VOLUME 5 • ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2011 • COMPLIMENTARY
BLACK IS BACK WHERE WE’RE PLAYING (AND SAVING!) THIS FALL WIN GOLF AT FIVE OF THE REGION’S TOP TRACKS! NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
CG Previews the 2011 Boeing Classic with an Exclusive Interview with 45-time Champions Tour winner Hale Irwin
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Volume 5 • Issue 3 • AUGUST 2011
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CASCADE A LOOK INSIDE Departments 6 PUBLISHER’S PITCH
10 SHORT GAME
• Highlander’s new look • Local boys go big-time • All-new OkiGolf.com • CG Cup’s first major • Tournaments for solo golfers • Chambers gets Mogg Academy • Ballard’s POW gloves • NW pros off to good start • Got problems? Get LOFT
20 TOP SHELF
• Meridian Valley Country Club
22 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• Callaway goes black • Forged follow-up • Women’s sets to impress • Training aids for fall • CG’s Fall Fashions
THE CHAMPIONS’ CHAMP One of Golfweek’s 20 greatest golfers of all-time grants an exclusive interview to Cascade Golfer in advance of August’s Boeing Classic
33 RISK VS REWARD
The Classic Golf Club, No. 14
46 TRAVEL BAG
Montana’s Flathead Valley is a secret fall golf hideaway
48 SAVE SOME GREEN
Destination golf values for your last fall road trips
52 PRACTICE TEE
NCAA champ James Lepp masters the saucer pass
Cue up the iPod for your golf road trip
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8-9 | 27-31
All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted.
34 40 God Bless The Northwest
From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, Northwest golf puts the best of America just a few hours from home
DON’T MISS THIS MONTH’S
ENTER-TO-WINS! • Foursome at Highlander GC Page 10 • Innovex Driver Page 11 • Foursome at The Classic GC Page 15
• Twosome at Meridian Valley CC Page 20 • Foursome at Bandon Crossings GC Page 44
PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
• Stay-and-play to Montana’s Flathead Valley Page 47
Reigning champ Bernhard Langer lets it fly on “Mt. Si-gh,” the par-3 13th hole at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in the 2010 Boeing Classic. Preview on page 37. Photo by Kene Sperry
AUGUST 2011 2011
Giving credit where credit is due
– thank you, John, for your service to the game, and to this golfer
ithout a doubt, the United States Golf Association is one of the most impactful entities on the global game of golf. The USGA sets the standards for the game in the areas of rules, equipment standards and championship play and turf grass research — thus requiring those that work for them to be anything but standard. The most recent executive tapped to take the USGA into the future is one of our very own – Mr. John M. Bodenhamer, who has created a lifetime legacy right here in Washington state. John is one of the finest amateur golfers to ever come out of this area, having won state amateurs, WSGA and PNGA championships, and led BYU to an NCAA title as a collegian. Although his legendary playing record is marked with medals and awards, John’s mark on the game will be the impact he has had as the Executive Director of the WSGA and PNGA, where his career is riddled with pioneering efforts. I first met John just one month on the job back in 1990, when I published a magazine called Northwest Golf. I interviewed him and asked about his position overseeing amateur golf in our region – a big task for a gent then still in his 20s. His answers were honest and appropriate, and hinted of his great potential. Together, John and I founded Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the PNGA’s publication, back in 1994, and the first issue hit mailboxes on my wedding day. It was an important moment in my career and, I know, in John’s,
too — a collaborative effort between John, his board and chairman Spike Beeber. I also enjoyed starting up the Pacific Northwest Golf Show with John, the PNGA and the PGA Section; played a part in reengineering the Evans Cup Tournament and Auction; and co-produced the PNGA’s 100-year history book, Championships and Friendships, with John, Mike Riste and Jeff and Annie Shelley. In each of these efforts, it was John’s drive, vision and trust that got things done. He also helped me realize my own potential in becoming a publisher, event producer and businessman. I will always be grateful for the example he set and the time we spent building things together. Over the last two decades, I have been one of hundreds that have witnessed John’s hard work and leadership efforts turn the PNGA into the premier regional amateur golf association in North America. Everything he sets out to do is done to exacting standards — none more evident than opening the Home Course and hosting the U.S. Amateur here last year. Although he never takes credit and is quick to make sure others get the limelight, he was the driving force behind all the things I’ve listed here – and a lot more. John is leaving his post to tackle a position the USGA has crafted to showcase his rare talents, leaving behind an amateur golf legacy in the Northwest that will never be topped. It’s a sure bet, though, that his greatest impact on the sport is yet to be made.
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Highlander Gets a Facelift
ighlander Golf Course in East Wenatchee went through an identity crisis last year. When it was originally designed and opened in 2002 as a links course, it had fescue grass, wideopen fairways, pot bunkers, a handful of trees on the periphery and virtually no water. It billed itself a course “true to the land and heritage of Scottish links-style golf.’’ That link to links has been severed. As head golf pro John Christensen says, “It’s more Floridastyle. It’s cool now. It’s also gorgeous.’’ The 6,400-yard layout, sitting high on Raven Ridge overlooking the Columbia River, has been transformed. Much of the pesky fescue has been taken out. The course owners, Wenatchee Golf Developers, brought in 100,000 square feet of sod, planted more than 500 trees, mostly willows and yellow locusts, and added two lakes and a waterfall. And that’s just on the front nine. “We’ve totally gone away from the links look,’’ Christensen says. “We wanted to differentiate the holes. We wanted each hole to feel like its own hole. Our goal was to make it pretty and fun. We added beauty and made it more challenging.’’ Water now comes into play. There is a lake and water feature in front of the 169-yard, par-3 third hole and alongside the fairway for the 341-yard second hole. The shared green for No. 3 and No. 5 has been separated. The pot bunkers have been reshaped into more shallow, light-sand traps. “We removed a few bunkers that the highhandicap hitters might hit and added a few where the long hitters hit,’’ Christensen says. “The
bunkers are bigger now, but so much easier to get out of. It’s way more playable.’’ Fairways and bunkers have been reshaped, tee boxes and greens have been altered and problem drainage areas have been improved. As Christensen points out, the redesign was undertaken not only to make the course more challenging and force the golfer to think his or her way around, but also to enhance the golfer’s enjoyment. “One of the things you remember when you play golf is the beauty of the course,’’ Christensen says. “What we’re hearing back is that golfers are loving it. It’s fantastic.’’ The course also revamped the interior of its country-style clubhouse, which sits in the middle
of the property, as well as adding a new fleet of golf carts. The reshaping began in October, while work on the water features started March 1. By May 1, it was completed, as the developers invested in sod rather than planting seed. “That’s (sod) the way to do it. It was playable within two weeks,’’ Christensen says. “When you plant grass it takes a long time to come in. Once the sod takes root, you’re playing on it.’’ Most of the attention these past few months has been on the front nine. Christensen says the back nine will be the focus next year. “It’s really exciting,’’ he adds. “Our goal is to have a green wall — green grass, green trees and white sand.’’ — Bob Sherwin
SOUND GOOD? CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF If you’re a regular CG reader, you know we don’t like to just tell you our opinions — we like to give you the chance to go out and form your own. That’s why rather than just show you pictures of the recent changes at Highlander, we’re giving one lucky reader and three of his or her best golfing buddies the chance to throw the clubs in the trunk and play among the Central Washington highlands — on us! ENTER TO WIN at CascadeGolfer.com, and you could be hitting ‘em long at Highlander — just watch out for that waterfall. cascadegolfer.com
Local Company Getting Hot
n the golf industry, one of the most anticipated days of the new year is the release of the annual Golf Digest Hot List, where the new club and product releases from TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike and the other industry big boys go head-to-head for the top reviews and the marketing edge that comes with them. A gold medal on the Hot List — or even a silver, or a bronze — can mean millions of dollars of difference in sales over products that fail to earn a positive review in the all-important annual equipment issue. So imagine what went through the mind of Ben Zylstra, owner of Bellevue-based Innovex Golf, when he received an advance copy of the Hot List in his mailbox this year and saw his ball — the V-Motion Tour — listed right alongside the Bridgestone e6, Callaway HX Diablo Tour and TaylorMade Burner Tour as one of the year’s best-performing new balls? “I try to tell non-golfers it’s like Eastern Washington University getting a chance to play Division-I for a season, and wining the national title,” Zylstra says. “For a small company like ours, this just doesn’t happen.” But it did. The editors at Golf Digest gave the Innovex V-Motion Tour — a three-piece cast urethane ball designed to reduce drag and increase spin for greater carry distance and workability — a silver medal on the 2011 Hot List, causing back orders to pour into Innovex headquarters in Bellevue. “We’re just now finally getting caught up,” says Zylstra. “I definitely didn’t need this much stress in my life, but when you find something you’re passionate for, it’s worth it.” Zylstra is in fact the third owner of Innovex, founded by a Canadian businessman in 2004. A former prep golfer at Bellevue Christian who got his golf industry start working in Puetz Golf’s
Bellevue store as a teenager, Zylstra jumped at the opportunity to take over at Innovex. “I had looked at many different business opportunities, but I liked this one the best because I love golf, and it’s a lot easier to put in the extra hours to be successful when you are doing something you love,” he says. Zylstra oversaw a complete redesign of the company’s line of clubs, and the development of the V-Motion Tour, a companion to the company’s existing E-motion ball. Zylstra says his prime focus in developing the V-Motion Tour was the rising cost of premium golf balls. The V-Motion Tour currently retails for $30 per dozen, a price so good that Golf Digest noted in its review that product testers did a “double-check” to confirm it. Having finally caught up on backorders, Zylstra says the next goal is to establish a network of reps to begin marketing the ball, and Innovex’s other products, on a national scale. “It’s an exciting time,” he says.
ENTER TO WIN AN INNOVEX DRIVER! Innovex is so excited about their new product line in 2011, that they’ve given us one of their brand-new 460cc drivers — and we’re giving it to you! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today and enter to win!
ki Golf, whose Oki Players Card gives Puget Sound golfers discounted greens fees at some of the region’s top courses, launched a new website in June. The all-new Oki Golf Community allows users to connect with other players to build an online golfing social network, book tee times, track their Players’ Card status and round information, and benefit from special offers personalized to match the days, times and courses you like to play. In addition, golfers can now join online golf groups based around skill level, playing habits or other preferences, allowing you to match up with other
players of similar interests and ability. The new OkiGolf.com also includes updates to the sites for each of Oki’s outstanding local courses and clubs, with the ability to book group tee times online and send invites to friends, who can add their names to the tee sheet with the click of a button. “The new Oki Golf Community allows golfers to connect on a whole new level, with a variety of features designed to provide Oki Golf guests with a premier online experience,” says Oki Golf’s David Vladyka. “[It] will allow them to expand their golfing networks and make it easier to get out and golf.” AUGUST 2011
Lamair, Farnam Win First-Ever CG Cup Major Championship
teve Stricker is 11th on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list. Sergio Garcia is one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all-time. Lee Westwood is a 33-time winner and has been ranked No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings. Kevin Lamair and Mike Farnam, though, accomplished something in June that three of the world’s greatest golfers never have — a major championship win. Lamair and Farnam fired a 5-under 69 to win the gross and net divisions at June’s McCormick Woods Scramble, the third of seven events in this year’s Cascade Golfer Cup. In addition to winning a six-night, six-round stay-and-play package to Palm Springs, the duo earned 1,875 points towards the 2011 Cascade Golfer Cup championship and the grand-prize 2012 Summer Golf Package, over 20 twosomes at the region’s most incredible tracks, including Chambers Bay, Washington National, McCormick Woods and the rest of the host venues. The McCormick Woods Scramble was the first-ever “major” in CG Cup history, meaning that point values were increased by 50 percent. That extra boost helped vault Lamair and Farnam into second place in the seasonlong Cup standings, just behind leaders Austin Bonallo and Ian Beatty. Bonallo and Beatty took the lead in the season’s first event, the TaylorMade Players Championship at Chambers Bay, and haven’t looked back, placing 12th at May’s Cascade Golfer Challenge at Washington National, and 12th again at McCormick woods last month. Of course, with just three events complete and four events remaining (with July’s Puetz Golf Shootout at Suncadia’s Rope Rider course scheduled to take place the week this magazine hits your mailbox) — including the second major, the season-ending Cascade Golfer Cup Championship at Druids Glen on Oct. 1 — there’s still plenty of time for new teams to join the fray and existing teams to move up the leaderboard. All Cascade Golfer Cup events are open to any golfer with an established handicap, and are scored in a variety of team formats. Prizes for the final event and the seasonlong Cup will be awarded at a year-end awards banquet at the Muckleshoot Casino, where as a bonus, one lucky player will be drawn to win a week-long trip to the 2012 British Open in England! And while you’re there, get behind guys like Stricker, Garcia and Westwood. That first major is always the toughest — not that Lamair and Farnam would know.
TOURNAMENT PLAY FOR THE SOLO GOLFER
ack Hutt was a busy man. An avid golfer with a one handicap and co-founder of City League Sports, Shoreline-based producers of the country’s largest team ski racing program, Hutt found himself relegated to the lonely life of a dewsweeper, teeing off at 6 a.m. on a weekday morning to be back at work by nine. “I remember thinking one of those mornings, ‘Why can’t someone figure out a way to create some sort of online competition for all the guys like me that are out there by themselves, but want to play in tournaments?” he says. The concept behind Hutt’s CityGolfTour is simple. Golfers register a $29.95 annual membership with a name, e-mail address and GHIN. A tournament window then opens for a period of a few weeks, during which time any registered golfer can upload a score from any round, on any USGA-sanctioned course in the country. When the tournament window closes, CityGolfTour uses the golfer’s
score and handicap index, and the course rating and slope, to generate a final, adjusted score. Adjusted scores from all tournament entrants are then ranked on the final tournament leaderboard. Each event is just $9.95 to enter, with cash prizes and free tournament entries awarded to the top-20 players, paid in the form of check, pro shop credit, or even a charitable donation in your name. Of course, the first question out of most golfer’s mouths is, “How do you verify that the scores golfers are posting are honest?” Hutt says he believes that the top prize of just $50, and the fact that golfers must also post their score in the official GHIN system before it is accepted by CityGolfTour, will discourage cheating. “Maybe you can get away with knocking a score down once or twice, but after that, your GHIN is going to drop, which will hurt you when you try to play in bigger events,” he says. ”So you have to ask, is it really worth it to cheat, tick people off and knock a stroke or two off your GHIN just to win $40? Hopefully not.” In almost exactly a year since the site launched, Hutt says he has had no reports or suspicions of cheating in the 12-15 events that he’s already run — a testament, he says, to the measures that CityGolfTour has taken to prevent it, and to the integrity of the site’s members. “It’s supposed to be a way for a guy out by himself to have a little fun, and feel that rush of competition,” he says. “Golf’s an honorable sport, and so we have to make assumptions that the people who are playing are doing so in an honorable way.” A 1980 graduate of Shoreline’s Ingraham High School, Hutt — who runs the City League businesses with his wife, Wendy Anderson — offers a free one-tournament trial to any new member, and says he is confident that once a golfer tries CityGolfTour, they’ll be hooked. “Just try it once — there’s no obligation, and we’re not going to market to you or sell your address or anything,” he says. “We think we have a fun, cool, unique product and we just want people to try it. Why wouldn’t you?” cascadegolfer.com
Teacher To The Stars Comes Home To Chambers Bay
rian Mogg, a student of the game of golf while playing for Lakes High School three decades ago, returns home this summer as one of America’s most indemand golf instructors. Mogg — who has coached Y.E. Yang and other top PGA pros, and was recently connected with Tiger Woods — brought his nationally renowned Brian Mogg Performance Center to Chambers Bay beginning June 4-5. “There are not a lot of golf schools in the Northwest. We’re offering half and full-day schools,’’ says Brent Zepp, the first assistant professional at Chambers. “He has become a well-known name.” It’s a natural fit. Mogg was raised in Lakewood and is a 1979 Lakes graduate. He played for Ohio State, then had modest success on the professional circuits. But he found his niche as an instructor, initially working at the David Leadbetter Academy in Orlando, Fla., in the early 1990s. In 2002, he started his own golf academy at Keene’s Pointe, south of Orlando. Chambers will be his sixth center, including others in Canada, Hawaii and South Korea. Mogg has been named by Golf Digest as one of the nation’s top-100 golf instructors for the past eight straight years. “Brian got a lot of recognition as the swing coach for Y.E. Yang,” Zepp said. “When Yang won the  PGA, his name blew up. The best players in the world are working with him now.” Mogg has recently worked with D.A. Points, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February. He was even rumored to be considered as Tiger Woods’ swing coach, but Woods instead choose Sean Foley.
Mogg, who still has family in the area, including a brother in Sammamish, began the process by contacting Chambers Bay last summer. He wanted to lend his name to the four-year old, links-style course, which will host the 2015 U.S. Open. Folks at Chambers were immediately receptive. “With the Mogg name, I’m definitely interested in spending time with him,” Zepp said. “It’s a huge opportunity to learn from him and to promote the game.” The instruction will deal with all parts of the game — course management, putting, chipping, bunker shots and full swings, on the vast new driving range south of the 18th fairway. Students will have their swings video recorded and diagnosed. “There will be three or four instructors with about six students,” said Zepp, who will assist in the program. “We’re going to go deep on instruction.” The half-day instruction, which will cost $350, also includes a voucher to play Chambers Bay at a later date. The full-day package, which will be $550, will include hands-on instruction from the PGA professionals, who will walk the 18-hole layout with the students. There will be six weekends available for players to sign up, beginning in June and running through September. This is just another step in building the reputation of the University Place course as a lead-up to the U.S. Open in four years’ time. “It’s absolutely part of the plan,” Zepp added. “He’s part of the process to help Chambers Bay grow. His worldclass instruction is huge. It’s what we like to see here. It’s where he calls home.” — Bob Sherwin
PLAY A SOUTH SOUND CLASSIC — ON US! Maybe you’ll never be able to play like PGA Tour star Ryan Moore — but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your game on the same Puyallup links where Moore honed his Tour-quality swing, Spanaway’s Classic Golf Club. In fact, we’ve teamed up with The Classic to give you and three buddies the chance to play the course — one of the South Sound’s highest-rated — for free! Play it on an off week for the PGA Tour, and you just might see Moore himself out there knocking ‘em stiff — while you’re fishing through the bushes for your errant approach, he’ll be the guy in the stylish duds tapping in for birdie. Just remember — scorecard pencils don’t make for very good autographs on balls. ENTER-TO-WIN TODAY AT CASCADEGOLFER.COM! cascadegolfer.com
POW GLOVES A HIT
ust over 50 years ago, a Ballard-born entrepreneur named Karsten Solheim saw a niche in the golf industry that needed to be filled, came up with a revolutionary idea, and started a company called PING. Almost exactly a half-century later, another Ballard entrepreneur is hoping to follow in Solheim’s footsteps. Dustin Goss is the founder of POW Gloves, a standardbearer in the Northwest’s active ski, snowboard and bicycling communities, and a recent entrant into the world of golf apparel manufacturing. Solheim’s offset hosel and cavity-back clubhead sought to exploit a putter market that featured mostly solid heads on straight shafts; Goss and POW, meanwhile, are looking to take their high-performance, high-style gloves into a world where plain white has been the standard for decades. “Everybody in this office is in our early 30s, and we’re trying to bring a fresh, youth-oriented look from action sports and snowboarding to what is normally a very mundane accessory in the golf world,” says John Kaiser, POW’s director of marketing and promotions. Much like their successful action sports gloves, POW’s golf gloves are notable not just for their unique styles — including argyle and other print patterns designed in-house, with both traditional and zipper cuffs, plus paneling to help the glove stretch and stay dry — but for their durability and performance. Each of the gloves are manufactured at the same factory that produces products for industry leaders like Callaway and Mizuno, and are the result of months of research and development into gloves that will be longlasting, good-looking and high-performing. “We aren’t interested in making any products that we wouldn’t actually use ourselves,” says Kaiser, who notes that the POW staff can be frequently found on the links at Seattle’s Jackson Park Golf Club, and are also avid winter sports and cycling enthusiasts. “We’re committed to making better products for the sports and activities that we’re interested in.” Currently, POW gloves are available online at POWgloves.com, in local pro shops (including Interbay Golf Complex downtown) and at numerous independent online retailers. They recently received a GORE-Tex license and plan to release their first line of winter golf gloves using GORE-Tex waterproof technology later this year. “We’re year-round golfers around here, so a good winter glove is a must-have,” Kaiser says. For more information or to check out other styles, visit POWgloves.com. 16
PRO PERSPECTIVE With all of the pros with Northwest ties competing on the various professional tours this year (“The Long Road Back,” Apr. ’11), we figured it’s worthwhile to check in and see how our home team is faring through the first half of the year:
FRED COUPLES Pocketed almost half a mil’ in just eight events to start 2011, including top-10 finishes at the PGA Tour Northern Trust Open in February, and the PGA Champions Tour Toshiba Classic in March. Excelled at The Masters again, taking 15th, before taking some time off to have cancerous lesions removed from his hands.
RYAN MOORE Off to a strong start in 2011, with six top-25s and three top-5s in first five months, including a heartbreaking runner-up finish at June’s Travelers Championship. Finished 35th in second-consecutive Masters appearance.
ALEX PRUGH Banked over $200,000 through early April with three top-25s, but will need some strong finishes in the closing months to avoid Q School.
KYLE STANLEY Top-15 finishes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational, and 14 of 19 total cuts made, have rookie in the Tour’s top-100 overall through July 4.
MICHAEL PUTNAM Made 12 of first 18 cuts in PGA Tour return, including top-25s at the Puerto Rico Open and Shell Houston Open. Ended the month of June 147th in the FedEx Cup standings, just 63 points shy of the cutoff for the PGA Tour’s season-ending playoff.
ANDRES GONZALES Olympia native has only made three cuts in rookie season, but has already appeared on the front page of ESPN.com with the Tour’s most entertaining Twitter feed, and unquestionably its best ‘stache.
PAIGE MACKENZIE Three top-17 finishes and tie for 20th at the Wegmans LPGA Championship have Mackenzie already over $97,000 through June, and 37th on the LPGA money list.
JIMIN KANG Top-25 finishes at year’s first two majors lifted Kang to 38th on Tour money list through just 10 events, and close to $2 million in career earnings.
NATIONWIDE TOUR Former Husky teammates Troy Kelly (4th) and Richard Lee (17th) both sit comfortably inside the Nationwide Tour’s top-25 — be there in October, and it’s off to the Big Show in 2012. cascadegolfer.com
Can’t Hit Straight? Get L.O.F.T.
t doesn’t matter if you’re a 2 or a 22, you likely walk off the golf course at the end of the round thinking about that six-footer you missed, or that skulled chip that cost you two strokes around the green and say to yourself, “I stink.” John Halvorsen knows how we feel — because he’s no different. “Golfers are the most self-deprecating people I’ve ever met in my life,” he says. “It’s the mentality. That’s why one day we started thinking, why not do something that embraces that attitude?” Halvorsen was reminded of an old joke, in which one golfer continually tells another that his problem is “loft.” When the second golfer finally questions the first, he explains: “L.O.F.T. — Lack OF Talent.” Halvorsen sold his successful Connecticut boat dealership and, after a brief relocation to Florida, returned to the Northeast to start his very own line of golf apparel — L.O.F.T. Halvorsen began by having the L.O.F.T. logo embroidered on cotton shirts (“I had never even heard of ‘moisture-wicking,’” he says), then started buying shirts wholesale and embroidering those. Quickly, demand became so great that Halvorsen started having his own moisture-wicking shirts manufactured and embroidered overseas — paying an extra $3 per shirt to guarantee a premium product. It’s that quality, Halvorsen says, that has contributed most to L.O.F.T.’s rapid growth in a crowded marketplace. “We are getting a real reputation for being sticklers for quality,” he says. “It is second-to-none. My personality is such that it has to be absolutely perfect.” L.O.F.T.’s most popular products are their moisturewicking shirts, which are also anti-bacterial, stain-resistant … “I didn’t even know you could get so many qualities in one shirt,” Halvorsen says. In addition to quality in production, Halvorsen invests a significant amount of time and money in styling, and even lets the company’s 5,000 Facebook followers have a say on some decisions. “They’re a huge help in choosing the styles they’ll like and the direction they want to see us go,” he says. “It’s great for us to get that feedback, and it’s fun for them, too, to have the chance to be involved in the decisionmaking.” L.O.F.T. processes individual sales through their web site, LOFTGolf.net, and also supplies shirts to dozens of tournaments and golf outings. Halvorsen says that one of his best decisions was to make matching men’s and women’s styles, which have proven to be extremely popular with organizers of mixed tournaments. “You could not buy matching men’s and women’s golf apparel. It just didn’t exist,” he says. “Now, if you have a tournament with 144 players and 16 of them are women, you can have all of the players in matching styles.” Two-and-a-half years into his new career, Halvorsen — 50 years old, and a devoted grandfather — says he couldn’t have imagined how all-consuming his little idea
would become. Nor would he have it any other way. “I’m a workaholic, so for me it’s perfect,” he says. “We had what we thought was a cool idea, and it’s turned into a really niche brand that people are responding to. It’s truly amazing.” mIllIons
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A GLIMPSE OF THE GOOD LIFE — WITH A CG TWIST
Meridian Valley Country Club • Kent
ountry club golf always has been out of bounds for most of us, designed more for folks with higher discretionary incomes. However, one course in the Seattle area is finding creative ways to make memberships more affordable and adaptable. Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent has set up a new membership policy that allows golfers to take two- or fiveyear “samples” of country club golf without the long-term commitment. “We listened to people who inquired about memberships and asked why there was hesitation,” said Meridian’s general manager Craig McCrone. “This appeals to their requests. We’ve had a bunch of people who don’t know where they will be (living) in a few years. They can pay for the privilege for a finite period of time.” Meridian, like virtually every club, has a proprietary membership in which full members pay initiation fees, monthly dues and food allowances and become “owners” with full voting rights. What’s new is a two-level, non-proprietary membership that caters to golfers who may be transferred to Seattle for a short time, those who have limited work contracts or simply those who would prefer a limited exposure to the country-club experience. For the two-year plan, the initiation will vary depend on when a member joins. It’s a sliding scale, benefiting those who sign sooner than later. The members will then pay $500 monthly, plus the food minimum. The five-year plan member pays $550 a month.
Memberships cover the entire family, including children up to age 23. Besides the Ted Robinson-designed course, the club also features tennis courts, a practice range, a large fitness area, indoor practice facility, junior golf programs and remodeled, 9,000-square foot clubhouse with a golf shop, dining rooms and locker rooms. “It’s a great deal for the family, no question,” McCrone said. The challenging, 6,707-yard layout has hosted some significant events, such as the LPGA Safeco Open (for 19 years) and six Washington Opens. “We participate in the fabric of the community,” McCrone said. Theresa Raleigh, the club’s sales and membership director, said the new two-tier plan is designed for those people “who don’t know where they might be from year to year and do not want a long-term commitment. They can see if they enjoy the country-club environment. It’s a nice starting point.” It’s also good for those who move here for set period of time or those who are contemplating retirement and want to get an idea of the experience. The two- and fiveyear plan members have no voting rights at the club but also would be free to leave without worrying about selling a membership or continuing to pay monthly dues. The program started June 1 and Raleigh said, “We’ve gotten a very positive response.” For more information, visit meridianvalleycc.com or call 253-631-3131. – Bob Sherwin
NOT READY TO COMMIT — TRY IT ON US!
To whet your appetite for what you can expect at Meridian Valley, we’re sending you and a friend behind the velvet rope to find out just what you’ve been missing. Win a twosome at Meridian Valley by logging on to cascadegolfer.com today!
IN THE BAG REVIEWS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PUETZ GOLF SUPERSTORES
and equipment news you can use
FALL GOLF SAVINGS
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
hen I was a kid, I used to love when the calendar would turn to fall. Sure, spending those long summer days playing outside and splashing in the pool was great, but usually by mid-August or so, I’d start looking forward to the new school year and those crisp autumn afternoons. As an adult — and most importantly, as a golfer — I still look forward to fall, but for different reasons. While spring brings the excitement of a new golf season, and summer the glorious 16hour days and weekend golf road trips, fall is the season where I can stretch my golf dollar farther than any other. (And let’s not even talk about winter.) Not only do most courses reduce their rates from their peakseason highs sometime around Sept. 1, but the fall also marks the best time to invest in new clubs, apparel and equipment. The large majority of manufacturers release new equipment during the PGA Tour offseason from October to January, both to build anticipation for the new year and profit from the holiday shopping season. It all peaks at January’s PGA Merchandise Show, the industry’s annual new-product showcase, where the manufacturers compete for interest from the buyers and merchandisers who will stock the shelves of golf shops around the world and drive sales in the coming year. Thus it is that late summer and fall — August, September and even October — become the industry’s annual “clearance” season, where 2011’s new releases are marked down to make way for 2012’s new sticks, and the hot new clubs and equipment from previous years find their way from the sale racks to the bargain bins. For the golfer who is willing to wait a few months to swing that brand-new R11, it’s the perfect time to cash in on some big savings. What’s more, buying your new sticks towards the end of the Northwest playing season gives you nearly six months to practice with them before the new season opens the following spring. You get a couple months to play with them at the end of year — the time when your game is likely in its peak condition — then four months to get your new clubs dialed in on the range or an indoor training center, allowing you to hit the ground running next April. So while we’ll miss the 80-degree temperatures and the chance to tee off at 4:30 p.m. for an 18-hole round, the sun hasn’t set on the golf season just yet … in fact, for bargain hunters, the real season is just beginning.
Callaway RAZR Hawk PUETZ GOLF PRICE $399.95 ea.
erformance over paint” — if you’ve watched a PGA Tour event at any point this season, you’ve no doubt become familiar with the marketing slogan behind Callaway’s two new drivers in 2011, the RAZR Hawk and the Diablo Octane. While many have elected to focus on the second part of that statement (“over paint”) as an only-slightly-veiled reference to TaylorMade’s all-new white drivers, it’s the first part (“performance”) that should be of interest to golfers. That’s because independent tests have found Callaway’s RAZR Hawk driver to be among the longest ever put on the market, with many testers reporting an increase of up to 20 yards over their current club. How did they do it? Just like with the Diablo Octane (“In The Bag,” Dec. ’10) and Diablo Octane Tour (next page), Callaway designers employed a new substance called “forged composite” to craft a high-performance club that is thicker in the center than at the edges, maximizing power and performance — even on mishits. While the Octane uses forged composite on the crown only, the substance was used in both the crown and body of the RAZR Hawk. The result is a club that is workable for low-handicappers, but forgiving enough for those of us who are happy just to put our drives on the short stuff. An aluminum skid plate also helps to increase the life of the club — which is good, because once you get your drives flying long and straight, this is one club you’ll want to hang on to.
IN THE BAG Callaway Diablo Octane Tour Black PUETZ GOLF PRICE $349.95 ea.
hile the marketing gurus at Callaway who devised their 2011 advertising campaign may have seen fit to emphasize their clubs’ performance, the all-black stylings of the RAZR Hawk (previous page) and Diablo Octane Tour Black show that the company knows a thing or two about paint as well. While TaylorMade has made a splash with its white drivers in 2011, Callaway is giving golfers the chance to channel their inner Johnny Cash with drivers that speak as loudly sticking out of the bag as they do on the tee. And speak loudly they do — while the RAZR Hawk has tested out among the longest and straightest drivers ever to hit the market, the Octane is one of the few that has tested even longer. Of course, it wasn’t long after the club’s late 2010 release that Callaway rolled out a Tour version of the driver in response to interest from its touring pros, among them Trevor Immelman, who has used the Octane Tour throughout the 2011 season. Whereas the forged composite used to craft the ultra-light and powerful crown is visible in the head of the standard Octane (“In the Bag,” Dec. ’10), it’s not in the Octane Tour Black, though its presence is obvious in the club’s superior performance. More workable than its predecessor, the standard Octane, and with a longer shaft to increase clubhead speed, the Tour Black has proven popular among better golfers, whose consistent swing shapes and ability to shape their shots help to control the club at high speeds. Of course, no matter what your handicap, you can’t help but feel like a pro when you pull that all-black driver out of your bag — in fact, fancy technology aside, that extra boost of confidence might be worth 10 yards per drive all by itself.
SHOW US YOUR HANDS With the rainy season just a few months away, it’s almost time to start tinkering with that swing. We’ve dialed up two of the top-performing training aids that address one of the key problems faced by 96 percent of recreational golfers — keeping your hands in front of the ball at impact, which improves distance and accuracy, especially from tight lies. Work on it all fall and winter, and you’ll thank us come spring.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $99.99
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $99.99
o matter the swing, there’s one thing all Tour players have in common — they all hit down on the ball at impact, with their hands in front and the clubface squared. The Tour Striker teaches that motion with a rounded edge at the bottom of the face that makes it impossible to get the ball airborne with an open face. Instead, golfers must keep their hands forward and strike down on the ball with the center of the face, reinforcing proper mechanics with every swing.
ike the Tour Striker, the Powerchute also teaches proper swing mechanics, but focuses less on what happens at impact and more on what happens in the split-second after you take the club back. Originally designed to increase power for long drive competitors, the Powerchute provides a natural resistance at the top of the swing, thus creating a natural “lag” that allows the golfer to bring their hands through the impact zone ahead of the clubhead for maximum power and accuracy.
IN THE BAG Callaway RAZR X Muscleback Irons PUETZ GOLF PRICE $874.95 7-piece set
ou didn’t think Callaway was done with just drivers this year, did you? Not only did the company roll out two new drivers in the RAZR Hawk and Octane series’, it also debuted new irons targeted specifically at the game’s premier players. And when we say, premier, we mean it — as in, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Trevor Immelman, etc. As Callaway director of product design Luke Williams said earlier this year, “If you aren’t good enough to get your clubs for free, this might not be the best club for you.” Sounds like a challenge to us — and who can resist a club that looks ohso-sweet? Forged from carbon steel, the Musclebacks are a players’ iron all the way, with a thin sole, narrow topline, short blade length, smaller clubhead and more tightly-spaced, Tour CC grooves for increased spin and control. Honestly, it’s almost unfair to put a club like this in the hands of a golfer with the skill to use it — but those sweet shots, and sleek blades, sure are a beautiful sight to see.
Nike Victory Red Pro Blade Irons
Adams Idea Pro a12 Forged Irons
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $899.95 8-piece set
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $799.95
et another manufacturer dipping its toe into the forged world in 2011 is Nike, whose previous iron offerings have found a relatively small but loyal following — of course, when one of those followers is a 14-time major winner and the most recognizable professional athlete in the world, a little marketing goes a long way. Unlike Nike’s VR Pro Combo irons, which combine blade short-irons with cavitybacked long irons for low-mid handicappers looking to make the jump, the VR Pro Blades are a complete blade set, from the 3-iron all the way through the sand wedge. With small heads, zero perimeter weighting, flat muscle backs and almost no offset, these are sticks for players who don’t need (or want) any help launching and shaping their shots. Both sets feature Nike’s new X3X grooves, cut narrower, deeper and closer together to give better players their desired level of spin and workability, and have tested deadly-accurate — particularly in the short irons. And of course, they also ace the eye test, with a thinner topline, satisfyingly solid feel and a Tour-inspired chrome finish so shiny you can see your own reflection. Which is good — because if you’re good enough to hit the blades, they’ll have you smiling for sure.
olding a one-shot lead in the final round of the 2009 British Open, 59-year-old Tom Watson stood over his ball in the middle of the 18th fairway, 170 yards from the green. On-course microphones picked up the conversation with his caddie, where Watson debated between an 8-iron and a 9-iron. I remember pausing the television and going back to make sure I had heard that right — an 8 or a 9? From 170 yards? In the Turnberry wind? The man is 59 years old! In that moment, I was reminded that this was a man who knows how to strike an iron. So it was with interest that I noted this spring that Watson has begun playing the new forged irons from Adams Golf, the Idea Pro a12 Forged. Made from 8620 carbon steel with a low center of gravity, progressive offset and progressive heel-to-toe weighting, the irons are perfect for a skilled golfer looking for maximum workability with a modicum of forgiveness mixed in … like, for example, a certain now-61-year-old major champion. The triple-milled face also lets scratch golfers go pin-seeking with the short irons, while the sole camber guarantees a smooth, solid strike from any lie. Who knows, maybe if Watson had the Idea Pro a12s in his bag at Turnberry, he would have been able to spin that 8-iron to a stop, rather than watching helplessly as it bounced off the back of the green, opening the door for Stewart Cink to win in a playoff. It was an unlucky shot for one of the game’s most legendary golfers — and one whose endorsement goes a long way in the mind of this golf spectator.
IN THE BAG
PLAY, LADY, PLAY
ver the past few years, the total number of golfers in the U.S. has decreased slightly — however, the total number of women playing the game has actually increased, with women now representing 23 percent of players in this country. Courses are responding, with many constructing new tee boxes specifically for women and younger players, while apparel and club manufacturers are rolling out new lines and products targeted to female players. Here are a few club sets at different price points to help get your game dialed in this fall:
Cleveland Bloom 2011
Wilson X31 Ladies Package Set PUETZ GOLF PRICE $399.95 One of the most affordable sets on the market, Wilson’s X31 ladies set includes a heel-and-toe weighted putter, two fairway woods (no driver) and two hybrid long irons with graphite shafts to increase swing speeds, plus cavity-backed 6-iron through PW to help get short-iron shots airborne and on-target.
PUETZ GOLF PRICE $899.95 14-Club Set
wo years ago, Cleveland’s original Bloom set burst onto the market and quickly became one of the most popular women’s-specific lines ever released. What Cleveland designers understood was that it wasn’t enough to put the same old clubs in a pink bag with fancy headcovers, and assume that it would appeal to women. Instead, Cleveland designers devoted themselves to manufacturing clubs that would themselves be beneficial to a woman’s game, focusing on those that would perform best at slower swing speeds, replacing long irons with easier-to-hit hybrids that fly farther and straighter, even mixing in short-iron hybrids to help get the ball up from the rough around the greens. This year, Cleveland is back with an update to the Bloom line, an all-new 14-club set that takes advantage of two years’ worth of advancements in game-improvement technology, with a 100-percent titanium driver and lightweight fairway woods that maximize swing speed for greater distance, while employing large clubfaces and low centers of gravity for maximum forgiveness. Hybrid long irons simplify play from the fairway, and Cleveland’s trademark Niblick short-iron hybrid further simplify iron play, with the set rounded out by a Classic 6 Putter and one of Cleveland’s signature sandwedges. And just for good measure, they’ve thrown some fashion-forward styles together, too — after all, for men and women alike, the game is about hitting the ball well, and looking good while you’re at it.
Tour Edge Lady Edge Box Set PUETZ GOLF PRICE $299.95 Maximized for performance, the Lady Edge offers all the traditional benefits of high-MOI clubs. A mallet-style putter and oversized 460cc driver bookend the set, which is filled in with easy-to-hit, stainlesssteel fairway woods, hybrids and short irons with a low center of gravity and perimeter weighting for increased loft and forgiveness from any lie. Both a 19-piece and 7-piece set are available, allowing you to craft a set to match your specific needs on the course.
Prince Golf Triax X9 16-piece set PUETZ GOLF PRICE $199.95 Like the Tour Edge set above, Prince’s Triax X9s push the legal limits of clubhead size with a 460cc driver, attached to a lightweight, graphite shaft, allowing golfers wiuth slower swings to maximize their clubhead speed for longer drives. High-MOI technology in the driver, fairway wood, long-iron hybrids and cavity-back irons cut down on the strokes needed to get from tee to green, while the fashionable cart bag provides a snazzy finishing touch.
IN THE BAG
FALL FASHIONS While we’re typically spotted in a pair of khaki shorts and a cotton collared shirt from the sales rack, some days we find ourselves longing to go all Rickie Fowler and really let loose. And if we did, it might look a little something like this …
PUMA GOLF CLAIRMONT MILITARY CAP Stylish and comfortable, even for golfers who don’t usually wear hats. Other colors: White w/ black logo PUETZ GOLF PRICE $19.98
SHIRT: SLIGO GOLF SHIRT – MARTIN Mag Cool technology keeps shirt dry and breathable, without being billowy like many other microfiber shirts. Other colors: White, “Vegas,” smoke, orange PUETZ GOLF PRICE $159.98
GLOVE: POW NOONAN Cabretta leather holds up well to wear and weather, while cool patterns breed confidence to match performance. Other styles: Women’s Noonan, Townie, Women’s Townie PRICE $16 - $18 order online at powgloves.com
BELT: PUMA GOLF HIGH SHINE BELT For sure, belts are about function over form — but it never hurts to look good, too. Other colors: None PUETZ GOLF PRICE $49.98
PANTS: HOLLAS GLEN CHECK PANT Polyester/spandex blend is water and stain resistant, and stretches with your swing for a comfortable fit. Other colors: Tan/White/Ebony/Vapor, Ebony/ Black/Plum/White PUETZ GOLF PRICE $99.98
SHOES: KIKKOR GOLF DRESS SNEAKERS Top-of-the-line comfort and style, without sacrificing feel or performance. One of the top-performing shoes yet from fast-rising Northwest company. Other colors: White PUETZ GOLF PRICE $129.95 26
RISK vs. REWARD The Classic Golf Club
Hole No. 14 • Par 5 • 506 Yards (Blues) The Setup: If you want to be putting for a three on this fantastic
and sand — that is the parlay you must hit to make this pay out. 60
The Reward: While a back pin will really put a scare into even the most daring ball strikers, a front pin can certainly be inviting. Very few holes on this “Classic” give you the chance to go low, so you hate to pass up an opportunity when it comes. You can’t play this game scared, or this hole.
Final Call: “I didn’t come here to lay up” — one of my favorite sayings on the golf course. The problem is, it precedes four-letter words more often than high fives. Every gambler likes to say, “Allin,” but nobody likes going broke. If you are able to cork a drive and get up the hill, you are forced with a decision. Is this your moment? We love to roll the dice, but not if the odds say we are going to crap out. Hit your 7-iron, take double out of play and go make birdie the old-fashioned way.
best Teddy KGB voice, “Veeerry eggressive.” Not only must you be extremely accurate, but your distance control must be superior as well. Anything long or short will leave you wishing you were back at the 100-yard marker with a wedge in hand. Avoid the water, tall grass
The Risk: Trying to get home requires the golfer to be, in our
dogleg left, you’ll need to start with a well-struck, slightly uphill tee shot, followed by a spectacular second. From the tee, the dogleg left looks more severe than it is. However, to have any realistic shot at getting home in two, you have to reach the crest of the hill, about 240 out. Anything short of that will leave a slightly blind second and might require driver off the deck to get home. A pond guards anything short and left with only a bunker providing a small buffer between the putting surface and water. Long is not much better, with tall grass and a bunker waiting.
By Simon Dubiel
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66 80 89 103 103 125 147 149 171 171 193 216 216 238 242
ALL HALE THE KING HALE
Bernhard Langer may be the reigning champ, but IRWIN is the legend among legends at the Boeing Classic
BY DICK STEPHENS CG PUBLISHER
I’ve had the honor over the years to meet, interview and work alongside some major figures in this great game — Jack Nicklaus, Arnie Palmer, Freddie Couples, Mark O’Meara, Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, John Daly, Nancy Lopez, Curtis Strange and even Tiger. Each of these greats I found to share one similar quality – they were each approachable. Professional golfers have a lot of face time with the public, so the need and art of working with the media and their fans are skills that most of them hone well. Some, however, hone it more than others. While each of the greats above were approachable, some were down-right friendly, leading to a discussion and exchange that lasted longer than just a few minutes — especially Daly, Zoeller and O’Meara. Now, thanks to a recent engagement to which I was grateful to be invited, I can add a new name to a long list of world-class golfers who stand out for their personality and friendliness. Earlier this year, I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying three days of golf, instruction, meals, wine and conversation with unquestionably the greatest Champions Tour player of all time — Hale Irwin. With 45 Champions Tour wins – a record unlikely to ever be broken – including seven Champions Tour majors, complemented by 20 wins on the PGA Tour and three U.S. Open titles, Irwin is one of golf’s true legends. I was one of just six members of the media invited to join the World Golf Hall of Famer at a recent St. Regis 34
Hotels experience at the globally acclaimed, five-star Punta Mita Resort outside Puerto Vallarta (we’ll have more on Punta Mita golf and the resort experience in our annual destination December issue). The three days with Irwin were incredibly special. Golf was a regular presence in my childhood in Kansas City, and Irwin was a constant figure on our TV and coffee table, as he has roots in Florissant, Mo., and Baxter Springs, Kans. Although the 25-minute interview with Irwin was a moment I will never forget, it will be the four meals I had with the guy, a one-on-one-lesson in a sandtrap and the joking around between Irwin, myself and my video producer/brother Spencer during a six-hole match that I will remember the most. Irwin is your local-boy-done-good type of fella. Quick-witted, sports-loving and sometimes with a bit of a jabbing sense of humor, the native Show Me Stater was as homespun as he was global. And his playing record is nothing short of legendary, as he has bested Nicklaus, Watson, Norman and a bunch of others. Over the course of our interview, Irwin talked about his career accomplishments and shared a couple of simple tips for our readers that he’s found to be particularly useful when standing over a big shot. He also opened up about the growth of golf in his 40 years in the game, the wild popularity of the Boeing Classic, the expansion of professional golf into the Northwest and the possibility for more Tour events here in the future. Enjoy our exclusive interview with this living legend. cascadegolfer.com
ou won three U.S. Opens, which puts you in a truly elite class, but your record of 45 wins on the Champions Tour may never be approached, much less broken. Try and put that record into perspective for us — what does that mean to you? “It’s hard to say. I’ve been asked that a lot, and I think the best answer is that I’ve been gifted with a talent that has lasted a long time. You have to have the want in your heart and the drive within to take that talent well past your prime. People say, ‘Oh, you can’t play past 55.’ Well, I consider that almost an insult. I say, ‘You wanna bet? Let’s go see.’ You have to have the ability, the want and the belief that you can do it. Then you put those things together and hope you come up lucky.” With all of the success you’ve had, you could easily retire happily. What keeps you motivated to keep grinding, keep playing 20-25 tournaments every year? “Golf is such a great game, and it has been so good to me. That is one of the driving forces behind my efforts to play, and to keep playing at the level I think I’m capable of — to take the game to other people by doing the clinics and the tournaments and the other things that are important to promote the game.” Does it get harder from year to year? “Each year gets a little more difficult. Not only from the age perspective, but just trying to keep yourself in shape and keep your game sharp enough. And there are other issues that I think we all have as parents or grandparents that don’t necessarily coincide with staying intent on golf. Our lives evolve, and our games evolve around that. For me [at the end of a season], it’s not always ‘How well I played,’ but, ‘How often did I get home to see my children and my grandchildren?’ I can still hit the shots, but I just can’t hit them with the frequency that I once did. That intense level that I played at for so many years isn’t quite as intense.” You’ve won 65 PGA Tour events and 10 major championships, including three U.S. Opens and seven Champions Tour majors. Obviously, you’ve mastered
the art of performing your best in those clutch moments when the pressure’s on. What is one piece of advice you can give our readers to help them overcome mentally in pressure situations on the course? “It really depends on the individual. You have to understand what it is that you do. First of all, you have to get in the stretch to find out how you perform. Then you have to correct those issues that may go wrong in the stretch.” Did you ever have any issues like that? Maybe when you were younger? “I found out relatively early that I had to make sure I didn’t get too fast — that I didn’t pick up my pace, that I didn’t walk too fast or swing too fast. You really have to slow down. That’s why in clinics I always talk about tempo. Try to keep that tempo at a level where you can deal with it. Sometimes you get on the practice tee and hit a lot of good practice tee shots, then you get to the golf course and the anxiety level ratchets up considerably. So you have to try to … keep everything on a really flat plane. So to the [readers] out there, I’d say to always look at your alignment, the basics of the pressure in your grip — as you get nervous you tend to tighten up — and to make sure you swing a little bit slower than you might normally.” Can you recall any specific examples of a time when you were standing over a big shot with the whole world watching, and had to get yourself in that mental zone to succeed? “Absolutely. First of all, you don’t even consider that the whole world is watching; basically, you’re just out there on your own. I’ll never forget on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot in 1974, getting ready to hopefully win my first U.S. Open. I hit a good drive and had a 2-iron shot to [the green on] No. 18. I had a two-shot lead, but given the difficulty of the hole, a double bogey was not unheard of; it was a very difficult hole. I can remember very clearly thinking to myself, ‘Make sure that you have nice tempo, and keep your eye on the ball. Keep steady; keep in rhythm.’ I took it back and had good contact, and I can
HALE IRWIN BORN • June 3, 1945 HOMETOWN • Baxter Springs, Kans. COLLEGE • University of Colorado
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS • 1967 NCAA Champion and two-time All-Big 8 defensive back at Colorado • Three-time U.S. Open champion: 1974, 1979, 1990 • Seven-time Champions Tour major winner • Helped U.S.A. go 5-0 in five career Ryder Cup appearances • 20 career PGA Tour wins, spanning 23 years • 45 career Champions Tour wins, most in history • 22 career wins in non-Tour events (international, match play, skins games) • Over $30 million in career earnings • Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992 • Ranked the 19th-greatest golfer of all-time by Golf Digest in 2000.
Fans and players alike have flocked to the Boeing Classic each year for its many unique traits, including the morning Boeing flybys (top right), the exciting risk-reward 14th (above) and the chance to stand shoulder to shoulder, and even converse, with the game’s legends (bottom right)
S G O L F
C O U R S E
remember in that moment of contact, I could see the ball still, like it was slow motion. I could see the club hit the ball, and I knew the moment of contact I had hit a good shot. But I kept it basic. I didn’t think, ‘Oh, there’s a bunker and there’s this deep grass and it’s a long shot.’ I just said, ‘Keep it simple, stupid,’ and I came through.” You’ve been a part of professional golf now for more than 40 years, and have seen the game change in so many ways. What are some ways you see it changing now and in the future? “Golf is really emerging on a global scale. The PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, specifically, are reaching out to try and expand our brand into the international marketplace. Certainly we’ve seen that with the LPGA, which plays a lot of international events, and the Nationwide Tour has expanded abroad as well. The European Tour reaches all the way into Dubai and Australia. I think we’re going to see in the next few years the PGA Tour expand, not just to Canada or Mexico, but to places like Korea, as the Champions Tour has done. We’re going to become an international tour one day.” One of the areas the Champions Tour has expanded to is the Pacific Northwest, with the annual Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge each August, and last year’s U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee. What’s the general feeling of the guys on the Champions Tour about the Pacific Northwest? “It’s very positive. We’ve seen the success of the Boeing Classic on a year-to-year basis. The Seattle community has been fantastic, and the players have responded with some outstanding play out there at Snoqualmie. Last year, with the U.S. Senior Open, it was a very difficult course, but you had the right ingredients with Fred Couples going well and being a local Seattle guy. So that made it very popular and people turned out fantastically. I’ve seen an incredibly warm reception for any tournament in which I’ve ever played in the Pacific Northwest. And that encourages players to go back. The sponsors have been terrific, the players have responded in kind, and ultimately the people who have come out have seen some fantastic golf.”
or every region of the country, there is a sporting event that takes on the qualities and persona of the community in which it’s held. In the South, it’s The Masters and Kentucky Derby, two events that immediately conjure images of white-gloved ladies in sundresses and big hats, proper southern gentlemen and letter-of-the-law etiquette. In the Midwest, it’s the Indianapolis 500 that speaks to the region’s industrial, auto-building, blue-collar sprit. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s the PGA Champions Tour Boeing Classic. The people of the Northwest — and especially those of the Puget Sound region —are a kind, generous, progressive population, fiercely protective of our region’s social and cultural diversity, loyal to our homegrown industries and individuals, and passionate about the awe-inspiring natural beauty within minutes of our doorsteps. It’s not surprising, then, that our region’s most popular annual stand-alone sporting event (sorry, hydros) has come to reflect those same qualities that define Pacific Northwesterners as a people. “When I talk to the players about what they really enjoy, there are a few things that always stand out,” says Michelle DeLancy, tournament director of the Boeing Classic, Aug. 22-28 at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. “First, is the course — they love the way it plays, the views, and the chance to be among the mountains and water. And they really enjoy the way this community embraces them when they are in town. The fans and volunteers welcome them with open arms and go out of their way to make the players feel appreciated and help take care of their needs. I think the players feel that they are coming back to someplace comfortable, with a course,
spectators and volunteers that they genuinely enjoy.” The feeling is certainly mutual — since the tournament’s inception in 2005, the Boeing Classic has become one of the best-attended events on the PGA Champions Tour, with crowds regularly topping out around 20,000 — more than double that at some of the Tour’s other venues. In fact, last year’s Boeing Classic, won by Bernhard Langer, received the prestigious President’s Award as the best event on Tour. What sets the Boeing Classic apart? It starts with the fan experience, which offers rare opportunities to rub elbows with legends of the sport like Langer, Nick Price, Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara, Ben Crenshaw and others, and get close enough to talk to them or hear them talking to each other. There’s also the chance to celebrate one of our own in Fred Couples, and the civic pride that comes from the morning flyover of a Boeing jetliner, roaring
low and slow down the first fairway as a national Golf Channel television audience watches in awe. This year, in addition to the regular features that have made the Boeing Classic a success — the Boeing flyover, the Rumble at the Ridge charity tournament featuring ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, Steve Largent and many Seahawks greats, the Korean Air Pro-Am that gives players the chance to hit the links with a Champions Tour pro, and the annual free kids’ clinic — the tournament will be holding its first-ever Military Appreciation Day, with free admission and access to a special hospitality area for military personnel and their families, plus other events that will celebrate our area’s rich armed forces heritage. There’s also the Seahawks Club — the luxury skybox at the 18th green featuring food and beverages and special appearances from Champions Tour players and Seahawks players and alumni — as well as the popular Canyon Club viewing area behind the green at the signature par-4 14th hole, where players have to decide whether to lay up to the fairway, or try to clear Bear’s Canyon (named for course designer Jack Nicklaus) and go for the green from the massively elevated tee. This year’s Canyon Club admission — including access to the hospitality area and sun deck overlooking No.14 and the 18th tee, plus a free beer, wine or soda — will be just $15 (a $35 decrease from previous years). That will put the VIP experience within the means of even more Northwest golf fans, and give them the chance to relax in style while celebrating the return of local boy Couples and other tournament regulars. In addition, DeLancy says the Boeing Classic could add 2010 Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and the newly eligible Kenny Perry and Tom Lehman to the field this year. Players are added to the field throughout the summer, with the full list — as well as event schedules, parking information and links to volunteer — available online at boeingclassic.com. “The challenge for us is to constantly strive to put on a great event that people will look forward to,” DeLancy says. “What we try to do every year is to figure out what we can do that is different, that will appeal to our regular fans but also maybe attract fans that haven’t been out to the tournament in the past. “Ultimately, the players and volunteers do a great job of working together and working with the spectators to make it a fun, up-close experience. I think that’s exciting not just for the fans, but for the players, too.” – Brian Beaky
It’s safe to say Bernhard Langer (above) feels right at home in the Puget Sound region — the German native won last year’s Boeing Classic just three weeks after holding off Seattle’s own Fred Couples to win the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee County Club in nearby Sammasmish.
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Is there any sentiment among players to having a regular PGA Tour event in Seattle? “I think there’s probably room for it. What we don’t want to happen is… When the Champions Tour goes to Los Angeles, we haven’t had nearly the success in Los Angeles that the regular Tour has had. Yet we can go to a city like Birmingham or Des Moines and have incredible success there while the regular Tour can’t. So we have to be careful in these cases where we have the same market venues, are we are sort of bumping into ourselves. Now, could we go to Seattle, could we go to Portland, where we already are with the LPGA? Where is too much golf? With the popularity of golf and the short season in which golf can be played up there, though, I dare say that I think we could find a way to manage it all.” You’re already in the World Golf Hall of Fame and have a list of accomplishments that rivals almost anyone in the game’s history. How do you want people to remember Hale Irwin 50 years from now? “That’s a tough question. I’d like to be remembered as one who promoted the game ahead of self. What it’s provided for me has been [nothing] short of fantastic. Getting to meet the people I’ve been able to meet, making a dollar or two along the way … I couldn’t do anything else that could provide that. Golf is such a defining sport for one to play. I’ve played a lot of sports and a lot of other athletes turn to golf in their later years because it brings [out] something about them that can’t be expressed elsewhere. I’ve described golf in the past as being the ‘onliest’ sport because you are the only one out there – you don’t have a teammate to come along and pick you up or pick up the pieces. I hope people understand that I’ve tried to promote the game, particularly with the juniors. If [juniors] can get into the game of golf and understand golf, they’ll understand themselves better. Then when they get to those years where there’s peer pressure and selfdoubt, they can turn back to golf and find themselves again in golf.” cascadegolfer.com
Bless Nor THE
From the mountains, to the prairie, to the oceans white with foam, Northwest golf courses showcase the national beauty that has inspired songwriters for nearly a century
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
rving Berlin never saw a Northwest golf course. But you have to think that if he had, he’d have been inspired. It was Berlin — a Jewish immigrant who came to New York City with his parents and siblings in 1893 to escape dire poverty and religious persecution in his native Belarus — who in 1918 wrote perhaps the most stirring and inspirational words ever set to music about our great nation. In took the 20-year-old just 40 words to sum up America’s diverse beauty and the overwhelming sense of national pride that accompanied the end of World War I:
God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home God bless America, My home sweet home. 40
The song, which has many times since been officially nominated to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” as America’s national anthem, highlights one of our country’s most distinct traits — its unique geographic diversity. Few, if any, countries can claim beaches to rival the French Riviera, mountains as scenic as the Swiss alps, vast rolling prairies on par with the famed Pampas of South America, stunning river canyons, tropical paradises and wild, untamed tundra — all within their own borders. While Berlin, who lived nearly his entire life in New York City, likely saw very little of the landscapes which inspired his most famous work, Northwest golfers need only to travel a few hours to enjoy nearly all of America’s diverse climates. From the Cascade Mountains, to the prairies of Central and Eastern Washington and Central Oregon, to the oceans of Bandon and the Washington coast, we in the Puget Sound region can experience all of what makes the United States of America one of the most beautiful countries on Earth — and in many cases, be back home in time for dinner. And who knows, maybe Berlin was thinking of summer in the Northwest when he wrote one of his many other iconic songs, “Blue Skies,” in 1926:
Skies were gray but they’re not gray anymore Blue skies Smiling at me Nothing but blue skies Do I see. cascadegolfer.com
From the mountains…
Prospector at Suncadia • No. 10
Kahler Glen Golf Course • Leavenworth
or the sense of total isolation in nature, nothing beats a round of golf in the Cascade Mountains. The bustle of the Puget Sound region may be as little as an hour away, but with nothing but an endless view of pine trees and snow-capped peaks, and the only sounds the cry of the eagles soaring above and the clink of your irons as you drop your club back into your bag, you might as well be on another planet. Now certainly, some Puget Sound golfers will seek the thrill of mountain golf across the border in the abundance of courses lining the ridgelines above Victoria, Vancouver and Whistler, B.C. They may not be within U.S. borders, but they’re still part of our Northwest playground — and since Berlin never specifically stated “United States” in his lyrics, one could apply the continental definition of “America” and avail themselves of these mountain treats. From Victoria’s Bear Mountain (not be confused with Chelan’s Bear Mountain Ranch) and Olympic View, to Whistler’s Nicklaus North, Chateau Whistler and Whistler Golf Club, to the epic Big Sky and Furry Creek between Whistler and Vancouver, the Puget Sound golfer has no shortage of options for an incredible mountain round just across the border. But while Canada’s jagged peaks are home to some terrific destination golf, Berlin wrote of national pride — and while you can stretch that definition of “America” as far as you want, we both know he wasn’t signing about our friendly neighbors to the north. The purple mountain majesties of Washington, Oregon and Idaho hold more than their share of incredible golf courses — and unlike Canada’s top mountain tracks, ours are almost all within 1-3 hours of the Puget Sound region, meaning you can have breakfast on the shores of Lake Washington, tee it up high in the Cascade Mountains before noon, and be back home before the sun dips behind the Olympics. Leavenworth Golf Course and Kahler Glen in Leavenworth are nestled between the rocky peaks outside Washington’s most iconic mountain town, where a golfer can get their fix of beer, brats and birdies. Just two hours from downtown Seattle and less than 90 minutes from Everett, the par-70 Kahler Glen is precisely what one envisions when they hear the phrase “mountain golf” — towering jagged peaks, old-growth pine forests and some of the most scenic tee-box views of any in the state. And while it may punch in at just 5,900 yards from the tips, the 580-yard, par-5 ninth provides all the test a golfer could desire. There’s also the breathtaking mountain tracks at Roslyn’s Suncadia Resort, including Prospector and the soon-to-open Rope Rider (“Diamond in the Rough,” June ’11), as well as the family-friendly Sun Country Golf & RV just across the highway, the perfect base camp for blazing a trail through all of Washington’s top mountain courses. Just minutes from Suncadia and a scenic 55-mile drive from Leavenworth, a stay at Sun Country is a more affordable option to those at most other area hotels and inns, and includes a round of golf for two on their own 18-hole, 5,700-yard track. AUGUST 2011
… to the prairie …
laying amidst the Cascade mountains, a golfer can’t avoid the sense of total isolation that comes from the looming peaks around you, cutting you off from the cares of the world. A prairie course, on the other hand, leaves you completely exposed, the world seemingly extending forever towards the horizon in all directions — the cause of the solitude may be different than that of a mountain course, but the effect is the same. On the prairie, it’s just you, the land, and whatever Mother Nature wants to send your way. Just beyond the acclaimed mountain courses of Washington’s Cascades are dozens of courses highlighting the open farmland, untamed grasses and gentle breezes that Berlin no doubt envisioned when he closed his eyes and pictured the vast American prairie. Chief among them are the two newest courses in Eastern Washington, Pullman’s Palouse Ridge and Walla Walla’s Wine Valley. Each just far enough from Puget Sound to be outside the range of a day trip, they make ideal companions for an overnight excursion to Washington’s inland empire, with a night’s stay in Walla Walla (and perhaps some wine tasting) wedged between. The courses are similar in style, with few trees and even fewer flat lies, but plenty of bunkers, waste areas and large, undulating greens. Carved from the amber waves of grain which supply much of the wheat for the Western United States, Palouse Ridge is perhaps John Harbottle’s most “American” of his
Palouse Ridge Golf Course • Pullman many award-winning designs — a course that rewards creativity, intuition and confidence, traits that have spurred America’s growth through more than two centuries. Wideopen fairways let golfers flex their muscles from the tee, while sloped landing areas and bump-and-run approaches around the greens reward the golfer who takes the time to study the land and plan the best course to the pin … which may not always be the most obvious approach. Wine Valley is a similar treeless expanse, with firm, fast fairways, deep bunkers and greens that rival in scope the endless acres of grassland and vineyard that surround the course. Just like Palouse, there’s more than one way to play each hole, with the placement of the pin and the strength of the prevailing wind blowing across the prairie the deciding factors in your approach. Courses like Palouse Ridge and Wine Valley are classic examples of prairie golf, one-on-one battles with Mother Nature, requiring creativity and flair as opposed to the accuracy and fortitude needed to succeed in the mountains. Yakima’s Apple Tree, Richland’s Horn Rapids and Canyon Lakes and Moses Lake’s Links at Moses Pointe all offer a taste of America’s heartland as well, and each in less than a three-hour drive from Puget Sound. None of the six have a peak weekend rate higher than $89, and each offer plenty of weekday, early bird, twilight and other off-peak discounts that drive rates down by 25 or even 50 percent, making
Wine Valley Golf Club • Walla Walla them not only a visual match of Berlin’s prairie ideal, but a fit for the self-made-man’s budget as well. Of course, the great prairie doesn’t recognize state borders – Idaho’s Circling Raven, Oregon’s Wildhorse Resort in Pendleton and the dozens of tracks in Central Oregon are all premier prairie and high-desert options for golfers with the time and desire for a longer trip. Standing on the 18th tee at Palouse Ridge as the sun begins to set, red-tailed hawks circling above your head as you watch the long prairie grasses turn from yellow, to gold, to orange, and finally to purple as the sun dips behind the horizon, it’s hard not to feel a twinge of the national pride that inspired Irving Berlin to put pen to paper. And to think — we’re still just two thirds of the way home.
… To the oceans white with foam
here’s something about the Pacific Ocean that makes a golfer feel … well, largely insignificant. As you stand in the middle of the fairway at the par-4 fourth hole at Bandon Dunes course at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Resort, staring out past the green to the vast expanse of ocean beyond, there’s a moment where you realize that in the grand scheme of life, whether or not you stick that little ball on the green in front of you isn’t all that big a deal. You’re at Bandon, for crying out loud! Just enjoy it, relax and hit the shot. It’s like that all day, for every day that you spend at America’s No. 1 golf resort — a place where the massive dunes, powerful trade winds and ceaseless, rolling ocean make the “grand scheme” the only scheme in which it’s possible to consider anything. Roughly eight hours south of Puget Sound on the southern Oregon coast, Bandon Dunes brings Berlin’s “oceans white with foam” to life in a 72-hole, sprawling complex of links golf, with three of Golf Digest’s top-14 public courses in America and the fourth – yearling Old MacDonald – ranked the country’s Best New Course by Golf World in 2010. Golfers travel from every corner of the world for the chance to see and play Bandon just once — for a Puget Sound golfer, it’s barely a half-day’s drive (and an even shorter, but much more fun, trip by air). Home sweet home, indeed. And while Bandon Dunes is the best pure ocean experience, Bandon Crossings — just a few miles south — is the Northwest’s best off-shore coastal offering (and one of its best-kept secrets). The same deft hand that crafted our own Wine Valley (that of architect Dan Hixson) is evident in Bandon Crossings’ layout, with eye-catching par-3s and several holes that offer multiple pathways to the green. Flat lies are hard to find, but carries over sand and beach scrub, old-growth timber and large, undulating greens are plentiful, as are the shorebirds, deer and other wildlife that call the course home. Its best feature, though, are its rates, which at less than half those of the famed (and worthy) resort courses just up the highway make Crossings — one of Golf magazine’s “10 Best New Courses” in 2007 — the frequent-play favorite of savvy golfers making the Bandon Dunes trip.
Pacific Dunes • No. 12
Photo by Wood Sabold
Bandon Crossings • No. 17
Of course, between Bandon and B.C., the coastal options for Puget Sound golfers aren’t as plentiful as its mountain and prairie offerings. Now, that could all change if the proposed Links at Half Moon Bay — an 18-hole, links-style course proposed to be the first stage of a massive, 72-hole destination golf resort in Westport to rival in style and scope that of Bandon Dunes (but much closer to golfers in the Puget Sound region and Portland) — ever gets back on track after its funding fell through in 2009. For now, though, golfers looking to play their way down the coast to Bandon are limited to just a handful of local favorites in the likes of Surfside in Ocean Park, Peninsula in Long Beach and Washington’s most popular “coastal” track, the par-71 Ocean Shores. There’s also the handful of other waterfont tracks that aren’t truly “oceanside” but offer a similar experience — places like Salishan Resort and Spa on the central Oregon coast, Seqium’s Cedars at Dungeness on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and even Chambers Bay in University Place, where the links-style layout, steady breeze off the water and views of seals, whales and shore birds provide everything you’d get at a top ocean course — everything, that is, except the actual ocean.
Chambers Bay • University Place, Wash.
… our home sweet home
ver the course of this summer, golfers throughout the United States will celebrate the long summer days and take to the golf courses of the southwest, the Midwest, the Northeast and the Great Plains. They’ll play in mountains, on prairies and alongside rolling oceans. Only in the Northwest, however, will golfers be lucky enough to do all three, whenever they want, and in most cases make it home before sunset. In fact, if you listen closely, you might hear them singing:
From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam God bless the Northwest, Our home sweet home. God bless the Northwest, Our home sweet home.
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TRAVEL BAG Buffalo Hill • No. 12
MEET ME IN
MONTANA Montana’s FLATHEAD VALLEY has become one of America’s most affordable golf destinations
t’s one of Golf Digest’s “Top 50 Golf Destinations.” It’s adjacent to one of America’s most celebrated national parks, with fishing, camping, hiking, rafting and horseback riding amenities that draw thousands of tourists from across the globe each summer. And best of all, a four-day, four-round package in this celebrated golf-and-outdoor-activities locale, including deluxe lodging in a four-bedroom alpine lodge home, runs you just $141 per night. So why is it that Montana’s Flathead Valley isn’t as well-known as Palm Springs, the Gulf Coast, or even Central Oregon? “When a lot of people think of great destination golf, they don’t immediately think of Montana,” says Steve Dunfee of the Flathead Valley Golf Association. “But not only do we have courses of equal quality to places like Arizona and Florida, we also offer a more diverse experience in terms of the mountain, lake and valley settings, and the breadth of activities and amenities that visitors can enjoy in the national parks. “And the value is second-to-none.” That’s especially true for visitors from the Puget Sound region, for whom accessing the Flathead Valley — centered around Kalispell, Mont., on the shores of Flathead Lake in the western part of the state — means just a half-day’s drive, or less than a 90-minute flight direct from Sea-Tac. Dunfee says that a large percentage of the Flathead Valley’s golf vacationers come from the Northwest and Canada, drawn by the region’s 10 high-quality courses, the activities of Glacier National Park, and the lower prices and reduced congestion of some of the West’s 46
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
more well-known golf destinations. The region is also especially popular with RV travelers, who take advantage of the many RV-friendly campsites in an around the National Park and Flathead Lake. “In the summer, we get a lot of the younger groups of guys and families who will spend a week out here and play golf in the morning, then go fishing or boating, or river rafting in the afternoon,” Dunfee says. “Then in the fall, when schools go back in session, all the big groups leave and we get the retired folks or upscale professionals who want to stay away from the crowds and take advantage of the lower off-peak rates. “And let me tell you,” Dunfee adds, “The fall season in this mountain setting is just incredible. You’ve never seen so many colors on a golf course.” It’s that beauty that led Golf Digest to include the Flathead Valley in its “top-50” rankings. Not only does the Flathead Valley lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and its 700 miles of trails, it also includes the ski and snowboard meccas of Whitefish, Blacktail and Big Mountain, the meandering Stillwater River and Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It’s courses, too, reflect that geographic diversity. Whitefish Lake sits just below the famed Big Mountain Ski Resort, with 36 tight, tree-lined fairways and
mountain and lake views. Buffalo Hill plays in the valley alongside and across the Stillwater River, challenging golfers with numerous risk-reward opportunities across the water. Big Mountain, meanwhile, is a linksstyle course, with rolling grasses, wide-open fairways and challenging greens. And the highest-rated course of them all isn’t even any of the above — that would be Meadow Lake, itself a full-service resort with a tree-lined 18-hole track that earned four-and-a-half of a possible five stars from Golf Digest raters. “The courses in the Flathead Valley offer a tremendous range of styles and play,” Dunfee says. “There are tight courses and more open courses, courses with mountain views and others that play along lakes and rivers, courses that require golfers to follow a precise path from tee to green, and others that allow golfers to be creative and play the hole in different ways. There’s really something for everyone.” Thirty years ago, there wasn’t much at all. Kalispell had Buffalo Hill, Whitefish had 18 holes at Whitefish Lake, while golfers in the valley’s numerous other small communities either played the local muni, or drove over to one of the bigger courses in the resort towns. As the economy took off in the ‘90s, however, the building boom that is largely responsible for the creation of golf destinations like Central Oregon, Mesquite, Nev., and St George, Utah, also changed the face of the Flathead Valley with resorts, golf courses and residential and vacation home communities sprouting all across the valley floor. “The whole area just took off,” Dunfee says. cascadegolfer.com
Part of that explosion included a doubling of the holes at Whitefish Lake, where John Steidel (the man behind Apple Tree, Eaglemont and Highlander, among others) was brought in to add a second 18-hole course to the original 18 built in 1936 and updated by Steidel in 1984. Buffalo Hill also expanded, from its original 18 holes to its present-day 27. The Stillwater River — one of the region’s most popular fishing locales, where 20-pound pike are not at all uncommon — comes into play on several holes, forcing golfers to think their way around the course. With views into Glacier National Park and across Flathead Lake, and a convenient Kalispell location, it’s one of the most-requested courses among valley vacationers booking golf packages. “One thing people always say about Buffalo Hill is that when they come back, they are going to play it differently, because there are so many different ways you can play this golf course,” Dunfee says. “You have to really think your way around and manage the course, but no matter what you choose, there are risks and rewards to your decision. It’s a lot of fun.” The aforementioned, award-winning Meadow Lake, in Columbia Falls, grew from nine holes to 18 during the building boom, while Andy Northdesigned Big Mountain made its splash onto the scene in 1996. In addition to those four, golfers to the valley also have the chance to play Polson Bay (the only course actually on the lake), Indian Springs (the valley’s toughest challenge), Cabinet View (the newest), Mission Mountain, Village Greens and Glacier View, the latter actually located within Glacier National Park, where bald eagles and even bears are only slightly less common than birdies. “It’s really just exploded over the last 15 to 20 years,” Dunfee says. “Golfers who visit now can play a different course every day for almost two weeks and never have the same experience twice.” Another effect of the booming golf and tourism markets was the creation of the Flathead Valley Golf Association, which allowed the region’s most popular courses to pool their marketing funds and work together to establish the Flathead Valley as a premier golf destination. Doing so also allowed the courses to work with the local hotels, resorts and vacation lodging companies to create stay-and-play packages at bargain rates. Currently, a four-night, four-round package booked through the FVGA at golfmontana.net runs as little as $141 per person per night, including four nights in a four-bedroom lodge home, and four rounds of golf at any of the FVGA’s 10 courses. The central reservations office, at 1-800-392-9795, can also help visitors book airfare and other activities, including boating excursions, rafting, hiking, biking and horseback riding. “I don’t think many other destinations can offer the variety of golf courses and other outdoor activities that we can, for the same rates that golfers can take advantage of here,” Dunfee says. “People who come here don’t just come once; they come back and play again and again. Especially in the fall. When the leaves are changing colors, and the summer traffic has died down a little … it’s just an incredible experience.” cascadegolfer.com
Whitefish North • No. 2
GET AWAY FOR THE WEEKEND — CASCADE GOLFER STYLE There’s still time left for that one last road trip of the summer — and there’s no better price than free. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Flathead Valley Golf Association to give a Cascade Golfer reader the chance to tee it high and let it fly among the towering peaks of Glacier National Park, in the region named one of America’s top-50 golf destinations by Golf Digest. You’ll play some of the region’s nicest courses, and be treated to a stay at one of the region’s top hotels. The catch? There is none — except for whatever you can reel in on your fishing line between rounds. So what are you waiting for? Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today!
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SAVE SOME GREEN DESTINATION GOLF SAVINGS
We’ve canvassed the state for some of the best bargains to be found on your next road trip this season
BY TONY DEAR
olf in America is not without its problems. The game is finding it tough to shed its reputation for being a poor steward of the land despite the significant progress it has undeniably made in matters relating to the environment; its best player, who has made the sport more attractive to mainstream fans, is out with an injury that some are saying will force the end of his career; the cost of playing still puts many off, making it difficult for golf to lose its elitist image; the U.S.’s dominance of the global game has long since evaporated (at the time of writing, golfers from the Continent hold the top three positions in the world rankings); and, perhaps worst of all — no, definitely worst of all — it can take an interminably long time to play 18 holes. For sure, the cynic in all of us can find plenty to gripe at. If we choose to look at golf through a different lens, however, the picture can be very different — one that every American golfer should take time to savor. For starters, there are over 16,000 courses to choose from, most of them located in beautiful places we long to return to. And, though green fees at some of those courses seem unnecessarily expensive, coming with an “aren’t we special” premium that puts them out of the reach of most golf enthusiasts, there are thousands of quality courses that are readily affordable and at which everybody, regardless of their level of experience, is welcome to play. Golfers in Washington State are especially well provided for. Of the 327 courses listed on golflink.com, over 290 of them are accessible to the public. Three of the finest are Spokane’s Indian Canyon, which regularly makes it into America’s top-50 municipals, Bellingham’s bucolic Shuksan in the shadow of Mt Baker (okay, it’s a fairly long shadow, but the mountain is in full view from numerous spots on the course), and the always enjoyable Discovery Bay in Port Townsend. And when you consider the most you pay to play any of them during the week is just $35, there really is very little room for cynicism.
Indian Canyon Golf Course
Indian Canyon Golf Course SPOKANE
Indian Canyon opened in 1935 and was the work of two-time U.S. Amateur champion H. Chandler Egan. Located on W. West Drive a few miles west of downtown, the course is so very typical for the Pacific Northwest, bordered on all sides by stately pines and with poa annua greens that can get pretty quick in summer. The course has hosted the Rosauers Open, one of the PGA Pacific Northwest Chapter’s majors, since 1988, and has raised a total of $1.9 million for the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which ensures safety and protection for at-risk children. Last year’s champion, with a score of 198 (-15), was Spokane native Kyle Kelly, who worked as an assistant professional at Indian Canyon and the Creek at Qualchan for a time before moving to Tamarisk CC in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where he is now the head professional. Having grown up in the Lilac City, Kelly always had a soft spot for the town’s municipal courses, Indian Canyon in particular. “I have always loved Indian Canyon,” he says. “It is unlike any course I have played anywhere else in the country. The elevation changes, the slopes on the greens, the tree-lined fairways; I think this combination makes it unique and spectacular.” Because of his links to the course and the fact he has become more accustomed to desert golf in the Coachella Valley, Kelly relishes his return trips to Indian Canyon every July. “I cannot tell you how much I miss the course and other old, classic layouts,” he says. “The definition of each hole is fantastic. It’s clear where you should and shouldn’t
hit the ball but you still have to be very creative.” Though the Rosauers is heavily associated with Indian Canyon and unlikely ever to move, some believe that, at just 6,255 yards, it has become too easy for the professionals. Kelly admits technology has changed the way the course is played nowadays, but insists the challenge remains. “It’s short, but I think the trouble is now in play more,” he says. “There are so many dogleg holes where you can run out of fairway, so you really have to control the amount of curve on the ball. It actually calls for better shot-making.” Three-time Rosauers champion Jeff Coston agrees it is a shot-maker’s course requiring both creativity and precision. “The swirling wind demands commitment to every shot,” he says. “And regardless of how short it is, you still need to make putts on some tricky greens.”
Kelly is a fan of the final three holes, but especially the reachable par-4 No. 17: “You can make an eagle two with a great tee shot, or walk off with a lousy bogey if you don’t find the right level of the green. For a 280yard hole, it plays much tougher than you think.”
YARDAGE 5,336-6,255 RATES $17-$29 TEL 509-747-5353 WEB spokanegolf.org
Prefer To Stay Home? Make It Snohomish Not every golfer will have the chance to get out on the road for that one last trip of the year and check out one of our recommended destination values. If you’re playing it close to the vest this fall and looking to get in a good local round, check out Snohomish Golf Course (snohomishgolfcourse.com, 800-560-2676). Tucked into a tree-lined valley just east of Snohomish (a reliable map and directions are a must), its narrow fairways, impossibly thick Douglas firs, and fast, firm greens, are reminiscent of another track about 30 miles south that just hosted the U.S. Senior Open. Only unlike Sahalee, you can actually play Snohomish — and for anywhere from $22-$34, to boot. With so many trees, it’s at its best in the late summer and early fall, as the colors come alive and lend the course a true Northwest character that few others in the area can match. Bring your iron game, and a camera. — Brian Beaky
Discovery Bay Golf Club
Discovery Bay Golf Club
Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula is Mike Asmundson territory. The University of Washington alum who designed the highly-acclaimed Home Course in Dupont, and who worked alongside architect Scott Miller on the Resort Course at Coeur d’Alene, owns Discovery Bay, having purchased what was Chevy Chase GC with business partner Nicolas Hurtado in 2004. Asmundson had designed the course’s backnine eight years prior and has made several capital improvements to the layout since taking over. “The most significant changes involved eliminating what I considered to be our weakest golf holes,” he says. “But we are continuing to make more modest improvements to the course’s drainage, cart paths, bunkers and turf.” The front nine, built in 1925, was showing its age prior to Asmundson’s arrival, but now is slowly becoming the equal of the back. And, with an unspoiled setting, superb views over the water, thought-provoking holes, and $28 midweek green fee, it has to be one of the state’s best value rounds. It also offers one of the state’s most unique stayand-play experiences when paired with a night at the exquisite Manresa Castle in Port Townsend. Built in 1892 by the city’s first mayor, Charles Eisenbeis, the 30-room Prussian-style castle features a tile fireplace and exquistite woodwork by turn-of-the-century German artisans, plus classically-styled rooms that echo the castle’s long history as a private residence, Jesuit college, and hotel. Combine a night’s stay with a round at Discovery Bay to save 50 percent on both the golf and lodging, then play another round or two at other inexpensive Peninsula gems like Port Ludlow and The Cedars at Dungeness, and you have a very appealing golfing weekend across the Sound.
BEST HOLE We’ll let Asmundson cast his vote: “The 12th hole, a 420-yard slight dogleg left, with its scenic backdrop of Discovery Bay and territorial views has long been considered the signature, but the recently converted 4th hole is a beautiful and challenging risk-reward par-4.”
YARDAGE 5,170-6,641 RATES $24-$34 TEL 360-385-0704 WEB discoverybaygolfcourse.com cascadegolfer.com
Shuksan GC • No. 13
Shuksan Golf Club BELLINGHAM
If you’re getting a taste for first-rate golf courses you can play without sweating over how much the round cost, you should schedule a stop in Bellingham. There, you can play the very testing North Bellingham, very popular Lake Padden AND very engaging Shuksan for less than $100, combined. Shuksan, a little ways out of town in Whatcom County, has seen some changes the two years since its 13th hole was included in Cascade Golfer’s statewide “Dream 18.” A major tree-felling program around the 5th, 13th and 17th holes created some nice views and benefited the turf, which responded well to the extra sunlight. Gary Groom took over from Ben Harvey in the pro shop, Darcie Givens was installed as the new head chef, and the course rating and slope were altered. For all the changes, however, Shuksan retains its many charms. The dicey approach to the par5 4th hole is still as entertaining as ever, the view of Mt. Baker from the 5th hole still captivating, the choice between laying up and going for it on both the 13th and 15th holes (in two shots and one shot, respectively) still thrilling. And, despite a particularly cold, wet spring, superintendent Reg Riddle has the course in typically tip-top shape for the summer.
BEST HOLE If it was good enough to be named the best 13th hole in the state by a CG voting panel, it’s logical the 13th is the course’s finest offering. Truly, it’s merely the best among many good options, a risk-reward par-5 that requires a left-to-right drive, and a precise approach to a water-protected green.
YARDAGE 5,271-6,742 RATES $22-$35 TEL 800-801-8897 WEB shuksangolf.com cascadegolfer.com
NORTH SHORE GOLF COURSE
BRING 3 PLAY FOR FREE
(4 for the price of 3) * Must present coupon Valid Monday thru Thursday — All Day Friday, Saturday & Sunday — After 1p.m. Expires Sept. 30th 2011
Tee times (253) 927-1375 or (253) 838-3660 Restaurant (253) 927-7439 northshoregc.net Find Us on
Saucer Pass Makes Chipping Off Tight Lies a Snap BY JAMES LEPP 2005 NCAA Champion and founder of Kikkor Golf
emember that cold medicine slogan by Buckley’s, “It tastes awful, and it works”? Well, the Saucer Pass chipping technique might be golf’s equivalent. Those that have been extremely sick before can relate to Buckley’s sentiment; you would take anything to feel better, no matter how bad it tasted. The same can be said for many struggling chippers out there; you’ll do anything to chip more effectively, no matter how unconventional it looks. Well, the Saucer Pass just may be your saving drug. Simply put, the Saucer Pass allows you to increase your margin of error when chipping, especially on tight lies. Why are tight lies so difficult? Well, where rough allows more room for error, because the ball is off the surface of the ground, tight lies don’t offer that same buffer. Instead, the golfer has to be that much more precise with their contact. If you’re a little bit off, you will see chunks, chili-dips, skulls and other undesirable shots. Even as a professional, I have struggled with these seemingly easy shots. The Saucer Pass is different than conventional chipping, because the clubhead remains on the ground throughout the swing until impact. It’s literally impossible to chunk it. This greatly increases the room for error and produces much more consistency once the technique is practiced. While the motion of the Saucer Pass is unique, the learning curve is easy.
1 Set up
a. Split-handed grip, similar to holding a hockey stick, with a very small amount of forward shaft lean. b. Ball in middle of your stance c. Feel like you’re in an athletic position.
a. Slide the club back along the ground or very close to it. Just make sure that at the end of the
takeaway the club is on the ground. b. Just like when putting, take it back further for a longer shot and less for a shorter shot.
3 Forward Stroke
a. Simply slide the club along the ground through the ball. b. You’ll want your impact position to be very similar to your address position. c. Use limited wrist action; focus mostly on moving your shoulders with slight torso and hip rotation.
a. Do not flip at it. b. Keep your hands slightly ahead of club at all times.
Just like any new shot, you have to practice it, especially with a motion like this. It’s new, different, and will take your body and brain a little bit to figure it out. The brain, however, is a powerful tool; it will automatically adapt and produce a repeatable Saucer Pass motion that you can rely on. And if you happen to play hockey, well, the shot will just go that much easier. To see this shot in action just scan the tag above on your smart phone! About James Lepp: James, 27, is a professional golfer from Abbotsford, B.C. He won the 2005 NCAA Div. 1 Championship while competing for the University of Washington. After graduating in 2006, he went on to play on the Canadian Tour, where he won twice. Now he is the Founder and President of Kikkor Golf, a street-inspired golf footwear company. To learn more about James, Kikkor Golf, and the Saucer Pass visit www.kikkor.com. cascadegolfer.com
ROAD TUNES T
here’s no better way to cap your summer than with one last road trip, and no road trip is complete without the right soundtrack. Here are a few of our staff’s favorite albums to cue up on the iPod when we’re rolling off to our favorite destination track
PUTTING THE DAYS TO BED
APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION
The Long Winters 2006 | Barsuk Records
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1993 | MCA
Guns n’ Roses 1987 | Geffen
Blue Scholars 2004/2005 | Self-released
John Roderick’s opening guitar chords set the stage, but it’s his commanding voice — and exquisitely crafted lyrics — that steal the show in album that is as warm and uplifting as that first sunny day of spring. Maybe that’s why I always find myself reaching for PTDTB when I hop in the car on a beautiful Seattle summer day, Roderick’s simple guitar melodies echoing in my ears as I belt out the album’s catchy non-sequiturs, half hoping some of the Seattle native’s laidback coolness will wash off on me before I hit the first tee. – Brian Beaky
Whether it is Tom Petty’s timeless lyrics or Mike Campbell’s feel-good rhythm guitar, this album always makes me want to head out “into the great wide open under them skies of blue,” and go searching for yet another great Northwest 18. Greatest Hits is jampacked with hit after hit of classic rock, appealing to multiple generations of music fans. No matter how bad a day at the course can be, when the pearly white thing has a sideways attitude, Petty helps us remember, “Even the losers get lucky sometimes.” – Simon Dubiel
When I hear the guitars of Slash and Duff McKagan (a U-District native and former student at Roosevelt High School) play the opening riff of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” I’m immediately taken back 20 years and “remind[ed] of childhood memories, where every day was as fresh as the bright blue sky.” I can’t help but roll the windows down and let the wind fly through my hair as I channel my inner Axl Rose and croon the album’s rock anthems — including “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” — in a voice my mother would most certainly not approve of. Just remember that the Axl impersonations have to stop in the parking lot — Gn’R burned bright and hot for a few years, but like your golf game, it can all go wrong in a hurry. – Brian Beaky
The self-titled and self-released debut of Filipino rapper Geologic and Iranianborn DJ Sabzi, Blue Scholars (released locally in 2004 and internationally in 2005, with additional tracks) examined the struggles of Seattle’s immigrant families and the widening economic gap between the classes, and challenged listeners to question the status quo. Named album of the year by the Seattle Weekly in 2004, Blue Scholars mixes socially conscious rhymes with a brain-soothing beat, all set against the shimmering backdrop of our beloved Emerald City. Save it for the evening when you’re rolling back into the city after a dream 18, and let the Scholars remind you on tracks like “The Inkwell” why we wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else. – Brian Beaky
WANT TO REACH 106,000+ PUGET SOUND GOLFERS? ADVERTISE IN CASCADE GOLFER! Contact David Stolber • sales @ cascadegolfer.com • (206) 367-2420, ext.1204 Allenmore Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Anheuser Busch/Michelob Ultra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Apple Tree Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Ashworth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Bandon Crossings Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Best Western University Inn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Boeing Classic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Butler Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Callaway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Cascade Golfer Cup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Cedars at Dungeness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Circling Raven Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
AUGUST 2011 AUGUST 2011
City Golf Tour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Classic Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Crowne Plaza Portland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Desert Willow Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Discovery Bay Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Dream Turf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Druids Glen Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Flathead Valley Golf Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 GolfTEC South Lake Union. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Hampton Inn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Highlander Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Innovex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Kahler Glen Golf & Ski Resort. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Lake Chelan Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Lake Chelan Properties/Desert Canyon. . . . . . . . . . 43 Leavenworth Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 LOFT Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Meridian Valley Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Mount Si Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Muckleshoot Casino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12, 56 NIKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Nile Golf & Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 North Shore Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Oki Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Orange Whip. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Palouse Ridge Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 POW Gloves. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Riverside Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Sun Country Golf & RV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 TaylorMade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Tumwater Valley Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 White Horse Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS 8-9 | 27-31