Chambers Bay Takes Top Spot In First-Ever Official CG Top-10

Newcomer Salish Cliffs debuts at No. 4 in our Washington Top-10 -- did your favorite track make the list? (Photo by Brian Oar /
Newcomer Salish Cliffs debuts at No. 4 in our Washington Top-10 — did your favorite track make the list? (Photo by Brian Oar /

2015 U.S. Open host No. 1 among state’s public tracks, CG readers give Desert Canyon coveted “Readers Choice” slot
Our August issue is hitting homes and golf shops statewide this week, which means that golfers across the Evergreen State are finding out for the first time which courses were selected to our first-ever official ranking of Washington’s Top-10 Public Golf Courses — and, which course CG readers themselves chose for the 10th and final spot.
As it turns out, our 16 panelists — comprised of golfers, golf writers, photographers and other industry experts chosen for their expertise and variety of perspectives — favored the same track as our readers voted No. 1 in last year’s Muckleshoot Casino Match Play Madness: University Place’s Chambers Bay.
The voting panel included both men and women, from all parts of the state, ranging in age from 25 to 71. Instructions were left intentionally vague, with each voter asked to individually rank the 10 golf courses they felt represented the best in daily-fee golf the state of Washington has to offer, 1 through 10. Each individual’s votes were then assigned a score — 10 points for a first-place vote, on down to one point for a 10th-place vote — and the top-nine courses were ranked in order of their point totals across all ballots.


Course (First Place Votes) Score
1. Chambers Bay (11) 163
2. Gold Mountain-Olympic 120
3. Wine Valley (5) 118
4. Salish Cliffs 84
5. Palouse Ridge 71
6. Washington National 43
7. Home Course 38
8. Prospector 37
9. White Horse 31
Also Receiving Votes (Winner of Readers Choice vote indicated with an asterisk): Rope Rider 29, Apple Tree 27, Trophy Lake 25, Desert Canyon 24*, Indian Canyon 24, Bear Mountain Ranch 23, Semiahmoo 21, Newcastle (Coal Creek) 18, Druids Glen 16, Loomis Trail 12, McCormick Woods 4, RMG Club at Oakbrook 2, The Classic 1.

Chambers Bay received 11 of a possible 16 first-place votes to finish with 163 total points, ahead of the 120 points of runner-up Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course. Interestingly, however, the Olympic Course did not receive any of the five first-place votes that Chambers Bay failed to capture — instead, all five of those went to third-ranked Wine Valley Golf Club of Walla Walla, whose 118 points were just two shy of second.
Newcomer Salish Cliffs Golf Club (Shelton, Wash.), which completed its first full season in 2012, made a strong debut in the rankings at No. 4, with 84 points. Washington State University’s Palouse Ridge ranked fifth with 71 points, followed by Auburn’s Washington National Golf Club  (43 points), The Home Course, in DuPont (38), Suncadia Resort’s Prospector course (37); and Kingston’s White Horse Golf Club (31).
To determine the 10th and final spot in the rankings, CG readers were given the chance to vote from among the highest-scored courses not yet on the list, through a poll conducted on Facebook and Despite receiving just the 13th-highest score from CG’s voting panel, readers selected Orondo’s Desert Canyon Golf Resort for the No. 10 ranking. The complete list of voting results and scores is in the box at right.
The full rankings — with photos and write-ups of each course — are featured in the August 2013 issue of Cascade Golfer, which was mailed out to over 100,000 subscribers and Puetz Golf members earlier this week. Additional copies of Cascade Golfer, the most widely-read golf magazine in the Puget Sound region, can be picked up at any Puetz Golf superstore, or at golf course pro shops throughout the state.
Perhaps most notable about the rankings isn’t the courses that were included, but those that were not — celebrated courses like Newcastle’s Coal Creek, Semiahmoo’s Loomis Trail Golf Club and Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club, Port Orchard’s Trophy Lake, and many other courses renowned for their quality.
“Honestly, we could have produced a second top-10 that was every bit as strong as the first one,” said Cascade Golfer editor Brian Beaky. “Our goal in commissioning these rankings was to celebrate the incredible depth and quality of Washington’s daily fee golf courses, which we feel are on par with any other region in the country. I think the fact that so many golf courses that are outstanding by almost every measure failed to crack the top-10 is a perfect illustration of that belief.”
We’re planning to update the Top-10 Washington Public Golf Course rankings on a bi-annual basis, similar to the pattern established by Golf Digest for its industry-standard national course rankings. That will increase the potential for variety in the rankings, as existing courses undergo changes, new courses open up, and voters have the chance to travel to different parts of the state and discover courses they previously knew only by reputation.
So what do you think? Where did we hit the mark, and on the flipside, what courses do you think our panel is underrating? Let us know, then go out and play as many of our state’s great course as you can — because the 2015 rankings are just two years away, and your tips and insight could be the difference.

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