VOLUME 11 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2017 • COMPLIMENTARY
G400: FAST & FORGIVING BOEING CLASSIC BRINGS TOUR GREATS TO PNW CHIPPING & SIPPING ON THE CG WINE TRAIL NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS
CASCADE GOLFER BUYS SEATTLE GOLF SHOW
Washington’s Top Public Courses Overall By Region By Rate
Trophy Lake Golf & Casting • No 18
PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #1 Seattle,WA
CASCADE A LOOK INSIDE
Volume 11 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2017
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 95,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound region.
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Departments 4 6
• CG buys Seattle Golf Show • Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship • Boeing Classic returns Aug. 21-27 • LPGA legends coming in 2018 • Blue Heron flies again • Western WA’s First Family • Muckleshoot commits to golf • Top driving ranges, military courses, more • NEW: Ask CG
19 TEEING OFF
• M’s Dave Sims calls his shots
20 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• PING gets fast • Callaway’s “epic” new irons • G Le puts ladies first • Shoes, balls and more
Top-10 Public Courses From the top-10 overall, to the best courses by region and greens fees, we — and you — rank the state's top tracks.
40 CG Wine Trail Our favorite wine-and-golf weekends, from Chelan to Walla Walla.
33 RISK VS REWARD • Gamble Sands | No. 12
48 SAVE SOME GREEN • One last summer road trip
• Four ways to speed up the game
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Bobbi Kramer ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & RECEIVABLE Pam Titland
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS Pages 24-31
ON THE COVER Trophy Lake’s jump into the top-10 wasn’t the only surprise of 2017’s bi-annual golf rankings. Story on page 34. (Photo by Rob Perry/robperry.com)
THIS PAGE Whether to play the No. 4 course in the state, or as the centerpiece of your CG Wine Trail weekend, Wine Valley is always worth the drive.
Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2017 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted.
PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
Seattle Golf Show Feels Like Home For Us
hhhhh. The warm sun in Seattle. There's nothing like it. I know you're as glad as I am that the wettest winter and spring in state history is over, and summer has returned in its full glory these past few months. It's been special to enjoy. We also have something special going on at Cascade Golfer. As you'll read on page six, we recently purchased the Seattle Golf and Travel Show, and the Seattle Bike and Adventure Shows. This is HUGE news for us, to say the least. In 1998, we helped start the Seattle Golf Show and ran it for five years as the managing producer for the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA. We learned, and so did they, how to run and manage a golf showcase. We were better for the experience, and our team — led by Ozzie Boyle and gentlemen such as the PNGA’s John Bodenhamer (now with the USGA) and the PNWPGA’s Jerry Pearsall and Shawn Cucciardi — started a legacy that has lasted 20 years. In the years since, the show has been professionally run by others, including Tom Cade (now with the PNGA), as well as John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson. These hard-working gentlemen grew the show and made it what it is today. In the meantime, we have produced more than 90 shows in 11 other cities — the closest being in Portland.
It feels like home to be doing the show here again, and we will work hard to build on its history. You will hear more from us in the coming months. I’ve also been enjoying the PGA TOUR this year, and was stoked to see our home boy, Kyle Stanley, win the Quicken Loans National. What’s good for the PGA TOUR is good for golf, and when you see a new young face taking the prize nearly every week, it’s helping build a new legacy for fans that will grow the game into the future. Players like Koepka, D.J., Jordan, Rickie and other young guns around the world are now driving this bus. I love Phil and Ernie and the big names from years gone by, but these new guys are awesome. The way they strike the ball and connect with fans via social media, who then join conversations on everything from that player’s round, to their sticks, the ball, what they wear, etc. — it's all new. And this is not a trend – it’s the new normal, as golf reinvents itself for a younger generation. I love following all of these players online, and we hope you'll follow us online, too, at Cascade Golfer on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to sign up for the newsletters from us and Puetz both, as well. Enjoy the second half of summer and, as always, TAKE IT EASY.
Photos by Peter Howland/ peterhowlandphotography.com
Cascade Golfer Buys Seattle Golf Show, Sets Date for 2018
e don’t brag about it too much, because we like to keep the magazine’s content hyper-local, but in the world of consumer golf shows ... we’re kind of a big deal. Varsity Communications — the Lynnwood-based company that produces Cascade Golfer and all of our related books, cards and tournaments — is, in fact, one of the biggest producers of consumer golf shows in the nation, with 11 shows in markets spanning literally from coast to coast. Which has always made it sort of odd that we didn’t produce the show in our own hometown — until now. In June — literally days after celebrating the magazine’s 10th anniversary — Varsity announced that it had purchased the Seattle Golf Show and its two affiliated events, the Seattle Bike Show and the Travel-Golf-Adventure Expo. Starting in 2018, we’ll be bringing our trademark deals, savings and sweet swag to the more than 10,000 golfers who pass through the
CenturyLink Field Event Center each spring. “We are excited to be reunited with the Seattle Golf Show, which we first produced 20 years ago,” says CG publisher and Varsity CEO Dick Stephens. “[Former owners] John Tipping and Owen Hoskinson have cared for these shows, poured their time and talents into them and have backed golf, cycling and adventure in a way no one else did here in Seattle. We’re excited to carry forward the traditions and legacy of these fine gentlemen.” In fact, our team were the original producers of the golf show in 1998, and managed the show for five years at a time when it was owned by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. In the decade since, we’ve grown our nine other shows into some of the nation’s largest and most popular, with a tried-and-true formula of unbeatable savings, exciting new products and services, fun contests and incredible giveaways, with the goal of providing attendees a maximum value for their golf dollar. Sound familiar? It should — it’s the same mantra we’ve
followed while building Cascade Golfer into Washington’s most widely read golf publication, and growing our Cascade Golfer Cup, Match Play, Players Card and Northwest Golfers Playbook into the successful enterprises they are. And it’s the same formula that Puetz Golf — our retail partner both with the magazine and, now, the golf show — has put into their business for more than 75 years. When you consistently put yourself into the mind of your customers — whether attendees at a golf show, readers of a magazine, purchasers of a discount card or players in a tournament — you make better decisions. And that’s our goal with everything we do — to give you more of what you want, and help you spread your golfing wings, without taking too big a bite out of your limited golf budget. So, as you begin the process of closing out this golf season over the next few months, remember that the 2018 Seattle Golf Show — brought to you exclusively by Cascade Golfer, baby — is coming sooner than you think. Come join us, and let’s celebrate together.
Congratulations to the winners June’s Enter-to-Wins! B.C. Stay-and-Play Debbie Jensen • Bellevue
There are three more chances to win this month, including 12 rounds of golf, Boeing Classic tickets and more!
Spokane Stay-and-Play Cory Wells • Shoreline
• Two Hours at Clubhouse Golf Center • Page 7 • Boeing Classic VIP Passes • Page 13
Aspen Lakes Foursome Bill McDowell • Stanwood Kahler Glen & Highlander Twosomes Vickie Haase • Kent
Trophy Lake Golf & Casting • Port Orchard
• JACKPOT: Rounds to Trophy Lake, Eagles Pride, Gallery & Blue Heron — 12 rounds in all! • Page 15 Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win. And follow us on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@ CascadeGolfer) for even more giveaways and contests! Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com
Olympia Teen Wins August’s Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship
ince April of 2016, Duke’s Chowder House has awarded $1,000 to a young golfer in every single issue of Cascade Golfer. In that time, we’ve received dozens of nominations (though fewer in recent months — if you have a worthy candidate, please let us know!), and nearly every single one has come from a family member — usually a parent or grandparent of the nominee. Which was what made Noah Phipps’s nomination unique. Noah’s nomination came to us not from a family member with a vested interest in the child’s welfare, but from a seemingly independent observer — Gary Larson, the athletic director at River Ridge High School. (No, not that Gary Larson — we did check, though.) Larson had observed Noah’s hard work and professionalism for years, and took it upon himself to submit his name for consideration. Among the things we learned about Noah from Larson — he finished his term at River Ridge this spring with a 3.9 grade-point average, including advanced-placement classes in math and science, and plans to major in engineering when he starts at Washington State in the fall. He also serves as senior class treasurer, works in outside services at Hawks Prairie, and is a three-year golf letterwinner; in 2017, as a senior team captain, Noah led the Hawks to a conference title and earned an individual berth at State. “I am fortunate to have worked with [Noah] the past four years in the classroom as well as on the golf course,” Larson wrote to us. “Noah has demonstrated all the qualities we hope to instill in our graduates at River Ridge [and] it is without hesitation that I recommend [him] for Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship.” The Phipps family, as you would expect, were surprised and elated to receive the call. “Wow! Thank you!” said Jay Phipps, Noah’s father. “That is quite the honor. We are very proud of him.” As with all Duke’s Junior Golf Scholarship award winners, Noah received a $1,000 check from Duke’s Chowder House to use towards the pursuit of his goals moving forward — be they in golf, engineering or otherwise. Do you think you know of a young golfer who might be worthy of this award? If so, send us an email at email@example.com and let us know. Nominees need only be of high-school age or younger, with an excellent academic record and a passion for golf that they’ve demonstrated through participation with teams or community programs. A record of community service, extra-curricular activities and a desire to pursue a golf career (in whatever capacity) also doesn’t hurt. Through the scholarship’s first two years, Duke’s has awarded $7,500 to young golfers throughout the Puget Sound region. Yours could be next!
Swing Away at Clubhouse Golf Center
e’re going to miss this summer — but just because the rainy days and early nights are coming back soon, doesn’t mean you have to put the clubs away. In fact, we’re going to set up one lucky reader with two hours at Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center — you can swing your own clubs and hit real balls while playing the world’s greatest courses on a full-size simulator ... all while watching the latest college football or NFL action on big-screen TVs, and enjoying cold brews and delicious food. Log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win!
SHORT GAME Military Courses Deliver Fun, Value Green River College Golf 2017 PRO-AM MONDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH 2017
MERIDIAN VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB Fundraiser for the Green River College Men’s & Women’s Golf Teams. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information regarding sponsorships or playing in the tournament, please contact Head Coach Brian Baldwin Bbaldwin@greenriver.edu 425.463.5135
t’s no secret that the Puget Sound region is one of the nation’s military hubs, with one of the country’s largest army installations at Fort Lewis (now combined with neighboring McChord Air Force Base to form Joint Base Lewis-McChord, or JBLM), the home of the Pacific nuclear submarine fleet at Naval Base Kitsap, plus Naval stations in Everett and Whidbey Island. It’s no wonder that Military Appreciation Day is usually one of the busiest at the annual Boeing Classic. What you may not know, however, is that these bases are home to some of our region’s most enjoyable golf courses — and each of them are, in fact, open to the public. When we polled readers and local golf experts to find the top-10 public courses in Washington for 2017, three military courses — the venerable Eagles Pride and Whispering Firs, both at JBLM, and the less-well-known Gallery Golf Course, on Whidbey Island — received votes, with Eagles Pride ranking sixth in the state among courses under $40 (Gallery, it should be noted, was
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12th). There’s also the American Lake Veterans Course in Lakewood, a course designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled vets. Eagles Pride is the granddaddy of the group — first built in 1929 and rebuilt in 1940 (the front nine, now the Red course, was for officers and the back nine, now the Blue, was for enlisted men), a third nine (the Green course) was added in 1979, making Eagles Pride one of the oldest and most significant military courses in the country (typically rated right alongside the Air Force Academy’s famed Eisenhower Golf Course). It’s tight, hilly and can be challenging even for the best golfers – though with enough tees to ease back on the challenge for golfers still in basic training (and isn’t that all of us?). Plenty of water and sand make it most forgiving to the golfer with patience, precision and focus … in essence, rewarding the same qualities that have made our military the world’s most effective for the last century. Gallery’s relatively remote location, on the west side of Whidbey Island, keeps pace of play quick and reduces the crowds you might see at other tracks of a similar quality and price point. The views, though, are second to none — from much of the golf course, you’re looking directly west down the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific Ocean. Eagles, dolphins and even whales are hardly an uncommon sight — neither are the fighters that zoom overhead en route to NAS Whidbey, or the sounds of high-caliber gunfire from the adjacent base firing range. It’s a fun course, too, with a mix of open fairways and small greens that won’t punish mid-handicappers, but force scratch golfers to be precise with their irons to make birdie. Each give discounts and preferred tee times to active, reserve and retired military, especially on weekends, but public tee times are available all seven days at three of the four (American Lake is limited just to hospital in-patients, military, VA volunteers and their guests). Best of all, neither Eagles Pride, Gallery nor American Lake require you to drive on base to reach the first tee. (Whispering Firs, however, does require passing through the JBLM gate, which will require a driver’s license and a stop at the visitor’s gate to obtain a pass on the way in.) To learn more, visit www.jblmmwr.com/golf (Eagles Pride and Whispering Firs), whidbey.navylifepnw.com (Gallery) or www.alvetsgolfcourse.com (American Lake). cascadegolfer.com
LPGA Legends Tour Coming to White Horse In 2018
he Seattle area is getting another professional tour event. In March, the LPGA Legends Tour — the official “Senior Tour” of the LPGA — will make its first official visit to the Pacific Northwest when the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup comes to White Horse, June 9-10, 2018. The all-new event could bring some of the biggest names in LPGA history to the Northwest, including Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster, Pat Bradley, Laura Davies, Patty Sheehan, Liselotte Neumann and Michelle McGann, all of whom have been regulars on the Legends Tour, open to all women professional golfers age 45 and older. “The Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup will be a perfect Pacific Northwest location to hold this tournament,” said Jane Blalock, Legends Tour chief executive officer and a 27-time LPGA Tour winner, in a prepared statement. Created by Blalock in 2000, the Legends Tour has grown steadily throughout the last two decades. This year’s schedule features six events, including the first-ever Senior LPGA Championship. In addition to the White Horse event, next year’s schedule adds the first-ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open, which will significantly enhance the Tour’s profile. Since its inception, the Tour has awarded over $13 million in prize money, and raised more than $17 million for charities. While the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup will mark the Tour’s first appearance in the Northwest, that will not be the case for most of the golfers in the field. Nearly all of the regulars on the Legends Tour competed in the LPGA Tour’s Safeco Classic at Meridian Valley Country Club from 1982-1999, while several returned in recent years for a charity event at Inglewood Golf Club in 2012 and 2013. White Horse is an appropriate fit for the region’s first-ever LPGA Legends Tour event — it is one of the few courses in the state designed by a woman, Cynthia Dye McGarey, who crafted the original 18 in 2007, before local architect John Harbottle III softened up some of the course’s rougher edges during a partial re-design in 2011. “I am excited that we are staging our first official tournament in the state,” Blalock said. The 36-hole tournament will feature a 72-player field with no cut, plus a Pro-Am on Friday before the weekend event. Information regarding tickets, volunteering and more will be released soon at www.thelegendstour.com and www.whitehorsegolf.com.
Blue Heron Takes Flight
e’ve told you about the improvements the new owners of Carnation’s Blue Heron Golf Course — just 15 minutes from Issaquah, Sammamish and Redmond — have made to the course itself. Now, they’re making that same investment to the off-course experience, starting with The Blue Heron Restaurant. Led by Chef Brandon Cassidy, the revitalized restaurant features prime steaks, seafood and a variety of seasonal game dishes, all inspired by what Cassidy calls a “French technique with Italian influence.” Owner Reza Yasseri says his goal with the restaurant was to give the community an upscale dining option that didn’t require driving to Bellevue or Seattle. It’s certainly paid off — and not just for golfers, who can take advantage of “9 & Dine” Fridays that combine nine holes of golf with cart and a 12 oz. Prime Rib for just $31.99. Non-golfers have been pouring in, too, eager to take advantage of Blue Heron’s newest offering. To learn more or make a reservation, call (425) 313-5015 or visit www.theblueherongolf.com.
SHORT GAME The Difference Makers: The Harbottle Family
John and Pat (Lesser) Harbottle
In celebrating our 10th anniversary year, we’re also celebrating some of the figures who have made the local golf scene what it is today. Previous issues honored Ken Still and Bill Wright; in this issue, Craig Smith turns the spotlight on the “first family” of Northwest golf — the Harbottles.
f golf in Washington had a king and queen, they would be the affable couple whose home is near the second hole of the Tacoma Country & Golf Club. John and Pat Harbottle, both Northwest Hall of Fame members, first made a splash on the golf scene in the 1950s and are still going strong seven decades later. Together with their late son, John Harbottle III, they’ve left a huge footprint in the history of Northwest golf. Pat — who witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor because her father was stationed there as an Army officer — was the first woman honored as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer “Man of the Year” in sports after win-
ning the 1955 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Pat’s other national triumphs include the U.S. Girls Championship in 1950 — when she beat future pro Mickey Wright 4 & 2 — and the women’s collegiate title. It was at Seattle University where Pat Lesser met John Harbottle. With no women’s team to join, Pat tried out for and made the men’s golf team in 1952. Paired with John
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and another male teammate for an early-season practice round, she went home and told her parents, “I played with two really nice guys who were good golfers, but one of them was really good. ‘John Bottlecap’ or something.” Pat had the talent to compete on the LPGA Tour, but wasn’t interested. She wanted to get married, and start a family — which she and John did, in 1957. Far from marking the end of their story, however, that decision, ultimately, sent the Harbottle name echoing for decades through the Northwest golf scene. The oldest of the couple’s five children, noted golf architect John Harbottle III, crafted some of our state’s most lauded courses before his death from a heart attack in 2012, including the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain, Palouse Ridge, and the redesign of White Horse near Kingston — all three of which have been ranked among the state’s top-10 public courses in every single Cascade Golfer ranking of the last six years. Another son, Robert, is the pro at Carson Valley Golf Course, south of Reno. Seattle University — which now has its own NCAA Division-I women’s golf team — also pays homage to the Harbottle name with the annual Pat Lesser Harbottle Invitational, one of the highlights of the Northwest collegiate calendar. Tending to his dentistry practice, John didn’t begin to collect trophies regularly until reaching senior status. “I got better as I got older,” he told Golf Digest last fall, after shooting his age for the 1,000th time. Since then, he’s earned four PNGA senior titles, five Washington State Golf Association senior championships, and was runner-up at the 1986 U.S. Senior Amateur. These days, the Harbottles continue to play regularly — almost always choosing to walk, rather than take a cart. John, 85, has shot his age more than 1,000 times. Pat, 83, hasn’t kept careful track, but estimates she’s done it more than 50 times — just enough to keep John on his toes. “I try to beat my wife, and that’s tough,” John says. “She’s a terrific competitor. I wish I was half the competitor she is.” — Craig Smith cascadegolfer.com
In the “Sun Belt”
Cascade Golfer Cup Heads to Gamble Sands
f you haven’t already flipped ahead to page 34 to look at this year’s top-10 rankings, I’m going to spoil it for you: Gamble Sands is the No. 1 public golf course in the state of Washington. At least, that was the overwhelming opinion of voters this year, who made the Central Washington gem the first course ever to boot Chambers Bay from the top spot since we started publishing official rankings in 2013. And, as you’ll see when you get to the story, it wasn’t particularly close. If you haven’t played Gamble Sands yet, you’re missing out. The good news is, we’re giving you and your favorite golf partner the chance to play it twice this summer — and compete in a tournament, to boot — for more than 10 percent off the rack rate. The Invitational at Gamble Sands takes place Aug. 12, where up to 64 two-player teams will tee it up in a stroke-play tournament with incredible prizes on the line. We’re talking golf getaways, twosomes and foursomes to the state’s top tracks and, for the winners, a
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(from left): Chris Scott & Jamie Meade (gross) and Clint Oster & Randy Bruhn (net) emerged victorious at Salish Cliffs in June — will you be next?
Featuring some of the best and most well maintained greens in the area!
fabulous stay-and-play package to Palm Springs. We’ll also kick in coffee, beer and a full lunch, give out tee prizes and hole contests, and more. And as a bonus, we’re giving every player who enters a coupon good for 33 percent off greens fees at Gamble Sands the day before or after the tournament. Come early and play a practice round, or stay an extra day and bask in the glory of our state’s newly crowned king. Golfers need only have a verifiable handicap to enter, and compete in both net- and gross-scoring divisions. So what are you waiting for? Experience the thrill of tournament golf while enjoying the state’s No. 1 public golf course — twice. We’ve sent hundreds of local golfers on trips throughout the world — will you be next? To learn more, visit CascadeGolfer.com/Cup.
Located in the Sunbelt of Western Washington
We receive less rain during the wet season and less heat during the summer
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Remember, we’re only 15 minutes from I-5 exit #212, in the “Sun Belt” on Camano Island.
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SHORT GAME WHAT IS BOUNCE?
or a new monthly feature, we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter what they wanted to know from our CG staff. We received several great questions, from which we’ll answer one in each issue. For our fall issue, this question, from reader Bruce Craig of Redmond, seemed the most appropriate: How do I determine the right bounce/grind for my wedges? Brian Beaky, Editor: “Two questions here, so let’s start with bounce. The first thing to determine is your angle of attack. Do you take a big divot with your wedges and short irons, or do you take little to no divot? If it’s the former, then you’ll want more bounce, or a wider sole, to drive the club through the turf. If the latter, then you’ll want less bounce, and a narrower sole, to keep the back edge of the sole from striking the ground as you sweep through, which can cause a sculled or thinned shot. Logically, thus, lower bounce tends to be better on dry, hard surfaces like we have in the summer (when taking a divot is less likely) and more bounce is better when the turf is wet, or in particularly soft sand. If you don’t want to carry extra wedges all the time, you can also create more bounce by opening the face (thus pushing
more of the sole towards the ground), or less bounce by closing the face, though that will obviously affect loft and launch angle. Grind, then, is basically an extension of bounce. Generally speaking, manufacturers “grind” the leading or trailing edges of the sole and/or heel to even further dial in the amount of bounce in the club. Some grinds are designed to allow golfers to open or close the clubface without significantly affecting bounce, while others are designed to increase or decrease the effective bounce when the club is in a neutral position. Most manufacturers will state on their websites what a specific grind is for, so you can match it up to your needs — in addition, Puetz club fitters can help you better understand the specific bounce you would benefit from in your wedges, and what loft/bounce/grind combination will get you knocking ‘em close all year long.”
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clubhouse-golf.com (425) 582-9813 3105 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Suite A Lynnwood, WA 98036
Top-Five Reasons to Attend The Boeing Classic
or our money, there’s no better month in the Western Washington golf scene than August. Not only are temperatures warm and greens firm, but it’s also the time we get to enjoy our region’s only annual PGA TOUR event — the Boeing Classic. For over a decade, the Boeing Classic has delivered golf’s greatest names to our doorstep — major champions, Hall of Famers, and even a hometown hero or two. The setting at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge is unparalleled, the access is fantastic, and the golf is blast. This year’s tournament returns Aug. 21-27, and just in case you’re still on the fence, we thought we’d offer up our top-five reasons for putting the Boeing Classic on your must-do list this year: 1. To see your golfing heroes I’ll start with the elephant in the room: no, we can’t say for sure that Fred Couples is going to play. But, he has played at least once a month since April, and we all know that this is the one event he cares about more than any other non-major. If his back can take it, he’ll be there — with a hometown crowd roaring alongside every shot. Even if he’s not, though, the Boeing still offers up a murderer’s row of golf greats each year, including players like Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry, Jesper Parnevik, Colin Montgomerie, Larry Mize, Mark Calcavecchia, Brad Faxon, Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate and, of course, John Daly (note: these players all appeared in 2016; the 2017 player list was not official before CG went to print). If you can’t find someone there worth following, you’re just not trying. I mean, John freaking Daly! 2. To enjoy Snoqualmie Ridge With all apologies to Chambers Bay and Sahalee, there is no place in the Seattle area we’d rather watch a golf tournament than The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. You can choose to follow one golfer all day with relative ease (most elevation changes are gradual), or easily jump from hole to hole around the clubhouse — the risk/reward first and 18th holes, par-3 ninth and 17th, plus the fantastic par-4 14th are all within a short walking distance of each other. Or, you can camp out at No. 14 in the Alaska Airlines Canyon Club, with covered seating, big-screen TVs, live scoreboards, half-price beers with every birdie, and the chance to watch pros blast their way across Bear’s Canyon in search of eagles. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card holders get into the Canyon Club for free this year (including immediate family or one guest), while non-cardholders can buy a Canyon Club Party Pass for just $35 (includes tournament admission). 3. To hook your kids on golf Among the many things that set a PGA TOUR Champions Tour event apart from a regular Tour event — lower prices, fewer crowds, etc. — is the chance to
Denis Watson won a Tour-record seven-man playoff to take the crystal ball in 2007.
stand right up close to the players as they hit, and their willingness to interact with the fans. Since crowds are more intimate, it’s easy to be right along the ropes for most shots, and the players are genuinely appreciative of your support. Tell a player, “Nice shot,” and not will he actually hear you, he’s likely to say, “Thanks.” It’s also much easier to get autographs after the round, and players will sometimes even converse with fans on their way to the clubhouse. Many of us who grew up playing the game of golf have a story from our childhood of a time a player said or did (or even just signed) something at an event we attended, that helped make us fans of the game. These experiences await kids of all ages (even kids at heart) each year at the Boeing — come on Kids Day (Saturday) and you can take advantage of fun offcourse activities, too. 4. To support our troops Active and retired military personnel receive free admission every day. Furthermore, Sunday is Military Appreciation Day, including a special tent — The Patriots Outpost — offering free food and beverages for military families (courtesy of the USO), and first-tee player announcements made by uniformed military personnel. 5. To send a message to the PGA, LPGA and USGA Want another U.S. Open, Senior PGA Championship, or KPMG Women’s PGA Championship? Or, dare we dream, an annual PGA TOUR event? For as much as we can crow about how great we are as golf fans, and how beautiful our golf courses are in the summertime, those events, quite simply, follow the money. If we pack the house at every professional golf opportunity, sell out those ANA Dreamliner Suites and back our events with corporate dollars, that — more than anything — will send a message to the powers that be that there needs to be more pro golf in Western Washington.
THE FACTS Dates: August 21-27, 2017 Location: The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge Field: 81 Champions Tour professionals Format: 54 holes of stroke play, no cut Purse: $2.1 million TV: Aug. 25-27, Golf Channel (live) THE SCHEDULE Aug. 21 - Seahawks Rumble on the Ridge - Practice Rounds Aug. 22 - FREE Emirates Youth Clinic - Practice Rounds Aug. 23 - Korean Air Pro-Am Aug. 24 - Korean Air Pro-Am Aug. 25 - First Round Aug. 26 - Second Round, Family Day Aug. 27 - Final Round, Military Day TICKETS Daily: $20 Tournament (Aug. 25-27): $40 Weekly (Aug. 21-27): $60 Kids under 14: Free with paid adult Seniors (60+): 50-percent off GA prices VOLUNTEERS Volunteers receive $300 in value, including merchandise, meals and two weekly admission passes, plus tickets to special Volunteer Appreciation Party. Details at BoeingClassic.com. DIRECTIONS/PARKING 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 public parking.
BONUS 6TH REASON: Because we're sending you for free! For the reasons above and many more, attending the Boeing Classic is a blast. Attending with free tickets you won from Cascade Golfer, though? That’s a deal that can’t be beat. That's why we're giving one lucky CG reader two tickets to the state’s only PGA TOUR event, plus passes to the Alaska Airlines VIP Canyon Club, where you can cheer every bold drive to the green, and celebrate each birdie with discounted beers all day long. Log on to our website at CascadeGolfer. com and enter to win today! To learn more about this year’s Boeing Classic, visit www.BoeingClassic.com. AUGUST 2017
SHORT GAME Muckleshoot Casino Shows Unique Support For Golf
ver the course of this year, we’ve been celebrating our 10-year anniversary. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories, covers and moments from the first 10 years of Cascade Golfer, but we’ve so far left off a big part of what keeps this train on the tracks — our advertisers. Several have been with us from the start — Chambers Bay, Apple Tree, Wine Valley, Mount Si, Oki Golf, Auburn, Camaloch, Avalon, Eaglemont and, of course, our retail partner, Puetz Golf — but one in particular has gone out of its way to support the game of golf despite having no obvious financial incentive to do so. We’re talking about the advertiser that has graced the back page of 38 of the 41 issues of Cascade Golfer’s first 10 years; that sponsors one of our most popular features, Risk vs. Reward; that supports the Cascade Golfer Cup and the Northwest Golfers Playbook; and that hosted the first several years of our Year-End Banquet, plus the Cascade Golfer Duffers and Bluffers poker tournament. We’re talking, of course, about the Muckleshoot Casino. Unlike the other Northwest Tribes that have gone all-in on golf, the Muckleshoot doesn’t own a golf course and has no obvious incentive to pump revenue into the local golf scene every year. So why do they do it? Certainly, a marketing and advertising team that has proactively recognized the growing golf market, and has aggressively pursued relationships with local golfers and golf businesses, plays a big role. It also doesn’t hurt to have one of the region’s most notable sticks on staff. “Actually, that’s not entirely true,” says Jason Mattaini, the casino’s Player Development Manager, and the man in charge of overseeing casino hosts and the casino’s highest-volume players. “The casino was already investing in golf before I got here, thanks to my old boss, Johnny Walker, who really saw the potential in the golf
Jason Mattaini (at right), pictured here with longtime friend and Duke's Chowder House COO John Moscrip, says the Muckleshoot Casino believes in helping grow the game of golf.
demographic. But I like to think that we’ve really done a lot to grow it further.” Mattaini, now 42, should be a familiar name to those who have followed the local junior and college scenes over the last 25 years. A member of Fairwood Country Club as a junior golfer, and a prep state champion at Kentridge High School in 1993, Mattaini earned a scholarship to play golf at the University of Oregon. There, he teamed with current PGA TOUR pro Ben Crane to lead the Ducks against a loaded Pac-10 field including Tiger Woods, Casey Martin and Notah Begay, plus national competitors like Georgia Tech’s Matt Kuchar and Charley Hoffman of UNLV — “I’ll bet there were 40-50 guys that I competed with or against who ended up making it on the PGA TOUR,” he recalls. “It was really a neat time in college golf.” After graduating, Mattaini was referred to OB Sports founder Orrin Vincent by then-Huskies’ head coach O.D. Vincent, his son, and took a job in Las Vegas managing group sales for OB’s Vegas properties — “probably the nicest thing O.D. has ever done for a Duck,” Mattaini jokes. A few years later, he moved into the casino business, before returning home to south King County in 2011. In the years since, Mattaini has channeled his own personal passion for golf into the Muckleshoot’s business model, working through the casino’s marketing and advertising team to build upon the foundation that Walker first laid. In Mattaini’s time at the Muckleshoot,
the casino has expanded its relationship with Cascade Golfer — going beyond the magazine to support events like the Cascade Golfer Cup and pieces like the Northwest Golfers Playbook — and built relationships with other local golf partners, including the Washington Open and the Northwest PGA Section. If there’s a major golf event or publication somewhere in the Seattle area, it’s a good bet that the Muckleshoot Casino is there. “I think it’s a no-brainer,” he says. “Gaming, just like golf, is a social thing. Golfers enjoy getting out there and being with their buddies. Likewise, most of our table-game players come here with their friends to have a good time and make fun memories. It’s the same vibe, the same feel-good atmosphere. They go hand-in-hand.” Mattaini says that in addition to helping to grow the potential player base of the casino — a goal he says has been highly successful by his own measurements — he also takes pride in helping to support the game of golf locally, and give back to a golf community that helped shape so much of who and what he has become. “Golf’s a great game,” he says. “It builds a lot for people and opens up a lot of doors. If we can help support that through the things that we’re doing, that’s great. “Meanwhile, we’ve grown a good golfer clientele by identifying the connections between golfers, gamers and loyal guests,” he continues. “It’s taken time, but I get feedback regularly that tells me that connection is being made. It’s really a win-win situation.”
YOUR Play Your Heart Out, On Us!
e dedicated this issue to trumpeting our favorite courses far and wide. But it’s one thing to read about them — it’s another to experience them for yourself. So, we’re going to give one lucky reader a smorgasbord of golf getaways they won’t soon forget, including twosomes and foursomes to Trophy Lake Golf & Casting, Eagles Pride, Gallery and Blue Heron! You’ll be playing so much free golf, you won’t have time for anything else! Enter to win today at CascadeGolfer.com!
Gallery G.C. • Oak Harbor AUGUST 2017
SHORT GAME Practice Makes Perfect
s they say on the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” “Winter is coming.” I know, I know ... it’s August, right? We don’t want to think about that yet. But, we won’t see you again until our December issue, and as we all know, the weather then ... won’t be quite the same as it is right now. That being said, we wanted to give you a list of places to keep your game in shape, even when Mother Nature isn’t holding up her end of the bargain. Of course, you don’t need to wait for a rainy day to work on your golf swing — in fact, we could all stand to spend a little less time on the course and a little more time at any one of these locations, as well as the numerous driving ranges at courses and clubs throughout the region. But, we’re realists. Like you, no matter what our golf pro tells us, we’re not going to go hit balls on a beautiful, sunny day, when we could be teeing it up at one of our favorite local tracks, or driving across the Sound or mountains for one of those unforgettable destination rounds one can only enjoy this time of the year. So ... when the wet stuff begins to fall (hopefully not for many months), here’s where you can go to feed the inner beast:
Jackson Park G.C. • Seattle
PUETZ GOLF SEATTLE RANGE | Seattle Named a top-50 public range by the Golf Range Association of America in 2016, Puetz’s Seattle range features 28 heated and covered stalls, plus a putting and chipping area, open year-round. Range balls (limited flight) start at just $6, while high-tech fitting bays use full-flight balls for custom fittings. You can even take new clubs for a test drive before buying them.
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JEFFERSON PARK G.C. | Seattle Jefferson’s all-new range is one of the nicest in the city, with heated and covered stalls in a double-decker arrangement. Range balls start at just $6. JACKSON PARK GOLF G.C. | Seattle Like Jefferson, Jackson Park opened its own double-decker, lighted and heated range in 2015. Balls start at $6 before discount cards, with double balls available for early birds and twilight hitters (see website for details). INTERBAY G.C. | Seattle The only downtown Seattle practice center is still one of the best, with covered and heated stalls, practice areas and an executive-length course. Buckets start at $6 each. NEWCASTLE GOLF CLUB | Newcastle Covered and heated tees include both grass and mat surfaces, plus a short game and putting course. Small buckets start at just $7, with punch cards available for frequent visitors. CLUBHOUSE GOLF CENTER | Lynnwood Looking for something different? Lynnwood’s Clubhouse Golf Center lets you take full swings with your own clubs and hit real balls on six high-tech simulators, playing real courses from around the world. Rates start at just $10 for a half-hour of practice, including as many balls as you can hit. TACOMA FIRS GOLF CENTER | Tacoma One of the south end’s top practice facilities, with a covered, heated range, indoor simulators and mini-golf course. Balls start at $6.75 for a small bucket, with discount passes available for frequent use. NORTHWEST GOLF RANGE | Bremerton Plenty of covered, lit hitting stalls, plus a low rate of $5 for a small bucket, make Northwest a top choice on the peninsula. And that’s not even considering one of the region’s top mini-golf courses. cascadegolfer.com
Leavenworth Golf Course 15% OFF ...Located in the beautiful Washington Cascades
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18-Hole Golf Course located just one mile from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth AUGUST 2017
Mariners Broadcaster Dave Sims Wears Many Hats
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
had to ask about the hats. If you’ve seen Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims on ROOT Sports or possibly at any of the local golf courses he frequents, you know what I’m talking about. The 30-year veteran of the broadcasting scene is almost never without one of his trademark caps, usually a Kangol or a Panama, though occasionally a ballcap sporting a Titleist logo or a “42,” in honor of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. “When you keep a shaved head and work outside in the summertime, you’ve got to have some protection, so you might as well look good doing it,” he says. “It’s sort of become my trademark. Now that the summer is coming, I can break out the Panamas. It’s fun.” A native of Philadelphia and a veteran of print, radio and TV, Sims has served since 2007 as the voice of the Mariners, calling Felix Hernandez’s perfect game; Ken Griffey, Jr.’s return to the Mariners, and other great moments over the last decade. (No, really, there have been others. I’ll come up with one soon.) Sims also calls the NFL and the NCAA Tournament for Westwood One Radio, and hosts a radio show with Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski — which means that if he’s going to play as much golf as he wants to, he has to get a little creative.
How long have you been playing golf? “I played a few times when I was 14 or 15, but didn’t really get into it until I was doing talk radio in New York in the mid-80s. A friend of mine told me, ‘The whole sports business world revolves around the golf course, so you’ve got to learn how to play.’ And I’ve been playing fairly consistently since then.”
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever played? “Oakland Hills is pretty darn nice. There’s a course in Kansas City that all the Negro Leaguers used to play ... Buck O’Neil, Joe Louis, all the black sports celebrities of their day. So I got a kick out of that. Also, years ago I played Winged Foot and Bethpage Red, and both of those were cool. Harding Park, in San Francisco, too — I love that place.”
How’s your game? “I’m usually between 88-95, but I have my days. Inconsistent driver sometimes; I’ve got to get better at using my lower half. My short game’s getting better, though, and I made some big putts the other day at West Seattle. I enjoy it, though, man.”
What do you like best about the game of golf? “It’s all you. It’s all personal. It’s a challenge to stay committed and focused. And, of course, being out and about and seeing great layouts.”
Where are some of your favorite places to play in Seattle? “I go to Interbay and practice. I like West Seattle, Newcastle, Snoqualmie Ridge. Sahalee I’ve played a couple of times. I also like Redmond Ridge; my first summer here, my son and I played three days of golf out there, and it was a blast.” Do you take your clubs with you on the road? “Oh, God, yes. There are a few places around the league that I particularly like. Strawberry Farms (in Orange County) is a good place, and there are lots of others ... let’s see, I got to play in Philadelphia this year with some old teammates, we played in Detroit, and ... gosh, where did I just come from? Oh, we played in Washington, in Bethesda. I’m not good with names anymore, but yes, we play as much as we can.”
What’s the most important lesson you’ve ever learned on the golf course? “Be humble, I’ll tell you that. And perseverance is huge. Also, you have to be willing to put the time in to practice if you want to get better.” Are there any parallels between golf and baseball? “Pretty much everything I just said, yeah.” (laughs) What’s the best thing about your job? “Man, what’s not to like? I get to know everybody in the American League and really feel like a part of the team. I’ve built a lot of good relationships. Broadcasting is a blast; it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s really a dream come true. You don’t get many black kids coming out of Philadelphia by way of New York who even aspire to major-league jobs, much less get one, so it’s really special. With the waning interest in black America in major-league baseball, I want to do whatever I can do to help
reinvigorate the black community the way it was in the ‘50s and ‘60s.” I’m sure you could write a book about it, but what do you think needs to happen to get more black kids to play baseball? “Yeah, I probably will at some point. For one thing, football is doing a number on itself with the concussion issue; I think in the next generation, you’re going to see parents starting to bail. And the opportunities in baseball are incredible — if you’re willing to work and sacrifice, the money is there. But, of course, there’s the whole sociological bit — baseball is very much a father-son hand-me-down sport, and the black community has its issues with mass incarceration and a lot of kids being raised without fathers.” Baseball’s not all that different from golf in that way, really, which might help explain the similar lack of black golfers. “Yep, exactly.” What’s your favorite sport to cover? “What I’m doing right now: baseball. I love them all, though, and I can’t believe I’ve been able to do this for such a long time. I’ve been tremendously blessed, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.” Choose one: either the Mariners win the World Series, or you break par at Augusta. “Give me the World Series. I’ll worry about par later. This franchise deserves it. Yeah, that’s an easy one.”
PRODUCT REVIEWS and equipment news you can use BY BRIAN BEAKY — CG EDITOR
Inflation? Think Again
lot has changed since we published our first issue 10 years ago. Golf courses have opened and closed, big-box retailers have come and gone, the PGA TOUR stars of the ‘90s and 2000s have been supplanted by today’s young guns, and golf equipment has undergone a radical transformation. Notably, though, there’s one thing about golf equipment that hasn’t changed all that much, and it’s one that might surprise you most of all — price. The all-new drivers listed in our 2007 issues retailed for $300-$500. The name-brand drivers we’ve reviewed so far this year retail for .. $300-$500. The same is true for irons (starting around $600 a set then, and around $700 today), wedges ($110 then, roughly $150 today), and putters (name brands starting around $200 then and now). They’re not getting any cheaper to make, that’s for sure — all of that new technology they’re putting under the hood, and the R&D to develop it, costs a pretty penny — but the margins for retailers and club manufacturers are getting slimmer and slimmer as golfers squeeze their few golf dollars ever tighter. That means that you’re getting far more technologically advanced clubs today for roughly the same amount of money as you paid a decade ago — and that’s a pretty sweet deal. So, the next time you’re browsing new sticks in Puetz Golf, take a minute to appreciate how lucky we are to have a retailer that is committed to the community they call home, and to making sure that the golfers they’ve been serving for more than 75 years here in the Northwest get a great deal — and a killer golf club. Much has changed in 10 years, but the unique relationship between Puetz Golf and its customers — you, and us alongside you — hasn’t changed one bit.
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Starting at $397
hen manufacturers refer to a driver’s aerodynamics, they’re usually talking about aerodynamics at a certain angle — namely, the final, roughly level stretch as you bring the club through the impact zone. The fact is, though, that your driver twists through multiple different angles on the downswing — customizing the aerodynamics to match just one of those angles leaves a lot of potential clubhead speed on the table. That’s why PING has streamlined the head of the new G400 driver to reduce drag by as much as 40 percent in certain portions of the swing, and 15 percent overall — resulting in a driver that is faster than ever. Combined with a thinner, fully-forged face that flexes 16 percent more than the previous G driver, the G400 produces ball speeds up to two miles per hour faster than before, resulting in approximately five yards of distance gain across the entire face. And it’s not only faster, it’s also more forgiving, thanks to PING’s Dragonfly technology (the ultra-thin crown supported by strong, narrow bands) and a new tungsten sole weight. Longer, faster, straighter, better-sounding — and with a cool, color-shifting shaft to boot — it’s a club worth checking out this summer.
G400 Irons2 PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Steel $112.50 per club Graphite $125 per club
efore UW grad and PING founder Karsten Solheim retired from the company he founded 50 years ago, he told his young engineers to “follow the physics.” In the decades since, there might be no better example of that than the new G400 irons, which utilize a combination of technologies to produce ball flights that are longer, straighter and higher than any previous PING iron — where you might typically hit a six-iron, you could potentially get the same distance from a G400 seven-iron, but with the height and precision of an eight-iron. That’s accomplished through PING’s COR-Eye technology — resulting in a hotter face — and a new toprail undercut cavity, which allows the face to flex roughly 18 percent more than previous PING irons, producing a catapult effect that launches the ball both higher and farther. A new, low-friction finish improves turf interaction as well, while a concealed tuning port allows weight to be distributed to the perimeter of the face for increased forgiveness. We never did all that well in physics class, but that’s a formula even we can understand.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441 cascadegolfer.com
XR Steelhead Fairway Metal4
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $279.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
allaway’s GBB Epic driver has been the top seller so far in 2017, vastly outdistancing the competition both at the cash register, and on the golf course. So, it should be little surprise that the company has invoked the name — and the technology — once again in its new iron line, which represents Callaway’s first dip into the premium market. The Epic’s “big idea” was “jailbreak” technology, the fancy name given to stiff pieces connecting the crown and sole for greater stability and efficiency. That same construction has been applied to the Epic irons, focusing energy that would otherwise be lost at impact back into the ball. Face Cups are also used across both the Pro and standard versions of the club (a first in a Callaway Pro iron), as is a hollowed-out hosel for better weight distribution and forgiveness, plus injection-molded tungsten and steel powder — the latter at unique sizes, shapes, weights and ratios designed to maximize the effectiveness of each iron. The net result is an increase of 0.5 miles per hour over the Apex ‘16 irons released last year, and approximately a half a club in distance for your average hitter. That’s improvement worth paying for.
5 FOURTEEN GOLF
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $299.99
ast year, Callaway released an updated version of its classic Steelhead hybrids, delivering a club that was more versatile and playable than its predecessor. This summer, they’ve done the same with the Steelhead fairway wood, putting modern technology into a club that moved 2.3 million units a generation ago. Of course, it wasn’t easy — the original Steelheads were so good that even nearly 20 years after their debut, their low spin rate and high launch angle still tested favorably against the current market leaders. The Steelhead’s unique sole design — enhanced for the XR version — allows it to cut cleanly through fairway grass, rough or even bunkers, while also allowing Callaway to design a slightly taller face, giving golfers a little more confidence at address. The old face has also been replaced with Callaway’s new Hyper Speed Face Cup, which flexes more for greater ball speeds across the entire surface, while the crown is made from J-36 Carbon, making it 20 grams lighter than its predecessor. Combined with improved aerodynamics, that makes the new Steelhead XR a faster and more forgiving version of the club you’ve likely been trying (and failing) to replace for years. Well, the time has come.
ast month, we talked a lot about the waves that Japanese manufacturer Honma is making in the U.S. market. They’re hardly the only ones bringing sweet new technology across the Pacific, though. Fourteen Golf has been in the U.S. market for nearly two decades, its profile raised by Ernie Els’s win at the 2002 Open Championship using Fourteen Golf irons. The company’s latest export is also one of its coolest-looking — the HI-877 hybrid, a club designed to combine the forgiveness of a hybrid with the shot-shaping ability of a utility iron, and thus of value to scratch golfers and high-handicappers alike. That performance is achieved by combining a low center of gravity with an AM-355 steel-cup face, the former for increased forgiveness and the latter for greater ball speeds. Add to that what Fourteen calls a “Planet Sole” — a large, rounded sole designed originally for a Fourteen wedge — and you have a club that can cut cleanly through long rough, while still producing top-performing distance and accuracy numbers. The finish may be yellow, but you’ll be seeing nothing but green lights all the way.
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IN THE BAG
G Le Metalwoods
G Le Irons/Hybrids
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $112.50
PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Driver $349.99 Fairway $199.99
n addition to its G400 line, PING has also released an entirely new women’s line of clubs in 2017, headlined by the PING G Le driver. PING’s first new women’s line in two years, the G Le is already proving popular in the market thanks to its incorporation of many of the same technologies taking PING’s G-series drivers and irons to the next level over the last 24 months. That includes, in the driver, a thinner face — for greater face flex and, thus, greater ball speeds even at slower swing speeds — as well as the “turbulators” and Vortec technology first spotted on the PING G driver, which maximize clubhead speed for greater distance. The Le also incorporates the G’s “dragonfly” technology, with titanium beams supporting an ultra-thin crown, similar to the way a dragonfly’s wings feature thin material supported by narrow, ultra-strong bands. Plus, lighter swingweights in both the driver and fairway wood further increase clubhead speed and stability at impact, resulting in shots that fly both longer and straighter.
AUGUST2017 2017 AUGUST
n its 2015 GMax iron, PING introduced the concept of COR-Eye Technology, a combination of features that result in higher ball speeds and greater distance across the full face of the club. That means that off-center hits would fly just as far as those struck in what we would typically call the “sweet spot.” In 2017, that same technology has been put into the PING G Le irons, which feature a face that is 11 percent thinner than PING’s previous women’s offering, the Rhapsody, resulting in improved distance and launch angles. That weight has been moved to the perimeter of the club, for greater forgiveness — in fact, PING says that the G Le’s dispersion (a measure of the side-to-side accuracy of the club) is 19 percent tighter than the Rhapsody’s, no small potatoes on our typically narrow Northwest courses. Hybrids are modeled after the G Le fairway wood, with a thinner face and lighter swingweight for greater ball speeds and better launch angles — two things golfers of any gender would be happy to achieve.
G Le Putters8
PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting
ast, but most certainly not least, come the PING G Le putters — a line which includes three new models, one each in the blade, mallet and mid-mallet styles. The blade-style Caru and mid-mallet Arna are both constructed from 17-4 stainless steel, with a gold-nickel finish, slightly offset hosels and the same white-line alignment aid that PING has been using since Ballard native Karsten Solheim’s original PING Anser. The mallet-style Oslo, on the other hand, is made from aerospace-grade aluminum, with a stainless steel sole plate for greater forgiveness, a larger, ball-width alignment aid and a sleek, blue finish. As with the drivers, irons and hybrids, all three putters borrow from PING’s latest bag of tricks, in this case incorporating the True Roll Face technology debuted in 2014 — featuring grooves milled directly into the face that are deeper in the center and shallower around the edges, for more consistent speeds across the full face. Plus, they just look cool — not only will you make more putts, you'll look great doing so, too.
Order online at puetzgolf.com • Call Toll Free (866) 362-2441
SHOULDER SEASON SAVINGS We always tell our friends that there’s no better time to buy golf equipment than in the late summer and early fall. The rush of spring and summer are over, and retailers begin to cut prices in anticipation of a slowdown in sales, and to make way for the next year’s inventory that will be released in December and January. Buy a new club, or a new pair of shoes, in August, and not only can you usually save a few bucks, but you can also get a couple of months worth of enjoyment out of them before packing it in for the winter. Here’s a few that caught our eye this month:
D.N.A Helix PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Go Golf Birdie
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ootjoy's D.N.A. 2.0 shoe has been one of the most popular among Tour players, who had just one request of the footwear giant: give us a little more stability. The resulting D.N.A. Helix fits the bill, with a completely redesigned sole that is both more stable, and more comfortable, than what came before. That's been accomplished both by widening the heel area and using more foam, and less plastic, in the sole's construction, for a shoe that fits and feels the way Tour players want it.
nyone who watched the U.S. Open likely saw Matt Kuchar take center stage in a new commercial for the Skechers Go Golf line. And, like me, you probably thought, Skechers makes golf shoes? They do (and have for a year or so, in fact), including the all-new Birdie. Designed specifically for women, the birdie is made of lightweight, water-resistant materials that deliver comfort and style on the course. The spikeless sole is also easy to clean, while providing plenty of grip on all but the slipperiest of surfaces.
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Go Golf Blade Power
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ew Balance has always marketed themselves as “dedicated to helping athletes achieve their goals.” So, it’s a bit of a surprise that they hadn’t gotten into the golf shoe market sooner than this. A Champ Slim-Lok Zarma Tour cleat system, wider toe box (and the availability of 2E and 4E sizes) and innovative sole design, make walking around for five hours more comfortable than in most shoes, while the FantomFit upper is specifically manufactured to support the lateral movement of your feet during the golf swing.
kechers Go Golf shoes aren’t just for women, of course. The Blade Power is the company’s latest offering on the men’s side, with a low-drop heel for greater traction; a lightweight, shock-absorbing midsole; a waterproof, microfiber upper; and a DriLex moisture-wicking lining and footbed. A hybrid spiked outsole also provides solid traction and stability. As with many Skechers shoes, they do run a bit narrow, so going a half-size up is usually recommended.
TP5 & TP5X Balls PUETZ GOLF PRICE
$44.99 per dozen
hen it comes to golf balls, everyone is trying to improve upon the Pro V1. Titleist’s flagship ball is the industry’s gold standard, and golfers have waited years for a manufacturer to replicate its success at a lower price point. Well, TaylorMade’s new TP5 may have finally cracked the code. The softer TP5 and firmer TP5X (the latter played by Tour sensation Jon Rahm) mix five different layers of material to generate a high launch and low spin — the perfect formula for added distance. In fact, the balls fly anywhere from 2-10 yards farther than TaylorMade’s previous Tour Preferred offerings (depending on which ball you’re using, and which you’re comparing to), while testing has put them almost exactly in line with the 2017 Pro V1s.
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AUGUST AUGUST 2017 2017
RISK vs. REWARD Gamble Sands
Hole No. 12 Par 4 300 yards (Orange tees)
By Simon Dubiel
Although 300 may be a bit much for the average hitter, given the elevation, warm weather and friendly fairways, hitting the big stick on or near the green is a reality for plenty of golfers playing this fabulous hole. If you choose to lay up, a small pot bunker 150 yards out is the last place you want to be, while a larger waste bunker guards the right side of the fairway 70-100 yards out. Another bunker protects the front/left of the green while a small collection/bail-out area will keep most balls right of the green in play.
The 12th hole at Gamble Sands finishes up a five-hole stretch that includes three of the easiest holes on the course, meaning you have a shot to really stack some chips. A power fade (for a righty) plays great here if you start it at the left bunker. An easy draw started down the right side can do nicely as well. Or, just smash it straight. Just get it in the air, people!
If you drove four hours from Seattle to Brewster, with an opportunity to play America’s best new course and the newly crowned No. 1 course in the state, please don’t decide to leave the driver in the bag. The fairways are wide, the slopes are forgiving and a great score is there for you to enjoy. The course is designed for you to smash your driver as far as you ever have, with big rewards and minimal risk. This hole is daring for you to make a birdie. Besides, it is called GAMBLE Sands. Put your chips in the middle and live a little!
When you try to squeeze a little too much out of the hand you are dealt, you can end up broke. Trying to get home on this hole by swinging out of your shoes could lead to the dreaded straight pull, or possibly a big ol’ slice to the right. Both will lead to several fourletter words as you wander the wasteland wondering what desert bush your little white ball is hiding under. And, once you find it, have fun with that lie! The bunker left can also lead to some tough lies and awkward distances that typically nobody wants any part of.
L E G E N D S P L AY HERE Be part of the fun and excitement of the Northwest’s premier Professional Golf event. Family fun and a beautiful setting are all part of the 13th annual Boeing Classic. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit BoeingClassic.com.
A UG 2 1– 2 7, 2017 T HE C L UB AT S NOQU A L MIE RIDGE B OE ING C L A S S IC.C OM Proceeds to benefit Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Washington’s Best Public Courses Move over, Chambers Bay — there's a new king in this castle
Photo by Stephen Szurlej
here's a common plot to many sports movies. The underdog is first ridiculed, then slowly and steadily works its way up to the top, before narrowly defeating the favorite in a dramatic, last-minute, title-clinching victory. This isn't that. This isn't a bruised and beaten Daniel-San unleashing the crane kick to take down Johnny Lawrence and Cobra Kai, or Jake Taylor bunting home Willie Mays Hayes at the end of “Major League.” This is Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed; or, for one closer to all of our hearts, Super Bowl XLVIII — a thorough beat-down of the old guard by the plucky young upstarts with nothing to lose. Starting in 2013, and every two years since, we've polled Northwest golf insiders to rank the top-10 public golf courses in the state of Washington. And, in the first two of those polls, it was really no contest. Chambers Bay coasted to victory in 2013, more than doubling the total number of first-place votes of any other course. Things were a little tighter in 2015 — Chambers netted just under 50 percent of the first-place votes overall — but with the U.S. Open on the horizon, it still finished well clear of second place. That second-place course, though, was intriguing. Despite being open less than a year at the time, David McLay Kidd's Gamble Sands rocketed all the way to No. 2 in its first year eligible, despite many voters confessing when submitting their ballots that they couldn't include
By Brian Beaky CG Editor Gamble Sands because they had yet to make the fourhour drive to Brewster to see if it truly was as good as others were claiming. We wrote at the time, “Like Spieth and Rory, [Chambers Bay vs. Gamble Sands] is a rivalry that's just heating up.” Well, consider it fully aflame. With two more years to make the trek across the mountains, and two more years of reports trickling out of Central Washington about Kidd's links-style gem, Gamble Sands didn't just pass Chambers Bay in this year's rankings, it blew Chambers and every other course in the state right out of the water. The 40 first-place votes for Gamble Sands were equal to the rest of the top-five combined, with Chambers (17 first-place votes) a distant second. Will it last? We'll have to wait until 2019 to find out, but for now, at least, there's a new king of this particular court. Of course, Gamble Sands's meteoric climb wasn't the only change in this year's rankings. Whereas in the past we had limited votes to just writers, photographers and other industry experts, we decided this year to let anyone cast a ballot — after all, we don't merely want our rankings to illustrate where local golfers should be playing (as our experts would suggest), we also want it to be reflective of where local golfers are playing. And
with more than 75 courses in all receiving at least one vote — and 17 different courses receiving at least one first-place vote (including every course in the top-10) — it's clear that you're playing just about everywhere, and that wherever you go in Washington, there's a great track to be found. As a result of casting a wider net, we more than quadrupled the number of total votes from 2015, with some interesting results. Sure, Gamble Sands shot to the top, but that was consistent among both the “insiders” and public who cast their votes. Readers, though, cast significantly more favor on Western Washington tracks — The Home Course and Trophy Lake, for example, both climbed the rankings (the latter making its top-10 debut), while expert-favored “destination” courses like Rope Rider and Desert Canyon saw their numbers tick down a little. The main thing we've learned this year is that when ranking Washington's best public courses, there are no wrong answers. Many readers will see certain courses included (or not) and cry foul — with so many voters applying their own subjective criteria, and so many incredible tracks, the list of those that didn't make the cut is bound to be almost as impressive as the list of those that did. What matters, though, is that a course speaks to you, whatever criteria you're using — and, as your votes this year shouted loud and clear, our Washington-state courses aren't just speaking, they're singing. Here are a few of your favorite tunes. cascadegolfer.com
METHOD TO THE MADNESS
or two months this spring, we asked voters statewide to submit their rankings of Washington's top-10 public courses via email, social media and on CascadeGolfer.com. We took each voter's top-10 and assigned a point value to each vote — 10 points for a first-place vote, on down to one point for 10th place. Then, we simply added up the total number of points for each course and ranked them in order:
Course (First-Place Votes)
1. Gamble Sands (40)..............................660 2. Chambers Bay (17)..............................540 3. Gold Mountain - Olympic (4)...............485 4. Wine Valley (13)..................................449 5. Salish Cliffs (6)....................................397
Gamble Sands Brewster
When we saw how high Gamble Sands was in the rankings in 2015 — its first year on the ballot — we theorized that it might give Chambers Bay a run for its money in 2017. But even we never imagined this. Gamble Sands was a runaway winner with both our experts — nearly two-thirds of whom ranked Gamble at the top of their “best of” lists — and readers, who overwhelmingly favored the links-style course nestled between the Columbia River and the rolling hills of north-central Washington. So, what is it about Gamble Sands that has so captured the hearts of golfers statewide, and incited them to elevate it past the two-time champ with a U.S. Open pedigree? We'll let the voters speak for themselves. “Gamble Sands looks and plays like it's been there for 100 years,” said reader Tanner Ketel. “It's perfect.” “Gamble Sands is the very best golf experience I've ever had!” added Evie Mulholland. “Breathtaking views. Exceptional fairways and greens. Very user-friendly! So much fun!! Just what golf should be.” That pretty much says it all. If you've been there, you know. If you haven't — well, now you know what you're missing. cascadegolfer.com
Chambers Bay University Place
Don't take its second-place finish the wrong way — voters still love Chambers Bay. The two-time defending champion received 17 firstplace votes (only Chambers, Gamble and Wine Valley received more than six), and even voters who picked Gamble noted how hard it was to choose between the top two. Reader “Stevo,” commenting on our website at CascadeGolfer.com, called Chambers Bay “The total package, from an authentic golf-experience standpoint. So many signature holes. It feels like the course came out of the topography. My favorite public course in Washington.” Only one course in Washington is ranked among Golf Digest's top-25 public courses in America. Only one course makes our hearts beat a little faster when a friend tells us he or she has scored us a free round. And on a sunny day, with the sun glinting off the gentle waves of Puget Sound and a light breeze blowing in past Lone Fir, there's no place we'd rather be. Some of our most special golf memories have been made at Chambers Bay — and whether it's No. 1 or No. 2, we can't wait to make some more.
6. Palouse Ridge (3)................................389 7. The Home Course (3)...........................279 8. Prospector (1)......................................209 9. White Horse (1)...................................170 10. Trophy Lake (2)..................................150
Others Receiving Votes: Desert Canyon 149, Washington National 143, Bear Mountain Ranch 102, Rope Rider 100, Apple Tree 91, Indian Canyon 67, Links at Moses Pointe 62, Semiahmoo 60, Druids Glen 55, Loomis Trail 54, McCormick Woods 45, Gold Mountain (Cascade) 41, Newcastle (Coal Creek) 40, Avalon 29, Redmond Ridge 29, Kayak Point 27, Canyon Lakes 25, Mount Si 22, Harbour Pointe 20, Port Ludlow 20, Newcastle (China Creek) 19, Creek at Qualchan 18, North Bellingham 18, Tri-Mountain 17, Eaglemont 14, Camas Meadows 13, High Cedars 13, Lake Padden 12, Sudden Valley 12, Columbia Pointe 11, Hawks Prairie (Woodlands) 11, Highlander 11, Orcas Island 10, Cedars at Dungeness 9, Snoqualmie Falls 9, West Seattle 9, Hangman Valley 8, Horn Rapids 8, Lake Spanaway 8, Shuksan 8, Whispering Firs 8, Alta Lake 7, Bellevue 7, Eagles Pride 7, Echo Falls 7, Homestead Farms 7, Kahler Glen 7, MeadowWood 6, Nile 6, Chewelah 5, Downriver 5, Kalispel Golf & CC 5, Maplewood 5, Snohomish 5, Willows Run (Eagles Talon) 5, Peninsula 4, Riverside 4, Allenmore 3, Gallery 3, Hawks Prairie (Links) 3, Lake Chelan 3, Leavenworth 3, Legion Memorial 3, Meadow Park 3, Walter Hall 3, Rock Island 2, Elk Ridge 1, Quail Ridge 1, Whidbey Golf Club 1. AUGUST 2017
Gold Mountain (Olympic) Bremerton
lanning to blow out summer with one last golf getaway? Here are a few more top-10s, highlighting our favorite tracks in different corners of the state: North 1. Semiahmoo G.C. (Blaine) 2. Loomis Trail G.C. (Blaine) 3. The Links at Avalon (Burlington) 4. Kayak Point G.C. (Stanwood) 5. Harbour Pointe G.C. (Mukilteo) 6. North Bellingham G.C. (Bellingham) 7. Eaglemont G.C. (Mount Vernon) 8. Lake Padden G.C. (Bellingham) 9. Sudden Valley G.C. (Bellingham) 10. Snohomish G.C. (Snohomish) Seattle/Tacoma/Eastside 1. Chambers Bay (University Place) 2. The Home Course (DuPont) 3. Washington National G.C. (Auburn) 4. Druids Glen G.C. (Covington) 5. Newcastle - Coal Creek (Newcastle) 6. Redmond Ridge G.C. (Redmond) 7. Mount Si G.C. (North Bend) 8. Newcastle - China Creek (Newcastle) 9. High Cedars G.C. (Orting) 10. Hawks Prairie G.C. - Woodlands (Lacey) Peninsula/Island 1. Gold Mountain - Olympic (Bremerton) 2. Salish Cliffs G.C. (Shelton) 3. White Horse G.C. (Kingston) 4. Trophy Lake Golf & Casting (Port Orchard) 5. McCormick Woods G.C. (Port Orchard) 6. Gold Mountain - Cascade (Bremerton) 7. Resort at Port Ludlow (Port Ludlow) 8. Cedars at Dungeness (Sequim) 9. Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club (Union) 10. Whidbey Golf Club (Oak Harbor) Central/Eastern Washington 1. Gamble Sands G.C. (Brewster) 2. Wine Valley G.C. (Walla Walla) 3. Palouse Ridge G.C. (Pullman) 4. Prospector G.C. (Roslyn) 5. Desert Canyon G.C. (Orondo) 6. Bear Mountain Ranch (Chelan) 7. Rope Rider G.C. (Roslyn) 8. Apple Tree Resort (Yakima) 9. Indian Canyon G.C. (Spokane) 10. Links at Moses Pointe (Moses Lake)
If we were to determine our list exclusively by value, Gold Mountain would be No. 1 every single year. Only two of the other top-10 courses have a peak greens fee under $100 — and their point totals combined can't match the Olympic. In fact, come up with any criteria to rank our state's public courses, and the Olympic Course will be in the top-five. Value? Of course. Memorable holes? Definitely. Ease of access? You bet. National fanfare? The USGA and NCAA regularly play there, so, yes, certainly. Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com Quintessential “Northwestiness?“ (Yes, I just made that word up.) Absolutely. The fact is, the Olympic Course is our rock. As one course after another has been knocked out of the top-10 by a flashy newcomer over the last 20 years, the Olympic Course has held steady in the top-five, always reliable, always enjoyable, and always guaranteed to knock the socks off of any out-of-towner who can't believe that we pay as little as $30 in the summer to play such an incredible track. Courses like the Olympic are why we live here. And by your votes, you've shown that you appreciate just how lucky we all are.
Wine Valley Walla Walla
I'll never forget the first time I played Wine Valley. It was an experience the likes of which I had only had once before — at Chambers Bay, in fact — and have only had twice since — at Bandon Dunes Resort, and Gamble Sands. It's the feeling of standing on the first tee and looking out across a golf landscape that simply overwhelms your senses — it's like a drug, and I'm a hopeless addict. We spent eight hours that day unlocking Wine Valley's secrets over an unforgettable 36 holes (see “One Day In The Valley,“ August 2012) — the different ways to play each hole, how to use the terrain to guide our balls to the pin, and the way the course changes throughout the day along with variations in light, temperature and wind. Only one course in the top-10 appeared on fewer total ballots than Wine Valley — and it still finished fourth, because those who did rank it almost unanimously put it in their top-three. If you've played it, you love it. So, go play it.
Salish Cliffs Shelton
Whereas Wine Valley appeared on comparatively few ballots, but consistently ranked at or near the top, Salish Cliffs appeared on more ballots than any course except Gold Mountain's Olympic Course — yes, even more than Chambers Bay or Gamble Sands. It would seem that just about everyone has made it over to Shelton in the six years since Salish Cliffs first opened — and you're all blown away by what you've found. Put simply, Salish Cliffs is fun, whether your handicap is 2 or 22. Scratch golfers take on Salish's long rough, cutting corners and flying the ball over trouble to leave the best angles to the flag. Shorter hitters, meanwhile, take advantage of wide fairways and a handful of short par-4s and par-5s to try and put a birdie or two on the scorecard. All while enjoying panoramic views on a course where hardly a single blade of grass seems out of place. It's that quality, versatility and reputation for excellence that have made us proud to align with Salish Cliffs over the last six years, whether for our Cascade Golfer Cup, Match Play or the CG Players Card. We're glad you see it the same way.
Palouse Ridge Pullman
As was the case in 2015, Palouse Ridge rounds out the state's “Super Six“ — that is, six courses whose vote totals distance themselves significantly from those below them. But it might not be “rounding out“ that group much longer. The home course for the Washington State Cougars gained 10 percent on No. 5 Salish Cliffs in this year's rankings, coming just eight points — one single, thirdplace vote — shy of scraping its way back into the state's top-5, where it sat comfortably before Gamble Sands Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com burst on the scene in 2014. Having also closed the gap on Salish Cliffs in 2015 (as compared to 2013), it stands to reason that as more time goes by, and more golfers make their way across the state to see what the fuss is about, Palouse Ridge's status is only increasing. As well it should. The Huskies on our staff have long since conceded Palouse Ridge's overall excellence — and how could they not? Palouse combines the brawn of Salish Cliffs, and the look of feel of Wine Valley, with the panoramic views of Gamble Sands. That's a winning formula even a Coug can understand.
The Home Course DuPont
No course saw its fortunes elevated so greatly by the inclusion of readers into our voting panel as DuPont's Home Course. Had we stuck with our previous panel, including golf writers, photographers and other industry insiders, The Home Course would have ranked 13th, with less than 10 percent of the total of first-place Gamble Sands. Adding in the reader votes, it's No. 7, with nearly 50 percent of Gamble's total — and a laser sight set on No. 6. That's how much our readers love The Home Course. The “home course“ of the Pacific Northwest Photo by Rob Perry / robperry.com Golf Association, the John Fought design opened in the shadow of Chambers Bay in 2007 — both given the latter's U.S. Open award, and in the sense that they're only 12 miles apart. The similarities extend to its links style and Sound views, making The Home Course almost a “Chambers Bay lite“ for local golfers who'd rather spend $60 than $160. Good enough to host the U.S. Amateur, but affordable enough to be your weekend go-to track, it's right in our sweet spot. And, apparently, in yours, too.
Prospector at Suncadia Roslyn
It's been interesting to watch our voters' preferences for the two public tracks at Suncadia Resort — Prospector and Rope Rider — flip-flop over the years. In 2013, Prospector nabbed the No. 8 spot, while Rope Rider received the 10th-most votes. Two years later, the script flipped — Rope Rider jumped to eighth, and Prospector dropped back to No. 10. This year, it's Prospector back at No. 8, and Rope Rider dropping all the way to 14th. (Though, had we only used our expert votes, Rope Rider would in fact be No. 7, and Prospector No. 10.) It seems that voters just can't decide which course they prefer — and we completely understand, since we find ourselves struggling with the same question. This year, it's Prospector, an unending bonanza of memorable holes, none more so than the epic par-4 10th, perhaps the most photogenic par-4 in the state. When you're at Prospector — and Rope Rider, too — you feel like you're a world away from your daily concerns, even though you're barely 90 minutes from home. It's unquestionably our favorite mountain escape.
ooking to stretch that dollar as far as you can? Here are the top-ranked courses at each price point.
Under $50 1. Indian Canyon.....................................$40 2. Gold Mountain (Cascade)...................$45 3. Mount Si........................................$49.72 4. The Creek at Qualchan........................$40 5. High Cedars.........................................$48 6. Columbia Point....................................$48 7. Hawks Prairie (Woodlands).................$49 8. West Seattle.......................................$36 9. Cedars at Dungeness..........................$47 10. Shuksan.............................................$49 $50-$65 1. The Home Course................................$64 2. White Horse........................................$60 3. The Links at Moses Pointe..................$54 4. McCormick Woods..............................$64 5. The Links at Avalon.............................$59 6. Kayak Point.........................................$51 7. Resort at Port Ludlow.........................$55 8. North Bellingham................................$56 9. Sudden Valley.....................................$55 10. Highlander.........................................$65 $66-$99 1. Gold Mountain (Olympic)....................$70 2. Trophy Lake.........................................$87 3. Apple Tree...........................................$75 4. Semiahmoo.........................................$90 5. Druids Glen.........................................$70 6. Loomis Trail.........................................$80 7. Redmond Ridge...................................$95 8. Canyon Lakes......................................$66 9. Harbour Pointe....................................$74 10. Eaglemont.........................................$71 Over $100 1. Gamble Sands...................................$150 2. Chambers Bay.................................$199* 3. Wine Valley.......................................$130 4. Salish Cliffs.......................................$109 5. Palouse Ridge...................................$105 6. Prospector.........................................$124 7. Washington National........................$107 8. Desert Canyon...................................$100 9. Bear Mountain Ranch.......................$100 10. Rope Rider.......................................$124 NOTE: Rate refers to maximum peakseason rate only (walking rate, if available) * – Washington resident rate
ow do these rankings compare to those from two years ago? Here are the top-20, then and now:
2017 Rankings 2015 Change 1. Gamble Sands . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . +1 2. Chambers Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . -1 3. Gold Mountain - Olympic. . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . +1 4. Wine Valley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . -1 5. Salish Cliffs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . -6. Palouse Ridge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . -7. The Home Course. . . . . . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . . . . . +2 8. Prospector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t10. . . . . . . . . . +2 9. White Horse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . -2 10. Trophy Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t10. . . . . . . . . . . -11. Desert Canyon. . . . . . . . . . . . 12. . . . . . . . . . . +1 12. Washington National. . . . . . . 13. . . . . . . . . . . +1 13. Bear Mountain Ranch . . . . . . 14. . . . . . . . . . . +1 14. Rope Rider. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . -6 15. Apple Tree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15. . . . . . . . . . . . -16. Indian Canyon. . . . . . . . . . . . . 18. . . . . . . . . . . +2 17. Links at Moses Pointe. . . . . . NR. . . . . . . . . . . -18. Semiahmoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . . -1 19. Druids Glen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. . . . . . . . . . . +2 20. Loomis Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34. . . . . . . . . . +14 McCormick Woods. . . . . . . . . NR. . . . . . . . . . . -NR - course received no votes in 2015
Photo by Rob Perry/robperry.com
White Horse Kingston
We should have called this “The Harbottle Issue.“ We wrote about John and Pat Harbottle in this month's “Difference Makers“ feature; meanwhile, their late son, golf course designer John Harbottle III, has dominated our top-10. Gold Mountain's Olympic Course, Palouse Ridge and White Horse all bear the Harbottle name, the first two as original designs and the latter a redesign in 2011, to soften up some of the more challenging aspects of Cynthia Dye McGarey's original White Horse layout. Since its purchase by the Suquamish Tribe in 2011, White Horse has lowered its rates, redesigned its layout and become, quite simply, one of the best courses — and best values, as our rankings by price would indicate — in the Northwest. If you played it before, but haven't since, you're in for a treat.
Photo by Rob Perry/robperry.com
Trophy Lake Port Orchard
To borrow a fishing analogy (which seems appropriate given Trophy Lake's “Golf & Casting“ moniker), Trophy Lake has cast about the edges of our top-10 in each of the first two rankings, but never gotten a bite — until now. It's a credit to Washington's other tracks that it's taken so long for Trophy to crack the list — with some of the state's best turf, white-sand bunkers, perfect greens and an array of fun and challenging holes, it's been a favorite of Washington golfers since the day it opened in 1999. Which makes it the perfect track to cap our list. Because just like Trophy Lake's 18th hole, a top-10 ranking is a riskreward endeavor — risk that you'll offend, but a reward for the courses that make the final cut. And as anyone who has ever read Simon Dubiel's monthly Risk vs. Reward feature can attest, we've never been ones to lay up.
Wine Trail Over three million people visited Washington wine country last year — so we're putting a CG twist on one of the state's most popular weekend getaways
By Brian Beaky CG Editor
s we looked back at our first 40 issues for our 10th Anniversary issue in June, we kept coming back to our initial foray down what we called the “Cascade Golfer Wine Trail,“ a journey that took us from Chelan, to Yakima and the Tri-Cities, and eventually to Walla Walla, sipping Washington's finest wines and teeing it up at some of our state's most scenic courses. Outside of Northern California's Napa Valley, there's literally no other place in America where you can enjoy a similar experience — and if I'm being entirely honest, I think our golf courses are better. What struck me most as I read the article, however, was how much the landscape has changed in just eight years. Rope Rider didn't exist in 2009. Neither did Gamble Sands. Desert Canyon had yet to be revived by the ownership of Bear Mountain Ranch's Don Barth. Wine Valley opened its doors just six weeks before the magazine hit the streets — well, opened its tee boxes would be more accurate; the “doors“ of the still-underconstruction clubhouse wouldn't officially open until later that summer. On the wine side, the growth has been even more significant. In 2008, Washington boasted just over 600 wineries, producing roughly 12 million cases of wine per year — second only to California among U.S. states. In less than a decade, those numbers have grown to more than 900 wineries and over 16 million cases per year — were Washington a country and not a state, its premium wine production would rank sixth in the world, bettered only by the state of California and four entire countries (France, Italy, Australia, Chile). Washington wines claimed six of the top-45 spots in Wine Spectator's 2016 list of the world's top-100 wines, with three of those priced at under $35 (and one, Charles Smith's Kung Fu Girl Riesling, at just $12). Likewise, the seven Washington wines that made Wine Enthusiast's 2016 top-100 list boast a median price of just $30. This is the point where you pinch yourself and say, “Wait, I actually live here?“
You sure do. Nearly three million visitors flocked to Washington wine country last year, drawn by the promise of premium wine at an affordable rate, and — for some of them, no doubt — world-class golf at half the price of America's more publicized golf destinations. Hit a pitching wedge anywhere along the path of the Columbia River from Brewster in the north down to Walla Walla, and you're likely to land your ball on either a pristine playing surface, or among endless rows of Cabernet and Riesling. That combination, of course, makes the Cascade Golfer Wine Trail an ideal vacation for golfers and non-golfers alike. Slip out early in the morning while the others in your party sleep off a fun night of dinner and dancing, or sip their coffee while watching the sun's first rays dance across Lake Chelan or the Horse Heaven Hills. Then join up for an afternoon tasting the world's most outstanding wines, before sitting down to a dinner made from locally-sourced produce. Then wash, rinse, repeat. Given the significant changes in both industries over the past decade, we decided to take another trip down the Wine Trail this spring, mixing some of our favorite stops from 2009 with new obsessions we had yet to discover. On the following pages, you'll travel with us to each of Washington's three primary golf-and-wine destinations — Chelan, Walla Walla, and the Yakima Valley. We'll tee it up at some of the state's top tracks, and drown every bad shot with some of the finest Syrahs and Merlots we've ever sipped. We'll also throw in a few tips for planning your own Wine Trail getaway — (We've found, “Hey, honey, any interest in going wine tasting with me this summer?“ to have a nearly 100-percent success rate) — and help narrow down those 900 wineries and dozens of courses to the ones that we think are most worth your time. If you took this trip when we recommended it eight years ago, then you know exactly why we wanted to go back. If you didn't, that's O.K. Because the golf and wine in Washington have both gotten better with age.
TIPS FOR SIPS
n our multiple trips across the mountains to sample the state's wine and golf pairings, we've learned a few tricks to make the most of your weekend:
Designate A Driver
It's easy to think, "They're just little tastes, it's not enough to get drunk." Wrong. Most "tastes" are roughly 1 oz. pours and one tasting flight could include 4-5 different tastes. That means that after visiting just three wineries, you could potentially drink as much as 12-15 oz. of wine — for reference, a full bottle is 25 oz. Designate a driver on a daily or winery-by-winery basis; it's not worth risking an accident or a DUI.
Most tasting rooms open in the afternoons, and usually close around 5 or 6 p.m., while golf courses are busiest in the late morning to early afternoon. Plan to golf early, then grab lunch and taste all afternoon. Also, some tasting rooms are only open certain days of the week — if there are any you absolutely must hit, check the hours on their website (or at www.washingtonwine.org) before leaving to make sure you won't miss out.
10 Walla Walla 12
It's OK To Share
If you don't want to pay two tasting fees, or you and your partner want to taste different wines on the menu — or, ahem, one of you is driving and just wants a teeny sample — it's OK to share. Most wineries will credit your tasting fee towards a full bottle, though, so there IS value in that extra tasting.
1 Desert Canyon – desertcanyon.com
8 Desert Aire – daoa.org
2 Lake Chelan G.C. – cityofchelan.us
9 Apple Tree – appletreeresort.com
3 Bear Mountain Ranch – bearmtgolf.com
10 Canyon Lakes – canyonlakesgolfcourse.com
This goes without saying for any road trip, but especially a golf-and-wine getaway. Load up the car with bottled water. Not only will it keep you from overdoing it, it will help cleanse your palate.
4 Gamble Sands – gamblesands.com
11 Sun Willows – playsunwillows.com
5 Highlander – highlandergc.com
12 Columbia Point – playcolumbiapoint.com
6 Leavenworth – leavenworthgolf.com
13 Horn Rapids – hornrapidsgolf.com
7 Kahler Glen – kahlerglen.com
14 Wine Valley – winevalleygolfclub.com
For a complete list of wineries in each region, including detailed information on tasting hours and more, visit www.washingtonwine.org
Don't make it your goal to visit as many wineries as you can each day — instead, pace yourself and take time to enjoy each wine and winery setting. Ask questions of the pourers — in many cases, the person behind the counter may well be the winemaker themselves. More than once, polite conversation we've had with a winemaker has led to a private tour of the winery or vineyards, or even the chance to taste barrel wines or other exclusive selections. Patience, an open spirit and a friendly smile are your best friends. AUGUST 2017
he youngest of Washington's three major wine regions is also our favorite. Much of that is due to Lake Chelan itself, a pristine sliver of clear-blue water extending more than 55 miles to the northwest. On the ferry ride to Stehekin, at Lake Chelan's northern terminus, you can learn about the history and geology of the lake — how it's one of the deepest in North America, deep enough to drop the entire Space Needle into, and how the glacier that formed it also left behind the perfect soil for growing the grapes that now rival the lake for our tourism dollars. But it's not just the lake that puts Chelan atop the list for us. It's also the golf courses. Three of our favorite courses in the state — Gamble Sands, Bear Mountain Ranch and Desert Canyon — are no more than 35 minutes from town, while the municipally owned Lake Chelan Golf Course is absolutely worth the $50 you'll pay to play there in the summer, if not just for the views alone. And of course, there are the wineries — dozens of them cover the northern and southern slopes of the lake, vineyards extending from the lake's edge up to hilltop tasting rooms with incredible, panoramic views. Furthermore, the region has yet to shed its “upstart,“ entrepreneurial feel, meaning the folks behind the counter in the tasting rooms are just as likely to be the winemakers themselves as they are to be a paid
Bear Mountain Ranch • Chelan employee. They'll tell you about their pasts as teachers, salespeople or computer programmers, and the moment they decided to cash in all of their savings to chase their dream. If you've ever sipped a great wine and wondered about changing careers, you'll feel that tickle of inspiration, that thought that wonders, “Could I?“ (Though, if you find yourself charting out on a paper napkin just what it would take, it might be time to stop tasting for the day.) We like to do Chelan as a three-day weekend, driving up on Friday morning and returning late Sunday. Just three hours from the Seattle area up Highway 2 (or via Blewett Pass off of I-90), it's close enough that you can play your way in on Friday; we generally stop first at Desert Canyon in Orondo, a little more than halfway up
the east side of the Columbia River between Wenatchee and Chelan. A round at Desert Canyon gives you the chance to adjust your game to conditions — quite simply, balls fly farther in the warm, dry Central Washington air, aided further by the nearly 2,000 feet of elevation. Nobody ever complained about an extra 15-20 yards on their drives; after soaking in the sun at Desert Canyon, you won't be complaining either. If your budget is tighter, continue up the highway to Lake Chelan Golf Course. Shorter (6,400 yards from the tips) and less penal than some of the bigger-name courses in the region, Lake Chelan draws thousands of golfers each year of all abilities, eager to soak in the views without soaking their wallets. Like many courses built in the '60s and '70s, Lake Chelan has small greens, many elevated above the fairway in ways that make club selection on approach shots key. Trees and bunkers, while present, aren’t copious enough to restrict an average golfer from achieving a good score even with a little wildness, while the only real water hazard is more a distraction — in the form of the beautiful blue Lake Chelan stretching out as far as the eye can see to the west — than a threat. Playing a late-morning round at Desert Canyon or Lake Chelan leaves you a few hours to taste wine that afternoon — or to take the kids to Slidewaters, the state's best water park, practically hidden among low trees and sloping hills on the lake's south side. Logistically, it's easier to taste on one side of the lake per day — we generally do the north side Friday (since it's closer to Lake Chelan G.C.) and the south side (home to Bear Mountain Ranch) Saturday, but you can taste in whatever order you please. North side favorites include Benson Vineyards (whose reds are matched in wonder only by the view from the tasting room), Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards (where wines — “Burning Desire,“ “Nauti Buoy,“ “Afternoon Delight,“ etc. — take their names from legends about a nearby early 20th-century brothel) and Wapato Point Cellars. For our second day, we drive around to the south side of the lake and tee it up early at Bear Mountain Ranch. With its location atop a hill overlooking the lake, town and acres of wine grapes below, it's unquestionably one of Washington's most photogenic courses. Just below BMR's fairways is the red-barn tasting room of Nefarious Cellars, long a CG favorite for its incredible Cabs and Syrahs. We also favor Tunnel Hill Winery (one of just a handful of Pinot Noirs that we prefer to those cascadegolfer.com
Nefarious Cellars • Chelan
from Oregon's Willamette Valley), Karma Vineyards and Tsillan Cellars, the latter's Sorrento's Ristorante being an ideal place for a post-round lunch. Sunday is getaway day — but we're not about to get away without a stop at Washington's best new course, and the newly christened king of Washington public golf, Gamble Sands. You can read more about Gamble in our top-10 article — just know that it's one of the most creatively designed, most beautiful and most enjoyable courses you'll ever play, anywhere. Should you decide you don't want to leave, the all-new on-site Inn at Gamble Sands will take care of you overnight. On this trip, at least, we do have to head back — though not before stopping at Rio Vista Wines, just off Highway 97 north of Chelan, for one last taste of the good stuff. If you don't want to make the drive to Gamble Sands, or are simply looking for something at a lower price point, Highlander Golf Course in East Wenatchee, or Leavenworth's Kahler Glen or Leavenworth Golf Course both make fine stops on your way out of town. Highlander has been reimagined in recent years with all-new bunkers, re-conditioned turf, thousands of new trees, all-new water features, and a complete redesign of the course's back nine. Always a sucker for a pretty view, our favorite holes are two that play across gaping canyons on the ridge's edge — the par-3 ninth and the short, par-4 17th. The former is one of the most intimidating tee shots in Washington, while the latter is a fantastic, risk-reward delight. Rates top out at just $60 including cart, making it a great choice for budgetconscious golfers, or anyone who likes putting a few circles on the scorecard — in other words, all of us. Leavenworth, too, has mesmerizing views, though of the exact opposite kind as Highlander's — whereas the latter casts the eye out and down, over the expansive river valley below, the former casts the eye up, to the jagged peaks that enclose Washingtonians' favorite mountain retreat. In addition to a lower greens fee (under $50, even at peak times) and mountain setting, Leavenworth also presents a contrast to the other Chelan-area courses with its shorter length, which makes it a great heading-home choice for groups with players of mixed abilities. And if you just haven't tasted enough wine, you can always stop in at the many tasting rooms downtown — Boudreaux, Kestrel, Ryan Patrick, and Swakane are all great choices, and if you missed them in Chelan, Hard Row To Hoe's Leavenworth tasting room will be happy to warm your belly before you hit the road. cascadegolfer.com
• $25 18 hole green fee w/cart Good Monday - Thursday • 20% off Green Fees good Friday - Sunday Must bring in coupon to receive offer.
hile both Chelan and Walla Walla are easily defined regions centered around a specific city (OK, “city“ might be a stretch for Chelan, at least), what we're calling the “Yakima Valley“ region is harder to define. But there's no question when you're there — what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about obscenity is just as true about this region of Washington wine, you “know it when you see it.“ It starts in Yakima, where the endless acres of open hills and cattle-grazing land begin to give way to those telltale rows of fruit. More wineries start appearing as you leave town, first one at a time, then two or three together — by the time you reach Buena and Zillah, roughly 20 miles down Highway 82, there are nothing but wine grapes as far as the eye can see, and dozens of wineries lining the freeway's northern border. Another 30 minutes down the road, Prosser and Benton City sit at the virtual heart of Washington wine country — where the Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley AVAs (American Viticulutral Areas) all meet — while the Tri-Cities, another 15 minutes east, pack another two dozen wineries into a relatively small (and easily drivable) footprint. In other words, this region may lack for a specific name — we've picked “Yakima Valley,“ though technically the Tri-Cities wineries lie just outside the actual Yakima Valley AVA — but it doesn't lack for incredible wine. Coming from the west, a good place to start is at Desert Aire Golf Club, due south from Vantage on the eastern shore of the Columbia River. If Desert Aire were anywhere except the middle of nowhere, it would likely be considered one of the state's top tracks. With a recent redesign completed by Dan Hixson (of Wine Valley and Bandon Crossings fame, and whose new, unique reversible design at Oregon's Silvies Valley Ranch was featured in our June issue), impeccable conditioning and expansive views of the Columbia River and Umtanum Ridge, what's not to like? Fairways are almost never crowded, and the rate — just $39 on a summer
Apple Tree Resort • Yakima weekend — is half what Desert Aire could charge for the same experience in Western Washington. Starting at Desert Aire also gives you a few options — continuing southeast towards the Tri-Cities, cutting due south through the heart of the Yakima Valley AVA to the wine-tasting centers of Sunnyside and Prosser, or turning west after crossing the river to make straight for Yakima itself. We like to start east and work our way back home — which means teeing it up at any of the Tri-Cities' terrific tracks on the afternoon we arrive. That includes Canyon Lakes Golf Course (the first solo design by John Steidel, and not the last that we'll play on this trip), with its massive greens; Sun Willows (with a back nine built by Robert Muir Graves), Columbia Point (designed by Jim Engh, one of just four designers in the world with three courses in Golf Digest's U.S. Top-100) or Horn Rapids, whose par-3 fourth-hole was a finalist in our 2009 “Dream 18“ of Washington's top holes. Or, you could skip your second round of the day and instead enjoy an afternoon tasting at Preston Premium Winery, Gordon Brothers Winery or J Bookwalter, and you'll sleep well under the stars that night.
With over 900 wineries producing more than 17.5 million cases of wine each year, it's estimated that the wine industry has a $2.067 billion impact on Washington's economy.
On day two, we'll play early in the Tri-Cities before heading west, stopping off in either Benton City or Zillah. Realistically, it's impossible to do more than one of these towns in a single day — your best bet is to choose one area and stick to it, then move on to the next the following day. In Benton City, both Corvus Cellars and Col Solare Winery have wines ranked among the top100 in the world, while Kiona Vineyards and Winery is one of the state's oldest; Prosser is home to favorites 14 Hands, Alexandria Nicole, Milbrandt Vineyards and Airfield Estates. Our final day, we confess, is mostly about the golf — but, we'll make a few stops along the way at places like J Bell Cellars in Zillah, or Owen Roe, on the outskirts of Yakima. You can't hit a pitching wedge in Zillah without finding a winery, so you won't be short of options. When it comes to the golf, though, there's only one must-play: Apple Tree Resort. A mainstay on the Washington golf scene since it opened in 1992, Apple Tree is known primarily for its apple-shaped island green, complete with a leaf-shaped bunker and a footbridge stem. Second only to Coeur d'Alene's floating green among the Northwest's most iconic golf course images, the apple green is every bit as fun to play as it is to look at — the elevated tee box at the par-3 17th looks down 100 feet to the green below; so many golfers stop to take photos and hit extra shots that the course has had to erect a sign reminding players to please keep it moving out of courtesy to the groups behind them. The truth is, though, you'll fall in love with Apple Tree well before you reach the 17th tee. For me, what started as a crush on the very first hole — an elevated tee par-4 whose sheer “greenness,“ for lack of a better term, overwhelms the senses — developed into fullblown passion by the time I made the turn, having played creatively designed holes routed through active apple orchards and along a delightful, burbling stream. The beauty of the apple orchards on the front nine is matched only by the water hazards and white-sand bunkers of the back — the green complexes at the 11th and 14th holes are among the prettiest in the state, while the steeply-sloping 16th hole, and the 463-yard, par-5, risk/reward 18th team with the island green to form one of our favorite finishing stretches. cascadegolfer.com
Desert Aire Golf Course
2 FOR 1 GOLF
(rental cart required for 2 for 1 rates)
Good all day Monday thru Thursday (except holidays)
Good after 1:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday Must bring in ad to redeem
504 Clubhouse Way SW Desert Aire, WA 99349 | (509) 932-4439
9 & DINE The Blue Heron Bar & Grill
Special Limited Offer* Play 9 holes of Golf w/cart & feast on a delicious 12 oz Prime Rib Dinner! RSPV Required – Call (425) 333-5015
Save $15 Every Friday 5-9 (Tee off 3:00) Dinner includes: 12 oz Prime Rib with garlic mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables. Upgrade to 14oz Prime for $3 more.
L'Ecole No. 41 • Walla Walla
*Regular Price for golf, cart & meal $47. Offer good for all Friday’s till 5/20 to 9/29 2017. RSVP’s 24 hours in advance. Check with course starting tee after 3:00. Approx. 9-hole play time 2 hours. Price is per person. Rain checks available if necessary for golf only. Taxes & Gratuities are not included in this price. No other discounts may be applied to this offer.
ashington wine may have begun farther west — the earliest wine grapes were planted at Fort Vancouver by the Hudson's Bay Company, while the oldest vineyards still in production are located in the Yakima Valley and Snipes Mountain AVAs — but there's no question that its modern-day nerve center is in Walla Walla. Of the six Washington wineries named among the world's top-100 by Wine and Spirits Magazine in 2014, three call Walla Walla home, while two of the three others source grapes from at least one Walla Walla vineyard. aMaurice Cellars, Gramercy Cellars, L'Ecole No. 41 (built in an old schoolhouse), Woodward Canyon, Doubleback Winery (owned by former Washington State and NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe), Pepper Bridge Winery, Waterbrook Winery (a personal favorite in the under $15 range), Leonetti Cellar (and spinoff FIGGINS), Va Piano Vineyards ... you could spend a week in Walla Walla tasting from sun-up to sun-down and never visit the same tasting room twice. We don't recommend that, of course — not only for your own physical health, but because you need to save time for savoring the golf course that has never finished lower than third in our rankings of Washington's top public tracks — Wine Valley. Take the links golf style of Chambers Bay and the conditioning of Sahalee or Tumble Creek, and you'll have a fair approximation of the Wine Valley experience. The turf is so smooth, so well manicured, that each divot you take feels like a splash of paint thrown onto the Mona Lisa. And “paint“ is the best way to describe the vision from each tee box — a green landscape rolling smoothly across low hills, bordered on the fringes by wavy, golden grasses. Hit it late in the afternoon, with a few white clouds passing across a clear blue sky, as the sun begins to slip behind those grape-covered hills to the west, and you'll swear you're in the painting, too. It's also, quite simply, a blast to play. Like Gamble Sands and Chambers Bay, its two closest kin in Washington state, Wine Valley presents multiple ways to attack each hole, allowing golfers to choose the path and cascadegolfer.com
style that best suits their game, and the conditions and pin placements of the day. Unlike those others, its greens are lightning quick — golfers who pay attention to the slope of the greens before hitting their approach shots can save themselves a half-dozen strokes with the flatstick. In Walla Walla, we recommend playing Wine Valley every day — or, if you prefer more variety, play one of the Yakima Valley courses on your way in, hit Wine Valley on Saturday, then play another Yakima Valley course on your way out. It's your choice. That's a thing you'll learn quickly about a Washington wine-and-golf weekend — there are dozens of choices to make, and none of them are bad. Just slow down, soak it all in, and savor the various sensory inputs around you. Because like a fine wine, these are trips you won't want to rush.
Wine Valley G.C. • Walla Walla
SAVE SOME GREEN DRIVE TIME BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
e’re into my favorite part of the golf season now — the sun is always out, the kids are out of school ... it’s a perfect time to cast a wider net in search of a great round of golf. There are a few factors we consider when planning a road trip. Course quality, obviously, and the rate — you don’t always want to spend $100 on top of gas and food. But, also, the replayability of the course, or the presence of another good course nearby — if we’re going to drive an hour or more, we want to make the most of it. Lastly, there’s the drive itself. It’s hard to go wrong in this corner of the U.S.A., but give us water and mountain views, and we’re happy campers. We’ve listed two of our favorite day trips here, and many more online. Wherever you point your car this summer, here’s wishing you sunshine and birdies.
Whidbey Golf Club • Oak Harbor
Come & experience one of the best Public Courses in the Pacific Northwest! 4050 Maple Valley Highway, Renton, WA 98058
(425) 430-6800 JOIN OUR E-MARKETING CLUB Receive daily offers for reduced rate golf!
To Opt-in text “Renton Golf” to 468-311
Whidbey Golf Club OAK HARBOR
When we took our North Sound Shootout to Whidbey Golf Club three years ago, it was the first time many local players had ever received a look behind the ropes at the venerable track, which has been managed largely as a private club since the opening of its first nine holes in 1962. Now, though, with daily rates as low as $35, golfers of all kinds can enjoy what Oak Harbor residents have held as their own little secret for more than 50 years. What surprises most players about Whidbey are its greens — with its location in the direct path of the Pacific storms that come rolling in on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you’d expect a little dampness, if not an outright soaking. Instead, though, Whidbey features some of the nicest greens to be found between Seattle and the North Pole, with firm, fast surfaces that reward players who can keep their approach below the flagstick. That’s the quality you’d expect of a private track, of course, and it applies beyond the greens as well. Nearly every hole challenges the golfer to take on a creek, pond or other water feature, with suitable rewards for those who can execute a well-played shot. Given the trouble, its 6,500-yard length from the tips is more than enough for most players, with four short-
er tees to accommodate those looking to bite off a little less. Be sure to refuel at the turn — the back nine plays a full 200 yards longer than the front, including three par-4s longer than 410 from the tips, a 200-yard par-3 and a 530-yard par-5. While Whidbey has opened for daily play on weekdays, and weekends after 1 p.m., the course still holds onto many vestiges of its private days — memberships are still available for local players, granting additional privileges and reciprocal play at other private courses in the area; the course remains in excellent condition; and course staff treat everyone who walks in the door as a potential member. The next time you’re planning a day away, consider a run up north to Whidbey, perhaps paired with 18 at nearby Swinomish Golf Links. You’ll pay like a public golfer, but be treated like a private one.
YARDAGE (PAR) 4,252-6,537 (72/73) RATES $35-$50 TEL (360) 675-5490 WEB whidbeygolfclub.com * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
Cedars at Dungeness • Sequim
Cedars At Dungeness SEQUIM
There’s no bad time to head to the Cedars at Dungeness. In the winter and spring, its relatively dry climate makes it one of Western Washington’s busiest and most attractive courses. In the summer and fall, the scenic drive up the Olympic Peninsula makes it one of our favorite day-trip destinations, whether heading straight there, or pairing it with a round at White Horse, Port Ludlow or Port Townsend’s Discovery Bay. Located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca just a few minutes outside Sequim, the Cedars at Dungeness is as famous for its dry conditions as for its crab-shaped bunker and seemingly ubiquitous commercials starring Husky football legend Sonny Sixkiller. Owned and operated by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, in conjunction with the (relatively) nearby 7 Cedars Casino, the course is not only Washington’s driest, but one of its most fun — and affordable — as well. Mostly flat, but with a few slight elevation changes, it’s not the course design that will challenge you as much as it is the persistent wind that blows in off the Strait — especially on a summer afternoon. That wind can drastically alter your club selection in both directions, and requires a few holes to get used to. Among our favorites are the dogleg par-5 third, featuring that crushed red rock “Ole Crabby” by the green, and the par-4 18th, with a rightto-left sloping fairway and a narrow, tree-lined approach to the green that requires perfect placement off the tee. At just over 6,000 yards from the whites and 6.500 from the blues, it’s a good match for any skill level — there are birdies (and, for long hitters, even some potential eagles) to be made, but with a rating of 70.2 and a slope of 125 from the back (blue) tees, it’s no pushover. And of course, one of its best features are its rates, which never top $50 on a summer weekend, and drop as low as $25 at off-peak times. If you’re not trying to squeeze in a second round at any of those other great peninsula tracks, then take advantage of all-day rates topping out at $70 on a summer weekend and see how many times you can get around before the sun dips down into the Strait. There are few better ways to spend a summer day.
YARDAGE (PAR) 4,773-6,529 (72) RATES $16-$49 (play all day for $70) TEL (360) 683-6344 WEB 7cedarsresort.com/golf * See website for current rates cascadegolfer.com
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Scenic 18 Hole Public Golf Course In Fall City, Washington, East of Seattle
Golf Digest Best Places to Play in 2004 and 2008!
S G O L F
FALLS C O U R S E
4 CAN PLAY FOR THE PRICE OF 3!
Online Tee Times and Web Specials Available at snoqualmiefallsgolf.com 425-441-8049 or 425-222-5244 Only good for 4 players with same day tee time. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Good Monday - Thursday. Expires 10/31/17. Not valid on holidays. AUGUST 2017
POST GAME How To Speed Up the Game of Golf By Brian Beaky CG Editor
... and here a few of our more radical ideas ...
In the June issue, we highlighted some of the more significant changes being proposed to the Rules of Golf. Over 100 changes are being considered, with the goal being to simplify and streamline what has become a rule book so complicated even the world’s best players can’t follow it, and to speed up the pace of play. The proposed rule changes are currently in a review period; if approved, they will become law beginning in the 2018 season. We’ve often thought about how to speed up the game ourselves — pace of play is the No. 1 complaint of just about every golfer we know, and is a primary deterrent for new golfers. One can go play a game of basketball, soccer or a few innings of baseball in no more than an hour, without having to buy expensive equipment or learn any particularly complicated skills. Golf, on the other hand, eats up a good portion of your day — not to mention your budget and, on most days, your sense of self-confidence. So, here are a few ideas we’ve come up with, along with some of yours. They didn’t make it into the current proposed USGA Rule Changes, but there’s always next time.
Here are some suggestions by CG readers ... “If your group falls behind, simply have each person head to the next tee after putting out, instead of waiting for all to finish putting. By the time the last person in your group gets to the next tee, at least two of your foursome will have already teed off. Simple. Always worked for us.” — Roland Rhue “When two people are using a power cart, they should drop off one player at their ball, and go to the other ball so that both people are ready to hit when it is clear.” — KFN (Online comment) “Develop an inexpensive, single-person golf cart. Playing ready golf with individual carts or golf boards would save lots of time.” — Kent (Online comment)
At Topgolf, balls embedded with GPS are tracked by computer to determine scores for each shot.
Pay For How Fast You Play
Embed The Balls with GPS
At the start of your round, the pro shop gives you a receiver to take with you onto the course (like the boxes you get in restaurants that light up when your table is ready). At the end of your round, you turn in the receiver and can receive credits or other bonuses based on how quickly you played. If you played fast, you get money back, or a discount on your next round; if not, there’s no penalty, but you don’t receive the bonuses. Is it possible that the chance to save a few bucks would inspire everyone to work together to play a little faster? Perhaps. We admit, though, that this is probably an idea that sounds better on paper than it would actually work in practice.
Look, we’re not engineers, so we’re not going to try to tell you how a tiny GPS transmitter will affect ball flight. But, you know what? Titleist has a lot of our money. Figure it out! This is, in fact, already being done at Topgolf locations throughout the country. Each ball hit on a Topgolf range contains a tiny transmitter that communicates its exact location back to the hitting bay that you played it from. That’s how it can tell your ball from the 40 others being hit from other bays at exactly the same time. If Topgolf can do it, why not Titleist? In our dream scenario, every ball would contain a GPS that could be tracked by an app on your phone — no more hunting through the woods, scouring the rough or hillsides. You’ll just walk straight to your ball, every time. Heck, you could even know the exact distance to the flag before you walk or drive up. At least 10-15 minutes of every round is spent looking for balls, with another 5-10 spent figuring out distances. That’s 15-30 minutes shaved off of every single round right there. Mark my words — the first manufacturer to develop GPS balls, and the accompanying app, will make billions.
Use Drones To Marshal The Course
Designate Certain Tee Times For Fast Play
We all wish there were more marshals out there pushing those slower groups along. But as courses have had to tighten their belts over the last decade, many have had to cut back to one or even no marshals whatsoever. So, let’s put modern technology to use, shall we? A drone could fly over the course and easily see which groups are causing the most problems with regard to pace of play, and the marshal/drone operator could drive out to them directly and ask them to speed it up. This way, one person can effectively monitor the entire course, without having to drive around all 18 holes in a continuous loop.
You might argue that this already exists — it’s called “Super Twilight Rates.” But, in our idea, certain blocks of tee times — likely those earliest and latest in the day — would be set aside for golfers who are willing to commit to playing in four hours or less. Should you take more than four hours to complete your round on more than one occasion, you wouldn’t be able to book those “jackrabbit” times again at that course. Why twice, and not just once? There’s always the chance that, as with the pay-as-you-play scenario above, a slow group could penalize the groups behind them, at no fault of their own. If you’re slow twice, though, especially at “jackrabbit” times, when you’re supposedly playing with all fast golfers? Then the odds are that the problem is you. cascadegolfer.com
The August 2017 issue of Cascade Golfer magazine, the Puget Sound region's most widely read golf publication.