If you’re looking for the early frontrunner for America’s Best New Course of 2025, there’s a good chance you’ll find it sitting on a lovely bluff overlooking the Columbia River in Brewster, Wash.
Architect David McLay Kidd just broke ground on the second 18-hole course at Gamble Sands, which quickly has joined the list of must-visit destinations. Kidd’s original Sands Course was the Best New Course of 2014 and supplanted Chambers Bay as No. 1 on Golfweek’s list of Best Courses You Can Play in Washington.
“It is a pure golf destination,” said Golfweek Rater Brian Kerns, who recalls making a long drive in 2016 to play the Sands Course when there was nothing else on the property aside from a small clubhouse. “It is wonderful destination golf in the spirit of Machrihanish, Royal Dornoch, Cabot Links or Bandon Dunes, in the sense that is a long and winding road to get there, but once there, it is pure golf enjoyment.”
While it’s still remote, Gamble Sands is now a full-blown destination, with the 14-hole QuickSands short course and the 100,000-square-foot Cascade Putting Course that sits at the base of a 37-room Inn at Gamble Sands. Demand from golfers is so strong that a new casual eatery, The Barn, is opening next to the practice range mid-season, with a new 40-room hotel opening next year, followed by the new golf course a year later.
It might seem presumptuous to predict lofty honors for a course that’s two years from opening, but Kidd isn’t downplaying expectations. “This land is frankly even more dramatic than the first course,” he said.
Kidd originally hoped to build the Sands Course on that site, but at the time Gebbers Farms, the family-owned agricultural giant that built the resort, used that land for winter cattle grazing. He said there will be “a bunch of bluff-edge holes” overlooking the Columbia River, but the drama won’t stop there.
“Internally, there are some wild, linksy, dunesy shapes that we’re going to play the golf course through,” Kidd said.
While the Sands Course has relatively gentle shaping, Kidd said the second course will have “more aggressive contours.” But don’t read too much into that. Kidd calls Gamble Sands the course that “redefined” his career as an architect committed to building courses that will be enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels. That won’t change with his second 18-holer at Gamble Sands.
“I’ve told everyone on my…
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