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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU thinks big

PULLMAN — Golfers on the Palouse should have a new opportunity to play a championship course in a little more than a year’s time.

Palouse Ridge, an 18-hole layout on the eastern edge of Washington State’s campus in Pullman, is still on schedule to be completed around the end of summer 2008.

And other parts of the facility — which WSU hopes will someday be able to host an NCAA regional or championship event — will be ready sooner.

“Everything is weather-driven now, but we’re shooting to have the practice facility — both ends, all the short game, the whole nine yards — (done) by the end of August,” said Mel Taylor, WSU’s executive director of real estate operations and external affairs. “We’re trying to shoot for that when the golf team gets back.”

Taylor said most of the earth moving is already complete, and much of the course is essentially laid out already. The school held a groundbreaking ceremony last spring, and construction began almost immediately thereafter.

“They’ve pretty much got the golf course cut … except for the finished product, smoothing, that kind of thing,” Taylor said.

The course was designed by John Harbottle III, who owns a golf course design firm in Tacoma. Harbottle has been visiting the course about twice a month as construction continues. Part of the course will take up land formerly occupied by the now-dormant nine-hole course on campus, with the new layout extending north, south and east of the old course.

WSU has also expanded plans for the $4 million clubhouse that is to accompany the completed golf course. Seeing an opportunity to add a dining facility, the university has reached an agreement with a group of local restaurateurs to construct a steakhouse, to be called Banyan’s at Palouse Ridge, as a centerpiece of the new clubhouse. Requests for construction proposals will be accepted in the next month, and Taylor said the entire clubhouse facility should be complete next May.

“Pullman is short on restaurants,” Taylor explained. “There’s going to be an old, English-style steakhouse.”

And, with the course not quite ready for play at that point, diners will have to be content to look out over the course and wait for opening day.

“It’s going to be hard not to play because it’s going to be green by next year,” Taylor said. “But you’ve got to let it grow for a few months.”