Archive » November 19, 2009
GOLF & TRAVEL
By Ray Navis, Contibuting Writer
The townWalla Walla has done a very nice job of renovating its downtown area similar to what you may have experienced in San Luis Obispo. There are numerous shops and restaurants, which draw visitors from all the smaller towns in the finest wine region of Washington. The Walla Walla Valley enjoys ideal weather conditions to support its premium wines. The region’s history dates back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Later on, Walla Walla grew to prominence during the Gold Rush.
It lays claim to the first commercial bank in the Pacific Northwest and the oldest continuing symphony west of the Mississippi. Walla Walla is located about two hours south of Spokane and just 30 minutes from the Tri-Cities area of south eastern Washington.
The hotelThe Marcus Whitman is Walla Walla’s historic hotel and a very comfortable place to stay, as well. Built in the late ’20s, it has many of the grand architectural qualities of luxury properties built in that period. High ceilings, wood paneling and renaissance furniture can be found in the lobby and in most common areas.
Through the years, The Marcus Whitman has hosted many dignitaries including President Eisenhower; then-vice president Lyndon Johnson; Louis Armstrong; and Shirley Temple. The original touches have been kept as the hotel has been updated to accommodate today’s business and luxury traveler.
The rooms are very comfortable, and to get the best feel of the property, I would try to get a room in the original tower. The Marc is the hotel’s restaurant where guests are treated to a buffet breakfast each morning. Lunch and dinner are also served. The Marcus Whitman is just a few short blocks from many great restaurant choices. Visit MarcusWhitmanHotel.com for more information.
Every once and a while, I run across a new golf course that really stands out from the crowd and such was the case at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla. I have seen many photos of the famous Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska and there seemed to be a resemblance here.
Architect Dan Hixson has carved a links-style masterpiece out of the rolling hills above this wine valley. Large, green fairways unfold with natural bunkering giving way to grassy plains. The course is very fair but does offer penalties for bold but inaccurate play.
Deep bunkers guard doglegs and greens which have a fair amount of undulation. The fairways are generous and allow for multiple entries, ensuring that various flight patterns will work. Wine Valley Golf Club plays firm and fast true to its links design. There were so many great holes, I don’t really know where to start.
Let’s try the fifth hole. This downhill par 4 can tip out at 475 yards, but most will play it just north of 400 yards. A bunker-like wash runs the length of the left side and then crosses in front of the green. The hole plays a bit shorter than the yardage but will require an accurate approach to get close to the pin on this large, undulating green.
Many of the holes here offer dramatic views of the entire region stretching for miles in either direction. John Thorsnes is the man responsible for Wine Valley Golf Club, and he has done a wonderful job. The ambience for this great venue is understated and comfortable, giving the proper emphasis to the golf itself. The entire course, and especially the greens, were in excellent shape — good enough to hold a major event, several of which are coming soon.
The property’s location and soil make for quick drainage ensuring the links like experience year-round. Wine Valley Golf Club also has one of the best practice areas you will ever find. It includes great turf ,a large hitting area and multiple chipping/putting surfaces.For more information visit WineValleyGolfClub.com WallaWalla.org is a great source of information for your visit. The closest commercial airport would be found in Pasco at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Allegiant Airlines has numerous flights in and out. It also flies non-stop from Santa Maria to Las Vegas, if that need arises.