Golf resort

Bet Sands Golf Resort | Herald of the Columbia Basin

BREWER — Gamble Sands Golf Resort is a direct descendant of the golf courses of yesteryear – and a worthwhile 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 designing 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 Chief Golf Professional Brad Dorau said the resort includes the 18-hole, par-72 Sands course as well as the 14-hole Quicksands, all of which are par-3 holes. golfers from across the state.

“We’re a go-to course for a lot of golfers, especially from Seattle,” Dorau said. “As a golfer, that’s the real deal.”

There are fees to play the Sands Course and Quicksands, but it is a public course, open to all golfers.

Link design dates back to the early days of the sport of golf, when people laying golf courses had limited options when it came to moving dirt or moving trees. Traditionally, a link course was laid out near the beach, on land already suitable for golf and in an environment that was essentially devoid of trees. Deserts also lack forests, and Kidd took advantage of this fact in his design.

“You use the land you have,” Benitz said.

The Sands course is designed to work with its surroundings – prevailing winds, natural slopes, sagebrush and rabbit brush.

“It’s supposed to be open to the elements,” Bonitz said. “It’s a very minimalist design.”

“We happen to be a links-style course that’s not near an ocean,” Dorau said.

And golfers might be distracted by the view, which overlooks the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan rivers.

“You give golfers the best views,” Benitz said.

Both the Sands course and the Quicksands are planted with fescue, a traditional link course, he said. And as part of staying true to its roots, it’s pretty easy to get around. Pioneer golfers, after all, did not have access to golf carts.

“It’s supposed to be walkable,” Benitz said.

The Quicksands, being all par-3 holes, are faster for most golfers to play, Dorau said.

“It’s great for kids,” he says.

Benitz said the Quicksands show a hallmark of a Kidd-designed course, which is that he wants golfers to have fun. Neither the Sands course nor the Quicksands will make a golfer consider giving up the game.

“We are considered to be on the friendlier side of the game,” Dorau said.

The Sands course features wide fairways, large greens and slopes that roll towards the hole rather than away from it.

“The average player will have a lot more good rebounds than bad ones here,” Dorau said.

The resort also has an 18-hole course, the Cascade Putting Green, which golfers can play for free, Benitz said.

Gamble Sands has a 37-room hotel, but there is no residential or commercial development around the course. Benitz said he thinks that’s part of the appeal of the course.

“It’s almost like playing golf in a national park,” he says.

Many Gamble Sands golfers come from the Puget Sound area, Dorau said, come to play the course and stay a night or two. Benitz said many golfers who come to Gamble Sands visit the courses in north central Washington.

There is usually a restaurant where there is 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 the Quad City orchards are featured in season and apples are featured in desserts. Some of the meat served comes from Gebbers Cattle, owned by the resort owners.

“We use a local menu when we can,” Benitz said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached at