VOLUME 13 • ISSUE 2 • JUNE 2019 • COMPLIMENTARY
2019’s TOP IRONS, WEDGES Topgolf Comes To Washington Meet Chris Berman at Newcastle NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS cascadegolfer.com
Tiger’s Masters victory has local golf businesses
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Volume 13 • Issue 2 • JUNE 2019
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Departments 4 6
PUBLISHER’S PITCH SHORT GAME
• Tiger’s impact here at home • Bellevue 5th-grader wins at Augusta • ESPN’s Chris Berman comes to Newcastle • Topgolf coming to Western WA • Big changes at local courses • Vote for Washington’s top-10 courses! • Win $1,000 for your young golfer • Boeing Classic returns in August • CG Cup heads to Home Course
22 TEEING OFF
• Jan Stephenson’s still turning heads
24 IN THE BAG
• PING G410 headlines 2019 irons • Phil’s new Mack Daddy wedge • Titleist tries on a new color • Junior golf values • Summer’s slickest kicks
37 RISK VS REWARD
• Lynnwood Golf Course | Hole 10
52 SAVE SOME GREEN • Day-trip values
• Readers sound off on the new rules
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2019 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.
ON THE COVER Tiger Woods’ return to golf’s upper echelon isn’t just good for TV ratings — it’s good for our local economy, too. Story on page 6. (Photo by Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)
ROAD TRIPPIN’ You don’t need a big bankroll — or even a long weekend — to enjoy our favorite summer escapes.
NORTH STAR Vernon, B.C., is Canada’s next great golf destination — and for now, one of its greatest secrets. BY TONY DEAR
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS 28-35
THIS PAGE The Home Course welcomes the Cascade Golfer Cup on June 22. Learn more and sign up on pages 9 and 12. (Photo by Rob Perry/robperry.com)
CORRECTION In an April article highlighting the 2019 changes to the Rules of Golf, we made an error when talking about what you can and cannot do in a bunker. You can not “test the sand with your hand or club anywhere except directly adjacent to the ball.” You can remove loose impediments, and it’s OK if your hand or club touches the sand accidentally, so long as it is not on a practice swing, or to test conditions.
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
A greatness to the lateness — lauding Tiger’s roar
hew! I can’t type the appropriate characters on my keyboard to convey “whew” well enough. My shoulders move first up, then down, with a large exhale of wind and a just-in–the-nick-of time expression on my face. I am referring to Tiger Woods. His win. His comeback. His Ali-like return to the ring. I’m 50, so I have seen a few great sports comebacks in my life. Kirk Gibson’s homer. Willis Reed walking through the tunnel. Foreman and Ali winning late-career title belts. But, Tiger winning another Masters? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one quite like this. There is a certain greatness to his lateness. He’s changed. He’s softened. He talks about his children; his caddie, and his coaches. He praises fellow players. He smiles and takes notice of what’s going on around him. Mind you, he still has the ability to lock and dig in for five hours. The part that his father, Earl, bled into him is still very much present – the killer instinct is still there. But, the walls and distance he used to put up are much harder to see. If you hate this guy – no problem. He’s done plenty to bring that pressure upon himself. However, it’s my opinion that he’s paid for his mistakes, losing a decade of his prime to injury and (admittedly self-created) distraction.
Now, he’s actually showing humility, and that’s endearing him once again to millions of fans young and old. I am not trying to swing anyone over to his side or to try and grow his fan base. I am, however, simply stating my opinion as a fan, one who has eagerly awaited the moment of his triumph — not so much the green jacket and 15th major, but the triumph of his own personal will. I loved seeing a flash the of old Tiger that could and would dominate the field; with everyone bearing down on him during the final round, he still finished with one putt to burn. Golf needs his heroism, like it or not, just like we needed Jack and Arnie. Tiger took that mantle and grew golf in a way that no one ever could. This is the first time that Tiger has ever graced our cover – with our local focus, it honestly hasn’t ever seemed appropriate. But, the impact of Tiger’s win our on local golf economy can’t be understated, so it seemed the right time to join the conversation, in our own Northwest-focused way. After all, Tiger is the conversation, at least for now. And, I will relish it as long as he stays competitive. Enjoy the summer in the greatest spot to play golf in America. And, as always, TAKE IT EASY!
By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/ index.php?curid=7780331
SHORT GAME The Tiger Effect Is Real — And Northwest Courses and Retailers Are Already Starting to Feel It
t the moment that Tiger Woods’ final putt on the 18th green at The Masters rolled into the cup, and he raised his arms triumphantly to the sky, a roar like no other erupted across the grounds at Augusta National. It was a roar so loud that you might have thought you heard it coming not just from your TV, but rolling all the way across the country and through your living room window, as well. In fact, you may have — only, it wasn’t the cheering crowds at Augusta that you were hearing, but the golf course owners, product manufacturers and retailers right here in our own backyard. Golf is back in business. Ever since Tiger Woods first burst onto the scene on those same Augusta fairways in 1997, economists have noted the “Tiger Effect,” the name given to the direct financial impact of Woods’ success on the game of golf. According to Golf Digest, the decade after Woods’ first Masters win saw one of the biggest economic booms in golf’s history — total players increased by 22 percent, combined with a 16-percent increase in the number of 18hole courses. The decade since, though, has seen many of those numbers reverse — year-over-year player totals have been flat in good years, and declining in others, while more courses have closed than opened. And, yes, while those years also coincide with the dot-com boom and the 2008 recession, it’s impossible — at least in the eyes of those who measure these things — to separate Tiger’s success from that of the golf economy at large. “The two forces of nature that impact the golf economy the greatest are the weather, and a Tiger win at a major,” said Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association, in an interview with Golf Digest. CBS’ ratings for the final round of The Masters increased by 41 percent over 2018, including
more than 1 billion minutes streamed on CBSSports.com. Despite being shifted into an early-morning window due to the threat of rain, nearly 11 million people watched the final-round coverage — the highest-rated morning golf broadcast in 34 years. Golf shops, too, reported record sales — according to TaylorMade CEO David Abeles in an ESPN.com interview, Tiger’s P7TW iron sold more sets in the first seven hours after the 2019 Masters than in the seven days prior, while Woods’ iconic, Dri-Fit TW Vapor mock turtleneck quickly sold out nationwide (Puetz says they’ll have it back in stock soon). Online sales at Bridgestone Golf, Tiger’s golfball supplier, also jumped 50 percent over last year. But, it’s not just companies like Nike, TaylorMade and Bridgestone — national brands with direct financial ties to Woods — that benefit from the Tiger Effect. Callaway, Titleist and other non-Tiger-affiliated brands saw their stock prices rise in the days following Tiger’s Masters win, while local companies, too, anticipate a significant boom. “It’s sort of like the old aphorism, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’” says Ross Weaver, general manager of Puetz Golf’s Seattle location. “Having a household name like Tiger win The Masters is a positive for the entire golf industry.” According to the individuals interviewed for this story, there are three ways that the increased energy and excitement of a Tiger Woods win fuels the local golf economy: by making golf a primary topic of conversation again and potentially encouraging existing golfers to play more rounds; by driving club and merchandise sales to new and existing golfers alike; and, importantly, by increasing interest in the game among non-golfers, or golfers who perhaps were
among that 22-percent to pick up the game in Tiger’s first decade as a pro, only to find their interest waning. Consider Chambers Bay general manager Matt Allen primarily in the latter camp. “Tiger generates a huge amount of awareness for the game of golf, especially amongst non-golfers,” says Allen, who notes that Chambers Bay’s managing company, Kemper Sports, recently commissioned a study to measure the Tiger Effect at its many courses across the country, the results of which were not yet available at press time. “This should be an opportunity for player development. I would expect the number of people trying golf or returning to golf to be influenced.” White Horse general manager Bruce Christy agrees: “Without a doubt, Tiger does move the golfing needle,” he says. “Sunday, after the round, the range was packed with golfers recounting the victory. The industry still needs Tiger.” Likewise, Puetz Golf’s Weaver says the “Tiger Effect” has an impact on retail, too — even 3,000 miles from Augusta. “It is absolutely real,” he says. “We’ve certainly seen an uptick in business. We’re seeing more new golfers come in looking at starter sets, an increase in range business, and people in general being ‘bitten by the golf bug.’” Whether they think the Tiger Effect has a larger impact on existing golfers or non-golfers, on driving play or encouraging sales, one factor is consistent, industry-wide — nobody wants it to stop. “In the equipment business, we have an old saying: win on Sunday and sell on Monday,” said Bridgestone Golf CEO Dan Murphy, in an interview with CNBC. “And that’s what we’re doing.”
Here’s to April’s CG Swag Winners Tiger Woods wasn’t the only one pulling out a major victory this April. Several Cascade Golfer readers found themselves on the winning side of the ledger after submitting their names for our April CG Swag contests:
It’s summer vacation time, so we’ve put two more trips on the docket for you in this issue:
Twosomes to Wine Valley, Highlander & Whidbey Lisa Noreen • Kirkland
and Eagles Pride • Page 10 • Wine Valley Stay-and-Play • Page 47 • Montana Stay-and-Play • Page 54
Twosomes to The Home Course & Auburn Ruben Hopen • Tacoma Circling Raven Stay-&-Play Brian Hipol • Algona
• Twosomes to The Home Course
Enter to win today at CascadeGolfer.com!
Circling Raven • Worley, Idaho
Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com
Local Courses Making Big Investments This Spring
here was a wave of news stories over the past few months about Western Washington golf courses making changes, building new infrastructure — one was even sold to a new investor. Since you may have missed each little tidbit as it slipped past in the news cycle, we figured we’d gather them all here into one space, to keep you on top of the goings-on at your favorite local tracks. The biggest news came out of Willows Run, where the Allen family-owned Access Golf LLC announced in March that it had completed the sale of the popular Redmond complex to Sasada Sports International, a limited-liability company registered in Spokane. The sale, reported to be for $11.2 million, includes both 18-hole golf courses, the nine-hole executive course, a putting course, practice facilities and both clubhouses. Little is known about the new buyer, except for the fact that Willows Run is its first golf-course acquisition, that all staff have been retained, and the golf course will continue to operate as a public venture. “My family shares a passion for golf,” says Yuki Sasada of Sasada Sports International. “We’re looking forward to sharing the sport with generations to come at Willows Run.” Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen purchased the property for $1.5 million in 1993, eventually adding Druids Glen to the Access Golf portfolio a few years later. According to the buyer’s representative, Mike Whitton, the sale was negotiated late last summer, prior to Allen’s passing in October. The city of Kent, meanwhile, released details of how the money saved by selling the par-3 course at Riverbend Golf Course to a real-estate investor last April has been re-invested into the championship 18 at the city-owned track, resulting in significant improvements to course quality and a more stable bottom line. Of the $10 million earned in the sale, $4 million was spent to pay off debt, while $6 million is being put back into the golf course itself, including significant investments in maintenance equipment, pro shop and clubhouse improvements (including the opening of a new restaurant, Half Lion Brewery) and the addition of new tees throughout the golf course to accommodate players used to the shorter distances of the par-3 track. In addition, a $2.2 million renovation of the course’s driving range is expected to break ground this fall, and be completed sometime next year. “I’m so, so excited about this,” Kent City Council President Bill Boyce told the Kent Reporter. “Those of us on the council who voted to close the par-3 still have scars on our backs. People were very, very upset with the par-3 going away. But, I give credit to the council to see the vision going forward.” The Home Course — site of the Cascade Golfer
Willows Run Golf Club • Redmond Cup’s Michelob ULTRA Open on June 22 (info online at CascadeGolfer.com/cup) — was also expected to break ground recently on a significant expansion of its facilities, including a new pro shop to replace the trailers course staff have worked out of for the previous decade. Finally, Premier Golf, LLC, which manages multiple courses throughout the Puget Sound region, including City of Seattle-owned courses like West Seattle, Jackson Park and Jefferson Park, along with Bellevue Golf Course and the Crossroads Par-3 on the Eastside, announced this spring a working relationship with one of the nation’s largest management companies, OB Sports. The company,
which manages Gamble Sands, among other Northwest courses, will lend its expertise to all levels of operations at the 11 Premier Golf courses, a situation sure to have positive results for Western Washington golfers. Taken individually, each of these stories represents a modest impact on the local golf scene. Taken together, though — and including the announcement on page 8 of Topgolf’s first foray into Western Washington — they speak to a larger investment in golf’s growth in our region. New clubhouses, new driving ranges, maintenance improvements — it’s all a sign of a bright future for golf here at home, and that’s a story we’re happy to tell.
SHORT GAME Topgolf To Debut New Lounge Concept in Kirkland — And That’s Not All opgolf is finally coming to Western Washington. The golf entertainment giant — headed by Bellevue’s Erik Anderson (“Golf 2.0,” CG, Aug. ‘18) — which last year brought more than 35,000 golfers a day to its driving range and entertainment facilities nationwide, announced in April plans to build a new location in Kirkland. The location will not, however, be identical to the driving range setups that have captivated a new generation of golfers in the decade since the first Topgolf opened in Alexandria, Va., in 2005. Instead, the Kirkland location — part of the Kirkland Urban development being built near the city’s waterfront, and scheduled to open later in 2019 — will be a first-of-its-kind Topgolf Lounge, featuring similar bar and restaurant offerings to the larger Topgolf centers, but with high-tech simulators replacing an actual driving range. In its press release announcing the new facility, Topgolf representatives state that the Topgolf Lounge concept will
Photos courtesy Topgolf
Xxxxxx • Xxxxxx
allow the company to expand its “traditional venue footprint into urban areas. Lounge locations will be strategically placed in densely populated areas in which larger, full-sized Topgolf venues aren’t sizably feasible.” Each Topgolf Lounge will feature live sports on massive flat screens, Full Swing simulators with a broad selection of virtual games, lively music and locally curated dishes, hand-crafted desserts and cocktail selections. Rather than the traditional golf course setup of most indoor-golf locations, Topgolf’s simulators will be loaded with the latest Topgolf Swing Suite Technology, allowing users to play the games that have made Topgolf so popular with golfers and non-golfers alike. Indeed, 51 percent of the 7 million golfers who visited Topgolf in 2017 reported they had never played the game before, with 75 percent of those
non-golfers expressing an interest in playing traditional golf as a result of their Topgolf visit. The 7,761 square-foot space will feature four hitting bays, plus one additional VIP space, and a large outdoor patio. More than just a draw for golfers, Topgolf expects non-golfers and even celebrity guests to be attracted to the venue’s premium, modern aesthetic, top-of-the-line food and beverage offerings, and scenic views. “Entertainment choices are evolving at the speed of technology, and the Topgolf Lounge concept is on the forefront of the ‘eatertainment’ movement,” said Ron Powers, president of Topgolf Lounge. While it will be exciting to finally have a Topgolf in our backyard, golfers who have long awaited the company’s arrival in Western Washington — including the thousands who flocked to the pop-up Topgolf Crush event at SAFECO Field in 2017, to get a taste of Topgolf offerings — will no doubt be disappointed that the company’s first foray into our region won’t represent the full Topgolf center experience. But, that disappointment might not last long. As first reported by the Tacoma News-Tribune last year, Topgolf has made a six-figure deposit on an 11-acre parcel near the Tacoma Dome, and submitted a business plan that reflects construction of a full-size, 102-bay range. In its application, Topgolf says “opening the Tacoma location is a top priority for Topgolf’s strategic development plan.” According to the Tribune — which followed up with city representatives after the Topgolf Lounge announcement this spring — planning for the Tacoma Dome location remains active, and “Topgolf and the city are working together to find the best options for providing access and parking.” Soon, we may well end up with the best of both worlds — a full-size center in Tacoma, and a one-of-a-kind urban Topgolf experience for golfers on the go, or simply those looking to grab a drink in a cool, golf-themed environment. After more than a decade of waiting for Topgolf to come to Washington, it appears that we’re finally at the head of the line. cascadegolfer.com
Cascade Golfer Cup Over $10,000 in prizes at every tournament
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Trophy Lake July 20th
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Top-15 Net and Top-10 Gross Teams Prize Out at Each Tournament To register or for more information visit
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Contact: Simon Dubiel firstname.lastname@example.org (425) 412-7070 ext.100
Photos courtesy Joyce Morones
The Home Course • DuPont
Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com
Rick Morones and Isaac Johnston
Enter To Win A South-End Two-Pack
ant to win some free golf, but don’t have time to drive all the way across the state? No problem. For golfers who like to stay closer to home, we’re giving away 36 holes at two of Pierce County’s finest public tracks — Eagles Pride and The Home Course! Start your day among the towering pines of Eagles Pride, then head a few minutes west for another 18 at 2010 U.S. Amateur co-host The Home Course. Somebody reading this magazine will win, so throw your name in the hat at CascadeGolfer.com!
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Lakewood’s Isaac Johnston Wins $1,000 Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
he smile on his face says it all. From the moment that Isaac Johnston was first gifted a set of golf clubs from his grandfather, Rick Morones, he’s had an unbridled passion for the game. One year later, at the age of five, his maturity and understanding allowed him to receive early admission to the junior golf program at Oakbrook Golf Club, where he continued to flourish. In the decade-plus since, Isaac has won numerous junior tournaments at Oakbrook, competed four years for the Lakes High School golf team, and teamed with his grandfather to win several grandfather/grandson tournaments as well. Through golf, the two have forged a bond that will never be broken. Isaac also works hard on his studies, with a 3.5 gradepoint average and test scores that have earned him admission to every college to which he has applied. And, as his grandmother, Joyce Morones, points out, he has dedicated himself to volunteer work in the community, “so much so that he forgets to even account for it as community service required to graduate.” Isaac has filled emergency backpacks for at-need families, tutored younger students at a local elementary school, and traveled with his youth group to serve at-risk communities across the globe. In the last year alone, Isaac has helped renovate a clinic in Uganda and provided assistance to low-income families in Appalachia, seeing firsthand the impact of his service on communities at need. This past summer, he took his first official golf course job, working at The Home Course. As the weather turned cool and most seasonal hires were released, Isaac’s supervisors asked him to stay on, impressed with his work ethic and abilities. Ultimately, he chose to focus on his studies, but looks forward to returning to The Home Course when summer comes around again. And, when he does, perhaps they’ll throw him a little party. That’s because Isaac has been chosen as the Summer 2019 recipient of the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship, awarded quarterly by Duke’s Chowder House and announced in each issue of Cascade Golfer. Intended to
offset the rising costs of golf and education, the Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship has awarded nearly $15,000 to young golfers throughout Western Washington since its inception in 2015. “A grant like this one is often awarded to the type of person I am trying to be, so receiving it is incredibly gratifying, and I am very thankful to Duke’s for their interest and trust in me,” Johnston says. “I plan for these funds to be put towards an athletic training major at Washington State University this fall.” Duke’s COO John Moscrip, who was inspired to fund the scholarship after experiencing his own struggles to make ends meet as he pursued both his golfing and academic goals following an outstanding junior career of his own, says that it was Isaac’s dedication to the game, and his family, that made his nomination stand out. “Isaac has a real love for golf that shone through the words on the page,” says Moscrip, who, along with his father, Duke’s founder Duke Moscrip, personally review the nominations to select each recipient. “We were also very impressed with the amount of work he’s done in his community, and are happy to be able to help him pursue both his golfing and academic goals as he enters this next exciting phase of his life.” To nominate a deserving individual — perhaps a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, student or golf course employee — send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship.” Applicants need only to be of high-school age or younger — past recipients have ranged from age 10 to 18 — and have a demonstrated commitment to the game of golf, plus strong track records of academics and community service. Be sure to include any information you feel would bolster your nomination. You could make a difference in the life of a deserving young person with just one simple email! Sometime this spring, Isaac and Rick will compete together for the last time, as Isaac heads off to college. It’s not the end, however — merely, the end of the beginning. cascadegolfer.com
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Vote For Washington’s Top-10 Public Courses!
t’s that time again — time to cast your votes for the top10 public golf courses in Washington state. Every two years, Cascade Golfer releases our list of the best golf courses Washington has to offer — from the top-tier destination tracks, to the local favorites you can’t live without. What’s different about our list? We don’t just poll writers, golf-industry experts and others to make our list; we also include the people who matter most — every-day, daily-fee, Washington state golfers like you. After all, you’re the one who has to make the decision where to spend your golf dollar each weekend — who’s better qualified than you to say which Washington courses are the best? To make sure your votes are included in this year’s ranking, send your top-10 list to firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook with your pick. The only requirement for inclusion is that a course must be open for public play — beyond that, it’s up to you. Pick the fanciest tracks around, or toss a vote to a track or two that you feel are under-appreciated by the masses — just be sure and cast your vote, then check the August 2019 issue for this year’s results!
First-Time Winners Come Up Aces at Chambers Bay, Washington National
f you want to win your first Cascade Golfer Cup event, making a hole-in-one is a good place to start. It was John Pfeil and Eric Johnson who rode an ace (John’s ace, at the famed Lone Fir) to victory in April’s Season Opener at Chambers Bay, their 51 Stableford points four better than the runners-up, and earning Pfeil and Johnson a sweet stay-and-play package to Maui. John Bergren and Jimmy Hayes, meanwhile, cleaned up on the gross side, scoring 42 points — including a combined nine birdies — to win a Maui golf getaway of their own. Three weeks later, Brock Johnson and Madison Goodwin turned up an ace of their own — with Johnson knocking one stiff at the 299-yard, par-4 seventh — to win the gross division (63) in the best-ball competiton at Washington National and earn a stay-and-play package to Palm Springs, while Ruzzell Eserjose and Michael Fregon took the net (57) division and a trip to Bandon Dunes. Entering 2019, just one ace had been made in 60 CG Cup events all time — adding yet another, this one by Alex Cogdall at Washington National’s par-3 11th — and there have already been three in just the first two events of 2019.
John Pfeil celebrates his hole-in-one In all, more than 300 players have competed at CG Cup events so far in 2019, including fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and plenty of pairings of friends and co-workers. More than 50 teams — better than a third of all players in the field — have taken home prizes, including stay-andplays, twosomes to Chambers Bay, Suncadia and more, while additional players earned prizes from hole contests, including a Palm Springs vacation, Clicgear carts, Beats wireless headphones, Mariners tickets and other great swag. Every Cascade Golfer Cup tournament is its own unique event, with great prizes and fun formats for teams of all ages and ability levels. In addition, players who compete in multiple events earn points towards the season-long Cascade Golfer Cup standings, with even more great prizes awarded at year’s end. Events remain at The Home Course (June 22), Trophy Lake (July 20), Loomis Trail (Aug. 17) and White Horse (Sept. 7), so log on to CascadeGolfer.com/Cup and book your spot today!
Photo courtesy John Pfeil
2019 Melnick & Sons
Photo by Kene Sperry
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or as much as we love to take advantage of every sunny summer weekend to hit the links, there’s one weekend each August where we leave the clubs in the trunk, head out to The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, and let some actual pros do the hitting instead. We’re talking, of course, about the PGA TOUR Champions Tour Boeing Classic, which returns to Snoqualmie Ridge, Aug. 19-25. Our region’s only annual PGA TOUR event, the Boeing Classic is more than just a chance to watch some of your favorite golfers of all-time compete up-close — golfers like Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Rocco Mediate, Mark Calcavecchia, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Jesper Parnevik, Kenny Perry, Lee Janzen, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kirk Triplett and, of course, our hometown hero, Freddie Couples, all of whom were in the 2018 Boeing Classic field. It’s also a chance to catch up with friends — we always run into people we know while walking the fairways at the Boeing, often ones we didn’t even realize were golfers or golf fans — connect your kids to the game, or simply enjoy a relaxing walk in one of the most beautiful settings in Western Washington. Family Day — usually Saturday — features a First Tee putting contest, tattoo station and local sports mascots, while all kids 14 and under receive free admission with a paid adult. In addition, the annual Youth Clinic (held Tuesday of the event) gives kids the chance to learn from one of golf’s greats on the Snoqualmie Ridge driving range, at no cost whatsoever. Whatever your reason, make plans to attend the Boeing Classic this year. Tickets start at just $20 ($10 for seniors), and are available at www.BoeingClassic.com. We’ll be there, for sure —hopefully, you’ll be the friend we run into this year.
Dates: August 19-25, 2019 Location: The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge Field: 78 Champions Tour professionals Format: 54 holes of stroke play, no cut Purse: $2.1 million Par: 72 • 7,264 yards
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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 7/31/19 Not valid on July 4th. JUNE 2019
SHORT GAME New Investments Make Golf A Little Easier at Eaglemont
Eaglemont Golf Club • Mount Vernon
ucked on a ridge looking across the Skagit Valley, Eaglemont has long been one of our favorite courses on the north end of the Puget Sound region, especially since reconfiguring its layout in 2011 to accommodate a brand-new hilltop clubhouse. With its many elevation changes, narrow fairways and numerous forced carries, though, it had earned a reputation as one of Washington’s tougher tracks for mid- and high-handicappers. Sure, it’s great to host USGA qualifiers, but if the average golfer chooses to put their $40 or $50 elsewhere because they’re tired of losing golf balls, all the USGA qualifiers in the world won’t do much to improve your bottom line. Recently — led by superintendent Troy Russell and head pro Cory Valentine — Eaglemont has launched a series of efforts to improve the course’s playability, including both technological improvements to help golfers navigate the course and better dial in their distances, as well as physical alterations to the golf course itself. Work started in 2017 with an effort to soften the green approaches, making it easier both to hold the greens, as
well as for golfers whose approaches landed short. In the two years since, Eaglemont has also cleared trees to open up tee boxes and fairways (and add even more views of Mt. Baker), built new tee boxes to give players of different abilities more options, and added GPS to all of its carts — the latter of which may be the most helpful investment of all, making it easier for golfers to navigate Eaglemont’s many bunkers and hazards by providing distances to layup areas, green approaches and more. The end result is a course that has preserved everything we’ve always loved about Eaglemont — those mem-
orable tee shots, the incredible views, and the top-notch conditioning — while at the same time making it a little easier for golfers to put a good number on the scorecard, a fact players of all abilities will appreciate. Rates start at $35, with all-day play available on weekdays for $80, and weekends for $91 (all rates include cart), with the full rate schedule available online at EaglemontGolf.com. If you haven’t visited Eaglemont in a while, it’s a good year to go back — and, best of all, you can leave those extra golf balls at home.
RIC KIE FOW LER L TAY EAM / T ORM ADE
S N I A G ER S V O AIM L C
L. INS. RENT BAL A G L R CU REA FROM HAN YOUR U O Y EP ER T RE KE BE BETT OURSELF. E H T OUT D TO OR Y AIMS NGINEERE ND SEE F L C E IS E CH A L TH ET AL TP5/TP5X THE SWIT L T ’ DON L-NEW . MAKE L E THE A AT SIMPL H T IT’S
© 2019 Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.
Photo courtesy Drive, Chip and Putt
SHORT GAME Nine-Year-Old Angela Zhang Wins at Augusta National
ine-year-old Angela Zhang wasn’t even born the last time Tiger Woods won a major. But, this April, they each walked away from Augusta National as winners. Zhang, who lives in Bellevue, became the most recent Washington junior golfer to win her age group at the annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, held the Sunday before The Masters at Augusta National. Last year, Bothell’s Taighan Chea won the boys’ 7-9 division. Zhang, making her first-ever appearance at Augusta, dominated the competition, placing first in both the driving and chipping portions, and second in putting. Her total of 29 points out of a possible 30 was nine more than her closest competitor, and was the highest score by any golfer, in any age group, since 2015. Zhang was presented her trophy by 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed and Jennifer Kupcho, a Wake Forest senior and the world’s top-ranked women’s amateur player, who won the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur the day prior. Zhang also had the opportunity to meet two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Bryson
DeChambeau and others. “They all just told me, ‘Congratulations,’” she says. “It was cool to get to meet them.” Zhang has been playing golf for just three years, having learned the game primarily from her father, who plays regularly at Newcastle. She placed first in last year’s local Drive, Chip and Putt qualifier, but failed to score high enough at the regional competition to advance to the final round. This year, Zhang won the local qualifier at Trophy Lake and took second at the sub-regional event at The Home Course, before winning the regional championship at Chambers Bay to earn her spot at Augusta. She says her previous experience helped her know what to practice this year. “Last year, my Dad signed me up, and I didn’t even know what it was until my first competition,” she recalls. “This year, I knew exactly what the putting distances were that they had us do in the competition, so I spent a lot of time practicing those, and also my short chips.” Zhang says, though, that she doesn’t try to put too much thought into each shot.
“For me, it’s all about feel,” she says. “Normally, it ends up pretty well.” Run by the PGA of America, Drive, Chip and Putt allows boys and girls ages 7-15 to showcase their skills for a chance to compete against the nation’s best at Augusta, beginning with local qualifiers — seven of which will be held in Washington between June 1 and July 27 — and proceeding through sub-regional and regional rounds. Competitors attempt to put their chips and putts as close to the hole as possible, with drives scored on a combination of distance and accuracy. At April’s National Finals, Zhang’s winning drive carried 189 yards — 33 yards beyond her nearest competitor. Not bad for a 75-pound fourth-grader. Zhang says she hopes to be a professional golfer, and knows she will have to work hard to achieve her goal. “Winning this year really motivates me, because I know that I can do it again,” she says. “I just have to keep practicing.” To learn more about Drive, Chip and Putt and find local qualifiers, visit www.DriveChipAndPutt.com.
Photos courtesy Wonderland Child & Family Services
SHORT GAME ESPN’s Chris Berman to Headline August’s JVH Memorial Tournament at Newcastle
ill Rasmussen can clearly remember the first time he ever saw his grandson smile. Diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder before his first birthday, little Justin Van Hollebeke and his family had lived through three difficult years, half of them spent in a hospital bed. Justin had never learned to walk, and despite regularly wearing a Seattle Mariners jacket given to him by All-Star catcher Dan Wilson on a visit to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, his family knew that he would never play a game of baseball. Until the day in question, in fact, he had never even managed to smile. “My wife and I were just about to leave at the end of our visit, and he suddenly looked right at me and smiled. Phew, that was a tough moment,” says Rasmussen, the emotion evident in his voice even 20 years after the day. “Seven or eight days later, we got the call that he had died.” Throughout Justin’s short life, his family received
support from Wonderland, a Seattle-based non-profit that assists families with special-needs children aged three or less. Providing developmental evaluations, community groups, summer camps and, especially, early-intervention support from occupational, physical and speech therapists, Wonderland has given thousands of families in Western Washington the vital support they need to help their children with diverse abilities grow and flourish. Grateful for the organization’s support throughout Justin’s short life, and wanting to honor Justin’s memory, his family started the Justin Van Hollebeke Memorial Tournament at Newcastle the following year. Held annually for 19 years since, the tournament has raised over $1 million to support Wonderland’s mission.
In advance of this year’s 20th anniversary, Rasmussen and the Van Hollebeke family wanted to do something special, and perhaps bring in a celebrity to help kick the fundraising efforts to a new level. Fortunately, Rasmussen has a pretty impressive Rolodex. An icon of sports media, Rasmussen is most famous for co-founding the television sports network ESPN in 1979 with his son, Scott, before retiring first to Florida, and later to Lake Forest Park. In so doing, Rasmussen literally invented the 24-hour sports news cycle, launched the careers of hundreds of media personalities (including our own John Clayton and Kenny Mayne, among others) and revolutionized the marketing, coverage and understanding of sports worldwide. Longtime ESPN anchor Chris Berman once called Rasmussen “the George Washington of ESPN.” “Chris once said to me, ‘If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know,’” Rasmussen says of Berman, one of the first hires he ever made at the network. “So, when this opportunity came up, I called him and asked if he’d be willing to come out and be a part of the event. He said, ‘Absolutely, anything I can do to help.’” So it is that local golfers will have the chance to meet Berman and even play alongside him at Newcastle this summer, when the JVH Memorial Tournament celebrates 20 years on Aug. 10-11. The weekend will begin with “An Evening With Chris Berman” at The Westin Bellevue on Saturday the 10th — including dinner, a social hour and other fun activities — followed by the tournament at Newcastle on Sunday, Aug. 11. Typically held on Coal Creek only, the tournament is expanding to include both Coal and China Creek this year to meet the expected demand. In addition to individual and group rates (for both the golf and dinner, or each event separately), sponsorships are available at various levels, some of which include the opportunity to play with Berman in your foursome. Rasmussen says the goal of this year’s tournament and the surrounding festivities is to raise $1 million for Wonderland — doubling all previous years combined — while raising the organization’s profile in the local community. “They’re a wonderful organization, and when you meet them and see what they do and the impact that they have, you can’t help but want to help them,” he says. “I’d love to get to the point where we could build an actual building for Wonderland kids.” To learn more about Wonderland or the JVH Memorial Tournament, or to purchase tickets to “An Evening With Chris Berman,” visit www.WonderlandKids.org. cascadegolfer.com
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housands of golfers have been taking advantage of the deals in this year’s Northwest Golfers Playbook, including discounted rounds, 2-for-1s, free cart fees and more to golf courses all over Washington and Oregon. But, we still have thousands of Playbooks left at CG HQ — and, when golf season’s over, they don’t do us any good. So, since we’re halfway through the playing season, we’re cutting the price of the remaining books in half, too — just $20 will put a Playbook in your pocket for the rest of the year, and give you access to some of the most incredible deals in the state. Save $25 on all-day play at Avalon, take $50 off of a high-tech lesson at Puetz, save $5 at every Premier Golf location, save $50 per player on a foursome at Chambers Bay, save $35 on a 2-for-1 at Eagles Pride, or pocket even bigger savings on your summer golf road trip to Desert Canyon, Gamble Sands, Bear Mountain Ranch, Wine Valley or Suncadia. With over 75 deals in Washington alone (all good through Dec. 31) — plus nearly 50 to courses in Portland and Central Oregon — you’re guaranteed to find ones that match your needs, whether you play on weekdays or weekends, at high-end tracks or local favorites, alone or with a group. Heck, with $10 in Puetz Bucks included in every book, you’re already halfway to covering your investment, even before taking advantage of a single deal! Log on to NWGolfersPlaybook.com and use the discount code “HALFOFF” to take advantage of this mid-season deal. The golf season may be half over, but the savings are just getting started. cascadegolfer.com
LPGA Legend — And Soon-To-Be Hall of Famer — Jan Stephenson’s Still Got It AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
f you’re a golfer between the ages of 45-55, I’m willing to bet that, as a kid, you had a poster of Jan Stephenson on your wall. The Australian-born Stephenson was the face of the LPGA in the mid-to-late 1970s and early ‘80s, winning major championships on the weekends and gracing magazine covers in between. During her roughly 25-year career, Stephenson won 41 times, including 16 LPGA Tour events and three LPGA majors. Her star shone so bright, in fact, that she even landed guest spots on network TV shows, and sat next to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1981. Since retiring from the LPGA Tour, she has thrown herself fully into the business world with a golf course design company, a winery and numerous charitable interests. She also helped found the LPGA Legends Tour, a senior tour for women’s golf that celebrates its 20th year in 2019. Last year, the Legends Tour pros — including players like Stephenson, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Michelle McGann, Liselotte Neumann, Hollis Stacy, Suzy Whaley and our own Joanne Carner — played in the first-ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open, drawing new attention to the senior women’s game. In June, Stephenson will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame — but, not before coming to White Horse to compete alongside her fellow LPGA Legends in the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup, June 7-8. Tickets and more information are available at www.ClearwaterLegendsCup.com.
Tell me about growing up in Australia. “It’s totally different to here. We don’t do golf at the school level at all, so it was something I really had to do on my own time. I loved it right from the beginning. I’d play 54 holes on a weekend day, and just keep going around and around until there was no daylight left. My father helped me with my game; he asked for night shifts so that he could be there for me to practice. We’d hit balls before school, and then he’d pick me up after school to go hit balls, then we’d go home and do homework and have dinner, and then go back to the range at night.” Were there pros you looked up to at that time? “There were, though most of them were men. We really only had Golf Digest, and it was so expensive to buy — I want to say it was like twenty-five dollars Australian. But, they had one in the Sydney library, so I’d take a bus to Sydney and just pore through the magazines to see Margie Masters, Judy Rankin, Patty Berg and all of those. I’d look at their pictures and results and think, ‘One of these days, that’s what I want to do.’” When did you first realize you could make a career out of golf? “In 1973, I was 22 years old and still planning to be a journalist, but because I was a top amateur, I was offered five thousand dollars — which, in those days, was an enormous amount of money — to play in the World Ladies in Japan, which featured top players from around the world. That’s where I first saw Donna Caponi, Judy Rankin, Joanne Carner ... I was so intimidated that the first round I 22
think I shot like 78. But, then I settled down and ended up finishing three shots off the lead. I thought, ‘Wow, if I can do that well being that nervous, I think I can make it.’” What was the LPGA Tour like at that time? “It was very close-knit. When there’s only a few of you, you tend to stick together. Everybody would drive together in caravans from one tournament to the next, and we all had CB radios, and everybody had a handle — I wish I could remember mine. I was too young to rent a car, so I went and bought a big, old, second-hand white Cadillac. I’d travel from tournament to tournament in this big car, and we’d radio if police were up ahead, or if we wanted to stop for dinner. In those days, there was no Internet, so I had to rely on the other players to tell me where to stay in each city, or where to eat. I had to follow them, because it was all new to me.” When you retired, did you anticipate someday playing on a senior tour? “I had plenty of things I was going to do, but I was going to miss competing. I remember playing in a tournament with Arnold Palmer and he suggested starting a senior tour to match what the men had done. He said he wished they’d started theirs a little younger, and also recommended we own more of it, because the guys who started the men’s senior tour basically just handed it over to the PGA and never really saw any money from it. Jane Blalock got us a tournament, and I remember Joanne Carner, Hollis Stacy and I were on the putting green one day and we said, ‘Boy, if we could just get [Nancy] Lopez, she’s the big one.’”
Photo courtesy Legends Tour
How has the Tour grown since then? “It still needs a lot more work. Having the U.S. [Senior] Open and the [Senior] LPGA Championship on television last year really changed things. People used to ask us, ‘Why don’t you start a senior tour?’ and we’d have to tell them that we actually had. But, if you aren’t on television, nobody pays attention. I think even the USGA was surprised at what a big success the Open was last year — even though they didn’t really advertise it all that much, they quickly ran out of bleacher space, and the crowds were great. Now, people know about it and want to watch it.” What’s unique about the spectator experience at a Legends Tour event? “We play the course very similarly to how most amateurs do. We’re obviously not hitting it as long as we used to, so you’ll see us playing shots that are likely similar to those you might play on the same hole. And, there is a lot a golfer can learn from that in terms of how we manage the course, and how we are able to post low scores without blasting the ball down the fairway. The other thing, for me, is the camaraderie. Each tournament is a chance to be able to thank the fans, and the volunteers. We really savor being inside the ropes, which I don’t think we always did when we were younger and more competitive. Now, we still want to beat each other’s brains out, don’t get me wrong, but everyone’s friendly and supportive, and we really enjoy the whole experience. Plus, we all drink now.” Do you have any good memories or stories of Joanne Carner? “Oh, yeah. When I was picked to be the new image of the LPGA in 1975 or ‘76, a lot of players didn’t like it, because they had us doing a lot of photo sessions, calendars, and that kind of stuff. All the players looked up to Big Momma, and she said of me, ‘Well, if I looked like that, I’d be doing it, too!’ As a joke, we printed a life-size cutout of me and put Joanne’s face on it. She loved it! She put it in the van and took it on Tour with her every week.” What does it mean to be going into the Hall of Fame? “It’s really special. It’s really topped off my career. When you see the players that are in the Hall of Fame, it’s humbling to be a part of that. It’s something I wanted, and thought that maybe one day, when I was dead, I would get it. I’m happy that I’ll get to enjoy it while I’m alive.” cascadegolfer.com
BAG PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR
THE IRON PRICE
f all of the clubs in your bag, besides possibly your putter, I’m willing to bet that your irons have been in there the longest. Drivers are flashy, relatively inexpensive to upgrade (relatively, I said), and are generally the club most golfers say they wish they could hit better — for those reasons, they’re also one of the most frequently replaced. Wedges, meanwhile, wear out after 1-2 years (or sooner, depending on how often you play), while most golfers either play the same putter they’ve had for decades (like Tiger Woods and his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2), or churn through flatsticks every year trying to find the right one. Irons, though, are both costly — most namebrand sets start around $599, and many reach four digits — and less likely to earn our angst. When we mis-hit an iron, we try to figure out what we did wrong; when we mis-hit a driver, we assume the problem can be fixed with a new club. In this issue, we take a look at a few of the coolest new iron sets to hit the market this year from PING, Callaway and Titleist, along with some junior sets and our favorite new kicks. Now, you might ask — wait, doesn’t Tiger play TaylorMade? What about Tiger’s irons? In fact, Tiger plays a prototype TaylorMade iron that’s not currently available to the public — though, you can bet TaylorMade is scrambling to put together a commercial version they can market as “Tiger Woods’ irons” just as fast as they can. (If you’re wondering, Tiger also plays a TaylorMade M5 driver and 3-wood, an M3 5-wood, and TaylorMade Milled Grind wedges.) If you’re like me and you’re still swinging irons you’ve had in your bag for close to a decade, it might be time to head into Puetz and see what a custom fitting could do for your game.
G410 Irons PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Apex 2019 Irons 2
starting at $124.99 per club
ING’s G-series irons have always represented the company’s game-improvement line, geared towards golfers who don’t mind a little help encouraging that little white ball to fly far and straight. And, while that still hasn’t changed, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some single-digit handicappers putting the G410 irons in their bag this year. This year’s PING irons are smaller and more compact than previous G-series offerings, with a reduced offset, better sound and feel — all qualities preferred by top players — yet, amazingly, offer even more consistency than previous models, with a slightly longer ball flight, too. That’s been accomplished primarily by removing the Custom Tuning Port that has been on the back of all G-series irons to date, and replacing it with weights in both the toe and hosel. With the weight gone, the G410’s face can flex more for higher ball speeds, while the two added weights help stabilize the head on mis-hits, for better accuracy. For a mid- or even high-single-digit handicapper looking for a game-improvement club with a player’s iron look and feel, the G410 is a great fit.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
starting at $174.99 per club
f the G410 represents PING’s efforts to bring the look and feel of a players’ iron to a game-improvement club, the Callaway Apex 2019 is exactly the opposite. The original 2016 Apex irons proved so popular that Callaway waited three entire years to upgrade the line, until the manufacturing tech caught up with designers’ vision. This year’s Apex 19 offers the same premium forged look and feel of its predecessor, but with the kind of distance and forgiveness gains you’d expect from a game-improvement club — all without sacrificing the ability of a better player to adjust their ball flight as conditions or the course demand. Technological advances include the use of Metal Injection Moulding to insert a finely calibrated tungsten weight into the cavity at the optimum position for each club, plus the use of a Variable Face Cup, giving more consistent ball speeds across the face. Apex designers also took a nod from the Rogue design team, adding urethane microspheres behind the face to give a more solid sound and feel than one would expect from a cavity-back iron. Available in both chrome and “smoke” finishes, it may well be your go-to iron for the next decade.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) cascadegolfer.com 362-2441
718 Black Irons PUETZ GOLF PRICE
$1499.99 set of eight
Mack Daddy PM Grind SM7 Slate Blue Wedge 5 $199.99 2019 Wedge 4 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
n the 18 months since they first hit the market in late 2017, PGA TOUR players and amateurs alike have been snapping up Titleist’s 718 irons, from the forgiving AP1s, to the Tour-preferred MB (musclebacks) and everything in between. After Titleist released the Jet Black version of its Vokey wedge last year, though, players stopping by the Tour van kept mentioning how cool it would be to have black irons as well. So, for 2019 — the mid-point of Titleist’s usual two-year club cycle — it has released Jet Black versions of the two most popular irons in the 718 line, the AP2 and AP3. The AP2 is Titleist’s premier tour iron — the club of choice for Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and others — with a classic shape and feel, less offset, and greater ability to control shot shape off the face. The AP3, meanwhile — a new release in 2017 — blends the distance and forgiveness of its two AP siblings, playing longer than the AP2, and with nearly the forgiveness of the AP1. PGA TOUR players like Bill Haas and Jimmy Walker put them in their bags, yet they remain playable for amateurs with handicaps into the teens as well.
here are still few players who can work more magic with a wedge than Phil Mickelson. So, when building a new wedge for 2019, Callaway asked Lefty for his input. Working with designer Roger Cleveland, the pair chose to focus on what Phil calls the three essential shots — the Knockdown, with a low ball flight and high spin; the Hit & Check, a short pitch that comes in hot, bounces briefly and checks to a stop; and the “Phlop,” that famous fullswing, high-flying, open-faced beauty that Phil does so well. First, the groove-in-groove technology debuted in last year’s Mack Daddy 4 wedges was adjusted so that the micro-grooves lie perpendicular to the line when the clubface is open, for more spin on short “Phlops.” Second, a higher toe and increased offset allows players to move the ball back in their stance, essential to hitting those knockdown and check shots. Those two changes, along with the removal of weight from the sole (to promote a higher CG and lower trajectory), plus a C-grind on the sole for better contact from all lies, result in a club that couldn’t be better if Mickelson had designed it himself — because he did.
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t was just in April that we wrote, in this very section, of learning how to sniff out supposedly “new” clubs that, in fact, simply represent a repackaging — or repainting — of old technology. So, you’d be right to look at this SM7 Slate Blue wedge and ask, “Wait, isn’t that the same wedge Titleist released last year, just in a new color?” The answer, admittedly, is yes. But, what can we say — it’s as if Titleist manufactured this one specifically for Seahawks fans, knowing the 12s would snap up anything that shows off our pride. Just look at this beauty, though — rather than the bright blue finish that other manufacturers have opted for in recent years, the SM7’s “Slate Blue” is darker and more subtle, a perfect match for our gray-blue skies. (And, really, the photo above doesn’t do it justice — get it in sunlight to really see it sparkle.) Furthermore, Titleist claims that its more metallic finish will wear better than your typical black, bronze or blue. If you bought an SM7 last year — PGA TOUR players certainly did, making it the Tour’s most-played wedge in 2018 — it’s probably time to replace it anyway. We can’t think of a prettier way to upgrade your stick.
JUNE 2019 2019 JUNE
IN THE BAG
TS3 Junior Golf Set PUETZ GOLF PRICE
$449.99 seven-piece set
ust about every manufacturer makes golf clubs for kids, and most of them do a terrific job. The fact is, though, that junior golf represents a tiny slice of the pie for the game’s biggest names — and, thus, is given a tiny slice of the investment into R&D. At US Kids, though, junior golf is the whole enchilada — and their clubs show the difference. This year’s TS3 — available as a seven-piece set for less than $500, or as individual clubs — comes in six different sizes ranging from 51 to 66 inches, allowing you to match the clubs specifically to your child without having to order custom shafts or go through the fitting process. Geared towards young golfers with faster swing speeds (US Kids also offers Ultralight and Yard Club models for slower swingers), the TS3 incorporates high-MOI advancements into its irons and metalwoods for more distance and forgiveness, plus lighter shafts with lower kick-points, to maximize clubhead speed. The full set also includes two wedges, a putter (available in three different blade and mallet styles) and a bag. It’s a great starter set for the young golfer in your life, or a solid upgrade for a growing youngster.
JUNE JUNE 2019 2019
F9 Junior Driver
MERCHANTS OF GOLF 7
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $349.99
Tour X Junior Set 8
ooking to add a little oomph to your young golfer’s game? Taking the lead in junior golf development among the major manufacturers, Cobra released a junior-golf specific version of its all-new KING F9 Speedback driver this year, right alongside the release of the full-size clubs. A shorter, softer shaft than that offered on the adult F9 allows young golfers to generate more clubhead speed, while the clubhead is also a touch lighter, resulting in a lower overall swing weight. You’ll also notice the availability of higher lofts on the junior version, to better assist young golfers who have trouble getting the ball up into the air. Otherwise, it has all the 2019 technology contained in Rickie Fowler’s King F9, including two moveable weights to adjust the launch and spin, plus the Speedback design that produces a low center of gravity and improved aerodynamics for more speed and forgiveness. Best of all, the club can be adjusted to grow with your player — MyFly8 technology allows loft to be adjusted as your player’s game develops, and Cobra will offer one free shaft upgrade for buyers who register their purchase online.
$129.99 five-piece set Individual clubs starting at $24.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
he single biggest obstacle to having your kids play more golf — besides prying that XBox controller from their hands, that is — is the cost of clubs. It’s asking a lot to invest hundreds of dollars into something your kid might try two or three times before giving up on — but, without their own clubs, how are they supposed to get the kind of regular practice and play they’ll need to fall in love with the game? Merchants of Golf offers a compromise in its Tour X set, a five-club set featuring a driver, three cavity-back irons (5, 7 and 9) a putter and an easy-carry, double-strap stand bag, all for just $129.99 at Puetz. It’s a great option for golfers looking to supplement an existing set, too, with drivers, fairways, irons, hybrids, wedges and putters all available a la carte, at prices starting as low as $24.99 apiece. All clubs come in four different sizes, so you can match them to your specific golfer, with graphite shafts that flex more in the smaller sizes and less in the longer ones, to account for your player’s increasing swing speed.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) cascadegolfer.com 362-2441
TREAT YOUR FEET Summer is just around the corner, and if you’re like me, that means more time spent walking our beautiful Northwest courses. While I prefer a cart in the rainy months — mainly just to have somewhere to dry out between shots — I definitely like to walk when the weather cooperates, and feel that warm sun on my skin. Here are six new shoes that will have you walking on clouds this summer.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Superlites XP PUETZ GOLF PRICE
have wide feet, which can make finding a comfortable golf shoe a real challenge. Fortunately, New Balance offers its new Striker golf shoe in wide widths. Lightweight and supportive, with Champ Slim-Lok Zarma Tour cleats and a two-year waterproof warranty, it’s a great option for the Northwest golfer who doesn’t want to break the bank on an new pair of kicks.
here are golf shoes that you can wear anywhere, and then there are those that you can barely even tell you have on. FootJoy’s 2019 Superlites XP are one of the lightest shoes on the market, with super-soft uppers and molded rubber spikes. We wouldn’t recommend it for winter wear — FootJoy only claims a one-year waterproof warranty — but for a light, breezy summertime shoe, it’s a great fit.
BIOM Hybrid G3 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ew for 2019, ECCO’s BIOM G3 Hybrid is the latest shoe to incorporate the Danish brand’s “Natural Motion” technology, a combination of a glove-like insole, sturdy yak-leather uppers and a high-tech outsole that reduces the strain on your feet during the round by providing extra comfort and stability. They’re almost too pretty to take out in the rain — but, with their strong performance in all conditions, you’d have a hard time finding a better choice.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
$159.99 / BOA: $189.99
oming in at a slightly higher price point than the first two FootJoy offerings this month, the Pro/SL is truly an all-weather shoe, built for comfort and performance in our often unpredictable conditions. A ChromoSkin leather upper, built by the world-famous leathersmiths at Pittards, provides premium-level durability and feel, and a proprietary Dual-Density FTF (Fine-Tuned Foam) midsole cushions your foot.
ust about any golf shoe can be worn to and from the course these days, but the FootJoy Flex is one we can really see ourselves wearing almost anywhere. The spikeless, Versa-Trax outsole is engineered to provide resistance in all directions throughout your swing, while a soft EVA midsole and lightweight performance mesh upper are every bit as comfy as our go-to trainers.
cascadegolfer.com FREE SHIPPING on orders of $99 and more • exceptions apply
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
ant the shoe that FootJoy’s PGA TOUR pros wear? That would be the FootJoy Fury, a top-of-the-line model featuring all of FootJoy’s best technology — a proprietary D3 outsole for maximum stability and traction, a midsole made from two different kinds of foam for added comfort and cushion (including one that forms to your foot for a perfect fit), and a FlexGrind MLC cage system and one-piece Inner Fit Sleeve that hold your foot in place throughout the swing. It’s also waterproof for up to two years, and includes FootJoy’s BOA closure system. Like we said — this one has everything.
JUNE 2019 2019 JUNE
RISK vs. REWARD Lynnwood Golf Course Hole No. 10 Par 4 295 yards The Setup: Although you won’t find Lynnwood Muni on anyone’s list of top-10 golf courses, it’s always a fun round, with unique holes and opportunities to score and work on your short game. Hole number 10 is a great example. At under 300 yards, this hole is a great way to kick-start your back nine. Water guards the right side, but is only in play if you are laying up. A fairway bunker guards any tee shot short and to the right, while two green-side bunkers protect the left-front area of the green. Anything off the fairway can also find some tree trouble on either side.
The Risk: Seven-iron, wedge is a safe play and one that will
By Simon Dubiel
likely give you a pretty good shot at par. However, it does bring the water on the right into play off the tee. Driver will carry the water, but puts the fairway and greenside bunkers in range. Depending on your sand game, that might be almost as bad as being wet. Blow it even farther right or left, and you could find yourself behind the trees, and struggling to reach the green in two.
The Reward: Any time you can shorten a hole and give yourself a two-putt birdie, or just a flip wedge with your second shot, we are in favor of taking advantage of it. The fairway is wide and forgiving; save an unlucky break that
finds your ball behind a tree, the only real trouble is if you end up in the fairway bunker, leaving you an awkward, 70-yard shot from the sand. However, if you can carry the ball around 240 yards, you should be able to fly that bunker even if you go a bit sideways.
Final Call: Sure, the iron/wedge is a safe play, but bringing the water into play is not something we recommend. If we are going to make a mistake, let’s do it being aggressive. Take out the big stick, push some chips into the middle of the pot and let’s play some cards. Driver, flip wedge and drain a five-footer for the three. Tweet tweet!
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
Coeur d’Alene Resort • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
AGAIN No matter how little time and money you have to spare, there’s a fantastic summer road trip out there for you
By Brian Beaky • CG Editor
oad trips are where memories are made. Ever since Noah piled all of his closest friends in an ark and set sail, or Moses said to the Israelites, “Hey, who’s ready to cross that sea?” humans have cast our eyes to distant lands in search of new or better experiences. Here at Cascade Golfer, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of time and money to create memorable experiences that we can share with our readers, and hopefully inspire you to embark upon with friends and family, making your own memories along the way. Day trips to Palouse Ridge, Gamble Sands, Semiahmoo or Wine Valley, weekend excursions to B.C., Bandon or Spokane, or longer vacations to Central Oregon, and the golf courses and wineries of Central and Eastern Washington ... we’ve taken on all of these arduous tasks over the years, not to trick our bosses into funding our golf getaways (OK, not only to trick our bosses into funding our golf getaways), but because we truly believe that there’s no better place in America to be a golfer on a budget, and we want to encourage you to take advantage of the many wonders we have around us. Friends say they can’t afford to take a golf vacation. No problem, we say, here are 10 incredible courses within a reasonably short drive that you can play for less than $75. Others say they don’t have time to get away. We can address that, too, we say, with recommended day trips to courses all over the region — including Suncadia, Gamble
1TO 2 HOURS SunCountry Golf Course Cle Elum
golfsuncountry.com • (509) 674-2226 Wait, you might ask, don’t you mean Suncadia? Certainly, Suncadia is a beautiful summertime destination — one of our absolute favorites, in fact, with two courses each ranked among the state’s 10 best by CG readers. But, we’re trying to find trips here to fit any budget, and cascadegolfer.com
Sands, Desert Canyon, Apple Tree, Wine Valley, Palouse Ridge and more — courses where you’ll feel like you went away for an entire weekend, without having to spend a single night away from home. The fact is, we all struggle to find the time and money we’d like to put towards a memorable golf getaway. Sure, a weekend at Bandon Dunes sounds lovely, but there are also mortgages to be paid, car payments to make, fences to be rebuilt, kids’ baseball games to attend, family to go visit. It’s not as easy as just throwing the clubs in the trunk, picking up our buddies and saying goodbye to our responsibilities for a few days. As we write above, though, you don’t have to cash out your savings, or block off an entire weekend, to make an incredible golf memory. All you need is a free day on your schedule, a few bucks in your wallet, and a friend or two with a little sense of adventure. In the following pages, we detail five such trips at various price points and radiuses from Western Washington, from a 90-minute jaunt out I-90 to Suncadia and SunCountry, to a six-hour pilgrimage to Sunriver in Central Oregon. All of them — yes, even Sunriver — can be done as day trips, or packaged with lodging, wine tasting, kayaking and other adventures into a fantastic stay-and-play weekend. Pick your favorite, and let us know how it went. Because, as much as we enjoy taking these trips ourselves, it makes us even happier to see you get out and make memories, too.
at nearly $125 apiece at peak times, the Prospector and Rope Rider tracks find themselves on the steeper end of the scale. If that’s within your budget, then by all means, make a stop at Suncadia this year. If not, though, there’s an alternative that will give you the same landscape and similar views, at less than half the rate — SunCountry Golf Course. Located literally across I-90 from Suncadia, barely an hour from Bellevue and 90 minutes from downtown Seattle, SunCountry is one of Washington’s most popular tracks with golfers who crave the mountain golf experience, but don’t want to cough up premium course prices. Just 5,507 yards, it doesn’t require prodigious length to conquer — indeed, a handful of short par-4s and reachable par-5s give even mid-to-high handicappers the chance to put birdies (or better) on the score-
card. Elevated tee boxes, firm, fast greens, and plenty of water and trees, meanwhile, let better players work on their iron play, while providing enough scenic views to satisfy your mountain-golf jones. Even Suncadia guests and residents can often be seen sneaking out for a round at SunCountry to take advantage of the lower prices and more relaxed atmosphere, while an on-site RV park provides a great home base for golfers planning to migrate in the other direction. Round trip, including golf, you’re looking at barely seven hours for a day at SunCountry — likely less time than a Seattle golfer would spend on a round trip to any course in Tacoma or on the Peninsula, and vice versa — with an all-in cost (food, gas, golf) of less than $100. That’s the kind of summer golf getaway anyone can enjoy. JUNE 2019
2 TO 3 HOURS Apple Tree Resort Yakima appletreeresort.com • (509) 966-5877 Apple Tree’s island-green 17th hole is, without question, its most memorable — shoot, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic par-3 this side of Coeur d’Alene. But, it’s not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, my breath stops a little every time I round the corner by the tee box and get my first glimpse of the apple-shaped island green more than 100 feet below. And, yeah, I often stop to take a picture or two, especially if I’m with an Apple Tree first-timer. But, for pure golf value, there are probably 4-5 holes at Apple Tree that I actually enjoy more. The par-5 third, for example, is a blast, a 514-yard (from the 6,300-yard white tees) romp through an active apple orchard, to a slightly elevated green. It’s your first real taste of the scenery at Apple Tree, but definitely not your last.
Apple Tree Resort • Yakima
After a few more holes played through and around the orchard (not to mention two greens that, like the famous 17th, are almost completely surrounded by water), the back nine offers a more parkland-style experience, with relatively open fairways and few elevation changes. The 14th is a risk-reward par-5 for longer hitters, 520 yards from the whites with water all down the left side. Sixteen, too, is an interesting challenge — just 349 yards, but played to a well-bunkered fairway, and requiring a nearly blind second shot to an elevated green. Lastly, there’s 18, one of the most enjoyable risk-reward plays in the state, where golfers can choose to carry the water off the tee for a shorter approach and a chance at eagle, or play it safe to a narrow land-
ing area and pull three-wood for a shot at the double-green (shared with No. 9), itself fronted by an apple-shaped bunker. A trip to Apple Tree takes a little over two hours, assuming you don’t stop in at SunCountry or maybe Desert Aire along the way. I know that I, personally, have spent two hours getting from our Lynnwood offices to, say, Salish Cliffs, staring at bumpers and taillights the whole way, as opposed to Cascade mountain peaks, deep blue lakes and the rolling hills of Central Washington. At about $79 in peak times ($65 on weekdays, and under $50 at twilight and early-bird hours), it’s the next step up from SunCountry for a Western Washington day-tripper. Shoot, do ‘em both in one go, and you’ll have yourself one heck of a day.
Wine Valley Golf Club • Walla Walla
4 HOURS Wine Valley Golf Club Walla Walla
winevalleygolfclub.com • (509) 525-4653 Yes, you can do Wine Valley in a day. Heck, the last time we made the trip to Walla Walla, we left home at 6 a.m., reached Wine Valley by 10, played 36 holes in just under eight hours, and were back in our own beds by 11 p.m. It’s honestly one of the most memorable day trips
we’ve ever taken, packed with incredible golf, beautiful scenery on the drive, and a real sense that we’d put 250 miles between ourselves and our day-to-day stresses. Because, that’s exactly what we’d done. That’s truly the best part of any of these trips. The farther you go from home, the less you find yourself thinking about what you left behind. When you’re on the other side of the state with a six-iron in your hand, it doesn’t really matter what’s going down at the office, or whether your kid just threw up in the middle of math class — for the rest of this glorious day, at least, those are someone else’s problems, because there’s literally nothing you can do about any of it. All you have to worry about is getting that little white ball up close to the pin, and having enough cash on hand to tip the beverage cart attendant.
Few golf courses offer an escape like Wine Valley. Crafted in the links style of a Chambers Bay or Gamble Sands — with wide fairways bordered by bunkers and long grasses, big greens that reward multiple approach angles, and nary a tree in sight — it’s a course that rewards the intellectual golfer who takes the time to find the chutes that funnel drives an extra 30 yards, or the greenside slopes that will re-direct an approach in tight to the pin. In the six years we’ve published our golf course rankings, only Chambers Bay and Gamble Sands have received more combined first-place votes than Wine Valley. If it weren’t four hours away, I have a hunch it would receive even more. As stated above, you definitely can do Wine Valley as a day trip — but, do you want to? Driving to Walla Walla without stopping into at least one or two wineries (or three, or four, or ... well, let’s just say it’s a good idea to bring a designated driver) is like visiting the Grand Canyon without bothering to look down. If you do opt to make a weekend of it, the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel (marcuswhitmanhotel.com) in downtown Walla Walla offers stay-and-play specials with Wine Valley and other area courses, including free carts, exclusive tee times and more. It also happens to be one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in the state, where guests like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Shirley Temple, Louis B. Armstrong and other celebrities rested their heads in visits to the area. Make it your home base, too.
5 HOURS Coeur d’Alene Resort • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Coeur d’Alene Resort Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
cdaresort.com • (855) 280-4398 What can we say about Coeur d’Alene Resort that hasn’t been said a million times before? How about this — it is 100-percent possible to cross Coeur d’Alene off your bucket list between the time the sun first crests the Cascade Mountains, and the time it drops behind the Olympics. You want an epic day trip you’ll never forget? You want your friends and coworkers to look at you with incredulous envy when they ask, “So, how did you spend your day off?” Here it is. Leave your house at 6 a.m., for an 11:45 a.m. tee time at Coeur d’Alene. With usual traffic, and assuming a bathroom break or gas-up along the way, you should roll into the resort a little after 11, leaving you plenty of time to get a complimentary greenside massage before your round, or hit balls from the driving range at targets bobbing in the lake. A short while later, you’ll encounter
perhaps the best back-to-back par-3s you’ll ever play, the fifth featuring a white-sand bunker that stretches all the way from tee to green, plus scenic rock outcroppings on either side, and the sixth a dramatic, elevated tee box with views of the lake beyond the green below. The 11th always reminds me of the 15th at Augusta National, a reachable par-5 for bigger hitters (just 506 yards from the whites, 522 from the blues), but with a creek wrapped around three sides of the green, waiting to catch any aggressive play that doesn’t find the putting surface. The par-4 13th breaks out of the trees to the lakeshore, with a forced carry over water on both your first and second shots. But, it’s the par-3 14th that you’ll never forget. The world’s only true island green, typically anchored about 150-175 yards offshore and requiring a boat to reach the putting surface, it’s a hole you might play just once in real life (or more, if you’re lucky), but will replay thousands and thousands of times in your mind. It’s an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime, a bucket-list memory akin to a trip to Scotland or a round at Pebble Beach.
Pluck your ball from the cup around 4:15, tip your forecaddie — every foursome includes a forecaddie for the group, plus wood-paneled carts with GPS and commemorative bag tags for all — and head back to the highway. With another quick stop on the way home to fill your belly, you’ll be back in Western Washington by 9 p.m. and, depending on where exactly you live, home by 9:30, just in time to watch those last rays of sunlight slip away. That memory, though, will last forever. Now, certainly, you can opt to stay at Coeur d’Alene to play multiple rounds, take side trips to Spokane, Circling Raven or Palouse Ridge, or enjoy all the non-golf amenities like boat and kayak rentals, parasailing, the nearby Silverwood amusement park, and more, all while enjoying five-star steaks and lobster at Beverly’s, and crashing in luxurious and modern rooms. Stay-and-plays start at just $143 per person, and include a night at the resort and a round of golf — a rate that would be worth it for the golf alone. But, where’s the fun in that?
6 HOURS Sunriver Resort Sunriver, Ore.
destinationhotels.com/sunriver-resort/ (855) 420-8206 Sure, you can do Sunriver in a day. But, why would you want to? For starters, you’d miss out on playing all three of the resort’s championship courses — not even counting the nine-hole Bob Cupp-designed Caldera Links, a family-friendly, par-3 track. Most players put Cupp’s Crosswater course at the top of their list — ranked by Golf Digest among the top-30 public courses in America (and open only to resort guests), it’s one of the crown jewels of the celebrated Central Oregon golf region. Perfectly manicured — that same Golf Digest review called it quite literally the best-maintained golf course in the world — and routed through both woodlands and wetlands, it’s a true shotmaker’s course, requiring skilled play to score well. Mid- and high-handicappers will soak up the scen-
Crosswater Club • Sunriver, Ore.
ery and high-class vibe at Crosswater, but likely will walk away having happier thoughts of the resort’s other championship offerings, Robert Trent Jones., Jr.’s Woodlands Course, and John Fought’s Meadows. The two are aptly named, with RTJ’s effort the tighter, longer and more challenging of the two, and Fought’s Meadows the most open of the three resort properties. Unsurprisingly for an RTJ course, the Woodlands builds to a crescendo at what was originally the 18th hole, but is
now played as No. 9, a 372-yard, par-4 on the scorecard, but a reachable par-4 for anyone brave enough to take aim over a large pond and attempt the 275-yard drive to a peninsula green. The Meadows course, meanwhile, was the one that put Central Oregon golf on the map when it debuted as the region’s first resort golf course in 1968, and has since been redesigned by Fought in 1999. Routed through open wetlands and dense pines, the Meadows is the
Northwest Montana Offers Great Value for Excellent Golf
n most golf destinations, the local marketing crew will try to sell you on the amenities. “There’s rafting, and horseback riding, and hiking and biking, and all kinds of recreational activities,” they’ll say. And, while all of that is certainly true about Northwest Montana — not to mention craft breweries, fly-fishing, kayaking, scenic lakes, the full breadth of Glacier National Park and the gorgeous drive along the Going To The Sun Highway — it’s not what the Northwest Montana Golf Association’s Stephen Dunfee wants to talk about. “With all due respect for the other activities people may enjoy around here, when golfers come here with their clubs in the trunk to spend three, four, five days, whatever, all they care about is golf,” he says. “So, we make sure that they have as much incredible golf as they could ever want.” The Northwest Montana Golf Association, or NMGA, is a collection of nine championship courses, all located roughly between Flathead Lake and Whitefish Lake, approximately two hours north of Missoula. Several of the courses have been ranked among Montana’s finest by Golf Digest, GOLF magazine and other national publications, while golfers give NMGA tracks four of the top-10 spots in Trip Advisor’s Montana golf course rankings.
Indian Springs Golf Club • Eureka, Mont.
Best of all, none carry a peak summer greens fee higher than $70, while lodging, restaurant and other associated travel expenses also run significantly cheaper than those in the most popular summer golf destinations. Those prices hardly do justice to the region’s courses, which, you can only assume, would be able to charge double were they located closer to a major population center. Routed past mountains and winding valleys, through old-growth evergreens and alongside clear blue glacial lakes, they’re more varied in style and substance than you can find in just about any single location. Take Buffalo Hill, for example, a tight, tree-lined course that winds past the Stillwater River on the valley floor, requiring strong iron play and skill with the putter. Then, contrast that with Andy North’s Northern Pines Golf Club, a links-style course just 10 minutes away that is practically devoid of trees altogether, giving big hitters the chance to swing away, rewarding creativity over precision. Just a few miles north, meanwhile, you’re knocking
Polson Bay Golf Club • Polson, Mont.
on the door of Glacier National Park, with both Meadow Lake Golf Resort, in Columbia Falls, and Whitefish Lake Golf Club, in Whitefish, providing a more authentic mountain golf experience. Stunning peaks tower over the fairways, mountain lakes dazzle in the sun below, and dense rows of evergreens provide a sense of solitude on every hole. Meadow Lake is one of just four Montana courses to receive four-and-a-half stars from Golf Digest, while Whitefish Lake’s log-cabin clubhouse is a remnant of FDR’s Works Progress Administration. All nine courses rest within a 40-minute footprint, making it easy to plant your tentpoles (well, not literally — unless that’s your thing, of course) in Whitefish or Kalispel and knock out 18 or 36 holes in a day. The NMGA partners with several local hotels to create stayand-play packages, each one offering a different level of amenities, from a local Red Lion, to a boutique hotel in the heart of Kalispel, to classic mountain lodges and more. Many golfers also come from Washington, Idaho or across the Canadian border in their RVs, for which the Flathead Valley offers plenty of accommodations as well. Fall — August and September, specifically — is the best time come, Dunfee says, when the summer people have moved on, the colors are on full display, and rates drop even lower than those already-reasonable summertime highs. Direct flights run daily from Sea-Tac to Glacier Park International Airport, while Amtrak will also deliver golfers direct from Seattle’s King Street Station to Whitefish — when you’re awed by the beauty, you’ll know it’s time to get off. To learn more or plan your Montana golf vacation, visit www.GolfNorthwestMontana.com.
Marcus Whitman Hotel Walla Walla Photo courtesy Marcus Whitman Hotel
Woodlands Course • Sunriver, Ore. Photos courtesy Sunriver Resort
“easiest” of the three courses at Sunriver, though that comes with a couple of big quotation marks — a slope of 134 from the white tees is plenty high, but we’d argue the course plays easier than the scorecard might indicate. Staying at Sunriver allows you the chance to play all three courses (and the aforementioned Caldera Links), while also enjoying the resort’s other amenities, including horseback riding, river rafting, kayaking, dozens of miles of bike and hiking trails, plus a massive community pool with waterslides and splash zones and a shopping district lined with restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Far from just another Bend-area resort, Sunriver is a fully-functioning city of its own — literally — with its own
fire department, its own post office and enough homes, condos and lodge rooms to meet any traveling party’s specific needs. It even has its own observatory, where you can look up at the rings of Saturn or the colors of a distant nebula, or marvel at the depth of the craters on the surface of the moon. So, do Sunriver as a day trip if you want to — at six hours each way and four-and-a-half for the golf, it’s about a 17-hour day overall ... doable, but daunting. While you’re driving home, though, we’ll be kicking it at Galveston Pub in Bend, sipping a Fuzztail Hefeweizen from Sunriver Brewing Co., and toasting one more Northwest golf road trip well done.
Win a Golf Getaway to Walla Walla
alla Walla’s Wine Valley Golf Club has never failed to make the top-five of our bi-annual Washington public golf course rankings. And, just as Wine Valley is the finest vintage of golf in Washington’s wine country, so is the Marcus Whitman the go-to spot for golfers planning a Walla Walla golf getaway. Don’t take our word for it, though — go to CascadeGolfer.com today and you could win a night’s stay at the Marcus Whitman, plus a round of golf for two at Wine Valley ... on us! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to win!.
TRAVEL BAG THE
Long Haul Predator Ridge Golf Club • Predator Course
Golf’s on the rise in Vernon, B.C.
ou won’t forget your first round at Spallumcheen Golf Club (spallumcheengolf.com), for the simple fact that it’s called Spallumcheen — not some homogenous, all-purpose name so easily forgotten but … Spallumcheen. According to the British Columbia government’s web site, the name is derived from a Shuswap (an interior B.C. First Nation Tribe) language term, “spal-lum-shin,” meaning “meadow flat.” Now, any course description that uses the words “flat” and “meadow” doesn’t usually do much for the traveling golfer. It doesn’t send chills down your spine. You won’t clean your clubs in preparation, nor lay your best slacks out the night before. It would be wrong to suggest, however, that the meadow in which this Les Furber design lays is entirely flat. And, far from being the rather dull layout the name might suggest to a Shuswap speaker, Spallumcheen is actually a terrific golf course you’ll be very glad you visited. One of five courses that make up the newly-formed Vernon Golf Group — a growing golf destination in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, roughly three hours north of Gamble Sands up Highway 97 — Spallumcheen certainly isn’t a bucket lister you have to tick off your mustplay list, but it is a fun round full of delightful holes and interesting shots.
By Tony Dear
Greenskeeper Jim Simm’s excellent Poa annua greens have breaks and borrows that have grown ever more subtle since the course opened 48 years ago, and there’s a nice variety in the holes’ shapes, direction, lengths, and challenges. Best of all (for me anyway) is the number of magnificent weeping willows you pass during the round. Who doesn’t love a good willow tree? (Well, superintendents, for starters, as they have terribly thirsty, complex roots prone to piercing the surface. And, a lot of golfers aren’t partial, either, because of their large, impervious canopies. But, I like them, and Spallumcheen’s specimens are glorious.) The visitor greens fee is $70 CDN (about $55 U.S.), and there’s a fun, nine-hole executive course you can play for $23. Head professional Myles Johnson grew up playing at Spallumcheen. In July, he and his wife entered the hospitality industry, buying the Castle on the Mount guest house a couple of miles away in order that Mrs. Johnson could spend more time with the couple’s young son. Myles, though, spends his day doing typical head pro things — teaching, running the tee sheet, overseeing operations in the pro shop, managing a staff of 20, and liaising with members. He’s also very conscious of how Spallumcheen fits into the Vernon Golf Group. “The group is in its infancy, so early returns are tough
to gauge,” says Johnson. “But, I do believe it will be a great way to get the word out that golf in our area is strong, with many great options. You don’t have to go south of the Kelowna airport to have a golf trip.” Ah, yes — Kelowna. By far the biggest city in the Okanagan Valley, with a population of nearly 195,000, Kelowna is located halfway up the eastern side of the skinny, north-south-oriented Okanagan Lake, and gets aaaall the attention. Even Kevin Poole, Vernon’s Manager of Economic Development & Tourism, concedes that when the Okanagan comes up in conversation, Kelowna is always the first place people think of. But, he adds, his city has an excellent relationship with its neighbor to the south. “Kelowna is the largest center in the Okanagan and also the busiest,” says Poole. “Vernon tends to be a bit more casual — those wanting to move to the area looking for a more relaxed lifestyle often wind up in Vernon. And, from what I’ve seen in almost ten years in the community, Vernon really wants to be a destination on its own.” Cool downtown businesses like Marten Brewpub on 30th Avenue, and Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery on 24th St., are giving the city center a more sophisticated vibe than it once had, and the golf group is looking to do its bit, too. cascadegolfer.com
The main player in the fivesome has to be Predator Ridge (predatorridge.com), a nationally renowned golf resort spanning 1,200 acres with all the amenities and lodging options you’d expect at a resort of this size, including 36 holes of golf. The Predator Course is one of Les Furber’s best efforts and possesses a number of fine holes, especially on the back nine. It is Doug Carrick’s Ridge Course, however, that enjoys a slightly higher approval rating. Building a really good mountain course is one of the toughest assignments for a golf architect, especially if it has to work its way through housing. Toronto-based Carrick made a superb fist of it, however, minimizing the houses’ impact, maximizing the views and nullifying the impact of the slopes. There may be some uphill drives between greens and tees (a cart is an essential companion), but only a couple of holes actually play uphill. Carrick says his first reaction on seeing the site at Predator Ridge was excitement, mitigated by a little trepidation. “I liked the variety of landscapes — rolling grasslands, wooded valleys, and rocky ridges,” he says. “But, some of the slopes were a little extreme. It was pretty rugged in places. Routing the course was tough. The terrain didn’t give us many options and finding playable holes, building them, draining them, and linking them together was difficult.” The fifth is probably the hole that will linger longest in the memory, and the sixth is a remarkable sight, but it was the prospect of building the 509-yard ninth, where players have to avoid areas of exposed rock, that excited Carrick the most. “The fairway presented a few construction challenges, as we had to blast the rock in places,” he says. “But, if I had to pick one for how it turned out, that would be it.”
The Rise Golf Club
arrick certainly had to be at his creative, resourceful, and innovative best in devising a route up, down and over the hills at Predator Ridge, but his task was fairly simple compared with that which faced Gene Bates and Fred Couples at The Rise (therisegolf.ca) — about seven miles west, and 1,000 feet up, from downtown Vernon. The course’s web site and promotional material will tell you that Couples designed the course, and while he certainly made a major contribution — probably more than most big-name player-architects do — it’s hard to picture the former Masters champ toiling for months over this grueling landscape, sitting at a drafting desk until the early hours, and working out how he was going to connect the 18 holes in a way that made sense. For all that, he needed the considerable talents of Gene Bates, with whom Couples has now designed 14 courses. An investment group hired the Bates/Couples team in 2005 to build the course on land that Bates regards as the most “intimidating” of his career. “Almost everything about building the Rise was difficult,” adds Bates, whose work is familiar to Washington golfers who love Salish Cliffs and Idaho’s Circling Raven. “We encountered plenty of solid rock, there wasn’t sufficient topsoil, and finding a reliable source of irrigation water was very tricky. The hardest thing, though, was connecting the holes, as the elevation difference between the several usable plateaus was considerable.” Choosing the best direction to go following the par-5 first was especially tricky. “We wanted to go up the mountain to find our next plateau,” says Bates. “So, the second needed to be a transition hole. It took a lot of earth-moving, but I think it provides a tough, yet reasonable connection to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth holes.” Work on the course stopped during the harsh winter months, but when the rain and snow disappeared, construction happened for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Couples was on-site four times. It doesn’t seem like much, but Bates insists his input was critical. “Fred was very sensitive to the difficult nature of the site, and made numerous additions to course strategy and playability,” he says. “He has always been totally engaged with our course design, both during initial design and construction.” No doubt, The Rise is an engineering marvel, a tribute to man’s daring and adventurous spirit. A hundred years ago, any architect asked to build a golf course on such a site would have stared at the man proposing the venture for a good long while before erupting in a huge belly laugh. It might not be to everyone’s taste, as nothing polarizes golfers like a mountain course with excessive elevation changes, and there are a couple of holes that even the course’s biggest fan might concede are a little awkward. But, there are a number of very good holes, the views over Okanagan Lake are incredible — especially coming down the 17th and 18th — and the peak greens fee is a very reasonable $109 CDN (about $85).
Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club
Predator Ridge Golf Club • Ridge Course
TRAVEL BAG likewise has no holes you’d consider weak. It’s a strong 6,609 yards from the back tees, and a lovely walk. Something at Vernon G&CC you will recall for years is the friendly welcome from staff and members, and the exquisite prime rib and Yorkshire Pudding on the dinner menu. Eighteen holes followed by prime rib at Vernon GCC is a heck of a way to spend a day.
I Vernon Golf & Country Club
ast, but certainly not least (chronologically, it’s first), is Vernon Golf and Country Club (vernongolf.com) whose history dates back more than a century. The club was first located in an area of town known as “The BX” — “B” for Francis Jones Barnard, a gold prospector from Quebec who became one of the city’s most prominent businessmen, and “X” for the express mail service he operated on behalf of the British Columbia government beginning in the 1860s.
The club quickly grew too large for its first home, though, so moved to East Hill in 1920. Three moves later, the club finally returned to Kalamalka Lake Road, where it eventually expanded to 18 holes under the direction of Ernest Brown, a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and one of the province’s most influential professionals and administrators. Like Spallumcheen, Vernon is a classic, no-frills parkland course that’s always in good shape. It has few holes you’ll be telling your friends about in five years’ time, but
n fact, five or six days of golf in the city of Vernon, plus a day to relax at the Predator Ridge Resort or on beautiful Okanagan Lake, is a special way to spend a week. Summers are gorgeous, with highs in the mid-70s to low-80s, and only an inch or two of rain from June to August. In 2005, Consumer Reports ranked Vernon one of the top-six most desirable communities to retire to in North America. Now, in 2018, it has become an excellent golf road trip for a Washington golfer — full of fine golf, good beer and spirits, quality accommodations, and excellent value for money. Could it be that Vernon is at long last emerging from Kelowna’s long shadow? Tony Dear is a Bellingham-based golf author and blogger, and a frequent contributor to Cascade Golfer. This article originally appeared on his website, BellinghamGolfer.com.
SAVE SOME GREEN ROAD TRIP BARGAINS
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ant to get away this summer, but don’t have the time or money for any of our previously mentioned trips? Well, we’re happy to say that you can have the best of both worlds — fun, far-flung courses where you’ll feel like you’ve escaped the rat race that can overwhelm Western Washington tracks in peak season, but that won’t break your bank, and will have you home in time for supper. In fact, we’ve identified two courses that can be played — greens fees, food and travel included — for under $100, and won’t require you to leave before dawn or come home after dark. Of course, we like to play 36 on a long day out — pairing the Cedars with, say, Discovery Bay or Port Ludlow, and Leavenworth with Kahler Glen or Highlander — but, the fact is that these tracks make memorable day trips all on their own. There are plenty of others that fit the bill, too — SunCountry, Alderbrook and just about all the public tracks in Whatcom County come to mind — so, find the one that works best for you and get out there. Summer’s too short to stay home.
(360) 893-3171• highcedars.com “It’s worth the drive best value in the NW” The Seattle Times
Public facility with country club amenities 18-hole championship course 9-hole executive course High Cedars Golf Academy 2019 Junior Golf Camps begin July 8th Ladies Golf Lessons & Wine Tasting
14604 149th St. Ct. E. Orting • WA 98360 52
Cedars at Dungeness • Sequim
Cedars at Dungeness SEQUIM
Truly a good round any time of year — the Cedars is renowned for being one of Washington’s driest golf courses, as Sequim receives significantly less rain than much of Western Washington — we personally enjoy playing it most on a sunny summer day. Yes, the fairways are definitely more crowded with bargain-hunters in July than they are in January, but the drive up to Sequim is beautiful in the daylight, from the ferry crossing, to Port Gamble, to the mountain and Sound views at every turn. Play it in summer — preferably in the mid-morning or early evening, to avoid those aforementioned crowds — and you’ll get to enjoy all the beauty of that drive twice. If you only know one thing about the Cedars at Dungeness, it’s probably that Husky legend Sonny Sixkiller seems to really love it in all of those ubiquitous commercials that run throughout the summer. If you know two things, then we’ll bet the second is that crab-shaped bunker at the par-5 third hole, one of the most recognizable images in Washington golf. In fact, there’s a lot more to the Cedars than its flashy icons. The third hole is fun — a dogleg right that ends at “Old Crabby,” whose volcanic-cinder sand is ground from the same Central Oregon source as the iconic bunkers at the regrettably shuttered Aspen Lakes Golf Course — but, it’s after you step off the third green and make your way back towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca that things really start to get interesting. The par-5 sixth and par-5 seventh holes are 466 and 580 yards from the blue tees, respectively. Played on a calm day, the former is a fantastic opportunity to put a circle or better on the scorecard, while the latter will require three well-
struck shots just to get home in three. If the wind is blowing in off the Strait, though — as it often does in the afternoon — the two holes can play nearly the same length; indeed, the character of each hole reverses entirely, with the sixth becoming a howler directly into the strong wind, and the seventh an opportunity for even mid-length hitters to watch their drives fly up to 300 yards in the breeze. The course begins to tighten up at the ninth, though there are still a couple of good birdie opportunities at Nos. 12 and 13, both short par-4s where a straight drive sets up a wedge shot to the green. (On the flipside, we don’t recommend trying to drive the green at the 369-yard 15th — Fred Couples may have pulled off the feat in a high school match, but he’s, well, Fred Couples.) It all wraps up at 18, which combines an elevated tee shot with an uphill approach to a green backdropped by a Jamestown S’klallam Tribe totem pole. Greens fees top out around $50 in the summer, and some packages even include a free lunch. With gas, a ferry ticket and that sandwich from Stymie’s, you’ll still have change for your $100 at the end of the day, and you’ll be back home before dark — but with a story to tell, and a round to remember.
YARDAGE (PAR) 4,540-6,641 (72) RATES $25-$52* TEL (360) 683-6344 WEB 7cedarsresort.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Leavenworth Golf Club LEAVENWORTH
In Washington, we’re blessed with the ability to drive one direction and, in just a short time, find ourselves on the coast (or, in the case of Cedars at Dungeness, on the Strait), or drive the other direction and be completely surrounded by mountain peaks. It’s the latter experience that you’ll get at Leavenworth Golf Course, which may well be the resort town’s most underrated attraction. Since converting itself to a Bavarian paradise in the 1960s in an effort to attract more tourists, the city of Leavenworth has become one of Washington’s most well-traveled destinations. Indeed, it’s a good bet that at some point this year, just about every Western Washington resident will pass through Leavenworth. In the winter, they come to experience a Christmas card come to life, with snow on the sidewalks, horse-drawn sleighs in the streets, and thousands of lights covering every tree and gingerbread-house style building in sight. In summer, they come to taste wine at dozens of downtown tasting rooms, shop in the outdoor art market, marvel at the world’s most extensive Nutcracker Museum, and hear the hills come alive to outdoor performances of “The Sound of Music.” Only a handful, though, bypass downtown Leavenworth and head instead a couple of miles down Icicle Road to Leavenworth Golf Club. Those few are truly our people. They certainly know a good deal when they see one — around $50 at its most expensive times (and as little as $30 at off-peak hours), Leavenworth is one of our favorite mountain golf experiences, all big trees and big views, with the solitude you’d expect of a mountain track. Just 5,699 yards from the tips, it’s also a great choice for groups of mixed ability — better players will be challenged by the course’s surprisingly fast greens, while midand high-handicappers can make their way around without feeling like every tee box requires a driver, or every approach is 175-plus. Regardless of age or ability, you’ll enjoy the relaxed pace and beautiful scenery,
Leavenworth Golf Course • Leavenworth
and when you’re back at home later that evening, you’ll reflect on that day you took a soul-replenishing mountain getaway — and still made it home in time for dinner.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,241-5,699 (72) RATES $30-$52* TEL (509) 548-7267 WEB leavenworthgolf.com * See website for current rates
P R ESENTED BY
You Make The Rules By Brian Beaky CG Editor
e’re nearly halfway through the 2019 playing season, and most of us have by now been able to test out many of the USGA’s new Rules of Golf, which underwent a major revision in 2019. I know that I personally have very much enjoyed the ability to ground my club in a hazard — I tend to find them more often than I’d like, and the ability to ground my club has resulted in better shots, lower scores and faster play — or, as I like to think of them, the Holy Trinity of a day on the golf course. I’ve also enjoyed leaving the pin in the hole (without feeling guilty about it, that is) and the new fairway-drop rule on a ball lost out of play (as opposed to driving back to re-tee), and very nearly considered taking a
“Stick in makes it so much faster and easier around the green! The ball smoked 330 lying in a fresh divot, though, that can’t be moved, is still a head-scratcher.” — Sam Cameron
two-stroke penalty to drop out of a bunker when finding myself with a fried egg at eye level back in April. I tried chopping it out instead; needless to say, the new rule might have been the better call. That said, there are still some rules that we’d prefer to see changed. I’ll never understand why I have to pay the price for someone else not fixing their divot — sure, it’s a fundamental rule to “play the ball as it lies,” but we already bend that maxim to account for plugged balls in the fairway ... it’s not a huge leap to throw divots onto the list of exceptions, too. We wanted to hear from our readers what rules you’ve enjoyed taking advantage of and if, like us, there were some areas where you feel the USGA still hasn’t gone far enough, so we put the question out to our followers on Facebook and Twitter. Amusingly, many responded with desired rule changes — like not counting accidental double-hits, or not being penalized if your ball moves slightly on the green after it is addressed — that, in fact, already are part of the new rules established this year, evidence of just how many new rules there are, and how few of them many of us have really had time to study. Here’s what you had to say:
“I like the flagstick being left in. If I could change one rule, I would allow one breakfast ball.” — Ryan Perkins
“The dropping from the knee seems a bit silly to me and can be very awkward. Why not just a bend and drop from the waist or, if they really want to save time, just place the ball from the get-go?” — Dave Wold
“Love the option to putt with the flagstick in — speeds up play, and gives a bit of a target. Do NOT like the rule to only drop from knee height. There should be no penalty for dropping from anywhere above the knee.” — Noah Van Loen
“One I’d like to see changed is a free drop out of a divot — that should be treated as ‘ground under repair.’” — Les Sargeant
“Stick in and grounding in a penalty area are awesome.” — Colin Judnich “Breakfast ball should be official off the first tee.” — Justin Mentink
“Love leaving the flagstick in ... hate hitting out of a footprint in the bunker.” — Jim Parkerson
YOUR Enter To Win A Trip to Montana!
opefully, you’re excited by now to head east and explore the incredible, affordable golf in Montana’s Flathead Valley. Well, let us take care of the first two days of your trip — we’re going to give one reader, and the playing partner of their choice, the chance to experience Northwest Montana golf on us, including a two-night stay for two at the Red Lion in Kalispell, and twosomes at both Buffalo Hill and Village Greens! You can find out for yourself why so many people are calling Northwest Montana the Northwest’s last great undiscovered country. To enter to win, log on to CascadeGolfer.com.
Western Washington's largest and most widely distributed golf magazine, with news and views for Seattle-area golfers.