Golf Report: Golf news, events and course information for Spokane and the Inland Northwest

Golf: Special sections

Stories from The Spokesman-Review's special golf sections, published three times a year.

  • May31

    Portal to a perfect pit stop

    The signs pop up every hour or so along Interstate 90 west toward Snoqualmie Pass. A brown recreation sign with a golf bag and clubs. An exit for Golf Course Road. I’ve driven to Seattle too many times to count. I always gaze over at tree-lined fairways in Ritzville and Moses Lake and wonder why I haven’t taken the time to check out those courses.
  • Guarding its secrets

    (Ellensburg, 180 miles from Spokane; 28 miles from Sun Country) Take the Thorpe Highway exit and drive about four miles to find this rural, nine-hole course bordered by the Yakima River, ranches and farmland. Built in 1931, the course has a traditional, relatively flat layout with a couple of wrinkles.
  • Private gem offers twist

    (Moses Lake, 109 miles from Spokane; 73 miles from Ellensburg Golf Club)
  • Sparkling stretch run at Sun

    (Cle Elum, 206 miles from Spokane) We pulled into the parking lot to see 14 R.V. spots, a cart/maintenance barn marked with “GOLF” in large, white letters and a nifty, narrow putting green. This affordable course ($30 weekdays) doesn’t overwhelm with distance – 5,507 yards from the tips – but it requires accuracy, placement and the ability to negotiate numerous elevated greens.
  • April06

    Golf Madness

    Since the West Coast Conference moved its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to Las Vegas four years ago, thousands of Gonzaga fans have made the trip annually to fill hotels, casinos, restaurants and seats at the Orleans Arena. And Las Vegas-area golf courses.
  • Challenging, but playable

    This well-manicured, Ted Robinson-designed 18-hole layout has a little bit of everything. Located perhaps 10-15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Rhodes Ranch has a resort feel with generous fairways bordered by side hills that often steer wayward tee shots back toward the short grass. Undulating greens and well-positioned bunkers, characteristics of a Robinson design, and water that comes into play on seven holes require thoughtful placement of drives and approach shots.
  • A sight to see … and golf

    The views at Sunrise Vista are simply unmatched. Belt a drive here and you just might forget to watch the flight of the ball if your eye catches the Thunderbirds in formation in the distance, an A-10 roaring down a nearby runway or an F-16 banking against a cloudless sky.
  • Paiute Wolf is a course with teeth

    It can be the big, bad Wolf, if you so choose. There isn’t a longer course in Nevada than Wolf, which measures a whopping 7,604 yards from the tips. Wolf is one of three Pete Dye-designed courses on the property owned by the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. There’s also Snow Mountain, which opened in 1995, followed by Sun Mountain in 1996. All three courses, located about 25 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas Strip, come with scenic 360-degree views of the natural, rolling landscape against a mountain-range backdrop.
  • June03

    Nothing highfalutin here, just country-style golf

    Ollie Hurley works at the Tekoa Golf Course four days a week. On his days off, he drives up from Farmington, opens up the clubhouse, puts on the coffee and drives the 11 miles back home. The honor box does the rest. I forgot to ask him about the dog.
  • Country cool

    In a region noted for its wonderful array of affordable and accessible 18-hole championship golf courses, it is easy to forget about the small-town nine-hole courses on which so many of us learned the game. So every few years, I make it a point to talk a few friends into making a swing through some of our neighboring farming communities to sample golf on a simpler level.
  • Come early, play often

    COLFAX – Still one of my favorite small-town courses, this tight, tree-lined layout that opened in 1927 stretches across a mere 40 acres abutting the usually benign Palouse River that was raging when we stopped by to play a quick nine holes. Located in the Banana Belt, Colfax Golf Club serves as an early season destination for snow-bound golfers in the Spokane area, who can normally expect to play on some of the smallest, but best-maintained, greens on the nine-hole circuit we made.
  • Long and straight

    ODESSA, Wash. – Sprawled across 60 acres of relatively flat terrain and located on the eastern edge of town, this 6,305-yard layout ranks among the longest of the small-town courses we visited. It sits – like so many others – amid the rolling wheat fields.
  • Rolling hills offer good workout, surprising shots

    TEKOA, Wash. – Of the six courses we played, Tekoa Golf Club offered the greatest elevation changes and proved to be a difficult challenge – as well as a tough hike – for the two guys who opted out of renting a cart. The 5,380-yard layout was built in 1960 on 40 hilly acres just south of town, and offers a dizzying array of blind shots.
  • This 9-holer ranks among the best

    HARRINGTON, Wash. – Perhaps the best of the region’s nine-hole small-town courses, Harrington Golf and Country Club is also the longest, stretching to 6,381 yards from the white and blue tee markers on each hole. The course, which was designed by Robert Putnam, opened in 1962 and features an abundance of well-placed fairway and greenside bunkers, along with three ponds that come into play on four holes – including the par-3 ninth, which plays 150-plus yards uphill and over a pond to a small, elevated green that is protected right and left by sand traps.
  • Nothing fancy, but fun

    ST. JOHN, Wash. – Despite its lack of frills, St. John G&CC remains a favorite among golfers in the region. The course, which can be stretched to 5,752 yards, originally opened as a six-hole layout in 1935, but was closed down for nearly 10 years during and after World War II. And shortly after it reopened, the members decided to eliminate one of the existing holes and add four new ones to create a nine-hole layout.
  • Tight fairways a test

    RITZVILLE, Wash. – Long noted for the condition of its greens and its tight fairways, Ritzville, is a must-stop on any tour of nine-hole courses in our region. Originally a six-hole track that opened in 1938, the course was expanded to nine holes in 1943 and now stretches almost 5,600 yards and features three holes that are accessed by crossing a street.
  • April08

    Golden glow

    Jack Nicklaus was 46, winless for two years, and six years removed from his 17th major title. Not even the Golden Bear liked his odds of winning when he arrived at Augusta National for the 1986 Masters.
  • Pleasures of Pendleton

    There are many Spokane golfers who make an annual early spring getaway to the Tri-Cities, where they sample a diverse array of interesting and affordable public courses in an attempt to beat the winter blues. Those who do might want to consider expanding their horizons.
  • Scenic course a real test

    This John Steidel-designed gem is part of the Wildhorse Resort & Casino, which is operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and is currently undergoing a massive expansion project that includes the construction of a 10-story on-site hotel – complete with 32 suites and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools – that is scheduled to open in September. The scenic par-72 course, which opened in 1997, features large bent grass greens, wide inviting fairways, six ponds, 66 bunkers and four sets of tee boxes that allow it to play anywhere from 5,718 to 7,112 yards long. The early spring views of the nearby Blue Mountains are sensational, and the condition of the course when I played it was remarkable, even in the middle of a heavy, day long rain.
  • Marking history

    Spokane Country Club will celebrate its 100-year anniversary of the move to its current site with an open house from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 29. As part of the celebration, the club will be offering 100-day trial memberships (April 23-July 31) to anyone who might have an interest in joining the 450 families who currently use SCC’s course, pro shop, practice facilities, clubhouse and swimming pool.