It’s the dawn of a new year, and Northwest Golf both on TOUR and on the public level have gained a lot of steam. Professionals like Ryan Moore, Kyle Stanley, Michael Putnam, Andres Gonzales and Ben Crane are carrying the flag in the elite ranks and the Northwest is seemingly immune from the national golf slowdown plaguing other areas of the country. So here are 3 bold predictions for the new year in golf, Northwest Style.
Northwest Golfers will Win 3 PGA Tour Events:
With the wealth of talent on TOUR, it’s somewhat of a surprise that the guys haven’t been able to overlap success much in the past few seasons. Ryan Moore and Kyle Stanley technically won in the same year in 2012, but over 10 months apart. Michael Putnam is coming off the best year of his career, but it was on the Web.com Tour. This year I think Ryan Moore (with one victory in hand at the CIMB Classic) wins one more time and Kyle Stanley or Michael Putnam win at least once. With Andres Gonzalez showing flashes at Cordevalle and Ben Crane still grinding it out (having won in 2011), 5 wins does not seem out of the realm of possibility.
Gamble Sands is a massive success:
Gamble Sands, the new David McLay Kidd project in Brewster, WA has flown under the radar for the 4+ years it’s been in the works. Now complete and filling in, it is expected to open early in the summer of 2014. This masterpiece is perched high on the bluffs on the East of Brewster, just north of Bridgeport and the Chief Joseph Dam. It’s got fantastic natural contours without being a tough walk, the holes flow together beautifully, the colonial bentgrass (which is closer to a fescue than a traditional creeping bent) makes it a firm and fast high desert links. Amazing holes, such as Kidd’s take on the Redan (of North Berthwick and NGLA fame) is beautifully imagined and with putting surfaces big enough to land a 737, I think it’s more authentic to it’s British brethren even, than one Chambers Bay. A trip up to the Okanogan Territory is a must this Summer, and I predict Gamble Sands to be named the #1 course in the state in the next set of rankings.
Pacific Gales loses out:
With an amazing piece of land, a solid plan and the support of the Port Orford community, the proposed Pacific Gales project on the Southern Oregon Coast seems like a sure bet…and I think it still will be. But with Mike Keiser’s new “Bandon Muni” project getting Gil Hanse on board and with other up and coming names being kicked around for the second 18, I just don’t know that Pacific Gales is timing this project right. More world-class golf is never a bad thing, but staggering projects to allow for the greatest exposure and regional impact seems prudent to this golfer. That said, I hope Dave Esler proves me horribly wrong. While I’ve never played a design of his, he is spoken of well in the design world and I’m excited to see what he can come up with on the supposed “Best piece of golf landscape in North America”.