NCGA Golf

Summer 2018

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just one of the memories with which you'll return home. The fescue greens at the U.S. Open went over with Johnson and the players as well as the decision by the Seattle Seahawks not to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line late in the 2015 Super Bowl. Putting was like trying to roll marbles in a bathtub. Chambers Bay has re-grassed the putting surfaces, and so it should be just a matter of time before the national champi- onship returns to the Pacific Northwest. It is most worthy of another shot on the national stage. If there is one knock against Chambers Bay that hasn't been fully addressed, it is the lack of any onsite accommodations. The course has partnered with Hotel Mu- rano, just 20 minutes away in the heart of downtown Tacoma and not far from the shimmering Museum of Glass in the home- town of charismatic glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. But there is another sensible option just an hour west of Chambers Bay in the town of Shelton (just 20 minutes from the charming city of Olympia). This is where the Little Creek Casino & Resort is located. More than 20 years ago, it opened as a simple bingo hall. Owned and operated by the Squaxin Island Tribe, Salish Cliffs Golf Club is the centerpiece of a destination resort that is home to the region's largest smoke-free casino and includes golf, fine dining and a spa. Unforced and natural, Salish Cliffs is an expression of the beautiful piece of prop- erty on which it was built. Carved from pristine hardwood forests, the dazzling layout—designed in 2011 by architect Gene Bates—calls for one strong shot after another. The forward tees give duffers a fighting chance, but the low handicappers are in for a fight. Salish Cliffs is not about length; it's about width. Find the first fairway and the downhill par-5 hole can be reached in two. 56 SUMMER 2018 | NCGA.ORG S ilvies Valley Ranch is a reversible golf course. Play it clockwise one day as the Craddock C ourse and counterclockwise the next as the Hankins Course. T here's much more to be explored in the Pacific Northwest. For those interested in heading to central Washington, David McLay Kidd did some of his best work since Bandon Dunes in tiny Brewster at Gamble Sands, a daily-fee that opened in 2014. The layout plays atop a bluff of 300 feet of sand overlooking the Columbia River. McLay Kidd speaks proudly of his handiwork at the second hole, one of three drivable par 4s to grip it and rip it. "I got the biggest kick out of doing something unexpected and creating something far beyond its original potential," he said. For mountain lovers, Suncadia Resort offers the Pacific Northwest's finest mountain golf experience. Located in the storybook town of Cle Elum, just 80 miles east of Seattle, Suncadia is nestled among the sunniest section of the Cascade Mountains and offers visitors the quintessential Pacific Northwest retreat. Once the heart of the region's mining industry, the resort specializes in guided fishing tours along the Yakima River, and presents over 40 miles of hiking trails and 54 holes of golf designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Peter Jacobsen and Tom Doak. Rooms at the Inn at Suncadia offer views of Palmer's Prospector Golf Course. In the western corner of the state is Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, a golf destination with small-town charm. Playing a sporty 6,000 yards and change from the tips, Skamania Lodge proves that short doesn't necessarily mean easy. Hemmed in by a sea of pines that seem to live on lost balls, it's best to leave the driver in the bag to find the narrow landing areas. But this course, set in the Columbia River Gorge and just 45 minutes from Portland, is a delight and hands down the area's most playable course for golfers of all skill levels. It would be a triple bogey to do a story on golf in the Pacific Northwest without mentioning the wonders to be found in Washington's border neighbor to its south. Between Bandon Dunes and Sunriver Resort, Oregon has reinvented itself as a major golf destination. Its embarrassment of riches keeps growing. The latest entry into the market is Silvies Valley Ranch, which proves the perfect hub to recharge. Located three hours east of Bend in eastern Oregon, Silvies Valley Ranch is spread over 140,000 acres, and merges luxury and relaxation into a Western ranch experience. Bringing the mystique of the region to an intimate scale, this 34-room full-service resort features lodging, delicious dining options, outdoor activities, a spa, and a private airstrip for guests looking to fly directly on-site. This year marks the first full season of play at the Dan Hixson designed course. With 16 fairways and 27 greens, nine of which will be rested on any given day, Hixson created a reversible course. It is played clockwise one day (called the Craddock course), and counterclockwise the next (the Hankins course), creating a different layout and variety in course set up. There's a nine-hole par-3 course and a seven-hole short course set on dramatic land to the south of the reversible course. Switching over to island time should top everyone's summer to-do list, and Vancouver's gorgeous Victoria Islands prove the perfect place to do just that. Bear Mountain Resort is the only urban resort in Canada. This British Columbia hot spot is home to the only 36-hole facility of Nicklaus Design golf courses north of the border. Choose between the rugged, challenging Mountain Course, with its dramatic elevation changes, or the more serene Valley Course, with panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountain range and the city of Victoria. More of the Best in the Pacific Northwest Skamania Lodge sits along the north bank of the Columbia River Gorge.

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