What better way to spend your annual fall holiday than escaping to a quiet and serene part of Washington state. Heading due east and only 75 minutes from Seattle where we have just spent 3 days cheering on Canada’s team, the Blue Jays, but seemingly in another world just outside of Roslyn, is Suncadia Resort and for us two public golf courses we were very eager to play , Rope Rider and Prospector. To avoid the rush hour traffic out of Seattle we headed for Suncadia after the 7th inning and soon after leaving the noise and bustle of the concrete jungle we put the baseball experience behind us and turned our brains to “golf mode”.
As we drove into the resort and parked we already felt the calmness of this tranquil spot sprawling within miles of pine trees. Although we were aware of the many activities on offer at Suncadia we were primarily here to golf and enjoy the warm hospitality that we eagerly anticipated. It began the moment we walked in, warm smiles abounded in a unforced way and the only thing that exceeded that feeling was the greater one that we experienced when we opened the door to our room or should I say condo.
After a great casual meal watching a bit of hockey in the lounge we tucked into our “home” for the next 4 nights and prepped for the Thursday round of golf at the Prospector course.
The rustic, timber-framed clubhouse of Prospector was within 500 yards of The Lodge we were staying in and upon entry it wasn’t more than 15 seconds before the cheery voice and warmth of Players Services Supervisor, Larry Foster a former sports equipment and manufacturers rep from the northeast, greeted us.
We then said a quick hello to the guys at the pro shop counter before introducing ourselves to Director of Golf Operations Brady Hatfield. After a short friendly briefing Brady handed the ball over to his two young guns, Brad and Blake who got us sorted out and off we were. Myra and I always share a great deal of commentary and on this occasion we were in total agreement that the first impression was a lasting one, we were made to feel welcome, at ease and totally relaxed in this beautiful part of the world. The hand off from one staffer to the next was seamless, as we went from the pro shop team, out to get our cart from Larry. After hitting a few balls at the range we were directed towards the first tee adjacent to the practice putting green for our pre game pep talk from Mike, the starter. He gave us a thorough briefing of the course and kindly introduced us to the two other players we were paired with, Seattle residents Hank Erkenbeck and Doug Miller. You couldn’t have picked two nicer guys to golf with and in confidence I let them know Myra, in only her third year of golf was always nervous playing with newcomers especially two guys that looked like they could hit the ball a mile.
They immediately made her feel comfy and both her down the middle drive and my long poke set the tone for the day, it was going to be a great one. Now to the course and as you will be know by now you won’t get many shot by shot ” how to play” the hole suggestions from me. See: watching paint dry. Boring.
The design of the course was a typical Arnold Palmer layout. No good shot was punished, landing areas off the tee were generous and the green side bunkers weren’t to be messed with. Accurate shot making and ball placement from 150 yards in was critical. The fairways, greens, tees and bunkers were all in very good condition and the blend of 4 Par 3’s , 4 Par 5’s and 10 Par 4’s added up to my favourite number in golf , a par 72 – 36 in 36 out lay out.
Throughout the round we all laughed at one comment made by Mike, the starter, when giving us our “playing the course” tips. He had stated that he had only played the course once where the wind had blown more than 5 miles an hour and if it should blow harder than that he informed us what the wind direction was. We jokingly figured he either had just started working at Suncadia the day before or really wasn’t very good at judging speed or perhaps it was Mikes way of getting us to accept the howling wind and pretend it was only a breeze. Or maybe just maybe like fair-weather golfers who never play in the rain he just didn’t golf when it was windy.
Well it was and the perfect example of that was on the awesome Par 5 8th hole, the number one handicap hole playing 509 yards from the blue tees straight into a howling wind. I hit 3 perfect shots to 9 feet from the hole.
Driver, teed low, driver off the deck nutted and 5 iron pure from 140 yards and missed birdie on a slippery downhiller but rattled in the 15 foot comebacker for a really, really good par.
The wind built throughout the day and when we got to the signature hole, the jaw dropping downhill Par 4 number 10 with the tee perched perilously high above the fairway, the three men all hit really good drives and were still left with 150 yards in.
Prospector also possessed 4 really great par 3’s one of which Myra was the only one to make par on. The course was tough there’s no doubt about it being a true test of skill and shot making but like many golf course outings it’s often not so much just the course itself but the overall experience that counts. The combination of good camaraderie, excellent service and a good track made this a solid 8 out of 10 day.
The four of us all sports fans shared stories of our favourite NFL team and The Cowboys, Redskins, Lions and Seahawks we all represented in our group, not an AFC fan in sight.It took our mind off the wind a little and we all agreed it was simply an element of golf that was part of the game. Looking back at my 6 par, birdie less, score of 92 I think we should have opted with playing from the white tees.
I would again repeat the suggestion made to us by an avid local golfer and friend of Suncadia, Scott Warren owner of a great little food and beer place in the nearby town of Ronald. “If you are newcomer to Prospector and the wind is more than a slight breeze, play the whites, its way more fun”. Later as Myra and I enjoyed a cold one and a tasty dinner at his sports bar The Old #3 co owned by himself and his wife Lauri Bailey we talked at length about the course and it’s playability, determined to return to play it again, wind or no wind.
Give them a call and book your round or groups outing the resort is amazing, the course great and the locals as nice as us Canadians.
www.suncadia.com 1-509- 649-6450