Category Archives: Arizona Golf Blog

Calling All Writers!!!

Local-Golfer green GDO YOU LIKE TO GOLF?  DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE? Are you a writer?


Do you travel to golf courses in a particular region of where you live?  Are you retired and travel around the country hitting golf courses as you go?  Are you already a regular reviewer to’s website and you’d like to provide more in-depth content for our members?  We may have a perfect opportunity for you! is looking for self-motivated golfers, across the country, who would like to write feature articles about resorts and courses they visit. 

You don’t need to be an award winning writer, or golfer, to do it.  We offer editorial support for your writing.  Sorry, we can’t help you with your game. =)

 Articles will be posted in the Articles section of

If you are interested in being golf writer, please contact Clifford Cowley-West Coast Director of Operations at In your e’mail, please include information about yourself, how much you golf, travel, and any previous writing experience.  

We look forward to working with you!



Spokane Golf and Travel Show Marks Beginning of Northwest Golf Season chooses Best of the Best Products at Spokane Golf and Travel

Yes, the northwest golf season is finally here!  Time to get the clubs out of the garage and knock the mud off the bag from last season’s year ending round you desperately got in before the rain and snow kept you inside and wishing you lived in Arizona.  The Spokane Golf and Travel Show marked Vision Marketing’s 16th year by presenting over 100 exhibitors representing golf retailers, golf manufacturers, and golf travel opportunities for DSCF4943_cropgolf hungry enthusiasts who were ready to get the season under way.

The Show
The annual event drew over 7,000 attendees who eagerly cruised the aisles to sDSCF4947_crophop for deals on the newest golf equipment, gadgets and apparel.  Offerings ran the gamut from golf tees to golf carts. Golf show participants flocked to the Golf Universe’s “Try and Buy Zone” featuring big name brands like Adams Golf, Ping, Cleveland, Mizuno, TaylorMade, Cobra and Callaway.  Another popular feature was the PGA Clearance area where local golf courses offered clubs at blow-out prices.  Visitors also took part in the weekend long Fasteners Long Drive Contest, and were treated to a guest appearance by Troy Teal who holds the title of 13th Longest Driver in the World.  Eastern Washington University Women’s Golf Team and Washington State University attracted a steady flow of patrons, who put their putting skills to the test DSCF4962_cropin the respectiveDSCF4964_crop putting contests.  On Sunday, crowds gathered to cheer on the finalists putting for prizes.

I have to admit, I drooled a little bit over the numerous golf resort and golf course booths offering package deals for the upcoming season. Many had free drawings to win a golf package at their facility.  I put my name in on them just in case the golf gods felt I was due.  Golf Today Northwest magazine offered a guess the number of tees in the bottle contest for a trip to Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.

I visited all the vendor areas and I liked many of the products offered. Two products stood out as’s “Best of the Best.” Like Keith Cook pointed out in his article on the Tinley Park Golf Show near Chicago, LocalGolfer doesn’t have a 15-step criteria process, a group of testers, or anything close.  As golfers just like you, we are always on the lookout for new and/or innovative products that we would put in our own bags.  The two best golf show products, in my opinion, were the Rake Sand and Lob Wedges and the new  Model 8, Clicgear Four Wheeled Cart.

 The Rake Wedge Series
The RakDSCF4974_crope Sand and Lob Wedges manufactured by PNP Golf have a patented Dual Bounce Rail Design and an advanced ON-SET Leading Edge that provides smooth performance from the problem areas we all encounter when we miss the green.  According to the company’s brochure, The RAKE Wedge Rail Bounce Design literally combs through thick or wet grass and sand which results in more acceleration with less effort. And the RAKE On-Set leading Edge enters the hitting area earlier than a standard wedge, creating a more shallow angle of attack for easier  launch and a more accurate, crisp shot.

I was impressed with the look of both the sand and the lob wedges.  The clubs were well balanced, and felt and looked good at address during my practice swings at the PNP booth.  Both the sand and lob wedge are available in stiff, regular and Uni-flex graphite shafts.  The RAKE sand wedge provides 26º entry bounce combined with a 10º sole bounce with 12.5º off-set rails to support an open face from the bunker.  The RAKE lob wedge has 15º entry and 0º sole bounce with square rails to promote a straight path through the hitting area.  All RAKE clubs have an undercut cavity back for extra forgiveness on off-center hits, and they all conform to USGA rules.

Clicgear Cart
The clicgear Model 8.0 golf cart is brand new for 2014.  With a completely new design, the four wheeled Model 8.0 is simply the most advanced four wheel cart in the golf industry.  With the patented 4XFold Technology, it is engineered to fold quickly and easily, while maintaining quality and reliability.  The metal parts are sturdy and the plastic pieces are high quality making it a cart that will last.  The look is sleek and stylish. The Model 8.0 is sure to be a big hit on the links this year.  The next best thing to an electric cart, it has dual front brakes, maintenance free airless tires, umbrella holder and cup holder.  I was impressed with the over sized console where I could store my wallet, keys and cell phone.  Built for convenience, it literally opens and folds in seconds and collapses to a mere 15″ wide, 17″ high, and 27″ long for easy storage in the trunk. It comes in a variety of colors including silver, blue, white, and my favorite, charcoal.

Ready, Set, Golf

The 2014 Pacific Northwest golf season is upon us.  Are you ready? I know I am.  Once again, the Spokane Golf and Travel Show has added a giddy anticipation for ready golf on the spring time fairways and greens.

Editor’s Note:  Have you attended a golf show or expo in your area?  Share a comment in the comments section, or write about your own experience.  We would love to hear from you.  Please submit stories to

Golf tours with tips and tippling

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in

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Golf and wine tours-Charlie-ThurstonCharlie Thurston at Kingsbarns Golf Links in Scotland.

LAYING UP MIGHT BE the smart play on a given hole on a given day at a given golf course.

Playing it safe, however, is not in the business plan for Charlie Thurston’s entrepreneurial golf venture.

Thurston, a 45-year-old PGA professional, recently fell victim to a downsizing at Spokane Country Club, where he’d been working as a teaching pro. Just like that, his job and his comfort zone were gone. But he still had his teaching chops … and time to devote to his dream.

Thus, Pacific Northwest Golf and Wine Tours LLC. It’s far from the only tour company combining wine and golf. It might be the only one that throws golf instruction into the package.

And you, the tourist golfer, get to customize your journey.

“This just feels like something I should be pursuing,” Thurston says. “Win, lose or draw, I’m excited to be doing something innovative.”

You can visit the Website for examples of tours – the courses, the duration, the after-hours wining and dining, the room to lay down your weary head. In short, pick your destination, and Thurston will help you chart your road trip.

Wine tourism is a nice niche if you can carve one out in a crowded marketplace. Golf tourism is in recovery, not yet at full health.

So it might be a tough nut to crack, but Thurston is in his element. He’s a student of the game as much as he is a teacher, he says.  He loves the history of golf and exploring the places where the game took root and flourished.

“Name another game that has 600 years of history,” he says. He might have added, but didn’t, that wine has an infinitely deeper history than golf.

And where there’s golf, there are players yearning to play it better. Thurston’s teaching sessions will include not only swing tips but specific techniques for attacking the course of the day. For instance, he might offer his thoughts on the bump-and-run approach to the fescue greensides of Chambers Bay, or how to play into the wind at Horn Rapids.

If the golf turistas in his group are into a little friendly gambling, he’ll help set up the day’s game. He’ll see to it that the beverage cart does not neglect his people. And, at the end of the round, he’ll get you to the wine-tasting or whatever is next on your itinerary.

While he loves the history of golf and all the places where it lives, he also loves the Pacific Northwest. In his view, the region is underappreciated for its golf and underutilized by tourists.

He’d like to be the guy to shine a light on the Northwest for the rest of the globe. Spokane, for instance, is one of the great regions for affordable golf.  Thurston has a special fondness for Wine Valley Golf Course in Walla Walla and the wine region around it.

The golf boomtown of Bend, Ore., has wineries, to be sure, but is better known for microbreweries and craft distillers. In fact, Thurston has cooked up a promotional offer for Bend featuring tours of the Deschutes Brewery and the Oregon Spirit Distillery, with lodging at Pronghorn Resort and golf at Pronghorn and Brasada Ranch.

Bellingham, Wash., is rich in good and low-cost golf, and head an hour north over the border into British Columbia and new worlds open up.

Portland, well, come on, there’s no better city golf in the world, and the potential for tie-ins to wine, beer and spirits is limitless.

The Coeur d’Alene region of Idaho, with its ravishing scenery, boasts golf that ranges from the iconic (Coeur d’Alene Resort course and its island green) to the sublime (Circling Raven).

And ring in the new: Salish Cliffs, near Shelton, Wash., is Washington’s newest active course and connected to a sprawling resort and casino. Gamble Sands, a new David McLay Kidd design, is due to open this summer near Brewster, Wash.

Which finally brings us ‘round to Bandon Dunes, the one place outliers will mention if they know anything of Northwest golf destinations.

“People don’t know it,” Thurston says, “but there are 20 wineries within reach of Bandon.”