Secret is out about area’s golf courses

Links described as challenging, engaging

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Golf in Southwest Washington

Public courses

Beacon Rock, North Bonneville, 509-427-5730, http://beaconrockgolf.com, Milepost 37 on state Highway 14.

Camas Meadows, Camas, 360-833-2000, http://camasmeadows.com, 4105 N.W. Camas Meadows Drive.

Carson Hot Springs, Carson, 509-427-0127, http://carsonhotspringsresort.com, 1 Saint Martin Road.

Fairway Village, Vancouver, 360-254-9325, http://ourfairwayvillage.org, 15509 S.E. Fernwood Drive.

Green Mountain, Vancouver, 360-833-8463, http://golfgreenmountain.com, 2817 N.E. Ingle Road.

Husum Hills, Husum, 509-493-1211, 820 Highway 14.

Lewis River, Woodland, 360-225-8254, http://lewisrivergolf.com, 3209 Lewis River Road.

Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, 509-427-2541, http://skamania.com, 1131 Skamania Lodge Way.

The Cedars on Salmon Creek, Brush Prairie, 360-687-4233, http://golfcedars.com, 15001 N.E. 181st St.

Tri-Mountain, Ridgefield, 360-887-3004, http://trimountaingolf.com, 170 N.E. 199th St.

Private courses

Club Green Meadows, Vancouver, 360-256-1510, http://clubgreenmeadows.com, 7703 N.E. 72nd Ave.

Orchard Hills Country Club, Washougal, 360-835-5889, http://ohgcc.com, 605 39th St.

Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver, 360-256-1350, http://royaloaks.net, 8917 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

Par-3 golf courses

Hartwood Golf Course, Brush Prairie, 360-896-6041, 12506 N.E. 152nd Ave.

Lakeview Par-3 Golf Challenge, Vancouver, 360-693-9116, 2425 N.W. 69th St.

Pine Crest Golf Course, Vancouver, 360-573-2051, http://www.pinecrestgc.net, 2415 N.W. 143rd St.

For years, golfers in Southwest Washington have bragged about being able to play on some of the best kept secrets in Washington. Yes, they say, the quality of the courses in the region is that good.

It might not be such a big secret anymore.

Southwest Washington golf will get quite a boost in publicity in 2013 and 2014 after the state’s governing body of high school athletics, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, awarded the region with four state championship tournaments.

“I think it’s great for our kids and for our community,” said Leta Meyer, the athletic director at Heritage High School as well as a member of the WIAA’s executive board. “It’s a big deal. It’s state. It’s a chance for us to showcase our courses and our community.”

The two biggest classifications in Washington high school sports -- Class 4A and 3A -- will decide their champions in boys and girls golf at Southwest Washington venues.

This year, the Class 4A boys tournament will be held at Camas Meadows. The Class 3A boys will be at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield. Club Green Meadows in Vancouver will host the 4A girls tournament, and Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland will be the site for the 3A girls tournament.

“I don’t think people realize what nice courses we have here and what a great area we have to host,” said Dana Selby, the athletic director at Columbia River who will be running the 3A tournaments.

She is looking forward to welcoming the rest of the state.

“They’re getting to come down here to God’s country,” she said.

It will be the first time Southwest Washington has hosted state golf since 1998 when Tri-Mountain and The Cedars in Brush Prairie were championship sites.

The region’s golf courses — even the ones not hosting state tournaments in the spring — are challenging and engaging.

While the PGA Tour might not stop in Clark County, there is at least one course that attracts some of the finest amateur players in the country. The Royal Oaks Invitational is a must-play event for several college athletes every summer.

Royal Oaks has “consistently been ranked” among the top five courses in the state and the top 100 in the country by Golf Digest Magazine, according to the private club’s website.

The site boasts a quote from the great Byron Nelson, who toured 40 Northwest courses: “Of all the golf courses in the Northwest, Royal Oaks’ greens were the best.”

Skamania Lodge in Stevenson attracts tourists from all over, as well, many who bring their clubs.

Skamania’s website says golfers will find “breath-taking and tranquil views” on a “challenging course tucked into the resort’s 175 wooded acres.”

Officials there are not kidding about those woods. Lots and lots of trees. So if you are a bit wild off the tee box, might we suggest a few extra golf balls in your bag?

There are 10 public courses in the region, three private, and three par-3 courses. In other words, the region offers opportunities for the skilled athletes, the average players, and the beginners.

While most courses in the region stay open all year, some do close. Plus, during the busy season, courses often host tournaments. It is always advised to call the pro shop to reserve a tee time prior to heading out to the course.Clark County area golf courses