; AND a two-night, two-round package to Black Butte Ranch in Sisters, plus a twosome of golf to nearby Aspen Lakes! That’s two different Central Oregon vacation packages, for two different winners! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today!
SAVE SOME GREEN SUMMER RATES BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ummer can be a tough season for a golfer looking to, as the header above says, “Save Some Green.” Greens fees are at their peak, courses are busy even at early-bird and twilight times, gas prices are the highest they’ll be all year ... you could be forgiven for just giving up and handing over the credit card. Before you do, though, consider going a little bit out of your way to find a great track at a reasonable price. Courses like Gold Mountain’s Cascade, Mount Si, Hawks Prairie or the Cedars at Dungeness can be played for under $50, and offer a value comparable to many charging as much as $20-$25 more per round. This month, we focus on a couple such tracks offering a good bang for your buck in the summertime, while also being just enough out of the way to limit the crowds that can back up the tees at some of the more prominent city courses. So, don’t let summer rates get you down — just look a little harder to find the best deals.
In the “Sun Belt”
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Lake Wilderness G.C. • Maple Valley
Lake Wilderness Golf Course MAPLE VALLEY
Just about every Seattle-area golfer has played one of Premier Golf’s four city tracks – Jackson Park in Shoreline, Interbay, historic West Seattle and Beacon Hill’s Jefferson Park, where Fred Couples honed that sweet swing before heading off to make golf history. At under $40 a pop, they’re four of the best municipal bargains in the region, bar-none, and receive heavy play as a result. What many Seattle golfers don’t know, however, is that in addition to those four Emerald City gems, Premier also operates seven other courses throughout the Puget Sound region (plus Lake Padden, in Bellingham) – every one an equal to its big-city brethren, but with half the challenge of booking tee times and an even faster pace of play. Tucked amidst the tall Maple Valley fir trees that form the border between civilized life to the West, and the wilds of the Cascade Mountains to the east, Lake Wilderness is one such track, far enough off the beaten path to keep traffic down without totally draining your gas tank (about 45 minutes from Seattle, via 405 and Highway 169). Similar to Mount Si, which we wrote about last month, it’s a course whose length — just 5,409 yards from the tips, and with just three holes longer than
400 yards (two of which are par-5s) — makes it playable for high-handicappers, while its routing forces better golfers to think carefully about where to place each shot to guarantee a clear approach. For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to the scorecard – pull driver on the 430-yard, slight-dogleg, par-5 10th (yes, that’s 430 from the back), for example, and you might well blast it right through the fairway. If you can keep it straight, though, I can guarantee you’ll walk off of 18 with one of your best scores of the year – and that’s always a nice treat. If you can’t, you’re going to walk off of 18 having practiced your punch shot more than you’d like, and thinking about all of those birdies and pars that were right there for the taking, had you only been able to control the big dog. Either way, you’re going to be itching to give it another go.
YARDAGE (PAR) 4,690-5,409 (70) RATES $20-$36 (less for Premier Card holders) TEL (425) 432-9405, x223 WEB www.lakewildernessgc.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Lake Spanaway G.C. • Tacoma
Lake Spanaway Golf Course TACOMA
Designed in 1967 by A.V. Macan (whose other notable works include Broadmoor and Inglewood Country Clubs in Seattle, and Fircrest Country Club in Tacoma), Lake Spanaway’s narrow layout and oversized greens have held up to over five decades of play and 50 years of innovation in the golf club industry, leaving it just as challenging for golfers today as it was in the days of Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. Perhaps that’s because just being long — which until recently was the focus of most golf club innovations over the past 50 years — won’t necessarily help you here. Certainly, at a sand wedge over 7,000 yards from the intimidating black tees, Lake Spanaway can challenge even the biggest hitters, but its narrow fairways and creative use of bunkers require as much brain as brawn. Macan throws you to the wolves right away, putting two of the course’s three toughest holes back-to-back to open your round. The par-3 third is a welcome respite, but you’re right back in the thick of it before long. On the back, the 13th is a reachable par-5 for the big hitters ... of course, after the pounding you’ve likely taken on holes 10, 11 and 12, you might just want to play it safe and card your birdie or par. Lake Spanaway finally releases its grip on you at 16 (following the long, treacherous, par4 15th), allowing you to rebuild your confidence over the final three holes so that by the time you’ve plucked your ball from the cup, you’ll feel as if you’ve just conquered the U.S. Open. In fact, you might be onto something ... those noted sadists at the USGA love Lake Spanaway, having brought the Mid-Amateur Qualifier to the course in 2003, while both the WSGA and Pacific NW Amateur Championships have been contested on its 18 holes in recent years, as well. Fortunately, the 19th hole at Lake Spanaway is the easiest ... sidle up to the bar and grab a drink — you’ve earned it.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,604-7,083 (72) RATES $25-$39* TEL (253) 531-3660 WEB www.lakespanawaygc.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
S G O L F
FALLS C O U R S E
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Online Tee Times and Web Specials Available at snoqualmiefallsgolf.com 425-441-8049 or 425-222-5244 Only good for 4 players with same day tee time. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Good Monday - Thursday. Expires 5/31/18 Not valid on holidays. JUNE 2018
P R ESENTED BY
Summer Road Trip Essentials
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
olf road trips are awesome. Fill up the car with snacks, beverages and a good friend or two (or three), and drive away from all your at-home stresses to a land where the toughest decisions you’ll have to make are whether to pull 6-iron or 7-iron, or whether to shove three beers into your bag before the round, or four. In this issue, we’ve shared many of our favorite road trips — from 36-hole marathons and wild “there and back again” day trips, to journeys across state lines. Before you hit the road, though, we thought we’d share a few tips for getting the most out of your summer golf getaway.
3. Have a Plan ... But Be Flexible
6. Fuel Up
Obviously, you’re going to want to make sure that your must-play rounds are booked ahead of time, along with any necessary hotel reservations. But, rather than pre-plan every minute of your trip, leave some wiggle room to account for the unexpected. You may fall in love with a course and want to play it a second time. You may get a great dinner or activity recommendation from a local, or decide to stop in at a winery along the way. The best parts of any adventure are the parts that you never saw coming — leave room in your schedule to let the magic happen.
Sure, the car needs gas, but on any road trip, so will you. Have everybody pitch in and pack a cooler or grocery bag with easy-to-eat items like fruit, granola bars, and whatever snacks you prefer. Include plenty of water for the drive, plus other beverages to enjoy at your destination (some Michelob ULTRA, perhaps?). Not only will you save money, but you’ll also find out who’s willing to go above and beyond — a friend of mine once showed up at my house for an early-morning departure with hot, homemade breakfast sandwiches. You can bet he was included the next time we hit the road.
1. Choose Your Companions ... Wisely
4. Pack Appropriately
7. Plan a Good Playlist
Truthfully, we could probably write a whole article just about the things you should always bring with you on a road trip — sunblock, a portable phone charger (it only takes one time getting lost in Eastern Washington with a dead phone to learn this lesson), a good mix of music, etc. Just be sure you’re not packing a giant suitcase — there’s only so much room in one car, and the people, food, and golf clubs have priority. If it doesn’t fit around that, you’re out of luck.
You may love your music, but not everybody is going to want to rock out to hair metal, channel their inner gangsta rapper or explore the fringes of the modern-day indie scene for three hours or more. That said, music is an essential part of a road trip — not only does it set the mood, it can fill the quiet moments that will inevtiably happen on a long drive. Let everyone bring a few tunes to spin, or load up the iPod with universally liked hit-makers like Tom Petty, U2 or Michael Jackson.
5. Check The Tires
8. Have Fun
We learned this one the hard way. One part of our sixround, 72-hour trip to Bandon Dunes in 2016 that didn’t make the story (“Unforgettable,” Aug. 2016) was that we nearly had to hitchhike home. Upon arriving in Bandon, the brakes on my van began to grind and screech, and it was soon clear that I had a major problem. In between rounds at Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald on our final day, while my companions enjoyed a casual lunch overlooking the ocean, I found myself in a repair shop with a mechanic adding up a list of costly repairs that, frankly, I had little choice but to agree to. Don’t be like me — make sure everything is in tip-top shape before hitting the road.
You may play terrible, one of your companions may say or do something that gets under your skin, everyone else might want to eat at McDonald’s while you’d prefer to check out the local favorite spot ... it’s OK. Remember, the alternative is to be back at home, stressing about work, doing chores and envying the activities being enjoyed by all of your friends on social media. Take it all in stride, and not only will you make an unforgettable memory — you’ll probably play better, too.
Whether you’re taking a long day trip, or heading out for a weekend or longer, you’re going to spend a lot of time with your traveling companions. As such, it’s important to make sure you’re bringing the right crew. Nobody wants to spend six hours in the car with the guy (or gal) who talks incessantly about themselves, or the one with the loud political opinions. Make sure to invite golfers who will mesh well; and, if you were one of those lucky enough to be included ... be cool.
2. Know Your Limits Driving five hours to Palouse Ridge, playing 36 holes, and driving back in one day sounds insane — and, having done it, we can confirm that, yes, it is. It’s also incredibly fun. That said, any long road trip is a commitment — be sure you have the energy, stamina (and financial resources) to get through whatever adventure you’re planning. You don’t want to find yourself skipping a round of golf, or having to pull off the road for a rest, because you bit off more than you can chew. Figure out what is realistically doable for you and your group, and then go make it happen.
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