By Bob Spiwak
The rains have finally arrived, the trees are losing their leaves and soon wintry weather will be upon us. We heard there was a bit of snow at Harts Pass early last week, but none currently.
If you have a dog, my wife came up with an idea, maybe not original, as to how to provide indoor entertainment, especially on a tile or wood floor. Get the dog a bone, the fat kind, hollow in the middle, and stuff a piece of hot dog into the hole. Watch the fun.
Not fun was the only hunter-homeowner incident we know of last week. A friend told of seeing a car go up his lane and watched the driver stop the car, roll down his window, bring up a rifle and shoot a close-by deer from his car. Our friend chased the car down the lane. The driver saw him and left the scene rapidly, leaving the deer where it fell.
For real fun, take the kids to the Mazama Store on Halloween (Oct. 31) by 4:45 p.m., where they will go en-masse trick-or-treating their way around the neighborhoods. On their return there will be pumpkin donuts, caramel apples, cider and other treats at the store. There are tentative plans to have a bonfire on the patio. This is always a fun evening and, possibly consistent with past Halloweens, it may even be raining. Is that fun or what?
When the word got out that there was an upscale golf course being built in Brewster, the attitude of almost every golfer was laughter — upscale or not, who’s going to drive to Brewster of all places, to play golf? This was a few years ago. Nothing was heard about it for a time, and then the word got out that work had ceased because of the 2008 recession. Then in 2013, more information emerged that another course was being built outside of Brewster in the hills across from the Fort Okanogan museum. Rumors spread that greens fees would be very high. The naysayers observed that they would never get any locals to play especially when it cost $50 just for a cart rental, and greens fees over $100.
Last September, the Northwest Golf Media Association was invited to take a look and play some golf at the new course, which is owned by the Gebbers family. Media representatives got to play two rounds on the house, and were impressed with the links, even though the course wasn’t finished. “Links” literally refers to the treeless venues of the British Isles, like legendary Saint Andrews in Scotland. The Brewster course is named Gamble Sands and designed by world-renowned architect David McClee Kidd. It has one tree, deep in a gully.
Gamble Sands opened for play on Aug. 2, after a national golf media outing the day before. It was a full house both days. The service was equal to that at top resorts. The writers’ reviews were very positive. There are reduced rates for anyone living in Okanogan County. There is not a house visible from the course.
Several valley residents have played it. Bob Cram visited from Seattle and said, “I’ve got to play that course before I am gone.” He is 88 years young.
Larry McWhirter is another local who has plied the course and incidentally, is Bear Creek’s club champion golfer this year.
Last week, Golf Digest, the top-selling magazine of the sport, had a two-page spread in a feature that crowned Gamble Sands as the magazine’s choice for “best new course in the nation for 2014.” That alone will bring customers.
As to the course that was shut down during the recession, work will reportedly begin again next spring. Three holes have been completed. Called Gamble Cliffs, the plans are for a place with terrain opposite of Gamble Sands, along with a hotel and condos plus other resort features. The architect is Perry Dye, son of Pete Dye, the designer who introduced the floating green.
Owner Cass Gebbers sees these projects as being an economic boon for North Central Washington, especially places like the Methow. He used to team-rope in Mazama with Carlton’s Barbara Judd and knows the country.
Midge Cross offers this note: “Could you include in your column this week great thanks to Jerry Laverty, Libby Hillis, Alan Fahnestock and Karan Godman for washing and putting up the storm windows at the Mazama Community Club? It’s quite a chore. Thanks!”