The Northwest has no shortage of golf venues that deliver great greens, stunning scenery and world-class resort amenities. Some even offer deals that are steals. Here are a few worth discovering.
photo by Mike Houska
BLACK BUTTE RANCH:
Black Butte Rance, seven miles from the outdoor recreation hub of Sisters, has been a Central Oregon favorite since the early 1970s when the first of its two courses, Big Meadow, opened for play. Big Meadow winds through a Ponderosa pine forest offering splendid views of the Cascades, none more captivating than that of Three-Fingered Jack’s jagged peaks from the 14th fairway.
The resort’s second course opened in 1982. Glaze Meadow always played second fiddle to its older sibling but, following a $3.75M renovation, it promises to become every bit as popular when it re-opens on June 30 this year. The renovation rebuilt greens, tees, bunkers, cart paths and the irrigation system. Next, came a fresh new look, which meant the removal of trees to open up playing corridors, enhance the views and lend it a classic motif.
Vacation rentals on the 1,800-acre property include 112 cabins, homes and condos. For those hours not on one of the courses, Black Butte Ranch offers a spa and an array of dining options from fine cuisine to pub fare.
Playing Black Butte and Getting there:
30 miles NW of Bend, OR Best Deal: Unlimited Golf Package at $99 a night per person for a Lodge Room and unlimited golf on both courses (cart and balls included). Rates for 18 holes: $30-$75, depending on season and time of day (check website for updated rates). Reservations: (866) 901-2961. For more information, visit www.blackbutteranch.com.
WASHINGTON:photo by Alderbrook Golf
Alderbrook Resort & Spa Located on Hood Canal with the Olympic Mountains in full view, Alderbrook is a golf and spa resort that’s intimate in the very best sense of the word—welcoming, friendly, informal, relaxed. Just a few miles from the unincorporated waterfront town of Union, the resort dates back to 1913 when guests slept in tents. There are now 77 luxury guestrooms and 16 cottages at the resort, which has been owned by North Forty Lodging since 2001. Private vacation rental properties from the Alderbrook Golf Community are available just a short drive away.
The wonderfully tranquil but engaging course is actually owned by The homeowners association at the golf community, which has what it calls a “great working relationship” with the resort. Guests even enjoy preferred tee times.
The course is plenty popular but never gets too busy. Savor your reward at the 18th hole with panoramic views of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains so close the rugged peaks seem within arms reach. Alderbrook was voted the 55th best resort on the U.S. mainland by Condé Nast readers last year, beating dozens of bigger and better-known properties. You’ll be pleased you found it.
Playing Alderbrook and getting there:
52 miles NW of Tacoma in Union, WA Resort room rates: $149-$599 (peak season). Rates for 18 holes: $15-$55, depending on season and day of the week (check website for updated rates). Reservations: (360) 898-2560 (Golf Course); (360) 898-2200 (Resort & Spa); (360) 898- 5500 (dinner reservations); (360) 898-5520 (spa appointments).
For more information about the resort, visit www.alderbrookproperties.com.
IDAHO:photo by CDA Casino
Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort At the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort, located 20 minutes south of Coeur d’Alene, the Circling Raven Golf Course takes golfers on an endlessly gratifying trip that skirts undulating wheat fields, crosses protected wetlands, shoots through imposing evergreen forests, and plays on either side of a railroad.
The sum of its parts makes it the sixthbest course in the Gem State according to Golf Digest magazine, and the 83rd best public-access course in the entire country.
Circling Raven covers an unblemished 620 acres of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s 345,000-acre property, and can be played at a beginner-friendly 4,708 yards from the green tees, a fairly robust 7,189 yards from the golds, or from three other teeing grounds.
The resort has launched a new Play and Stay Package following the debut of the hotel’s elegant new wing—the 100-room Spa Tower. The casino offers a 20,000 sq. ft. gaming floor, the Spa Ssakwa’q’n is a rejuvenating retreat, and the property offers eight restaurants and lounges.
Playing Circling Raven and getting there:
32 miles East of Spokane, WA in Coeur d’Alene, ID
Best Deal: The Play & Stay Packages ranging from $199 to $299, depending on season and day of week; it includes lodging in the Spa Tower and 18 holes for two.
Rates for 18 holes: $65-$95, depending on season and time of day; includes cart with GPS.
Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spaphoto by Bear Mountain
In August 2003, a golf resort opened at the foot of Mt. Finlayson, 20 minutes northwest of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Until that point, the Victoria golf scene was largely made up of quiet, established private clubs that weren’t set up for visitors passing through on golf leisure breaks.
Bear Mountain was built as the quintessential large-scale golf resort, a 1,200-acre property complete with luxury hotel (it became the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa in 2006), sophisticated restaurants and an excellent Jack Nicklaus signature design—the Mountain Course—that stretches over 7,200 yards. It even includes an extra hole—a sporty 165-yarder with an amazing panoramic view of Victoria. The shorter Valley Course opened in June 2009, giving resort guests a far less taxing challenge than the Mountain.
Playing Bear Mountain and getting there:
Twenty minutes northwest of Victoria, BC.
Best Deal: The Play & Stay Package at $109 per person; it includes one night lodging and 18 holes for two on either course. Rates for 18 holes: $79-$149, depending on season, time of day and other factors.
Reservations: (866) 716-8101 For more information, visit www.bearmountain.ca
Other Great Northwest Golf Courses and Lodging:
Idaho Golf Trail
Make Idaho your next golf destination. Choose from four loops in dramatic settings featuring world-class, challenging courses. Soak up the good life with premier resort accommodations with spas, shopping and more. Idaho is golf heaven. visit www.visitidaho.org/golf or call (208) 334-2470.
Sunriver Resort, Bend, Oregon
Four courses—Crosswater, Meadows, Woodlands and Caldera Links—set among Sunriver’s stunning landscape, offer enough variety to keep any golfer occupied for an entire season. Crosswater is undergoing a greens renovation and will reopen for the 2012 season. While playing one of the Sunriver courses, pamper yourself in one of the resort’s luxurious accomodations. www.sunriver.com or (800) 801.8765 For more info information on Central Oregon vacation planning, contact Central Oregon Visitors Association at www.VisitCentralOregon.com or call (800) 800-8334
Aspen Lakes Golf Course, Sisters, Oregon
Aspen Lakes is known for its striking crushed red pumice set against the greens with the magnificent Oregon Cascades as a backdrop. Aspen Lakes doesn’t offer lodging, but does have an excellent restaurant. visit www.aspenlakes.com or call (541) 549.4653. Stay in comfort and style at nearby FivePine Lodge. visit www.fivepinelodge.com or call (866) 974-5900.
The Golf Club at Newcastle, Newcastle, Washington
Puget Sound’s premier public golf and event destination features 36 holes of championship golf, framed by stunning, panoramic views of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the Seattle skyline. Close to Bellevue hotels. visit www.okigolf.com/Courses/newcastle OR (425) 793.5566.
Sun Country, Cle Elum, Washington
Only a 90-minute drive from Seattle, you can leave Seattle by 5:00, park your RV at Sun Country’s RV Park and tee off for a beautiful summer evening round. vist www.golfsunjcountry.com or call (509) 674-2226.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club, B.C.
A quintessential mountain layout, this course rises 400 feet, following a route over creeks and ponds, through stands of ancient Douglas firs and up against the occasional granite rock face. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has all the resort amenities to make your golf vacation extraordinary visit www.fairmont.com/whistler/Recreation/Golf or call (800) 257-7544.
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