RIDGEFIELD -- Columbia River junior golfer Sam Walker might have a solution to one of the only drawbacks about Southwest Washington hosting the Class 4A and 3A state tournaments in the spring.
"Maybe we can convince our coach to let us stay in a hotel anyway," Walker said.
For Southwest Washington big-school golfers, there will be no need for long road trips. Camas Meadows, Club Green Meadows, Tri-Mountain, and Lewis River golf courses will be the desired destinations in May for Class 4A and 3A boys and girls golfers.
The boys interviewed Tuesday at the Jeff Hudson Invitational at Tri-Mountain said they will gladly trade the road-trip excursion for the chance to play so close to home.
"It's definitely going to be a huge advantage to have it here," said Mountain View's Taylor Smith, who finished fourth at the Class 3A state tournament in Spokane last spring. "It's going to be sweet."
The Class 3A boys will play state at Tri-Mountain in Ridgefield.
"I get to play here a lot," added Walker, who also made it to 3A state last year. "It will be nice knowing the course. It will be a lot easier to get more practice rounds in versus Spokane."
Any Union golfer who advances to state will play on his home course. The 4A boys will be contested at Camas Meadows.
"Instead of the trip up there and getting a hotel, you get to stay in your own bed," Union's Ian Spicer said.
In previous years, with state locations so far away, Southwest Washington golfers barely got a look at the championship course before competition.
"You get to see a course twice, if you're lucky," Spicer said.
Fort Vancouver's Boon Kusolsomboon, who finished 36th at the 3A state tournament, expects more friendly faces in the crowd. No one in his family traveled to Spokane last
school year. If he makes state this school year, he said his family will be there.
Lete Meyer, Heritage's athletic director, will be running the 4A state tournaments. The 4A girls will play at Club Green Meadows.
Dana Selby, Columbia River's athletic director, will be heading up the 3A tourneys. The 3A girls will be at Lewis River in Woodland.
Both are former coaches and longtime members of the local golfing scene.
"It's wonderful," Meyer said. "What an opportunity to show our courses off, and the local community can come and watch their kids. It hasn't happened very often."
In fact, the last time state golf tournaments were in Clark County was 1998, when the 4A boys played at The Cedars in Brush Prairie and the 4A girls played at Tri-Mountain.
While there are advantages for the local golf crowd, organizers also believe the rest of the state's top golfers will enjoy their stay.
"I don't think people realize what nice courses we have here and what a great area we have to host," Selby said. "They're getting to come down here to God's country."
As far as the weather goes at the end of May, well, that's unpredictable anywhere in Washington.
"I guarantee we'll be used to whatever weather we have," Selby said.
Organizers and boys golfers from Southwest Washington have plenty of time to prepare for state. The girls hold their regular season in the spring, just prior to state.
So far, all involved like the idea of a state championship in their own backyard.
Well, except for missing out on the road trip.
"Staying at home and going to state will be kind of weird," Walker said. "But state is state."