Tribe-owned golf courses in the Pacific Northwest

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Updated: August 3, 2021

From Oregon to Washington to Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Native American Indian Tribes have found out there are complementing business opportunities to their casinos. Sure, the casino is their core business, and the hotels augment that investment. But many are finding out that owning a golf course can be an asset.

All three Pacific Northwest states now have tribal owned golf courses. And many of these courses are ranked among the best in the Northwest.

Most tribes have bought existing golf courses that they could renew and enhance, while others have developed their own course from the ground up, like the Squaxin Island Tribe with Salish Cliffs in Shelton, Wash. and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Idaho with its Circling Raven Golf Club. Both of those golf courses are ranked among the best in the Pacific Northwest.

The state of Washington has the most Indian Tribe-owned courses with eight, Oregon has four and Idaho has one. 

Most recently, the Chehalis Indian Tribe bought the Oaksridge Golf Course in Elma, Wash.

Washington tribe-owned golf courses

The last few years have been busy ones for Washington Native Tribes: Most recently the Chehalis Indian Tribe bought the Oaksridge Golf Course in Elma, Wash. Prior to that the Kalispel Indian Tribe bought The Spokane Club and changed the name to the Kalispel Golf Club and opened it up to the public. Another recent purchase was Loomis Trails in Ferndale that was bought by the Lummi Nation Indian Tribe in 2018. 

• The Jamestown Skallam Tribe bought Dungeness Golf Club and changed the name to The Cedars at Dungeness and made significant improvements to the entrance and the grounds around the clubhouse. They did a major remodel of the clubhouse, adding a new restaurant and updating the entire building. The course has been manicured to resort standards as part of their master plan.   A new 100-room casino hotel opened in 2020 at the 7Cedars Casino for stay and play options. They also took over the management of Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles.

• The Swinomish Indian Tribe bought Smilk Golf Course in Anacortes and changed the name to Swinomish Golf Links and they managed to hire a top-notch superintendent in Matt Atterberry who was previously at Suncadia. The resort comes complete with a hotel, casino and an RV park overlooking the water.

White Horse Golf Club – Kingston, WA

• White Horse Golf Club is owned by the Suquamish Indian Tribe who operate the Clearwater Casino Resort located between Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island. The course was recognized by Golf Digest as one of the top 10 new public golf courses in 2010. Once considered one of the most difficult courses in the Northwest, it was softened in some of the more difficult areas making it playable by all skill levels. Don’t be fooled, it still has teeth and is a bear depending on which tee you choose to play from.  The Clearwater Casino also has RV parking with 60 back-in and pull-through spots.

• Loomis Trail in Ferndale was bought by the Lummi Nation Tribe in October of 2018. While the course has always been in great condition, no changes are expected. The clubhouse grill has been remodeled to create a sports bar feel.  Being affiliated with the Silver Reef Casino provides several stay and play options for guests. There are also 15 rooms at the golf course that are available. There is a shuttle between the course and the casino. The Silver Reef Casino has 10 dining options from The Steak House to The Cantina Bar. With over 1,000 slot machines and all of the favorite table games, plus nightly entertainment, it makes a perfect outing.

• Salish Cliffs Golf Club is owned by the Squaxin Island Tribe and located in Shelton. The best description for the golf course is stunning. It is world-class golf that plays to 7,269 yards from the tips or as short as 5,313 yards from the forward tees – 5 sets of tees to choose from. Bentgrass fairways and greens and total privacy on 16 of the 18 holes that are encircled in lush forestry. Carts are required as the course covers over 300 acres with several long distances between holes and frequent elevation changes. Walking and push carts are not permitted. The cedar log clubhouse has a full service restaurant.  The adjacent Little Creek Casino Resort is a perfect get away with spacious rooms, the Seven Inlets Spa, an RV Park and several dining options and all the games you could desire.

• The Puyallup Tribe of Indians also got into the golf business by buying North Shore Golf Course in Tacoma. It is the perfect amenity to go with its brand new casino that just opened along Interstate-5 and its other casino and a hotel in Fife. There is a second hotel being built next to the new casino as part of the Emerald Queen property. A new pro shop and practice area have given North Shore a new fresh look. In addition to a challenging and well-kept golf course, North Shore boasts a covered and open real grass driving range facility, a chipping green and two putting greens.

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• Oaksridge Golf Course was bought by the Chehalis Indian Tribe in 2019 – a family-friendly public golf course in Elma. The golf course gives the tribe a new amenity to go along with its Lucky Eagle Casino in nearby Rochester.

Oregon tribe-owned courses

Here is a look at tribal-owned golf courses and resorts in the state of Oregon. There are a handful that offer both golf and resort amenities, including casinos and hotels to complete your stays.

• Ocean Dunes Golf Links is located in Florence, Oregon, situated in a stretch of dunes that covers about 40 miles of Oregon coastline, making it one of the most unique golfing experiences in the Northwest.

A true links course with fairways that wander over, around, and through dunes bordered by gorse, heather, shore pins and sea grasses. Narrow fairways and smallish greens will challenge every golfer’s game. 

If you are planning a trip down the Oregon Coast, this course should be on your must-play list. As with any true links, the course is extremely well drained and playable – even under the wettest conditions – year round. The mild coastal climate in Florence is not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter. 

Ocean Dunes is owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians who also own the Three Rivers Casino Resort. The casino is located at the south end of the golf course and has 90 oversized deluxe rooms and suites to choose from. With 5 restaurants, daily entertainment and countless amenities, guests will want to check out their stay and play packages on their website. 

•  Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton has a new clubhouse and pro shop at the golf course. The new clubhouse includes a large banquet room, a bar and a covered patio for guests to enjoy. 

The clubhouse also features a conference room for small meetings and intimate events. A larger room is available for staff or officials to gather and compile scores for tournaments. Golfers can analyze their swing and improve their swings in the simulator room that uses the Trackman launch monitor to map a golfer’s swing. The outdoor pavilion has been moved east of the clubhouse and provides a large shaded area for events and tournament meals.

The Wildhorse Casino Resort has one of the biggest and best RV parks with all of the services you would expect in an up-scale facility, even a shuttle to the casino. The casino has a 10-story hotel where guests have free access to the fitness center and business center, or relax in the indoor pool, sauna and hot tub. There is also five-screen Cineplex in the casino. 

The tribe just purchased the Pendleton Country Club, which is now called the Golf Course at Birch Creek and open to the public.

• Chinook Winds in Lincoln City used to be called Lakeside GC and was bought by the Confederated tribes of Siletz Indians. The 18-hole course plays to 4,547 yards. The course includes a pro shop, the only indoor driving range on the Oregon Coast, fitness center, Aces Sports Bar & Grill and meeting rooms. The resort offers 243 rooms including 160 oceanfront rooms; 61 of them fireplace suites.