Salish Cliffs open for business

Updated: October 3, 2011

The highly anticipated unveiling of the brand new Salish Cliffs Golf Club – the latest amenity of the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek Casino Resort – came last month when the course opened for public play along Highway 101.

Located within a short drive from Olympia and Seattle, Salish Cliffs Golf Club ( is a par-72, 7,269-yard championship layout providing an intimate setting with 16 of 18 holes encircled by lush forestry.

Salish Cliffs was created by renowned golf-course architect Gene Bates and rolls through natural vegetation and rock facings. 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 also plans to include 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.

Elevation changes are also what make the course unique. Over 600 feet of elevation changes provide plenty of dramatic shots along the way.

The grand opening weekend featured Northwest native and PGA Tour superstar Fred Couples on hand to show off the work that he and architect partner Gene Bates created through the woods for the Squaxin Island Indian Tribe. Couples played in a Grand Opening event, and was stationed on one hole, allowing all the players in the tournament to meet the PGA Tour star.

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.”

For information call 360.462.3673.