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

Resorting to adventure

Suncadia’s courses worth trek to Cle Elum

The tee box of No. 14 at Prospector offers a sneak peak into the beautiful greenery you’ll encounter during a challenging day of golf at Suncadia Resort near Cle Elum.

It wasn’t a typical 18-hour day – 3-hour drive, 18 holes of golf, food, another 18 holes, more food and a 3-hour drive home.

But it was worth every minute and every mile.

Some golf ventures are longer than others and different than others. Suncadia Resort, a sprawling development nestled among fir and pine trees minutes from downtown Cle Elum, qualifies on both accounts. The place is unique.

There is no shortage of activities, depending on the season. Suncadia has 40 miles of paved and unpaved trails to bike, hike, run, walk and explore. There’s a swimming and fitness center, water slides, rock climbing, boating, kayaking, fishing, paddleboats and paddleboards. Winter offers cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

Throw in shops, restaurants, a spa, a winery and accommodation options – a lodge, an inn, condos and rental homes – and there are plenty of ways to spend a few days, or even a week.

We came for the golf on our one-day trek. There are three courses at Suncadia, which is roughly 205 miles from Spokane and 80 miles from Seattle. Prospector, which debuted in 2004, and family-friendly Rope Rider, which opened in 2011, are public courses. A U.S. Open sectional qualifier was held at Tumble Creek in June. The private course more than held its own as Wil Collins took medalist honors with a 2-under 138 for 36 holes.

Prospector is an Arnold Palmer design. Rope Rider’s architects were Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. Tom Doak designed Tumble Creek.

“Even though the terrain is similar for all three courses, there are three distinct styles of golf and they give you completely different looks standing on the tees,” said Brady Hatfield, director of golf. “It gives you a different experience.”

We took on Prospector and Rope Rider, and there was nothing typical about either course.