Gamble Sands Golf Resort
The course at the Gamble Sands resort overlooks the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan rivers. A round of golf does have a cost at the resort, but the links are open to the general public.
COURTESY PHOTO/GAMBLE SANDS
The third hole at the Gamble Sands golf resort gives a panoramic view of Brewster-area orchard country.
The Inn at Gamble Sands (left) overlooks the putting greens at the resort near Brewster. The resort offers visitors the opportunity to play a traditional links-style course in addition to features like the putting green and a pro shop.
Staff Writer | June 27, 2022 1:20 AM
BREWSTER — Gamble Sands Golf Resort is a direct descendant of golf courses of old - and a worth-the-trip destination for Columbia Basin golf enthusiasts.
“It’s a true links-style design,” said Brian Benitz, director of sales and marketing for Gamble Sands. “It’s a throwback to the original design of golf courses.”
The course is located at 200 Sands Trail Road near Brewster. It was designed by golf architect David McLay Kidd, also known for his design of the first course at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon.
“(Kidd) is a genius. Everything he does is good,” Benitz said.
Gamble Sands head golf professional Brad Dorau said the resort features the 18-hole, par 72 Sands Course, as well as the 14-hole Quicksands, which is all par 3 holes. The Sands course attracts golfers from throughout the state.
“We are a bucket list course for a lot of golfers, especially from Seattle,” Dorau said. “As a golfer, this is the real deal.”
There’s a fee to play the Sands Course and the Quicksands, but it’s a public course, open to any golfer.
The links design dates back to the beginning of the sport of golf, at a time when people establishing golf courses had limited options when it came to moving earth or moving trees. Traditionally a links course was set up near the beach, on land that was already good for golf and a mostly tree-free environment. Deserts also are lacking in forests, and Kidd took advantage of that fact in his design.
“You use the land that you have,” Benitz said.
The Sands course is designed to work with its surroundings - the prevailing winds, the natural slopes, the sagebrush and rabbit brush.
“It’s meant to be open to the elements,” Bonitz said. “It’s very minimalist in design.”
“We just happen to be a links-style course that is not near an ocean,” Dorau said.
And golfers might get distracted by the view, which looks out over the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan rivers.
“You give the best views to the golfers,” Benitz said.
Both the Sands Course and the Quicksands are planted with fescue grass, traditional to links courses, he said. And as part of staying true to its roots, it’s pretty easy to get around. Pioneer golfers, after all, didn’t have access to golf carts.
“It’s meant to be walkable,” Benitz said.
The Quicksands, being all par 3 holes, is quicker for most golfers to play, Dorau said.
“It’s great for kids,” he said.
Benitz said the Quicksands shows off a characteristic of a Kidd-designed course, which is that he wants golfers to have fun. Neither the Sands Course nor the Quicksands will cause a golfer to consider giving up the game.
“We’re considered on the more player-friendly side,” Dorau said.
The Sands course features wide fairways, big greens, and slopes that roll toward the hole rather than away from it.
“The average player will have a lot more good bounces than bad here,” Dorau said.
The resort also features an 18-hole putting course, the Cascade Putting Green, which golfers can play free of charge, Benitz said.
Gamble Sands has a 37-room hotel, but there’s no residential or business development around the course. Benitz said he thinks that’s part of the course’s appeal.
“It’s almost like playing golf in a national park,” he said.
Many golfers at Gamble Sands come from the Puget Sound area, Dorau said, come to play the course and stay for a night or two. Benitz said a lot of golfers who come to Gamble Sands are touring the courses in North-Central Washington.
There's usually a restaurant where there’s a hotel, and Gamble Sands has the Danny Boy Bar and Grill.
The Quad City area is apple, wheat and cattle country, and the menu reflects that.Cherries from Quad City orchards are featured in season, and apples are featured in the desserts. Some of the meat served comes from Gebbers Cattle, owned by the resort’s owners.
“We use a locally sourced menu when we can,” Benitz said.
Cheryl Schweizer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.