Lipoma family making golf history since 1989

Updated: March 4, 2014

Golf has been in the Lipoma family for years. Many of the family members work at their family-owned Lipoma Firs Golf Course in Puyallup.

When Tony Lipoma bought 640 acres of property in the Puyallup area back in the 1930s, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with it: First he wanted to develop a Christmas Tree Farm and then he wanted a golf course. And on both counts, that’s exactly what Tony Lipoma has done.

The property was home to a Christmas Tree Farm business for years and then turned it into a golf course in 1989 – expanding from 18 holes to 27 holes in 1994. When Tony passed away in 1995, he was able to see his dream come true.

“He did exactly what he wanted to do with the land he bought,” said Tony Lipoma, the 40-year-old grandson. “He logged the property and made it into a Christmas Tree Farm. And then he got his golf course.”

The elder Tony Lipoma and his son Sam grew Christmas trees and shipped them around the country. They would also open other farms. But in the 1980s it was time for golf. And Tony Lipoma wanted the kind of golf that was playable to everyone and affordable to the blue-collar golfer. And that’s what he came up with when he developed Lipoma Firs Golf Course.

“He wanted a golf course for everyone,” said grandson Tony. “This was not going to be a country club.”

And the golf business has turned out not to only be a blue-collar formula that works well, but also a family business.

Grandson Tony runs the course along with his 38-year-old brother Nick. Tony runs the business side of the golf course while Nick has been the course superintendent for 15 years and has helped the course shed its original reputation for having some tough lies in the rough. “You can’t say enough about what Nick has done to the course,” said Tony. “He has made the rough better, the turf better and has taken out some trees to get some sun to the greens and get them better. We’ve got a good thing going on.”

The course has been in the Lipoma family since the day it opened and Tony says there are no plans to do anything different.

“It’s cool for a family to have a business like this for 25 years,” he said. “To keep the course in the family for this long says a lot. And it’s a business we all love to do.” Tony is one of the owners, along with brother Nick, dad Sam and sister Samantha.

The youngest generation of the Lipoma family is also ready to get into the game. Tony’s 12-year-old son Anthony III and 9-year-old son Terryn might end up working at the driving range this summer picking up balls. Tony’ half-brother also works in the pro shop. Nick’s 3-year-old son Towson might be a bit young to work right now but there is probably some golf in his future.

Lipoma Firs has always been one of the business courses in the Puget Sound area hosting up to 40,000 rounds a year. The players come from all over – from Federal Way, to Seattle to Tacoma. The Lipoma Firs Restaurant has always brought in the business for breakfast and lunch and the Lipoma Firs Men’s Club offers some of the most popular events around.

And through it all, the course has always catered to the blue-collar golfers – the guys looking for a good round and a good price. Lipoma charges $15 in the winter months and $30 in the summer. Good deals for golfers on a budget.

“The last time we raised prices was 10 years ago,” said Tony. “This is exactly what grandpa wanted with this golf course.”