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4.9
8 Reviews (8)
5 Stars
6
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.9
Value
3.9
Layout
4.9
Friendliness
5.0
Pace
4.7
Amenities
4.9
97.6%
Recommend this course
7 out of 8 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
5.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
5.0
Value
4.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
5.0
Amenities
5.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
5.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
5.0
Value
4.0
Layout
5.0
Pace
5.0
Amenities
5.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
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About

Holes 18
Type Public
Style Links
Par 72
Length 7169 yards
Slope 128
Rating 74.2
Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Medal 72 7169 yards 74.2 128
Back 72 6684 yards 72.1 121
Regular 72 6207 yards 69.7 118
Intermediate 72 5631 yards 67.1 114
Forward 72 4797 yards 66.9 110
Scorecard for Gamble Sands Golf Course
Metrics:
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Medal M: 73.4/120 422 301 633 166 517 265 514 313 429 3560 155 436 333 562 437 467 225 428 566 3609 7169
Back M: 70.7/114 392 262 622 160 497 231 473 307 382 3326 140 412 300 537 408 448 195 418 500 3358 6684
Regular M: 68.6/109 W: 73.9/120 353 261 592 142 462 217 453 284 355 3119 126 379 304 504 389 361 167 406 452 3088 6207
Intermediate M: 66.0/103 W: 70.9/113 305 236 498 129 432 187 425 243 342 2797 96 358 293 473 332 308 171 376 427 2834 5631
Forward W: 66.4/102 285 188 464 112 392 105 344 214 296 2400 81 324 189 411 255 278 141 342 376 2397 4797
Handicap 11 13 1 17 3 9 7 15 5 18 10 16 8 2 4 14 12 6
Par 4 4 5 3 4 3 5 4 4 36 3 4 4 5 4 4 3 4 5 36 72

Course Details

Year Built 2014
Architect David McLay Kidd (2014)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Pull-carts Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Caddies Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Walking Allowed Yes
Dress code Proper attire is required.

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Reviews

4.9
8 Reviews (8)
Advanced Filters
Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 25 Contributor
Virginia Advisor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather

A One-Of-A-Kind Course In The Best Possible Ways

Gamble Sands offers a tantalizing combination no other course can match: true links style, authentic fescue turf, beautiful weather, and above all a chance to play the best golf you ever have. From wide open fairways to honest sloped greens to yardage that plays hundreds less than measured, Gamble Sands is a joy to play for every skill level of golfer.

I was invited to a special golf outing and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the very world-renowned architect who designed this course, David McLay Kidd. After talking with him and playing the course several times I came away from my first exposure to true Scottish links style blown away with the thought and execution that makes it so accessible and enjoyable for all golfers.

Duff your tee shot on a par 4 on a normal course and you’ll be cursing and slamming your way to a 7 on the scorecard. Do the same thing here and you’ll barely hurt your chances of making par or at least saving bogey. The incredibly tight fescue turf allows the ball to roll and roll. The wispy rough and sparsely populated wastelands beyond the rough make finding and hitting your ball easier than most parkland courses (or links, for that matter). Many of the greens have helpful side and back slopes that will funnel wayward approach shots back in. Fronts of greens are firm and open, often meaning you need to land short (as we hackers so often do anyways) to get the ball to stop near the flag. The sandy areas are made less intimidating by the fact you can ground your club and take all the practice swings you need and the sand isn’t too fluffy.

Contours of the greens are gradual but readily apparent. There’s no trickery to make you look silly with the flat stick. That said, you may often find yourself instigating your own silliness on or around the putting surface as there are often several angles to get your ball closer to the hole. The aforementioned side and back slopes surrounding many of the greens allow your creativity to run wild with how far away from the flag you can aim and still have your ball come to rest within a makeable distance.

This indirect approach and creativity carries over to your shots from the fairway and some of the most fun you can have on a golf course is seeing how far from the flag you can aim your approach and watch as your ball bounces and rolls its way toward its final destination. The downhill par-6th that plays over a gorge can at first be an intimidating 180+ yard shot until you realize that you can use up to 60 yards of the righthand slope to careem your ball down onto the putting surface and can in fact be the closest to a hole-in-one that many higher handicap golfers will ever get.

The greens aren’t the only place on the course to have fun though. Many of the tees are elevated and many fairways have substantial downhill slopes that encourage some Dustin Johnson-esque drives. Though I average just under 240 yards with my driver at home I had multiple drives over 280 yards each round here, including my 4th longest ever at 307 on the long par-4 5th. That hole is the one most likely with which to find yourself in one of the many bunkers/sandy waste areas but a few practice swings in the dirt (don’t forget, they are allowed here!) and you can escape these without much drama.

There are a few holes that bear a close resemblance to each other but generally Gamble Sands offers a dynamic range of holes from drivable par-4s to a par-3 best played with a putter (seriously, just give your putter a good firm wack and watch your ball roll 140 yards to the center of the green). The creativity allows you to use every club in your bag, though I’d imagine your score wouldn’t go up much if you went out with just 4-5 clubs. The traditional links style ground game is highly effective and encouraged here.

The course conditions are exactly what you’d expect at any other premium golf destination like Bandon Dunes (another David McLay Kidd design) or Streamsong. The fescue turf isn’t the easiest to get a tee peg through but offers a unique feel to your shots from the fairways and rough and offer some of the firmest greens you’ll ever putt on. Just how firm are the greens here? Well, I played 90 holes over 3 days and found evidence of just 3 ball marks on any of the greens, how great is that? The grass is mowed and maintained as good as any course out there with the only blemish being some small bare spots on many of the fringes where maintenance have removed invasive grasses.

When it comes to premiere golf destinations, the course itself is a significant factor but not the only factor. Lodging, food, service, and location can all add or subtract from the overall experience and value of a golf trip. In these areas, Gamble Sands excels in some and leaves room for improvement in others. The lodging is first-class, with stylish and roomy accommodations in the the inn. Each rooms has large windows and individual patios facing out to the best view on the property: the Columbia River and valley and the majestic Cascade Mountains deep in the background. Waking up to that view is worth $150/night all by itself. There’s also a giant, 18-hole putting course/green with mounds so extreme, they would make a mini-golf course designer blush.

The food here is very good, though the portions are XL even by American standards. I found appetizer dishes to be more than filling and a popular option for our group was to go in halves on a chicken fingers/tater tots appetizer combo as each one covers an entire plate.

The service was spotty at times. Though the pro shop and cart attendants are very responsive, helpful and friendly, I’d give the wait staff in the restaurant only ‘good’ marks and the time it took food was often excessive. Gamble Sands originally offered a buffet for breakfast but since switched to a made-to-order menu and I think this was a mistake as often you’re pressed for time in the morning to get a quick bite in before your first time off. The starter was great and added a personal touch.

Gamble Sands is located in north central Washington, 2.5 hours from the nearest major airport (Spokane). As such, it’s an all-day travel affair for most people and that may deter many from committing to it for an expensive trip. But think of it this way: the course is never as crowded as other premium courses and none of my rounds exceeded 4.5 hours. Additionally, the remote location offers a fantastic view and the weather here is far better and more reliable than other traditional links destinations like Bandon or Scotland.

Yeah, you can go to Bandon, or Streamsong, or Sand Valley, or even Kohler and have an amazing experience and brag to all your friends back home who probably have heard of their courses. But if you want to truly have the best time you can playing golf, go to Gamble Sands. It may not have the prestige of the others, but it will someday soon and you can say you’ve been there and it was the best golf trip you ever went on. It’s a slam dunk for destination golf.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Hot weather

World Class

one of the greatest courses I have ever played! I love links golf, and this course is a gem. the views are incredible, the setup is fun & interesting, and the beers are super cold. I highly recommend playing this course on any golf trip to WA.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Great course!

Love this course. Wish it wasn't so far away. We stayed over night, great accommodations. Can't wait to go back. Course was amazing. Food at restaurant was fantastic.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Birmingham Advisor
Top 10 Contributor
First Time Playing
Perfect weather

David McLay Kidd's gem in Central Washington's scablands is hard to get too, but well worth the drive. Gamble Sands builds confidence with the better players' every shot, while softening the average players' marginal shots - allowing for maximum playability. The fairways are 100+ yards wide and the greens are docile and funnel balls to the hole, seemingly from multiple approaches. Kidd did not trick the greens up here as he did at Tetherow. Players can pick a line (one of many), commit and swing with confidence. You have to really hit it sideways here to not find the fairways and greens. The fescue fairways were marvelous - firm, fast and with ample cushion. The greens weren't fast, but weren't slow - allowing for aggressive putts without fear of rolling them six feet past. The par 3s offered a nice mixture between short and mid to long irons and differed directionally, making wind patterns unique. I loved the short par 4s, with No. 2 being among my most favorite I've ever played. You should shoot a good score here - Kidd wanted that in his design. Combine this great layout with a top-notch Lodge and modest-but-better than-it-looks Danny Boy restaurant and you have the makings of a first-class golf resort in the making. The pro shop is one of the finest-stocked I've ever stepped foot in and staff was above average. And finally, if you are even in reasonably good shape, take a free rikshah and walk. Carts are hindered by the routing. Bottom line: Kidd has more bantered about designs (Bandon, Tetherow) but if you want a links experience without the fear of getting beaten up, Gamble Sands will provide a fun test that will yield a good score.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Average weather

Absolutely worth the drive

Played GS for the 2nd time this weekend - 36 holes. Greens had been punched a few weeks ago so were not as good as they were earlier in year, but ok considering the time of year and the price. The design and the views are wonderful, turf is real links style (and I grew up playing links golf in the UK every week) and it's a very fair and totally playable course - lots of terrain helps the ball towards the green/hole if you know how to look at the green surrounds not just the pin.

We stayed at the newly opened Inn, and the rooms were excellent and decent value at $120/person total for 2 nights.

Food in the restaurant was a bit hit and miss, some good, a couple almost inedible.

Our big issue was music on the course. I realize some people like that but the acoustics at GS are so clear that you can hear a dog barking (or coyote howling) from miles away, so having groups playing music out loud will carry 2-3 holes easily. GS needs to ban it quickly. Pace of play was ok in the morning, very poor in the afternoon - they did have staff out on the course in the afternoon trying to speed it up but it didn't really help - we had to play the last hole in the dark.

Course is fine for walking - we walked in the morning then hopped in a cart for the afternoon (they have golf boards too).

If you're wondering if it's worth the drive from Seattle or Spokane, I think it's well worth it. Would recommend staying at the Inn for 1 night/2 days golf and visiting in September before the lunch the greens or maybe May. It will definitely be better once they add a 2nd course but it's still worth it now....

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Excellent weather
Used cart

Fun Links Course

Links course with generous fairways & a few obstacles to avoid. Overall, very fair layout. Conditions were very good and staff very friendly. Still seems like a brand new house, and staff getting used to it...but not a problem. If you want to use a GolfBoard, recommend asking for one when making a tee time (suggest calling & not just doing tee time online). Did not use "19th hole". Would definitely play there again.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 5-9
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
2.0
First Time Playing

Gamble sands overpriced

It started poorly when we arrived, we were quoted a price when making the reservation and they didn't honor it. Cost an additional $100. Pace of play was exceptionally slow with no course marshals. Group ahead were drinking heavily and were very slow, they wouldn't let us go through. Greens were large and didn't roll as seen , very hard to make the ball stop. Value is not there. Would not recommend this course for the price, $160, with cart. Many other courses in the Eastern Washington are of better value. Don't waste your money. By the way I shot 76.

Conditions Average
Value Poor
Layout Average
Friendliness Average
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
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jamison
Commented On 04/10/2018

I personally did not experience this golfer's challenges. But no marshall means these problems will occur. My experience is that I would love to play but the price is out of my range. I don't understand why they price this so far out of us normal golfers range. That is probably on purpose to keep it a rich game at a golf snobs paradise

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mscheelar
Commented On 08/01/2016

What did you shoot on the back nine?

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Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Excellent weather

Very good, but remote

A new DMK design, Gamble Sands is intended to be a links style course (which I love) set in the desert scablands of central Washington State. That is a tough concept to carry off, but he did it. (There is one other such course in Washington that does so MUCH better, and I'm not spilling the beans where it is.) I felt the value at GS is good, and I'm a tightwad.

It takes some time and effort to get to Brewster and it's not close to anything else notable except Grand Coulee Dam. It will help if they build at least one more course to attract people to the area. Alone, it may not be worth a special trip, unless you stay and play two or three rounds. The family that owns it has at least another 1,000 acres to work with surrounding Gamble Sands so I'm hopeful.

The routing of GS is superb. Many of the individual holes are very good - especially the par 3's on the back nine. The greens are huge and roll as true as any I've played. You can have 100 foot putts on several holes. The course is VERY walkable. Being in the middle of Nowhere, it is very quiet. A barking dog was very noticeable for a few minutes - it was on the OTHER SIDE of the Columbia River, a mile or more away. Serious quiet.

The fairways at Gamble Sands are generous and the greens were very receptive - even at the end of the summer when we were there. Significant risk/reward on several holes, including a nominally driveable par 4. Numerous blind shots from the tees and fairways, and lots of angles and waste areas bordering fairways that often make short drives better than long. I hit 3 irons off the tees on several holes simply because I couldn't figure out what problems lurked out ahead or how far away they were. Some of the fairways are very sloped. Buy the course book! Given it was my first time on this course I played the 6,100 yard routing #white tees). Next time I'll play the blues because the ball rolls and rolls and rolls.

Matt G rated it #32 of the courses in the USA that we common people can play. Not sure it is worthy of that lofty rating, but it is very good. Fescue predominates throughout. Given a couple years of seasoning it may be up to that rating, but right now I would only put it somewhere in the middle of the Top 20 in Washington State. I'll definitely play it again and will recommend it to friends as part of a multi-day golfing trip.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
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