LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - At the Siletz tribe's newly acquired 18-hole golf
course, it was a polite day in a beachy paradise. Breezes rolled in off the
Pacific Ocean, ruffling loose polo shirts; and just enough sun broke
through the morning mist to prompt those teeing off to snug their visors
The golf course is the latest addition to the destination resort at Chinook
Winds that the tribe has been building for years. It features the
Northwest's largest indoor driving range, pro shop and health and fitness
center, as well as a sports bar and grill called Aces. The facility is
contiguous to the tribe's Chinook Winds Casino and a newly acquired
oceanfront hotel, all on property that belonged to the Siletz prior to
white settlement which the tribe has bought back and put into federal
As such, the stage is set for development of "the Oregon Coast's premiere
destination resort," said Siletz Tribal Chairman Dee Pigsley, adding that
the tribe has been welcoming guests for some time with headline
entertainment, conventions, gambling and dining.
General Manager Jim Kikumoto, Choctaw/Japanese, who has been with the
Siletz tribe for five years, worked on the purchase for more than 18
He noted that "the addition of the golf course provides another opportunity
to offer our guests an additional amenity as well as attracting a new
market of golf enthusiasts - many of whom go to courses in nearby areas,
including the world-class Bandon Dunes, where top-ranked golfers like Tiger
Woods fly in to play."
Chinook Winds is a spectacular 80-mile drive due west from Portland
International Airport. Travelers pass through the rolling hills of Dundee,
where wineries of distinction mark off their paces. The route picks up the
Salmon River and winds through a green world that culminates in the vast
blue expanse of the Pacific. Cascade Head, the rocky prominence just north
of Chinook Winds, is classic Oregon coast with rocky cliffs, windswept
evergreens and pounding surf. South to Lincoln City and the resort itself,
miles of pristine, sandy beaches distinguish this part of the continent's
On the golf course itself, there are "great visuals of Devils Lake, an
eight-mile-long body of freshwater," said Kikumoto. "And, although
currently the course is executive-style, or rather small in length at 4,400
yards, our plans are to expand to 6,700 yards with a par 71. That will
include holes on the lake itself as well as peaks from various points on
the larger course with ocean views. Our designer, Casey O'Callaghan, is
from southern California and has completed several projects and new courses
in the Palm Springs area."
The renovation will begin in the spring 2006 and culminate in the fall of
2007; in the meantime, the tribe is upgrading and enhancing current
fairways and greens. "We brought in a new golf superintendent as well -
Jody Piconni, also from southern California - to direct reseeding and
aerating of the fairways and greens. And under his direction we've already
purchased new mowers for greens, fairways and the rough," said Kikumoto.
"With expansion, we feel that the golf market segment would definitely be
significant enough for us to draw out of the Portland area as well as from
the Bandon Dunes course three hours south of Lincoln City at Coos Bay.
Bandon Dunes is ranked in the top five golf courses in the nation."
Kikumoto also noted a coastal temperature that currently hovers between the
mid-60s and the lower 70s. He's quick to point out, though, that Chinook
Winds also boasts an average annual temperature of 60 degrees. "You can
play golf out here year round," he said. Chuckling, he added, "Of course,
you might need a little rain gear during the winter. Nothing big, just a
jacket. We have drizzles, not downpours. And there's a big difference."
If you're an Oregonian, born and bred to mists and rains like a duck, of
course, you won't mind scheduling your trip to Chinook Winds Golf Resort on
Christmas Day or to chase away the January blahs. For the sunbirds, though,
shoot for July through September when the days are long and languid, and it
feels nothing short of sublime to get out on the golf course and take a
swing at things.