Course of the month: Only those of us lucky enough to be in the golf course maintenance business get to enjoy an early morning vision such as this. It will be hours before golfers reach this 18th hole at Inglewood Golf Club. The great finishing hole in front of the historic clubhouse is a 508-yard, par-5 that finishes off the 6,808-yard, par-73 layout that's under the guiding hands of superintendent Greg Matz and his staff.

Send your best course photos to

Avenue available to welcome WWGCSA events

If you and your golf course are interested in being the site for an event or Board meeting of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association, please let us know by submitting this online form.

The WWGCSA conducts numerous events and meetings throughout the year, and wants to cover all corners of the WWGCSAS territory.

More information is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the Executive Director of the WWGCSA, at or 253-219-8360.

On the Horizon

WWGCSA Winter Chapter Meeting
Friday, Jan. 26
Seattle Skeet and Trap Club
Ravensdale, WA

Equipment Managers’ Field Day
Thursday, Feb. 22
Broadmoor Golf Club

Assistants’ Seminar
Tuesday, Feb. 27
Rainier G&CC

2018 Sponsors

Willis Self

Ryan Riley

Scott Alsterberg

Ludwig Kaftan

Kip Kalbrener

Michael McNeil

Mike Korvas

Alex Little

Pete Trudeau

Sean Watts

Jeff Perry

Carl Taylor

Shawn Frisbee

Chris Overman

Ashley Burke

Tom Walrath

Jackie Klein

Sponsorship Opportunities


WWGCSA loses a friend in Andy Soden

Andy Soden, a member of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association and a leader among superintendents for decades, passed away earlier this month after battling health issues for years.

Andy was known for his enthusiasm and dedication to the industry as well as being a fun character to be around.

He was the superintendent at Oakbrook Golf & Country Club in Lakewood before serving as the golf supervisor in Pierce County for seven years. He took a similar position with the City of Seattle, overseeing the four golf courses (Jefferson Park, West Seattle, Jackson Park and The Links at Interbay) and working for the city from 2003 to 2011. During that time, he also played a leading role in The First Tee program in Seattle.

In recent years, Andy, who grew up in Gresham, Ore., and received his degree in agronomic science at Oregon State, was the superintendent at Madrona Links Golf Course in Gig Harbor and worked at Fircrest Golf Club.

He is the father of Joshua Soden, the superintendent at Brae Burn Golf & Country Club in Redmond and a member of the WWGCSA.

No plans for memorial services have been announced at this time.

Join us for a unique winter meeting

Instead of scheduling a Winter Chapter meeting and hoping for any kind of break in the weather to enjoy some golf, the Board of Directors of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association has decided to look outside the box and come up with something new.

Therefore, we’re announcing the WWGCSA 2018 Winter Chapter Meeting will be held at the Seattle Skeet and Trap Club in Ravensdale on Friday, Jan. 26.

The event will open with registration at 9:30 a.m. Then, Rick Phelps from Phelps-Atkinson Golf Course Design will cover various topics in his presentation, Master Planning A to Z.

After that, the club is all ours to enjoy its many various activities as well as lunch provided by Jaspers BBQ food truck.

Click here for the registration form. The registration fee is $75, and that includes rental costs for the rifles, or you can bring your own.

More information is available by contacting Paul Ramsdell, the Executive Director of the WWGCSA, at or 253-219-8360.

Busy schedule ahead for WWGCSA

It’s going to be a busy, educational and valuable few months ahead for the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association and its members.

Registration is already under way for the Winter Chapter meeting, to be held Friday, Jan. 26 at the Seattle Skeet and Trap Club. That meeting will feature Rick Phelps from Phelps-Atkinson Golf Course Design in Arvada, Colo., who will talk about Master Planning A to Z. After the presentation, WWGCSA members can enjoy lunch and the full range of activities at the Skeet and Trap Club.

Registration is available by clicking here.

In February, we’re adding two meetings that haven’t been on the schedule.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, we will be holding our first Equipment Managers Field Day at Broadmoor Golf Club. Host superintendent Sean McDonough will be showing off his facility and his fleet, and area vendors will be bringing in equipment to display as well. Wade Borthwick from Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., will be giving a presentation that day.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, our Assistants’ Seminar returns and will be held at Rainier Golf & Country Club. Among the guest speakers that day will be Mitch Savage, the assistant at Green Valley Ranch in Denver (Building Your Career Through Volunteering: The Value in Getting Involved), George Travis from George Travis Golf (Course Renovation: How to get your Project Done) and Michael Goldsberry, the superintendent at Wing Point Golf & Country Club (Finding a Mechanic: Your Next Equipment Tech is Out on the Water).

The Spring Chapter Meeting features two great speakers in Chris Zugel, the superintendent at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, and Doug Soldat, a researcher from the University of Wisconsin. The Spring Meeting will be Thursday, March 22 at Bellingham Golf & Country Club with lunch and golf to follow the morning meeting. If you want to stay over, our group will be gathering at Boundary Bay Brewery on that Thursday night, and then enjoying golf Friday morning at Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club.

So, sign up now for the Winter Meeting and mark your calendar for important February and March meetings with the WWGCSA.

Van Hollebeke appointed to board

Greg Van Hollebeke, the superintendent at Interbay Golf Course in Seattle, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Van Hollebeke will replace John Hicks of Canterwood Golf & Country Club, who resigned from the Board because of health concerns. Van Hollebeke, the former superintendent at The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, will complete Hicks’ term on the Board, which runs through to the Annual Meeting in August.

WWGCSA President Scott Phelps of The Golf Club at Newcastle appointed Van Hollebeke to the position, and the appointment was approved in a vote of the Board of Directors.

WWGCSA develops new Mission Statement

During a strategic planning session Tuesday administered by the GCSAA, the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association developed a new mission statement.

Here is the new mission statement:

The WWGCSA is a professional organization established to unite golf course superintendents, provide value to members, and to enhance the profession.

The WWGCSA spent six hours discussing strategic planning and traditional Board business at Tam O’Shanter Golf & Country Club in Bellevue and wants to thank host superintendent Jerry Thompson and his members for all their hospitality.

WWGCSA to offer “Meeting Flex Pass”

If you're tired of various small invoices piling up on your desk, the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association might have a solution for you in its new “Meeting Flex Pass.”

You, or someone on your staff, or any combination of people on your staff, can attend the five WWGCSA chapter educational meetings set for 2018 for a one-time price, and one-time invoice of $275 per person. Paying for those meetings individually would cost well over $320.

Here are the meetings included with the WWGCSA’s “Meeting Flex Pass”:

Here's how it will work. A facility can buy any amount of Flex Passes for the year. If, for example, Metro G&CC buys two Flex Passes, it can send up to two employees to any meeting. One meeting, it could be the superintendent and the assistant. The next meeting, it could be two assistants. The third meeting, it could be the superintendent and the equipment manager, or any other combination of employees.

Affiliate companies and affiliate members have the same option as well, buying any number of Flex Passes and sending the corresponding number of employees to the various meeting.

The Flex Pass will cover all registration costs for the meeting, including any meals and any golf or activities. What the Flex Pass will not cover would be any overnight accommodations at the Spring Meeting in Bellingham, the Fivesome Tournament/Auction, the Green Classic, the Crew Tournament, and the Washington Turf and Landscape Show.

So, if you're interested, and want just one meeting invoice for the year, shoot an email ( or call (253-219-8360) Paul Ramsdell, the Executive Director of the WWGCSA. He's also available for any questions about the new program.

Nominations being accepted for DSA

Nominations are being accepted by the WWGCSA for its annual Paul Backman Memorial Distinguished Service Award.

Annual recipient of the award will be honored for special contributions over the past year and/or a lifetime of service to the golf industry in the region as it relates to turf professionals. The recipient of this award does not need to be a golf course superintendent, but needs to advance the profession by being a guiding light for superintendents as well as an example to the public at large of the contributions superintendents make to the golf industry and the protection of the environment.

The annual recipient should possess and display the multitude of qualities that it takes to be an industry leader, including but not limited to, the ability to work with and motivate others, the ability to communicate effectively, the knowledge and desire to be environmental stewards, the knowledge and background of science to be able to balance the use of chemistry, and the needs of the environment to the desire of golfers.

Nominations can be in the form of a letter of recommendation. It can be emailed to Paul Ramsdell, Executive Director of the WWGCSA, at or mailed to WWGCSA, 1802 Weatherswood Dr. NW, Gig Harbor, WA, 98335. Any questions can be directed at Paul as well at 253-219-8360.

The Board of Directors of the WWGCSA will select a winner from the nominations, and the recipient will be honored at the annual Fivesome Tournament/Auction, slated this year for May 10 at Fircrest Golf Club.

Northwest Room in San Antonio all set

January 3, 2018

The Northwest Hospitality Room in San Antonio is all set for Wednesday, Feb. 7, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Riverwalk. This event, put on by the five GCSAA chapters in the Northwest, will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show.

If you are interested in being a sponsor for the event, please contact Paul Ramsdell, the Executive Director of the WWGCSA, at or 253-219-8360.

Justin Ruiz joins Planet Turf team

Justin Ruiz, the superintendent at The Golf Club at Hawks Prairie in Lacey, has been named a regional turfgrass sales specialist for Planet Turf.

Ruiz, 39, will be based in Western Washington and will serve customers in Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Canada for Planet Turf, the Spokane-based firm that is the exclusive supplier of United Turf Alliance.

Ruiz graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and turf, and received his master’s degree in agriculture from Washington State University. He has more than 14 years of experience as a golf course superintendent and has served as a speaker at numerous industry association conferences. He is a former Board member of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association.

“Justin’s experience and education give him the skills and knowledge needed to serve our customers at the highest level,” said Jim Connolly, the president of Planet Turf. “We are fortunate to have Justin join the Planet Turf team.”

Planet Turf provides solutions to turfgrass and ornamental management challenges by providing innovative products combined with scientific testing and continual monitoring of plant and soil health. More information is available at

Report from Chapter Delegates Meeting

Sean Reehoorn, the superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club and the vice-president of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association, recently attended his first GCSAA Delegates Meeting back at GCSAA headquarters.

Click here for his report that includes updates and information on GCSAA endeavors such as BMPs, membership drive, government advocacy, Grass Roots Ambassadors, Round 4 Research, certification programs and by-laws and Code of Ethics revisions.

WALP to hold conference in Olympia

November 25, 2017

The annual conference of the Washington Association of Professional Landscapers is set for Jan. 19-20 at the Hotel RL in Olympia.

The theme of the Northwest landscape industry conference will be “Strengthening Our Roots”

The conference will continue to offer contractor-focused learning opportunities as well as introduce attendees to new speakers and sessions focused on growing their business and making a difference as landscape professionals.

More information and registration for the conference is available by clicking here.

Tacoma C&GC claims nw crew playoff

Octoer 10, 2017

With both teams shooting a 15-under-par 57, it went to a scorecard tiebreaker before Tacoma Country & Golf Club edged Heron Lake Golf Club of Portland for the Northwest Crew Playoff title.

In action Monday during a beautiful day at Tacoma C&GC, the competition was decided in the hosts’ favor because of their birdie on the No. 1 handicap hole, the 429-yard, par-4 eighth. Heron Lakes made par on the hole.

Coming in third was Portland Golf Club with a 14-under 58 on the 6,348-yard, par-72 layout and Suncadia Resort was fourth at 59.

Tacoma C&GC had 13 birdies and one eagle on the day. The eagle came on the 328-yard, par-4 14th hole where Rich Young drove it to 15 feet and Miguel Hernandez sank the putt. The other members of the Tacoma team were Kevan Keena and Joe Monteleone.

Heron Lakes had 11 birdies and two eagles. The eagles came on the 479-yard, par 5 16th hole where John Dean made the 10-foot putt and on the 500-yard, par-5 18th hole where Dean made a 30-footer. The other members of the Heron Lakes team were Mike Hansen, John Hatala and James Brewer.

The Western Washington GCSA and the Oregon GCSA would like to thank Tacoma C&GC, its members and its superintendent, Joel Kachmarek, for allowing the playoff to be held on their glorious golf course.