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  • Writer's pictureDavid Chambers


Seattle City Skyline
Seattle City Skyline

Known for its idyllic fusion of urban and rural, Seattle is a place where art meets nature, where a foodie’s fantasies come true, and Washington wines offer perfect pairings. Spectacular water views show off the city’s skyline with its iconic Space Needle jutting skyward. Cast your gaze to the west for a breathtaking vista of sparkling Puget Sound with the magnificent backdrop of the Olympic Mountains, and south for the majestic Mt. Rainier.

Seattle is a culturally rich metropolis, vibrant, sophisticated, yet authentic, with world-class galleries, restaurants, markets, theatres and museums. Just like the city’s celebrated coffee, it’s a perfect blend of contemporary and historic, grand and intimate, quiet and active.

And speaking of active, the locals get outside every chance they get.

For decades, they’ve been passionate golf aficionados and never more so than now, having welcomed an international championship into their midst.

As the global spotlight shone brightly on the area with the recent 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay—the first time in history the prestigious championship has been played in the Pacific Northwest—golfers from near and far are teeing it up. Players are trekking to the region to try their swing on this dramatic links course with its windswept dunes, massive, undulating greens and expansive tee areas. And now with the tournament over, this stunning course is open for public play so you can retrace the footsteps of the leader board’s stars.

Chambers Bay is calling your name.

Golf traditionalists will appreciate the almost mystical experience of playing a true links course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, walking-only course that’s continuously turfed so cart paths don’t intrude upon the natural beauty of the track. When tackling the fescue-grass fairways cradled by rolling dunes and sweeping water views, carry your own bag, use a pull cart, or do as the pros do, and hire a caddy. These knowledgeable individuals can offer insider tips and advice, helping you get the most out of your round with yardage information, club selection and intel on each hole.

Robert Trent Jones II was asked to design a world-class course for golfers of any skill level, yet capable of hosting international championships. With a nod to classic links courses, he designed Chambers Bay to encourage imaginative, creative shot making. There’s no “line of play”, but rather infinite possibilities from tee to green to get around the course. With stellar views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, this authentic links experience, with a Northwest flair, provides a visual feast from hole to hole.

Chambers Bay was named the #1 Municipal Course in the U.S. by Links magazine; the #1 Public Course in Washington State by Golf Digest magazine; and is #8 in the Top 100 You Can Play courses by Golf magazine.

Celebrate the end of your round at the Chambers Bay Grill, known for its excellent food and panoramic vistas, then head to the Hotel Murano in the heart of downtown Tacoma.

This boutique hotel offers a unique experience through glass art, comfort, luxury and style, all with exceptional service. Tacoma is at the epicenter of the American glass art movement and, honoring that heritage, the Hotel Murano pairs luxe guestrooms and public spaces with a museum-worthy collection of glass art from around the world.

Executive Chef Matt Stickle is a culinary artist, passionate about sourcing the best local ingredients and crafting drool-worthy Pacific Northwest dishes, all in a room filled with art—both on the walls and on the plate. Restaurant BITE serves cocktails, nibbles, noshes and feasts.

This is a perfect place to wake up inspired to play your next round of golf.

Gold Mountain Golf Club
Gold Mountain Golf Club

Anxious to get back in the swing of things, you’ll be enamoured with Gold Mountain Golf Club’s Olympic Course. Dramatically sculpted into Pacific Northwest splendour, this course has garnered impressive awards, taking its place as one of America’s finest municipally-owned golf courses. Designed by John Harbottle III, the course plays to a 7,035-yard par 72—a true gem that cannot be missed by anyone playing in the region.

Fairways feature towering stands of Douglas fir and cedar, notable elevation changes and a handful of water hazards. Since the course was cut through the thick, moss-laden forest, players will appreciate the generous corridors, but beware, sticking the greens is tougher than you might think. The final four holes bring water into play giving you beauty and challenge with each stroke. The 18th is unique with a drivable par four offering an excellent way to finish.

Back to Tacoma for another restful night’s sleep at the Hotel Murano, but before your head hits the pillow, dine at the trendy Aviateur or the classic Pacific Grill, both a few short blocks away. If you’ve returned early enough, visit the famed Museum of Glass with its indoor and outdoor glass-art exhibits.

Ready to hit it long and straight the next day, head to the Golf Club at Newcastle featuring 36 holes of championship golf with massive, panoramic views of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and Seattle’s picturesque skyline.

Coal Creek and China Creek are both championship courses spanning 350 mountaintop acres and designed by Robert E. Cupp, in consultation with Masters Champion and native son Fred Couples.

Newcastle National Golf Club
Newcastle National Golf Club

The signature Coal Creek course offers jaw-dropping vistas combined with characteristics of the game’s most legendary courses, giving you one of the tougher challenges in Washington State. The layout features well-bunkered landing areas, rolling fairways, undulating, well-conditioned greens, and elevation changes requiring proper club selection. The opening hole at 621 feet is nothing short of captivating. As you move from tee box to tee box, you’ll want to take a moment to soak in the natural beauty of the course as you realize the aesthetic framing of each hole. And while you’re finishing the 18th, the majestic 44,000-square-foot clubhouse beckons.

After replaying your round over refreshments at Newcastle’s Wooly Toad, head to your home-away-from-home at the incomparable, stately Alexis Hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle.

The property epitomises urban cool, as stylish and contemporary as the city it resides in. It’s filled with works from some of the city’s best-known artists, capturing your attention as you move through its lovely spaces.

Rooms are individually designed with period touches so each guest will enjoy elegant décor and chic living, yet with enough technology to keep you in touch. It’s an easy four-minute walk to the Seattle Art Museum and the city’s waterfront. Or use one of the bicycles loaned to guests so you can get out and explore, finding your own secret spot in Seattle.

Tuck in for a meal at the hotel’s renowned Bookstore Bar & Café and prepare to be wined, dined and wowed. Executive Chef Caprial Pence was the first winner of the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest and her culinary creativity fuses flavors of Latin America and Asia with the freshest local ingredients to delight all your senses. In the brick-walled bar with shelves lined with books and bottles, you’ll discover one of the largest selections of Scotch and Whiskey around.

Tee it up at Washington National Golf Club, one of the area’s best kept secrets. Considered a premier golf course in the Northwest, it’s also the proud home to the University of Washington’s men’s and women’s golf teams. Designed by award-winning architect John Fought, this 18-hole gem of a course features rugged transitional areas dotted with lush, emerald fairways. Spectacular white-sand bunkers are cradled by impeccably maintained greens.

Washington national Golf Club
Washington national Golf Club

The layout increases in challenge and splendour, culminating in a phenomenal stretch of golf over the final holes. Wide fairways surrounded by evergreens lure golfers into a false sense of security. Strategically placed hazards dare even the most adept shot makers. With options ranging from 5,100 to 7,300 yards, Washington National is a demanding test for players of all abilities.

Before you leave Seattle, there are a few “must see” sites to visit.

Soar to the sky for a meal at SkyCity in the Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, this 605-foot-tall beacon is an international icon for Seattle. Marvel at the 360-degree view of the cityscape, Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and glimmering Puget Sound.

At the base of the Space Needle, world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly showcases both his new creations and popular exhibits at the famed Chihuly Garden and Glass. Inside the Glass House, you’ll find a 25-foot wide, 40-foot tall work of art made up of 1,400 flower-like sculptures that sparkle in the Seattle sunlight.

Nearby, visit Paul Allen’s EMP Museum, a tribute to music history, science fiction and pop culture. You’ll be amazed by the curved architecture of the Frank Gehry-designed building.

Watch the flying fish at the Pike Place Market, created 108 years ago to cut out the middleman between farms and consumers.

Top off your visit with a spin on The Great Wheel with stellar views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains.

Still craving more of Seattle, but you’ve run out of time? No worries. There’s even more to see and stunning golf courses yet to play, so return often.

#seattle #golftravel #chambersbay #washingtonnationalgolfclub #goldmountaingolfclub #goldmountaingolfclub #golffocus

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