Sun Lakes Resort/Vic Meyers Golf Course

Updated: June 30, 2011

By Brad Faller, PGA
Special to Inside Golf Newspaper
As Steve Johanson sits on the front patio of the Vic Meyers Golf Course at Sun Lakes Resort, overlooking the lakes below and dramatic sunbathed rimrock as far as the eye can see, he is reminded of what the Central Washington golf course means to him. As Head Superintendent of the 9-hole track in one of the hottest, more desolate areas of Washington State, Johanson is quite candid about this milestone in his career. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else than here, this is my dream job.”

Vic Meyers Golf Course and Sun Lakes Resort were built in 1949, all thanks due to one Vic Meyers himself, former Lieutenant Governor of Washington State. Vic’s vision was to turn this chain-link string of lakes 40 miles north of Moses Lake into the “Palm Springs of the Northwest.” After some serious lobbying on Vic’s part, the 4,000 acre resort was a reality with a 9-hole golf course included. The Sun Lakes Resort is now one of the state’s most popular parks. As for the course itself, its success remained minimized through most of its history and was largely considered an afterthought to park visitors, even for those that frequented the resort for years. The past few years have proved quite the contrary for Vic Meyers, and the reality is something vastly different from the past critical perspectives: a golf operation so simple, but a resulting product so perfect.

The current state of “The Vic,” as it is often called, is owed to Johanson and the earlier works of his brother John, now Head Superintendent of Moses Lake Country Club. Since taking the lead in 2007, Steve has further aided in the transformation of a golf course that was simply, as mentioned, an afterthought. A native of the area and employee of the resort since 1981, he never really understood the golf course’s potential. Even with the improvements made by his brother in the 90s, he was still unsure of what lay ahead.

Despite the funding limitations–an excepted challenge experienced by most golf courses in the current economy–Steve has operated his masterpiece of a golf course on several simple philosophies. Challenging for its undulating greens and tightly cut, sagebrush-lined fairways, Steve has added a new green on the third hole, with new tees being added each year for a different look from front to back nines. His workforce has also chosen to subscribe to the ways of his work. With his wife Donna in the clubhouse, along with Dale Major and Robbie Anderson assisting him with course maintenance, Steve uses every bit of his resources to get by.

As Steve watches another group of smiling golfers head to the first tee, he remains fully convinced of the simplicity and, yes, perfection of the Vic Meyers formula. Largely “recession proof” as a stunning destination for Washingtonians, but a real value at the very least. “This is some of the most affordable golf in the country, and it’s good golf with a million dollar view,” says Steve.