The Little Creek Casino Resort near Shelton is a little over an hour’s drive southwest of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. This log and cedar-shake lodge is owned and operated by the Squaxin Island Tribe. They are part of the Coastal Salish Peoples, who live in the Puget Sound of Washington State and the Georgia Basin area of British Columbia. The Salish tribe is named for “People of the Water” and I soon discovered their connection with the land. Their Salish Cliffs Golf Club is the world’s first “salmon-safe” golf course according to www.salmonsafe.org. This organization inspires a golf course design and management to respect the protection of urban water quality and the preservation of imperilled West Coast salmon.
Superintendent Bob Pearsall was hired while the course was being built and played a major role in helping the course earn the Salmon Safe Certification. He told me: “It was important to the Tribe to protect watersheds and enhance the fish and wildlife habitat. The first step to achieving this was the design of the golf course by Gene Bates. His design laid the foundation for protecting the watersheds and with our cutting edge approach to reduce and/or eliminated pesticides – it’s a win-win.”
Opened in 2011, this par 72 layout plays 7,269 yards from the championship tees and offers unique rock facings, elevation changes of 600 feet and stunning 360-degree views of the Kamilche Valley and the Skookum Creek. This is a mountain-style parkland course has wide fairways that are well treed. The rough is very short but the rye grass fescue is tall and tough to find golf balls unless you step on them. The bent grass greens are in mint condition but what is unique is holes #9 and #18 share an expansive 15,000 square-foot double green with a sparkling lake and wetland preserve to separate the holes.
This course is open all year round. Stay and Play Packages start at $199USD for two golfers in the same room. They also offer a $10 replay rate or a $10 certificate that you can use in their casino.