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Save Some Time for Salish Cliffs

Just a 40-minute drive from Chambers Bay, one of Washington’s best public courses delivers an authentic Pacific Northwest experience


alish Cliffs head pro David Kass chuckles when he’s asked to compare his lush and densely forested Pacific Northwest course to the wild and wide- open links of Chambers Bay. “It’s a little bit like comparing

a really nice bottle of wine to a great microbrew beer,” Kass said. “To me, Chambers Bay and Salish Cliffs are that different.” To put that in golf terms, is it more

thrilling to dodge fairway bunkers while ripping drives with 100 yards of roll? Or is it more rewarding to thread drives through tree-lined chutes? Is it more challenging to properly flight a 7-iron through a piercing wind and skip a ball up a slope to the correct tier? Or is it more exhilarating to look up at the tree tops to judge a swirling wind, before throwing a 7-iron dart to a back hole location over a pair of Gene Bates’ paintball- splattered bunkers? Or perhaps, to continue the

drinking metaphor, it’s best to please your golfing palette by pairing Chambers Bay with Salish Cliffs.

“The staff and caddies at both

places love going back and forth between the two,” Kass said. “They get a kick out of it because they are so different and so much fun.” Salish Cliffs is a 40-min-

ute drive west from Chambers Bay, around the bottom of the Puget Sound to Shelton and the

amenity-rich entertainment hub that is Little Creek Casino, a 190-room luxurious resort and spa owned by the Squaxin Island Tribe. The drive leaves the bluffs over-

looking the Puget Sound and climbs up the cliffs that cut through the Kamilche Valley. To put it another way, Chambers

Bay has one tree. Salish Cliffs feels like you parachuted into a National Forest. “The whole back nine, you are just out there in nature,” Kass said. “The holes are separated by trees, so you don’t see any other golfers. I stop every once in a while and just soak it in. It’s so beautiful and peaceful playing through the Douglas firs and Cedars.” Salish Cliffs embraces its unique

Pacific Northwest character and Squaxin Island Tribe heritage with

two towering totem poles that frame the flagpole, and two more totems built into the entry of the Cedar log clubhouse. Salish Cliffs also sports a little showmanship flash, as you can catch a Cadillac golf cart ride from its parent Little Creek Casino to the clubhouse and back. The course happily keeps rounds at 20,000 a year, creating an unrushed and unrivaled experience, as well as impeccable playing conditions, in- cluding some of the best public greens you will find. As well as some of the most

memorable greens. Salish Cliffs finishes with a little Chambers Bay links flare, as the ninth and 18th holes wrap around a pond to form a unique horseshoe-shaped double green. Golfweek ranks Salish Cliffs as the

third best public course in the state of Washington, only behind No. 1 Chambers Bay, and No. 2 Wine Valley in Walla Walla. (If you weigh course conditioning heavily, the im- maculate Salish Cliffs might jump all the way to No. 1.) Golfweek also ranks Salish Cliffs as the ninth best casino course in the country, even ahead of Edgewood Tahoe. Not bad for a course that just opened four years ago. “So many people tell us our course

feels like it’s been here a long time,” said Kass, “which I think is a huge compliment.”

The double green where Nos.9 (right) and 18 (left) finish up.

FALL 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 31


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