VOLUME 10 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2016 • COMPLIMENTARY
PUTT LIKE A PRO SIX ROUNDS IN 72 HOURS AT BANDON JOHN DALY JOINS THE FIELD AT THE BOEING NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
HITTIN’ THE LINKS WITH LAWYER MILLOY GOLFING AND SKIING AT WHISTLER RESORT
From day trips, to road trips, to 36-hole bonanzas, we’re blowing out summer in style The Golf Club at Newcastle (Coal Creek)
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Volume 10 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2016
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• Nicklaus’ new local course • Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship • Spokane’s exclusive stay & play • Kayak Point’s new digs • CG takes home the hardware
12 TOP SHELF
• The 12th Man lives at Fairwood C.C.
Features 30 TO BANDON AND BACK Six incredible rounds in 72 whirlwind hours at America’s golf paradise. BY BRIAN BEAKY
14 TEEING OFF
16 PUETZ IN THE BAG
THE DALY SHOW
• Lawyer Milloy needs a lesson
• Japanese imports • Irons, putters. shoes and more
29 RISK VS REWARD • Oakbrook Golf Club | No. 14
46 ROAD HOLES
• Golf and ski at Whistler
50 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Late-summer day trips
Counting down the top-10 most memorable Boeing Classic debuts. BY TONY DEAR
40 SUMMER’S LAST HURRAH Blow out summer with 27 or 36 holes at one of these five incredible courses. BY BRIAN BEAKY
• Use golf to win at gaming
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ON THE COVER The 17th at Coal Creek is just part of what makes The Golf Club at Newcastle one of our favorite places to laze away a summer day. Story on page 40. Photo by Rob Perry
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2016 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
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THIS PAGE You can’t get prettier than the 16th at Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, half of a fantastic 36-hole day. Story on page 40. Photo by Rob Perry
AUGUST 2016 AUGUST
Long days of summer bring out the pros and the best in golf here in the Northwest as LPGA, PGA TOURs roll in
very year, I count the days until the solstice, which brings early, sunlit mornings and long, dusky evenings — on average, the Northwest sees more loops per day during the summer than any of the top U.S. golf spots. I recently teed off at Snohomish Golf Course at 6:30 in the morning, blazing fresh trails in the dew; two weeks later, I went to Bandon Dunes (in a feature for this issue) and played until nearly 9 p.m., as the sun set over the Pacific. It’s special to live and play in a place where both are possible. Another thing I love about summer is that it’s when the major professional tours turn their attention our way. The weather, crowds and course at June’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee were in top form, and the nationally televised broadcast gave our area another “Chamber of Commerce” moment, like we had last year at Chambers Bay. Sahalee has now hosted both men’s and women’s PGA Championships and the NEC World Golf Championship; it’s my hope the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR take a hard look at Sahalee as a U.S. Open and Ryder Cup venue. Breakthrough talent Brooke Henderson won at Sahalee, then a few weeks later took the 45th annual Cambria Classic at Columbia Edgewater in Portland, making the Canuck the Queen of the Northwest swing.
And speaking of Canada, Victoria, B.C. — a mere 86 miles from Seattle — will host its first-ever PGA TOUR Champions Tour stop this summer, the Pacific Links Championship at Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Sept. 19-25. This is one of the most picturesque backdrops the champions will play on, with vistas that overlook Victoria Harbor. You might want to consider a quick trip — the dollar is in our favor. And, of course, the Boeing Classic returns to TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, Aug. 22-28. In addition to the incredible views and field of legends, this year’s tournament has some extra excitement with the debut of fan-favorite John Daly. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t have an even bigger gallery than Freddie; I certainly know he’ll have more colorful pants. Readers in the southwest corner of the state, meanwhile, can watch the next generation of greats in the PGA TOUR Web.com Tour’s Winco Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge the same weekend. We live and play in a heavenly spot — and the golf world is noticing, given that all four major tours have made a stop in here in the last 16 months. The sport is alive and healthy here in the Northwest. It’s exciting — get out and dig some of the cool experiences we’ve dialed up here for the remaining days of summer and, as always, TAKE IT EASY.
Local Teen Becomes Third Recipient of Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
hen Duke and John Moscrip of Duke’s Chowder House decided late last year to fund a $1,000 junior golf scholarship in the Seattle area, they hoped to find a hard-working, studious, community-minded young golfer with a passion for the game whom they could assist on their path to success. And, in no time at all, they did. Then they found another. Then another. And another. By the time the April issue rolled around, they had identified at least a dozen strong candidates. By June, a dozen more. By August, even more. Even after expanding the program from one $1,000 winner per year, to one $1,000 winner per issue (four total, annually), choosing from such a deep and qualified list has proven just as challenging as trying to replicate Duke’s world-champion clam chowder in your home kitchen (the recipe is on the website, but it’s never quite the same). Which means that Tucker Alexander — and Henry Mills and Hayden Hunskor before her — should feel quite proud. An outgoing senior at Bremerton High School (and soon-to-be freshman at the University of Arizona), Alexander checked all the boxes the Moscrips look for when choosing a scholarship recipient. Hard-working? You bet — in addition to her schooling and a two-sport schedule, Alexander served as ASB president at Bremerton her senior year, and was one of just 200 Camp Fire Girls nationwide to receive the prestigious Wohelo medallion, the organization’s highest honor. Studious? Alexander maintained a 3.5 grade-point average throughout her four years at Bremerton, was an
eight-time Olympic League Scholar and received the U.S. Army’s Scholar-Athlete Award in 2016, given to just one male and one female scholar-athlete at Bremerton each year. Community-minded? Um, just a little. Alexander has run a bake sale in Bremerton for the last 12 years — do the math, and you’ll see she started it when she was just six years old — which has raised over $15,000 for the Bremerton Food Bank, a fact that was recognized by the city of Bremerton earlier this year. She also received a Presidential Volunteer Award for donating over 200 hours of her time to community service in the past year alone. Passion for golf? Of course — Alexander played varsity golf and volleyball all four years at Bremerton, was the 2015 District Champion and made the cut three times at the Washington State Championships. She’s not planning to pursue golf as a career, but there’s no question the sport, and its lessons, will stay with her for years to come — hopefully to inspire other hard-working young golfers down the road. “In what was once again a very tough decision due to the wonderful and impressive nominees, we would like to extend a big congratulations to Tucker Alexander for winning this month’s Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship,” says John Moscrip, COO of Duke’s Chowder House and son of founder Duke Moscrip. “This young lady epitomizes the characteristics that we feel are essential for success — well-rounded, great sportsmanship, hard-working and driven. We hope this scholarship will keep you motivated to fulfill your dreams!” There’s still more time to nominate the deserving young golfer in your life. We’ll be awarding one more Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship for 2016 in our December issue, with big plans for 2017 as well. Nominees need only be of high-school age or younger, with a passion for golf that they’ve demonstrated through participation with teams, First Tee or Grass Roots programs, tournaments or similar organized efforts. That’s it for qualifications, though with such a competitive field, strong academics and community service will certainly enhance a nomination, as will a goal to work towards a career in golf — whether as a player, course administrator, architect, groundskeeper, broadcaster, etc. Readers wishing to nominate an individual need only to send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship,” listing all of the ways in which your young golfer is deserving. Be sure to include their name, age, hometown and year in school as well. “I’m so grateful and excited to receive this scholarship,” Alexander says. “It’s a great game.” AUGUST 2016
SHORT GAME Kayak Point Gets A Facelift
or most of its first four decades, Stanwood’s Kayak Point Golf Course has had a reputation as one of the region’s finest — a fun, challenging, and beautiful track tucked amongst giant firs and cedars on a ridge just above the eponymous point that juts into Puget Sound. Over the last couple of years, though, some golfers making the trip to Stanwood expecting to play the track that once made Golf Digest’s “Top 50 Public Courses” list were reporting a different experience. Tee boxes that weren’t level, patchy fairways and greens suffering from a
Kayak Point G.C. • No. 14
lack of light and airflow. Something needed to be done. The first step in the process came two years ago, when hundreds of trees were removed to increase the flow of air across the greens and fairways, and allow the grass to grow the way it should. That was followed last year by the installation of a new irrigation system to improve the flow of water around the course, and an overhaul of Kayak’s most troublesome tee boxes. This year, under the direction of new superintendent David Peterson, who learned from the best at such notable tracks as Newcastle and TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, Kayak is continuing its efforts to restore the course to its rightful glory, touching up the bunkers and rough, and furthering progress on the fairways and greens. Of course, just as it wouldn’t make sense to remodel your house, but leave behind the old front porch, neither would it make sense to invest significantly in your golf course, and present golfers with the same old club-
house. As such, Kayak opened its brand-new clubhouse in April, complete with a new pro shop, new restaurant, plus an outdoor patio and pavilion. In addition to Peterson, new management have been brought in behind the scenes as well, including in both the golf shop and food-and-beverage department, a sign of the commitment course owners Snohomish County (for whom the course, operated day-to-day by Access Golf, is part of the 650-acre Kayak Point Park) are making into restoring Kayak Point’s reputation among the state’s top tracks. General manager Steve Stensland, who came to Kayak Point in 2011 and has seen the course through its many recent upgrades — often lobbying hard on their behalf — says the changes have had a big impact both on and off the course. “We’ve worked hard to change things up,” he says, “and it has really paid off.”
TOP SHELF Fairwood Country Club Welcomes 12th Man — And Some of the First 11, Too
e don’t often write about private courses in the pages of Cascade Golfer — that’s because, like most of you, we’re daily fee players, and it’s no fun to read (or write) about a course that, frankly, 99 percent of our readers are never going to play. As the economy has rebounded these past few years, however, and golfers have once again increased their total number of rounds played per year, we’ve discovered more and more of our friends and readers poking around the fringes of private tracks — inquiring about initiation fees and dues, and doing some quick calculations to figure out if a membership, and all its attendant benefits, would actually make financial sense. Shoot, we’ll admit that we’ve even done the math on a few occasions. One way in which some clubs have begun reaching out to potential new members is through creative membership plans that make that back-of-the-napkin calculation come up favorable to club membership more often than not. Take Renton’s Fairwood Country Club, for example. Recognizing that not every golfer has the time or money to make the most of a full membership — including unlimited access to the golf course, pool, fitness and locker room facilities, plus dining facilities and the region’s most robust social calendar — Fairwood offers an “all-sports membership” package that, for about $100 a month, grants access to all of the listed non-golf amenities, plus the practice facilities, and the option to play the golf course for just $60 a round. There’s also a multi-generational package available for full members that, for an additional $200 a month, grants your entire vertical family a membership at the club as well. Your kids, grandkids and their families — or parents and grandparents, as the case may be — can each enjoy the same golf, pool, fitness, dining and social benefits that
Fairwood Country Club • No.17
you do as a member, for a minimal additional cost. There’s also your standard swim and fitness memberships, young executive memberships, social memberships and other classes that provide different levels of access for various rates, and make membership in a private club a reality for less than what you might think. These innovative membership plans, plus pool and fitness facilities that are the envy of most clubs in the region, have led Fairwood to have a younger membership than most clubs, a fact that general manager Tom Frets says provides many benefits to club members. “We have a very young demographic,” he says. “Only a few clubs in King County have a fitness center that can match ours. We also have the biggest pool around and a swim team with over 175 members, so that really helps attract the whole family. In addition, because our members are so young, most of them are still working — if you’re flexible or retired, the golf course is usually wide-open on a weekday. Pretty much everyone gets around in under four hours.” We can vouch for that. On a recent visit, our walking threesome teed off behind a foursome of old men, and we fully expected a four-and-a-half-hour slog. Instead, they were long gone by the time we hit the second tee, and we zipped around the course in well under four hours. That wasn’t so fast, though, that we couldn’t appreciate Fairwood’s lightning-quick greens — some of the best we’ve played in the Puget Sound region — and outstanding conditioning; when you spend your time playing nothing but daily-fee tracks, even good ones, you forget just how
nice a private course can be. The trees lining every hole block out most of the homes that surround the property, while the narrow fairways, doglegs and elevation changes brought to mind the region’s other famed private tracks, places like Sahalee and Mill Creek Country Club. Built in 1967 and updated many times since — most recently to match a plan John Harbottle crafted just before his death in 2011 — it’s vintage Northwest golf, with narrow landing areas and tricky greens. And while there are plenty of country clubs throughout the region that welcome the 12th Man (all of them, we’d assume), Fairwood is one of a small handful that many of those “first 11 men” call home, too. Yep, we’re talking about the Seahawks themselves — while privacy restrictions keep Frets from being able to name players individually, he can confirm that several Seahawks coaches and players count themselves among Fairwood’s membership (and attentive readers may recall wide receiver Jermaine Kearse noting in our June 2015 issue that Fairwood was among his favorite places to play). It’s no wonder, then, that a lime-green and blue color scheme permeates the property, from the trim on the scorecard to the free tees in the pro shop. “The 12s live here,” Frets says. Private club membership hasn’t always been within reach for your average local golfer. But then again, Fairwood didn’t always boast so many Super Bowl champions among its membership, either. The window of opportunity is open — and as the Seahawks already did in 2014, now’s the time to take advantage. Visit online at www.fairwood.org or call (425) 226-9700 to learn more.
Win Free Golf at Fairwood!
ant to check out the country club where the Seahawks play, but aren’t quite ready to hand over the initiation fee? No worries — one lucky Cascade Golfer reader, and an even luckier friend, are going to hop right under the velvet rope and step onto the first tee at Fairwood Country Club this fall ... on us! That’s right — you don’t have to be a member to play if you’re the lucky winner of this contest, so enterto-win today at CascadeGolfer.com! 12
Don’t Tell Lawyer Milloy That He’s Supposed to Be Retired INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
awyer Milloy wants to set the record straight. He’s not a golfer. Sure, he gets out and plays a few times a year, and when does, he can hit the ball a long way. But, between parenting four daughters and contributing to four businesses — including a football camp at Pacific Lutheran University (www.footballcamps.com); a sports-and-entertainment app, “Game On,” with partners E40, Joe Montana and Snoop Dogg; Atavus, a Seattle-based company teaching rugby-style tackling; and the Seattle-based makers of the revolutionary Vicis football helmet — it’s hard to find the time for lessons, fittings, practice rounds or the kind of frequent play it takes to become truly good at the game. And there’s no question it bugs him. This is, after all, an athlete who was drafted twice by Major League Baseball teams, competed in two sports at UW, made four Pro Bowls, one All-Pro team and reached two Super Bowls, including a win in 2002 with the New England Patriots. Give him the time, and he’s sure he could master golf, too. In June, Milloy pulled the clubs out of the trunk to compete in the Pro-Am of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. We called him the morning after to see how it went. Photo courtesy University of Washington
What did you think of the Pro-Am? “I’ll be honest, when my agent first called me with the chance to play, I kind of blew it off, because I wasn’t paying attention. I thought it was just another charity event. But then I got out of my car and walked by Don Cheadle and was like, ‘Whoa.’ Then I saw Ken Griffey, Jr., one of my childhood idols, and was like, ‘OK, this is bigtime.’ I was glad I didn’t wear my Abercrombie shorts.”
with your mental approach. You have to be hard, but you also have to stay cool. A lot of people are one or the other. At some point, the course is going to test you, and how you handle it determines how you’ll do. Now, see, that’s why I played football — because I could just go hard every play. It fit my personality. Golf’s a challenging sport for me in that way.”
How long have you been playing? “I’ve been playing since my rookie year. I was invited to an event being hosted by Mark Brunell. I had never golfed before, but said yes anyway, and showed up to play my first round ever, at TPC Sawgrass. I had no idea at the time that it was this prestigious course. But that was literally the first time that I ever held a club in my hands.”
Which sport translates better to golf, football or baseball? “Easily baseball. The hand-eye coordination. Obviously the swing is different, but if you pull your head off the ball in either sport, you’re not going to hit it the way you want. You can’t hit it if you don’t see it. Another similar thing is that when you hit the ball in the sweet spot, you almost don’t feel it. When you hit a solid home run, it feels like butter off the bat. It’s the same way with golf.”
What are the best and worst parts of your game? “When I show up, I look like Tiger Woods, with my bag, clubs and gear. But as soon as I start swinging, it’s like, ‘Oh boy.’ I have a nice, smooth backswing, and then all of a sudden on my downswing, I’m like He-Man grabbing his sword — the power just takes me over and I have to try to crush the ball. And I’m hard on myself, I’m like, ‘Man, you suck.’ But I know it’s all my fault, because I don’t practice.”
When you’re not golfing, what’s a typical day like for you? “I start off by asking my wife if she needs anything. I wore the cape for 15 years, but she ripped it right off of me as soon as I retired. So, I check with her, check my calendar, then start making calls to my various business partners. I try to get all of that done before the kids get home, because the rest of the day is all about them — sporting events, school activities. I just try to keep busy.”
What’s the hardest thing about golf for you? “There’s so many elements that impact how you play that day -- different courses, different weather, different environments, different hole placements, along
How do you choose your investments? “Anything I can do to help the game of football, I do. So with Atavus and Vicis, those are companies that I feel are working to make the game safer, which is what we
have to do if we want it to survive. Otherwise, if I find it interesting, I’m in. If not — I have a wife, four daughters and a struggling golf game. There’s plenty for me to do.” Is there any player right now that reminds you of Lawyer Milloy? “Probably Kam Chancellor. I played for a long time because I didn’t feel that there was anybody in my locker room worthy for me to hand the keys to. But my last year, we got Earl [Thomas] and Kam in the draft. A lot of the things I said and did they didn’t really get until they had their chance, but they both called me the next year and said, ‘Hey, I get it now.’ And now, they’ve taken what I instilled and perfected it and made it their own. One of these days they’ll get old, and hopefully they’ll pass it forward to another young guy who’s doing things the right way.” What do you miss most about football? “In the business world, I find that sometimes I meet people who just don’t have that same motivation or drive that I have to be successful. In the NFL, I didn’t have to worry about working with people who weren’t 100 percent on top of their game. If you didn’t have it, you didn’t make it to that level. And honestly, being out at Sahalee yesterday was the first time since I retired where I felt that again, where it felt like everything and everyone was operating at a high level. I miss that. When you’re retired, you become less and less relevant, and life becomes a lot more do-it-yourself. And I don’t mind that ... but, it sure was nice to have a caddy. [chuckles] It felt good to be treated like a pro.” cascadegolfer.com
RISK vs. REWARD Oakbrook Golf Club
Hole No. 14 Par 5 505 yards (Blue tees)
By Simon Dubiel
At just a hair over 500 yards (from the blues, 484 from the whites) this hole is reachable for most players who hit their driver a decent length. The tee shot is straightforward, but favoring the left-center of the tree-lined fairway will give the best angle to the green, avoiding the Douglas fir that blocks the right-front of the green. The green is also protected by bunkers front, left and back.
After coming off a 198-yard par-3, this par-5 might just be the medicine you are looking for to heal those wounds. If you successfully place your drive, you are in the “go” zone. With no water or out-of-bounds in play, the chance to get on in two, or get up-and-down for a four, is real, while an errant shot can still leave you OK. The pot is ready to be taken down, you just need a hand to win it.
To get home in two, you really have to hit one pure and on-target. The slightest miss will likely leave you trying to make a sandy or, potentially worse, chipping out from behind an evergreen to whatever part of the dance floor you might be able to access. Or, how about everyone’s favorite shot — under the tree, over the bunker? Not exactly what you had in mind after striping one down the fairway off the tee. One swing can leave you wishing you had hit that eight-iron to 100 yards.
Occasionally, you have to be willing to throw away the second-best hand, regardless of how pretty it might look. We are picking another hole to make our move. Lay up 30 yards short left of the green and give yourself an easy pitch-and-run to the flag. There is nothing wrong with a par — or, even better, making birdie the old-fashioned way. Remember, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.
Your challenge awaits you at Willows Run with 2 championship 18 hole courses along with an outstanding nine hole par three and our 18 hole putting course.
For more information go to www.willowsrun.com
That was the day, for me, that the countdown began — the first day that I looked at the calendar and started thinking, How many days until I get to go to Bandon? That’s what a trip to Bandon Dunes — the now-legendary golf resort on the southern Oregon coast — does to you. You’ll be sitting at your desk, just working away, when suddenly an image of a pin backdropped by the Pacific Ocean, or a giant sandy dune turning purple in the setting sun, will come into your head, and you’ll look at the calendar, do a quick calculation and say to yourself ... “Forty-seven days.” The next time, it’s 41. Then 35. Then 30. Then 26. By the time you hit the three-week mark, you’re counting down every single day, your mind wandering constantly to those rolling fairways and towering cliffs. You start to smell the salt spray from the sea, and feel the wind raising the goose bumps on your arms as it blows hard across the fairways. At two weeks, you feel a breeze blow through your hair and think, I’d better get to the range and work on my punch shots. At one week, you see tall grass on the side of the highway and think, I should get my wedges re-sharpened before I go. By the last few days, you’re barely functional, working for 5-10 minutes at a time before staring
Story By Brian Beaky Photos by Wood Sabold out the window, your body still present, but your mind already standing on the first tee. You wake up at 6 a.m. every day, fully alert, ready to get through the day as quickly as possible, so as to bring the countdown one day closer. Then, one day, it’s “The Day.” And when you wake up on that day, it’s like no day you’ve ever lived before.
ny trip to Bandon starts with an early wake-up call. Whether driving (between 7-8 hours from the Seattle area) or flying (connecting through Portland to North Bend, Ore., about a half-hour cab or shuttle ride from the resort), there’s no shortcut to Bandon Dunes. And truthfully, that’s part of what makes it special; driving to play golf on the Peninsula or in Central Washington is a brief flirtation — you can have your fun, and still be home for dinner. Going to Bandon is a commitment. Our hardy foursome opted to drive, both to save money and to have the option to drive into town in the evenings. You certainly don’t need a car at the resort — three of the four golf course clubhouses have restaurants serving a variety of fare, while McKee’s Pub, by the Bandon Dunes pro shop, is filled nightly with golfers rehashing the day’s wonders over reasonably priced burgers ($10), beer ($5-$7), pizza ($12) and other goodies. Com-
plimentary shuttles, meanwhile, ferry golfers from resort lodging to the courses, practice area and restaurants. But, having a car gives you the option to head into town, or for non-golfers in your party to explore the nearby Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, or the shops, restaurants, fishing excursions and other highlights of Bandon-By-The-Sea. The resort has all sorts of accommodations — from more affordable single and double rooms, to 1-4 bedroom condos. We stayed in a set of two-bedroom condos overlooking a quiet lake, in rooms that were modern, if austere — with large, comfortable beds, large bathrooms, free wi-fi, a wine fridge, TVs and ... not much else, there’s just enough to keep you comfortable from sundown to sunrise, without too many extra frills. The reality is, you won’t spend much time in your room anyway — because at Bandon Dunes, it’s all about the golf. All four of Bandon’s 18-hole championship courses rank in the top-15 of Golf Digest’s most recent list of America’s top public courses, with Pacific Dunes trailing only Pebble Beach for the top spot. Nearly every golfer who visits Bandon Dunes plays more than one course each day — either 36 holes of championship golf, or 18 followed by a round at the 13-hole, par-3, Bandon Preserve. Replay rates drop by 50 percent for your second round; squeeze a third one in, and you can play for free. All of the courses are walking-only, though (with special excepcascadegolfer.com
Six incredible rounds, three incredible meals — and one incredible ace — over 72 hours in paradise
Old MacDonald • No. 7
tions if required), so come prepared to test your physical limits — when you’re pushing your (complimentary) push cart uphill, into the wind, for what seems like the 36th consecutive hole, you’ll understand why golfers say that mental and physical endurance is key to success at Bandon Dunes. Needless to say, this is no place to break in a new pair of shoes. We kicked off our week at Pacific Dunes, Tom Doak’s links masterpiece, which features some of the most photographed holes in America. The front nine at Pacific is a good primer for what to expect from a week at Bandon Dunes — big fairways littered with bunkers; acres of gorse waiting to suck in wayward shots; and large, undulating greens. If you play the day you arrive, as we did, you’ll also most likely be introduced to Bandon Dunes’ most significant challenge to par — the wind. Whether coming in straight in off the sea, or blowing down the coast from the north, the wind — which typically kicks up around 10 a.m. on a clear day, and lasts until late evening — is a formidable obstacle, affecting everything from club selection, to putting speed, to your ability to focus. Just holding a green can be tough; the wind blows so hard that it dries out the greens — a downwind approach shot, even with a wedge or short iron, will roll an extra 20 yards at least. When it’s blowing its hardest — which, for us, was at a sustained speed of about 30 miles per hour — it can represent up to a fourclub difference in your shots, and will intensify any sidespin whatsoever by powers of 10. The wind even forces down cascadegolfer.com
the tiny blades of grass on the greens, meaning your uphill, downwind putt may actually play faster than your downhill, upwind putt. Assuming you can get your ball to stop oscillating long enough to make a clean strike, that is. It’s a significant mental challenge; one of our group, who will remain nameless, decided he couldn’t take it one day and quit after 18 holes. If you go prepared, you’ll be better for it — low, piercing drives, punch shots, bumpand-run approaches and lots of practice chipping from tight lies and putting from off the green will do wonders for your score. The first few holes at Pacific Dunes play directly into the north wind, turning a 476-yard par-5 into about a 600yard par-5 when the wind is at its peak. As you crest the fairway at No. 4, though, you get your first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean (behind an infinity green), and it’s as if all those early struggles with the wind melt away. There’s just something about the ocean that’s humbling — its vastness, its depth, its beauty, its eternity. As you stand on the green and look up and down the coast, it’s nothing but golf practically as far as you can see — Bandon Dunes stretching out to the south, and Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald to the north, with Bandon Dunes’ founder Mike Keiser’s famous “Sheep Ranch” course jutting out on a peninsula at the northern edge of the landscape. It’s that moment when you realize you’re in heaven. After perhaps the resort’s most difficult front nine, the back nine at Pacific is a blast — four par-3s (including both
Nos. 10 and 11, right along the ocean) and three par-5s, plus quite possibly the most picturesque par-4 in America, the 13th. With the ocean to the left and a towering dune to the right, there’s no place to go but straight ahead to the elevated green. Hit it in the early evening, when the sun is going down and the wind is dying out, and watch the dune turn golden, then purple. If someone ever wants to spread my ashes, this might well be the spot.
ur second day saw us start out at Bandon Dunes, before an afternoon and evening spent joking around on the Preserve and Punchbowl courses. David McLay Kidd was just 32 years old when Keiser enlisted him to build the first course at what would become Bandon Dunes Resort, and Kidd delivered a track that’s rivaled, in this writer’s opinion, only by the courses around it. While its slope is higher than that at Pacific, that’s largely due to the acres and acres of gorse that was part of Kidd’s original design, and has since been largely removed, leaving behind more open fairways and player-friendly approaches. While Pacific Dunes’ 13th may be America’s most-photographed par-4, the honor of “best” might fall to either the fifth or 16th at Bandon Dunes. The former is a 374-yarder with a green tucked into a chute, reminiscent in some ways of the 10th at Chambers Bay. Routed along the coast, and played directly into the wind, it’s both beautiful and brutal AUGUST 2016
Bandon Dunes • No. 16 — a short, scenic par-4 that you’ll be lucky to hit in two. The opposite is true at No. 16 — listed as 301 from the gold tees on the scorecard, a helping wind and the firmness of the turf means it plays closer to 260-270. Since the layup shot, over a yawning canyon with the ocean roaring underneath, is no piece of cake, most players just pull driver. Every great course should have at least one hold-your-breath moment — Bandon Dunes’ 16th makes you hold your breath, then takes your breath away. The Preserve is Bandon’s par-3 course, and an excellent alternative for golfers who want to keep playing, but don’t have the time, or physical or mental fortitude, for another full 18. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it’s short (the longest hole is 150 yards), stunningly scenic — in fact, our host for the weekend, Bandon Dunes’ Michael Chupka, called the Preserve’s No. 9 his favorite hole on the entire resort property — and just pure fun. After about two hours of beers, birdies (OK, more of the former than the latter) and the trading of more than a few barbs, we finished on the downhill, 109-yard 13th, where Chupka told us it’s a tradition to use only a putter. As we walked off the course, a group of about 20 golfers, beers in hand, were teeing off in one massive group at No. 1. It’s that kind of track. We capped our first full day with a Skins game on the Punchbowl at Pacific Dunes, a 100,000-square foot putting green on which the resort routes two 18-hole courses each day. It’s free to resort guests, and with bar service right on the green, it’s about as much fun as you can have with a putter in your hand. We planned to spend an hour or so and wound up spending two, ordering drinks and teasing each other mercilessly, finally capping our night when one of our party drained an eight-footer for a whopping 17 skins. For large groups, families, or simply golfers looking to take it easy one afternoon or evening, the Preserve, Punchbowl or some combination thereof are a must-do. Our third day started off with a reprise of Pacific Dunes, where the wind was blowing even harder than it had the day we arrived. After finishing, we headed over to Old MacDonald, Bandon’s newest course and another Doak (with help from Jim Urbina) design. Where Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes wow you with scenery, Old MacDonald does so with its architecture. Only a few holes play by the ocean, but every hole is just so ... darn ... cool. The third is a reachable par-4 with a blind tee shot, the fifth a short par-3 with an epic green, the seventh a par-4 that plays right up to the ocean, and the eighth a downhill par-3 with one of the largest and wildest greens you’ll ever see, with a deep swale in the middle, as if a giant dragged his finger through it. It continues like this throughout the round, each hole inspired by a different design element — redan, cape, Biarritz, etc. — and each one leaving you feeling inspired. cascadegolfer.com
Pacific Dunes • No. 11
The most open of any of the Bandon courses, Old MacDonald’s defense is its greens, which are massive and untraditional in both shape and design — on the aforementioned par-3 eighth, we suffered our first four-putt of the week; seven holes later, we suffered our second. On the closing hole, called “Punchbowl,” leaving your shot on a tier above the hole can make putting straight at the pin impossible — instead, you’ll have to analyze the surrounding terrain and devise your own innovative path to the hole. It’s a little Chambers Bay, a little Gamble Sands, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.
or the final round, on our getaway day, we headed over to Bandon Trails, where the design team of Coore and Crenshaw faced a significant challenge — draft a course on par with Bandon and Pacific, without the benefit of the ocean scenery. Challenge accepted. What Bandon Trails lacks in seaside drama it makes up for in design. Like Wine Valley, fairways roll together, seemingly without end. Like Salish Cliffs, tall pines and clever bunkering put a premium on accuracy. Like Gold
Mountain’s Olympic Course, elevation comes into play on just about every hole, which start among the dunes, then route high up into the coastal forest, before finishing back where they began. Like Palouse Ridge, the greens are in perfect condition, a welcome respite for putters weary of navigating the massive and challenging surfaces of the oceanside courses. In other words, it’s the best of every great Washington golf course rolled into one, and dropped alongside some of the most famous seaside golf courses in the world. Our favorite holes included all of the par-3s, which are unquestionably the resort’s best (little wonder, then, that Keiser turned to Coore and Crenshaw to create 13 great par-3s at Bandon Preserve); the 11th, a downhill par-4 with the only non-ocean water hazard on the entire property; and the 14th, a short, downhill par-4 from an elevated tee with a crazy, left-to-right sloping fairway and nearly impossible green (admittedly, we like it more for the view than the bogies we inevitably made). Of course, publisher Dick Stephens will forever have a soft spot for the eighth, a 283-yard, slightly downhill, par-4. Our tees were pushed up, so Dick pulled hybrid, kissed it right down the middle, then watched as it rolled onto the green, towards the flag ... and disappeared. “Where did it go?” “Do you see it?” “Is it in? No way it’s in. Really?” Our reactions ran the gamut; company vice president Kirk Tourtillotte just ran, all the way to the hole, before sagging his shoulders and scouring the greenside rough.
Bandon Preserve • No. 10 Dick saw through the ruse, though, and he was right — sure enough, the ball was there at the bottom of the cup, a symbol of the unlikeliest hole-in-one any of us have ever seen. When we went into the clubhouse after the round, they said it was just the second they’d ever heard of on that hole. Bandon Trails typically gives plaques to players who hit holes-in-one; they don’t even make them for No. 8. Drinks in the clubhouse were on Dick; the memory, though, was one we’ll all hold onto.
s with any epic journey, a trip to Bandon Dunes is as much about the people you meet as the places you see. Take Kyle, an young entrepreneur, who dragged his wife all the way from New York City to spend four days at Bandon Dunes (“I just had to see it,” he said. “And it’s been amazing.”). Or Brooke, a former college softball star from nearby Drain, Ore., who works as a teacher during the school year, and as a guest services representative at Bandon Trails in the summer: “It’s fun to meet people from all over the world — everyone has an interesting story,” she says. Or Gary, whose Fairway Shuttles take golfers to and from the resort for a nominal
Bandon Trails • No. 14
fee — to the airport, Three Rivers Casino, or into town. Then there’s Rich Iverson. Iverson moved to Bandon decades ago from North Dakota, and can remember what the town was like before the resort was built. Perhaps no one in Bandon has benefitted more from Keiser’s vision than Iverson — as one of 13 “founding members” of Bandon Dunes, Iverson can play any of the resort courses, any time he wants, for just $40. (Iverson recently played in Bandon’s annual Solstice Tournament, playing — and walking — all four courses in one incredible day.) He also owns and serves as head chef at Bandon’s finest restaurant, Lord Bennett’s (www.lordbennetts.com, 541-347-3663), an intimate establishment on a low bluff
with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Locally sourced fish, steak and poultry dishes highlight the menu, accompanied by an expansive wine list featuring plenty of Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. (Tell Iverson that Cascade Golfer sent you, and he may even unlock one of the secret wines that he keeps reserved for only his closest friends.) “Bandon is an easy place to get to, but it’s a hard one to leave,” Iverson says. Watching the sun slip into the ocean out the window at Lord Bennett’s, as you cut into your filet, sip your Pinot and listen to the waves gently washing around the towering rocks that define the Oregon coast, you’ll understand exactly what he means.
Kid ON THE
Block BY TONY DEAR
JOHN DALY’S BOEING CLASSIC DEBUT later this month has us counting down the most memorable first-timers in the tourney’s 12 years
eattle golf fans are gearing up for the arrival of John Daly at this year’s Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, Aug. 26-28. Big John turned 50 at the end of April and committed to the tournament at the beginning of June. Fans will be keen to see his still-powerful swing, what line he decides to take off the 14th tee, and, of course, what garish garments he has in store. It’s reminiscent of the buzz created by local boy Fred Couples’ 2010 debut, and started golf fans thinking, “Who are the other players local galleries couldn’t wait to see the first time they teed it up at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge?” We could just about fill a top-10 with those who made their debuts in the first Boeing Classic, in 2005 — notably, Tom Kite, Craig Stadler, Hale Irwin, Bruce Fleischer, Peter Jacobsen, Don Bies, Ben Crenshaw and Gary Player — so we’ll, appropriately, “grandfather” them in. Here, then, is our countdown of the most memorable post-2005 debuts in Boeing Classic history.
10. Tom Lehman — 2011
Nine months after winning the Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in 1996, Lehman ascended to No. 1 in the world rankings … and stayed there for a week. It’s surprising, perhaps, that the native Minnesotan won only five times on the PGA TOUR, but he is still a force to be reckoned with on the PGA TOUR Champi38
ons Tour, where he has won nine times, including three majors. Lehman turned 50 in March 2009, but didn’t make it up this way until 2011, when he tied for 49th. He has since made two more appearances, including a tie for fourth in 2013.
9. Rocco Mediate — 2013
A six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Mediate is, of course, best known for taking Tiger Woods to the wire during their playoff for the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Five-and-a-bit years later, he arrived in Seattle for his first Boeing Classic and tied for 15th on six-under. He tied for 10th in 2014, then withdrew last year following a first-round 74.
8. Curtis Strange — 2007
The 1988 and ’89 U.S. Open Champion, Strange was eligible for the first Boeing Classic in 2005, having turned 50 in January of that year. But, he didn’t make his Snoqualmie debut until 2007, when he finished tied for 71st on 10-over 226. He made only one more appearance — the following year, when he tied for 65th.
7. Jeff Coston — 2006
The popular Seattle native who left the PGA and Hogan (now Web.com) Tours to set up his teaching academy at Semiahmoo in 1994, was a couple of months too
young to play in the inaugural Boeing Classic, originally called the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic, in 2005. He accepted a sponsor’s invitation to play the following year, though, despite the fact it clashed with the PGA Championship, for which he had qualified. He finished at three-under 213, and tied for 44th. The 2016 Washington Open Champion has made five subsequent appearances, with a high finish of T32 in 2014.
6. Mark O’Meara — 2007
The native North Carolinian (he grew up in Southern California) was born a couple of weeks before Nick Price in 1957, and likewise made his debut at the 2007 tournament. The man who claimed two major championship victories (Masters and Open Championship) in 1998, at the age of 41, tied for 11th at the Boeing, on seven-under 209. He has played every year since, recording three top-three finishes, including a playoff loss to Jay Don Blake in 2012.
5. Nick Price — 2007
Unlike other former world number-ones, three-time major champion and Hall of Famer Nick Price keeps very much to himself these days. Rarely, if ever, seen on TV and given scant mention in golf publications, Price is somewhat overlooked, and it’s easy to forget just how impressive he was for a time in the early 1990s – between cascadegolfer.com
August ’92 and September ’94, he won three of the nine major championships played, and recorded a total of 12 victories on the PGA TOUR. The Zimbabwean remained fairly active on the Tour right up until his 50th birthday in January 2007, and then jumped right into the Champions Tour. In his first turn at Snoqualmie, he shot two-under 214 and tied for 33rd. Price has made four subsequent appearances at the event, and finished second in 2010.
4. Colin Montgomerie — 2013
As of August 2013, the burly, one-time surly Scot had played just five senior events in America, and was possibly weighing just how much he wanted to commit to a full(ish) schedule on the Champions Tour. Still, given that Montgomerie had entered the Hall of Fame just three months previously, boasted a superb Ryder Cup record of 20-9-7 against the Americans, and had endured a lovebut-mostly-hate relationship with U.S. galleries, Seattle sports fans looked forward to his arrival. He failed to distinguish himself, finishing tied for 45th on one-over 217, but has since seen his senior career take off. Now a threetime senior tour major champion (two Senior PGA Championships, one U.S. Senior Open) who finished second and third in the Charles Schwab Cup the last two years, Monty is very much a star among the over-50s.
3. Bernhard Langer — 2009
The German bypassed Seattle in 2008 — his first full season on the Champions Tour; by the time he arrived in 2009, he had clearly established himself as the man to beat among the over-50s, with seven wins and 25 top-10s in his first 35 Champions Tour starts, including a Charles Schwab Cup win in ’08. The Bavarian tied for third in his debut, although he did shoot three rounds in the 60s (69, 66, 67) to finish on 14-under 274. But Langer made no mistake on his second trip to the Boeing Classic, winning the 2010 event by three over Nick Price. Langer has now played in seven Classics, recording one win, one second, one tie for third, one tie for fourth, and three other top-15 finishes. After the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in July, he led the Charles Schwab Cup race by almost $700,000. Langer turns 59 on the Saturday of Boeing Classic week, meaning a second victory would make him the oldest winner yet.
1b. Fred Couples — 2010
It’s a toss-up between Daly and local boy Fred Couples over whose debut has been the most anticipated, so we’re giving them equal billing at the top of this list. When Seattle’s own Fred Couples first played the Boeing Classic in 2010, he was 10 tournaments into his Champions Tour career, and had already recorded three wins, three seconds and two other top-five finishes (the two “disasters” were a tie for 11th in Iowa and a tie for 12th in Tampa). The 1992 Masters champion and 15-time PGA TOUR winner was probably playing as well as he ever had, save perhaps for a torrid spell between the middle of 1991 and May ’92, when he won five times on the PGA TOUR and finished in the top-three at 12 out of 20 tournaments. Couples played okay at Snoqualmie Ridge on his maiden trip, getting off to a good start with a four-under 68. A disappointing second-round 72 gave him too much ground to make up on the leaders, however, and though he completed the week with a splendid 67, he could only finish third, nine shots behind winner Bernhard Langer — who tied Loren Roberts’ 54-hole record of 18-under 198. Couples has now finished in the top-three three times in six appearances. Come on Freddie, it’s time you won!
1a. John Daly — 2016
Since winning the PGA Championship in Indiana in 1991 with a mix of prodigious hitting, a surprisingly deft short game, and a rather cavalier attitude, the once-mulleted Arkansan has been a big draw at golf courses wherever he’s played. Questionable life choices and a string of failed relationships might have kept him in the news, but they also kept him from reaping the potential benefits of an incredible talent which saw him win only five times on the PGA TOUR. Two of those wins were major championships, however, because as well as the ’91 PGA, Daly also won a Claret Jug – at St. Andrews in 1995, when he defeated Italian Costantino Rocca in a four-hole playoff. In seven events on the Champions Tour, Daly has yet to record a top-10 and has a best finish of tied for 11th. The part of his game for which he is best known is still in good repair, however. Following that tie for 11th, Daly’s stats became official, and he shot straight to the top of the Driving Distance category, with an average poke of 303.5 yards – over six yards further than John Huston, in second. With power to burn, Daly will surely lap up 7,264-yard TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, and especially the par-4 14th, where it’s likely only a strong headwind will keep him from going for the green all four days.
What You Need To Know Dates: August 22-28, 2016 Location: TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Field: 81 Champions Tour professionals Format: 54 holes of stroke play with no cut Purse: $2 million Par: 72 | 7,264 yards Television: Aug. 26-28, The Golf Channel
The Schedule Aug. 22 — Seahawks Rumble at the Ridge — Practice Rounds Aug. 23 — FREE Emirates Youth Clinic — Executive Women’s Day — Adaptive Golf Clinic — Practice Rounds Aug. 24 — Korean Air Pro-Am Aug. 25 — Korean Air Pro-Am Aug. 26 — First Round Aug. 27 — Second Round, Family Day Aug. 28 — Final Round, Military Appreciation Day
Tickets Daily: $20 Weekly (Aug. 22-28): $60 Tournament (Aug. 26-28): $40 Kids under 14: Free with paid adult Seniors (60+): 50-percent off general admission prices Passes also available to VIP Club sections; see boeingclassic.com for details.
Volunteers Volunteers receive $300 in value, including merchandise, meals, parking and shuttle preference, and two weekly admission passes, plus tickets to special Volunteer Appreciation Party. Details at boeingclassic.com.
WIN VIP Passes To The Boeing Classic!
From Seattle, take I-90 east to Exit 25 (Snoqualmie Pkwy). Turn left onto Snoqualmie Pkwy, passing under I-90. Signs will direct you to free public parking.
t’s one thing to read about John Daly in a magazine, and another to see him on TV. But there’s nothing quite like watching him bomb those epic drives in person — and if anyone were ever to throw caution to wind and go for the green at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge’s 14th hole, it’s going to be Daly, right? That’s why we’re giving you a front-row seat to the action — you can kick back in the Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club and watch Daly, Couples and the rest of the PGA TOUR Champions Tour’s best give it their all at 14, while enjoying upgraded concessions, scoreboards, covered seating and more. Plus, your Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club passes include free admission to the tournament and a free beverage! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
AUGUST AUGUST 2016
The Links at Avalon
Gold Mountain (Olympic) Photo by Rob Perry
Golf Club at Newcastle
Prospector at Suncadia
ALL YOU CAN EAT
Photo by Rob Perry
Willows Run G.C. (Eagleâ€™s Talon)
Rope Rider at Suncadia
Photo by Rob Perry
AUGUST AUGUST 2016 2016
AT THESE FIVE LOCAL TRACKS, THE FIRST 18 HOLES ARE MERELY AN APPETIZER
ome days, 18 holes just aren’t enough. Especially at this time of year — when our sunny weather is at its peak, the days are 16 hours long, the kids are out of school and it’s easy to slide in a vacation day without anyone taking too much notice. There’s also that nagging feeling that starts to kick in around late August that says that golf season, or at least the best of it, is coming to a close. When it’s 1 o’clock on a warm, sunny day, and you have no place to be, putting the clubs back in the trunk just feels ... wasteful. There are only so many days left with weather like this; we owe it to ourselves to make the most of them. More often than not, if we’re going to play one round in the summer, we plan ahead to play two. And it’s amazing how good we usually feel stepping onto that 19th tee — you may not know until you try it, but 18-hole warm-ups work wonders for your golf game. You can play the same track twice if that’s your preference, but we usually like to mix it up, whether that means playing two different courses — some perennial favorites to pair include Port Ludlow and Cedars at Dungeness, McCormick Woods and Trophy Lake, or Druids Glen and Washington National — or, heading to a course that features more than 18 holes on the property. While the former plan gives you the chance to experience two completely different tracks, it’s more time-consuming, and can in some cases be more costly — many courses with more than 18 holes offer all-day play or replay rates that will save you significantly on your second round, while the time you save not having to drive from course to course is invaluable. There are several such courses in our region that offer either 27 or 36 holes of championship golf, plus many more with executive or par-3 tracks on the property (or, in the case of Willows Run, all of the above). Here’s where you’re most likely to find us making the most of these late-summer days over the next six weeks.
GOLF CLUB AT NEWCASTLE NEWCASTLE newcastlegolf.com
he Golf Club at Newcastle and its two 18-hole courses, Coal Creek and China Creek, are probably the one place just about every local golfer takes friends from out of town, when we’re trying to impress. That first view from the top of the hill, as you’re driving up the winding road to Newcastle’s clubhouse, is takeyour-breath-away amazing. Seemingly all of Western Washington is laid out in front of you, from Bellevue, to Everett, to Sea-Tac, plus Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Sound and the Olympics. It’s hard to imagine a better view from the top of Columbia Crest. Then you pull up to the clubhouse, and it’s like you’re walking into an English manor estate — from the cascadegolfer.com
By Brian Beaky CG Editor elegant exterior construction, right down to the easy chairs, library and dark-wood paneling in the Wooly Toad pub. And the golf courses themselves are fantastic — both kept in tip-top shape, with holes that tumble up, down and across the hillside, and nearly all of which keep that incredible view in sight. It’s the one course guaranteed to make an out-of-towner say, “Wow.” Both courses hit triple digits in the summertime, though public rates drop as low as $70 at China in the evenings, Coal bottoms out at $75 for Oki Card holders, with Annual Golf Plans that make per-round fees even more affordable. But for most of us, they’re courses we save for special occasions, like those out-of-town guests or an important business meeting. All that put together, though — the views, the amazing courses, the feeling of “specialness” each time you make the occasion to play there — make for a fantastic 36-hole day. We’ve done it, once, in 2011, and our experience was a perfect example of what makes Newcastle special. We started out on Coal, soaking in the views while we played some of our favorite par-3s and one of the best risk-reward holes in the state, the par-5 17th, where the green seems perched right on the edge of the Earth. By the time we teed off on China (which, for our money, is every bit as good as Coal), temperatures had reached 106 degrees — so what did Newcastle do? They loaded up a beverage cart with ice water and offered it free to every player on the course, for the rest of the day. That’s the whole Newcastle vibe — country-club prestige, in a public course setting. If you’re looking to be treated like a king for a day, it’s the perfect spot.
THE LINKS AT AVALON
BURLINGTON avalonlinks.com few years ago, we set our minds to playing as much golf as we could from sun-up to sun-down, and squeezed in an amazing 88 holes. Now, there are only so many places, and certain times of year, that you can make a marathon day like this a reality. You need a facility that’s close to home, allows carts (duh), is easy to get around (long drives between holes will kill your pace of play) and one that has a rate for all-day play, making 88 holes just as affordable as 36, or 54, or however many you plan to fit in. For us, that place is Avalon. It checks all the box-
es — just an hour from the north end, with an all-day rate that’s just $10 more than the standard 18-hole price. At the peak of summer, that means you’ll pay just $65 ($10 more than the peak rate of $55) to play as much golf as you want, from sun-up to sun-down. It’s also helped by its 27-hole layout. The two most limiting factors in playing as much golf as you can in one day are pace of play, and boredom. With the three distinct nines at Avalon, though, it doesn’t feel like you’re playing the same holes time and time again. Instead, it’s like you’re biting off nine-hole chunks at a time — moving from the tight and tree-lined North, to the shorter and more player-friendly West, to the open and linksy South, each requiring (and rewarding) different skill sets. It can’t be understated how much that format helps when you’re playing a marathon golf day — thinking of each “round” as just nine holes at a time helps you keep from being overwhelmed, while the differing styles of each nine keeps you mentally sharp. It also helps if you’re struggling with one aspect of your game — if your driver is shaky, you can put it away on the West; if it’s on fire, the South gives you the chance to bomb away. In addition, the starter can place you onto the most open course each time you pass through, keeping your pace of play up and preventing you from being stuck behind a slow foursome for a full 18 holes. It makes for a fun day you won’t soon forget, and at just $10 more than the standard greens fee at the time you tee off, it’s a deal that’s impossible to pass up.
ROSLYN suncadiaresort.com hile many golfers tend to lump Suncadia in with the Central Washington destination courses, the fact is that it’s less than 90 minutes from Seattle — heck, on some days, it probably takes less time to drive from Seattle to Suncadia than it does from Seattle to Tacoma. It’s an understandable misconception, though, because the reality is that when you’re at Suncadia, you feel like you’re a world removed from civilization — and you’re certainly in no mood to go home anytime soon. We like to start at Prospector, the original of the resort’s two public courses. It’s a little more challenging than Rope Rider, and features a full driving range where we can warm up beforehand, and shake out any rust that accumulated in the car. A mainstay in our rankings of Washington’s top public courses (eighth in 2013, and tied for 10th in 2015), Prospector’s Arnold Palmer design features a number of unforgettable holes (the tee shot at the par-4 10th is quite possibly Washington’s best) and a pace of play at that’s universally quick — we’ve never played a twosome there in more than four hours.
AUGUST AUGUST 2016
Newcastle (China Creek) • No. 14 Newcastle Photo by Rob Perry
That leaves us plenty of time to hit Rope Rider, just a mile or so down the road, before heading back home. Opened in 2011, Rope Rider is more open than its older sibling and, despite a longer yardage on the scorecard, plays a little shorter, which makes it a favorite of resort guests, families and groups of mixed ability. What used to be Washington’s best front nine is now the back, with reachable holes at No. 10 and No. 12; one of our favorite par-4s, at No. 15; and a finishing three-hole stretch that wraps around a 100-foot-high pile of coal tailings before returning you to the Swiftwater Cellars winery, which pays tribute to the region’s mining history in its architecture and decor. So what’s the cost to play 36 holes at a resort featuring two of the top-10 public courses in the state? Hit Prospector before 8 a.m. and you can pay as little as $69 in peak season (or as little as $79 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.), then take advantage of a replay rate that’s as low as $39 to play Rope Rider, and be back at home in time for dinner. That’s what we call money ... well ... spent.
WILLOWS RUN GOLF COMPLEX REDMOND willowsrun.com
ome courses have more than 18 holes, some have par-3 courses, some have putting courses ... in the state of Washington, at least, only Willows Run has it all. New to the game, short on time, or just want to work on your iron play and short game? Play Heron Links, Willows’ nine-hole par-3 course, with tee boxes ranging from 86-170 yards. Looking to play a course that doesn’t require you to mash the ball 280 yards, but still provides plenty of challenge? Hit Coyote Creek, which at just 6,300 yards from the tips may not seem like much, but with water in play on nearly every hole
Links at Avalon (West) • No. 3 Burlington
(in the form of creeks, streams and ponds, sometimes hidden from view) boasts a 70.8 rating identical to the blue tees at famously tough White Horse. And if it’s a tougher challenge you’re looking for, then play Eagle’s Talon, which is longer and tighter than Coyote Creek, but still fair enough to give the thousands of mid- and high-handicappers who flock to Willows year-round a chance. Of course, maybe you just want a fun day out with the family, exposing your kids to golf in the hopes that they’ll one day share your lifetime love of the game — in that case, Willows’ putting course, Discovery Trail (formerly Rainbow Run) will fit the bill, taking you through natural tunnels, under bridges and around rock walls. Willows is also expanding its clubhouse and dining facilities later this year, which will make it a destination not just for golf, but for meals and weddings, too. Rates start at just $27 in the summer, peaking at $60 for a non-member on a weekend. If you’re planning to play 36 at Willows, we recommend an early tee time at Eagle’s Talon (the slightly pricier of the two championship courses) to take advantage of early-bird rates that are just $41 for non-members on weekends, followed by an afternoon tee time at Coyote Creek. For cost (under $100, combined, before tax) and convenience (just 10 minutes east of I-405 in Redmond), you can’t do better.
GOLD MOUNTAIN GOLF CLUB BREMERTON goldmountaingolf.com
here’s really no place that better expresses what Western Washington golf is, and can be, than Gold Mountain. Particularly the Olympic Course, on which designer John Harbottle (whose Palouse Ridge is for the east side of the state what the Olympic is for
COUPLES’ CHAPMAN August 27-28, 2016
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE Friday, August 26 Registration 10:00-11:30 Practice Rounds 11:00 Tee times available upon receipt of entry (360-675-5490)
Saturday, August 27 Registration 1st Round Shotgun Dinner (Hosted)
10:00-11:30 12:30 6:00
Sunday, August 28 Breakfast (Hosted) 7:30-8:30 2nd Round Shotgun 9:00 Lunch (Hosted) Following Play Prizes Awarded (Equal Gross and Net in Each Flight) (Paid in Pro shop Credit)
EXTRAS Friday - Optional Couples Best Ball (Practice Round) $5/Couple (payable to Pro Shop on day of) Sat. and Sun. – 4-person Team Best Ball KP’s for Men and Women Mulligans – $10 per couple (purchase at registration) “Skins” Game on Sat./”Deuce Pot” on Sun. ($20 for both games per couple)
WhidbeyGolfClub.com • (360) 675-5490 2430 SW Fairway Lane, Oak Harbor WA 98227
& Skiing at Whistler Resort
Nicklaus North Golf Club • Whistler, B.C.
here are tucked-away little pockets on Earth where the environment and geology produces something unique. As I get older, I am drawn more to these places, where a confluence of different elements smash together to form something rare. Whistler, B.C., is one of these places — one of a small handful in the world where you can combine two recreational favorites, golf and skiing, on one unforgettable day. Each of these places have high glacier fields, making it possible to ski above the treeline in the morning, while glacier melt feeds the golf courses in the valley below with its unique, bright-green water. It’s always been a dream of mine to do both in the same day — this year, I finally made it happen. At Whistler, your window to ski and golf is May through early June — any earlier and the courses are covered in snow; any later and the mountain serves hikers and bikers, not skiers. At 7,494 feet, Blackcomb Mountain (www.WhistlerBlackcomb.com) served as my canvas for the skiing portion of the experience. Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains make a truly world-class, year-round resort destination for skiers and golfers alike — but these two things are rarely done together, nor marketed that way.
By Dick Stephens CG Publisher
Skiing on Blackcomb can be done — weather- and snowpack-dependent — well into June, while portions of the Horstman Glacier, where I skied, remain white year-round. Blackcomb is a haven for spring and summer skiers; it’s not uncommon to see international alpine and freestyle skiers and snowboarders training there to stay sharp. It’s a real trip to start your morning off with breakfast in your shorts, flip flops and a golf pullover, eating outside in a Whistler Village bistro at 2,200 feet as you look 5,000 feet up at the glacier summit to your right. After coffee and a high-carb breakfast, I hit the Nike Performance Golf Fitting Studio to hit balls in the 70-degree warmth, before heading up to Blackcomb. The “powder” part of my skiing experience is slightly different than your traditional skiing day, where you don your ski pants and parka, ski to the lift line and start up. It could be 65 degrees up there or 35 and windy; the weather turns on a dime, so you dress accordingly, in light layers. And you don’t ski to the lift line – you walk in your ski boots, with skis slung over your shoulder. That’s because there’s no snow on the bottom of the mountain at all; in fact, it takes two lifts to reach the start of skiable terrain. I chose the route served by the Wizard Express and
Solar Coaster lifts, so I could get to the mid-mountain lodge and finally set my boots into my bindings before skiing to the next lift that serves the glacier summit. The Rendezvous Lodge is a haven for sightseers and hikers; half of the folks on the lift are heading up to spend the morning overlooking the valley’s incredible views. From the lodge, at 6,100 feet, I could see both the Whistler Golf Club and the Nicklaus North Golf Course below me — both of which looked like scorecard map layouts at this elevation. Four hours from this moment, I’d be on the first tee down there at Nick North — now, it was time to ski. Lift prices are more than 50-percent cheaper in late spring and early summer than the peak winter months, making it an affordable day out. And, if you wish to bring your kids or ski with beginners, you can ski greens and blues the whole way down. I took an easy ski route to acclimatize, called Expressway, before skiing to the Seventh Heaven lift, which goes straight up to the top of Blackcomb. As I glided along the ridge, I chuckled to think that I was hitting balls just 45 minutes ago. Once you hit Seventh Heaven, the world changes a bit. It starts to get cooler and, before long, I passed through the cloud line; by the time I summited, the cascadegolfer.com
Big Sky Golf Club • Pemberton, B.C.
golf courses below had disappeared. At 7,494 feet, I was well above the treeline, and more than 5,000 feet higher than I had been just a short while ago. It’s one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. From here, you can take many routes down. There are green, blue and black runs that plunge down below the treeline. And the snow is heavenly — softer than the winter version, but still firm enough to carve. Your legs will feel the burn, though, as you drop back down into the softer snow below. From the summit to the base, the temperature varied by 25 degrees. In fact, I took off my jacket and zipped the bottom of my pants off on the last run of the day, as I went from Horstman Hut to the peak of the Wizard Express, where the run dwindled to just a 25-foot-wide strip of snow. When I reached the base, I changed from my ski garb into golf shorts and jumped in the car for a five-minute drive to Nicklaus North, one of five courses that make up the Whistler golf experience. There’s also the Arnold Palmer-designed Whistler Golf Club, in Whistler Village (WhistlerGolf.com); Chateau Whistler, at the base of Blackcomb Mountain; Big Sky Golf Club, 30 minutes north in Pemberton, B.C.; and Furry Creek Golf & Country Club, at the start of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, about 45 minutes south of Whistler. cascadegolfer.com
Nicklaus North (www.GolfBC.com) is a Golden Bear Signature course that Jack unveiled in 1996 to huge acclaim. I visited this course while it was being seeded and preened in 1995 but never got to play it, so it was a treat to experience it all grown up. Golf Digest gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars and it’s widely considered one of Canada’s top public courses. When I played it, it had only been open about three weeks or so, but — much like the native bears that roam Whistler’s woods — the superintendents that baby these places know just how to tuck these tracks in for the long winter. The course played incredibly well, with lush fairways and greens, firm turf, and acres of new-blooming wildflowers, alpine grasses and lots of green glacier melt flowing in the streams that feed the layout. The design is very Nicklaus-like, for sure. While I counted water in play on 12 holes, I found the fairways quite forgiving, with lots of room for amateurs to stay in the short stuff. The course stretches out to 6,961 yards, twisting and turning through a layout that is both mountain meadow and forest-like. The signature par-3 12th and 17th holes are as gorgeous as any par-3s you could ever find — 12 a challenging island green, and 17 tucked along Green Lake, with amazing mountain views. It’s serene. Summer and early fall rates hover AUGUST 2016
Other PAR-FECT Pairings
olf and snow sports may not seem a likely pairing, but then again, who would have ever thought to put peanut butter and chocolate together? (And God bless whoever did.) In fact, rounds of golf can be paired with all kinds of non-golf experiences, particularly in a region as rich in recreational alternatives as ours. Just about every year, we write about pairing golf and wine tasting in Central and Eastern Washington, and earlier this year we crafted a “Birdies and Brews” trail across the Central Oregon highlands. But, there are all kinds of experiences right here at home just waiting to be tapped — and best of all, these are ones the whole family can enjoy.
PIN TO PEAK
around the $100 mark Canadian, leaving you a few extra pennies to spend at Table Nineteen, home to Whistler’s largest outdoor patio and a highly recommended spot for your après golf hangout. My trek also included a drive up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Pemberton, home to Bob Cupp’s Big Sky Golf Course (BigSkyGolf.ca). It’s one of the prettiest designs I’ve ever played, but it’s certainly one that requires good shotmaking. The course is routed across a flat valley completely surrounded by mountains; when your ball flies off the tee, it’s easy to track against the dark, alpine background. Big Sky has been rated the No. 1 course in B.C. by the PGA and a top-20 track in Canada by Score magazine, and is well worth the drive up the road. My favorite hole was the long, par-four 12th, called Great Divide. The hole is split in half, longways, by a stream, requiring two super shots to reach the green. Big Sky hosts more weddings than any course I know of, and it’s easy to see why. I played in in twilight, and the late-afternoon shadows were more than words can truly describe. Rates are more than fair, and with the current favorable exchange rate, it’s a steal of a deal. I played this 20 years ago; to this day, when I can’t sleep, I just imagine myself playing it again, until I finally doze off to beautiful thoughts. For lodging, I picked the Crystal Lodge in Whistler Village, both for its authentic, mountain-lodge feel, and its central location, which makes it easy to shop, eat, drink and chill anywhere you wish and be back home in a matter of steps. The driving range is across the street, and the base lift is a two-minute walk away. I stayed in a mid-priced deluxe studio, which was beautifully appointed and made for a relaxing stay. The pool and spa located outside hit the spot each night, while I sipped a local IPA and re-calibrated my body. And the Wild Wood Pacific Bistro, located just next door, was my favorite spot for dining, with locally sourced fare that reminds you you’re in the Northwest. Their banana-bread French toast was my carb-load choice each day. With the favorable exchange rate, and summer rates on the slopes and in the hotels and eateries, Whistler is in almost anyone’s budget wheelhouse. And at only four hours away, it’s closer than driving to Spokane or Central Oregon. Whether or not you bring your skis, bring your passport, your golf clubs and sense of imagination — this experience is just for you. cascadegolfer.com
The day starts with a morning round at Mount Si Golf Club (www.mtsigolf.com, 425-391-4926), a family-owned course at the base of the famous peak off of I-90 in North Bend. The front nine is relatively short and straightforward. The back nine, though, is a totally different animal — while only 100 yards longer, you’d swear it was more, with doglegs forcing longer approaches and par-3s that top out over 180 yards each, plus a 581-yard, mega-par-5. When the round is over, swap your spikes for hiking boots and drive a few minutes to the Mount Si trailhead. At only four miles each way, it’s not a particularly grueling hike, though the last two miles or so consist of steep switchbacks that will certainly make reaching the wildflower-strewn meadow at the top a worthwhile reward. You can climb the “haystack” — the tall rock face that juts above the meadow — to reach the “true” summit, but it’s a hairy climb, and for most, the meadow is summit enough.
PARS AND PADDLES Start your day with a paddle from Anacortes Kayak Tours. Tours range from two to five hours, and you’re certain to see seals, eagles, porpoises — and, maybe if you’re lucky, one of our resident orca pods. And, you’ll put yourself in the perfect relaxed state of mind for a round of golf at Whidbey Golf Club (www.whidbeygolfclub.com, 360-675-5490). With several holes routed alongside (and, in some cases, partly over) a large lake, and the kind of conditioning you’d expect of a private track, it’s a beautiful course and well worth the peak-season $50 maximum rate (play on a Friday after 1 p.m. and add a gourmet dinner for just $10 extra). It’s
Whidbey G&CC • Anacortes
Mount Si G.C. • North Bend open to members only in the mornings, with public play allowed after 1 p.m. (after noon in winter), so be sure to paddle first, and play later.
BALLS AND FALLS Start off with a drive up I-90 to Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course (www.snoqualmiefallsgolf.com, 425222-5244), another CG favorite in North Bend that we often pair with Mount Si on days when we’re looking to play 36. Its location on the Snoqualmie River creates a wildlife paradise in the summertime, with eagles, deer and even the occasional elk a common sight during a casual 18. And at just $41 a round, and under 5,500 yards from the tips, it’s perfect for that day when you just want to have a good time. The same is true for the Snoqualmie Falls Trail just up the road, a 0.7-mile, relatively easy hike up a small hill (about 250 feet of elevation gain) to the gift shop and visitors center. We recommend starting at the bottom and hiking up — for one, it’s easier to come down than go up later in the day, and the big reveal of the falls at the top of the trail is more exciting this way, too.
GOLF AND GRIDIRON Here’s a fall favorite, tied to a Washington State or Idaho home game, of course. Our resident Coug’s order of attack is to drive out early Saturday morning, arriving at Martin Stadium just in time to tailgate. The next morning, it’s time to hit the first tee at Palouse Ridge (www.palousridge.com, 509-335-4342), for one of the finest rounds of golf our state has to offer. Rolling hills, incredible conditioning, a linksy layout and views that extend for miles make Palouse one of our favorite tracks, and one we wish we could transplant to Western Washington, so that we could play it more often. If you get up early enough, you can knock out 36 at Palouse before heading back home — and trust us, you’re not going to want to quit when you step off the green at 18. Sure, it makes for a long day (and weekend), but assuming the Cougars (or Vandals, if that was your destination) win, it’s a weekend you’ll want to repeat year after year. AUGUST 2016
SAVE SOME GREEN MAKE A DAY OF IT
Sudden Valley G.C. • Bellingham Kahler Glen Golf & Ski Resort • Leavenworth
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ne of the biggest issues facing the game of golf is the amount of time that it takes to play 18 holes. So, it might seem counter-intuitive for us to suggest adding 3-4 hours of driving to your summer golf plans. But, there’s something liberating about a day trip. When we plan a round close to home, we’re inevitably fitting it in around other plans that day — kids’ soccer or baseball games, honey-dos, or errands we need to run. Thus, there’s a subtle pressure to get around quickly, so we can accomplish all we’ve planned. With a day trip, though, that pressure is gone — the round of golf is our sole purpose of existence on that day. On a beautiful day, with a friend by our side and a schedule wiped free of any other responsibilities, we could play for four, five, six, or even seven hours and we wouldn’t care. And when you’re that relaxed — you play better, too. So, check out some of our favorite day-trip tracks, or consider hitting up one of your own.
Kahler Glen Golf & Ski Resort LEAVENWORTH
Just about everyone we know has taken a drive up to Leavenworth at some point. And while the town’s “dreamland” quality seems to peak in December — when lights are strung on every tree, building and lamppost in sight; kids are sledding down hills in city parks; icicles hang from the eaves of Bavarian-themed chalets; and the smell of warm pretzels wafts from storefronts — it’s just as inviting in the summer ... particularly if you’re the kind of vacationer who likes a good round of golf, at an affordable rate, in a beautiful setting. One of our favorite such tracks is Kahler Glen, a frequent play either as a destination of its own, or on our way to or from Central Washington. Just a few minutes from downtown Leavenworth and less than a two-hour drive from Seattle, it’s the exact kind of course we’re thinking of when talking about a laidback, day-trip experience. First, there’s the drive up Highway 2, following the path of the Skykomish and Wenatchee Rivers. If you’re not in a relaxed state of mind by the time you pull into the parking lot, then you simply weren’t paying attention. Then, there’s the course itself — a 5,900-yard, par-70 track that’s just long enough to make you work, but not so punishing that it will harsh your laid-back vibe. The front nine, including one reachable par-5 (the 484-yard fourth) and one decidedly unreachable par-5 (the 600-yard ninth) sticks close to the condos and conference center that are packed to the gills come wintertime, when the “ski” half of Kahler’s name takes over. By the time you reach the green at the par-4 14th, though, it’s worth taking a moment to just stop ... and listen. That sound you hear? Complete and utter silence. For a city dweller looking to get away, it’s a magical moment.
Sudden Valley Golf Course BELLINGHAM
Whatcom County — and Bellingham specifically — is home to at least a half a dozen tracks that make fantastic day trips from the Seattle area. Really, a run up to Bellingham is a perfect way to feel like you’ve gotten away, while still being just 90 minutes from downtown. One of our favorites is Sudden Valley, not only for its rates — which we’ll get to in a minute — but for its design. While architect Ted Robinson favored narrow fairways at Sahalee and aesthetic beauty at Meridian Valley, he did a little of both at Sudden Valley. The front nine plays along the shores of Lake Whatcom, with broad fairways and large greens. Few greens in the state are as memorable as the one at the par-4 fifth, which rests at the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the clear, blue lake. Be sure to take advantage of those scoring opportunities on the front, though, because the back nine is where Robinson shows his teeth. Starting with the par-4 11th, the course heads into the forested hills above the lake, with significantly tighter fairways and smaller greens. After battling the trees (and, probably, keeping the driver tucked securely away) for the next four holes, golfers are gifted a dramatic tee shot at the par-4 15th, where a 150-foot drop to the fairway below begs you to blast away. So what does it cost to play a scenic course, by a famous designer, with holes that wind along lakeshore and high ridges? Sudden Valley uses dynamic pricing, with rates that change according to demand, so it’s not a simple question to answer — but, depending on the day and time, it’s fair to say that a round runs somewhere between $18-$52, more than reasonable for the experience that it provides.
YARDAGE (PAR) 4,576-5,893 yards (70) RATES $25-$59* TEL (800) 440-2994 WEB kahlerglen.com
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,627-6,553 yards (72) RATES $18-$52* TEL (855) 506-2219 WEB suddenvalleygolfcourse.com
* See website for current rates
* See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Discovery Bay G.C. • Port Townsend
Discovery Bay Golf Course PORT TOWNSEND
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
S G O L F
C O U R S E
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3! 52
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 10/31/16. Not valid on holidays.
Discovery Bay is the perfect golf course to play when you’re trying to plan a weekend day trip that includes both golfers and non-golfers alike. Why? Because Discovery Bay is located just two miles from downtown Port Townsend, one of Washington’s most celebrated daytrip locations. While the non-golfers browse the boutiques, bakeries, shops and historical buildings of Port Townsend, the golfers can enjoy one of Washington’s most laid-back rounds of golf. Originally built as a nine-holer in 1925, and expanded to 18 holes by owner Mike Asmundson (whose credits also include The Home Course) two decades ago, its out-of-the-way locale keeps Discovery Bay largely uncrowded, despite rates ($25-$45) and quality that would suggest more frequent play. The front or “Farm” nine is the original nine-hole layout, played through the open countryside, with more room to miss on either side of the fairway. Since taking ownership of Discovery Bay in 2004, Asmundson and his team have put a significant amount of cash and labor into the Farm nine, and their efforts show. The “Forest” nine, meanwhile, is the newer circuit, cut through the forested hills that overlook the Farm nine below. While just 40 yards longer than the Farm on the scorecard, the narrow fairways and frequent doglegs of the Forest make for many more long irons than you probably used on the front, and put a premium on target golf. After your round — which shouldn’t take more than four hours — head back into town to pick up your travelmates, then drive out to Fort Warden for beautiful views, or down to Manresa Castle or Port Gamble, before hitching the ferry home. If you can’t find peace on a day like that, then we’re afraid golf just may not be the game for you.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,140-6,659 yards (72/73) RATES $25-$45* TEL (360) 385-0704 WEB discoverybaygolfcourse.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
POST GAME Use Golf to Win Money — Without Betting a Dollar on the Course By Brian Beaky CG Editor
or as long as I’ve been aware of the game of golf — which my increasing gray hair would indicate is a pretty long time — I’ve been aware of the wagers and games that go along with it. When I was nine years old, hanging out with my Dad during his weekend morning rounds at the club, holding the pin and driving the golf cart (my Dad was a rather trusting man — too trusting, as a playing partner’s two broken thumbs from a parking-brake incident would attest), I had no idea what the terms “Nassau,” “press,” “sandie” or “double-or-nothing” meant, but I knew when I heard them that there was a good chance my 10-percent stake in that day’s winnings was going to increase. After the round, I’d watch as the money changed hands over lunch and a few drinks back at the clubhouse, only to watch it all change hands again over rounds of liar’s dice or cribbage. Wagering, it seemed, was a vital part of the game. These days, wagering is still a fun part of the game for me — just not on the course. While I don’t begrudge anyone their weekend game, it’s too much stress for me. I play golf because it’s fun and I enjoy being out with my friends — when I’m handing them a day’s salary at the end of the round, I tend to like both golf, and my friends, a little less. That said, the lessons I learned from watching my Dad wager in those days still inform my game. When things are going well, and a good score is in play, I remember to manage risk, and not push all-in with a sub-par hand — “Don’t be a hero,” my Dad would say. Likewise, I try not to let one bad beat, or a bad hole, put me on tilt. Money can be earned back, and so can shots, provided you don’t try to do too much. The same is true when I walk into a casino — lessons I know from years on the golf course can help me manage my bankroll over the course of the night. As any longtime CG readers are well aware by now, we’re not exactly an uncommon sight at Auburn’s 54
Muckleshoot Casino — we hosted our Cascade Golfer Cup Year-End Banquet there for years, and almost always drop in after a round at any of the half-dozen or so courses within a 15-minute drive, most notably Washington National, Lake Wilderness, Druids Glen and Auburn Golf Course. Our first stop is usually BSB & Raw Bar, for a burger and a beer — just like we need to fuel up before a round of golf, it’s no good gaming on an empty stomach. With that taken care of, we need to head to the driving range and warm up — which means hitting the roulette table. It’s one of the easiest table games to understand, and typically helps us loosen up. Having thrown in some chips and grabbed another drink or two from BSB or the Media Bar, it’s time to pull out the driver and hit the blackjack tables — Spanish 21 is a personal favorite for its potential payouts, with side bets and liberal rules that make it slightly more advantageous to the player than traditional blackjack. There’s also Free Bet Blackjack, which allows you to double your bet without paying a premium, and Super Fun 21, a version played with a single deck that allows you to double at anytime, split up to three times ... it’s nuts. With a little luck and some savvy play, I usually walk away from the Spanish 21 table with a couple of solid pars on the board, and maybe even a birdie. And as stated before, when I’m winning at golf or gaming,
I minimize risk — which usually means cashing those winnings on another bite to eat (maybe at Coyaba Grill) and a drink, or spending a little time pulling onearmed bandits (I’m sure there are plenty of studies on which of the Muckleshoot’s 3,000-plus video gaming machines pay the most, but I’ve always been partial to Wheel of Fortune). At this point, I’m a few holes into the back nine, and still looking good — time to start consolidating my gains for the stretch run. For me, that means craps — not only does it remind me of those games of liar’s dice my Dad used to play, but it’s where the house advantage is at its slimmest. Finally, it’s time to turn for home — and if I learned one thing from those mornings with my Dad, it’s that when you have your opponent against the ropes, you can’t stop throwing punches. That’s why I always finish up with some poker — whether a table game like High Card Flush or Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, or one of the many tournaments the Muckleshoot hosts nearly every night of the week. So, who says you can bring gaming to golf, but you can’t bring to golf to gaming? Both are mental games at their core, and the strategies to overall success aren’t all that different. And ultimately, my goal — just like it is on the golf course — is exactly the same: to have fun, and enjoy some time with my friends. Only, unlike a competitive game of golf, we can all walk away winners. cascadegolfer.com