Salish Cliffs is a first-class facility

Updated: December 5, 2011

When Salish Cliffs in Shelton, Wash. finally opened for play in September, it was a place that was well worth the wait.

Salish Cliffs, designed by Gene Bates, is a sure award-winner offering everything stunning views to dramatic elevation changes to plenty of water and sand. The course had hoped to open early, but a harsh winter in 2010 put those plans to rest.

“You only get one chance to make a first impression,” said head professional David Kass. “We wanted to make a great first impression when we opened up.”

The course can play long (7,269 yards from the tips) or short (5,313 yards from the forward tees). The course offers water, sand, trees, wetlands …. just about everything you would expect for a course that was voted one of the top new courses to open in 2011.

The course is vast. Bates had 400 acres to create his golf course and he did it in a way that virtually every hole is set by itself and you rarely see other golfers. And there are no houses on the course.

The course boasts 360-degree views of the Kamilche Valley and dramatic elevation changes, including the par-4 12th hole with a tee box that sits on the property’s apex, some 650 feet above sea level.

All 18 holes and the driving range/practice facility feature T1 bentgrass turf. The log and cedar clubhouse – which reflects the style and structure of Little Creek Casino Resort –  sits next to a deep ravine and its wrap-around porch and mezzanine will overlook hole Nos. 9 and 18, which share a 15,000-foot green. The clubhouse includes a full-service golf shop and restaurant.

Salish Cliffs has five sets of tees. The black “tips” received a rating/slope of 74.6/137 from the USGA while the 5,313-yard forward tees come in with a 70.7 rating and 125 slope.

Bates got going with the project seven years ago with the Squaxin Island Tribe, but the project was placed on hold as the tribe worked on other projects. Finally, three years ago, Bates was given the call that the project was ready to roll again.

“The tribe was dedicated to getting this project done and making it a first-class facility,” said Bates, who also designed Circling Raven Golf Club. “They called me three years ago and I came back to help them get it done. I think I spent 2 1/2 years on the property.”

The course is located about 20 minutes from Olympia and 70 minutes from Seattle. For information call 360.462.3673.