Suncadia Resort: Mountain Golf and Nature at its Finest
By Tim Cotroneo
Tom Watson must have been thinking about the trio of golf courses at Suncadia Resort when he said, “Golf is the game that combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport.” With one of Washington’s most spectacular natural landscapes as its foundation, Suncadia’s three 18-hole courses also deliver history lessons recognizing the region’s rich mining heritage. This unique golf setting includes a kinder, gentler vibe rooted in the Main Streets of two tiny hamlets located just a four-iron down the road.
Prospector Golf Course, Rope Rider Golf Course, and Tumble Creek Golf Course are thriving in Cle Elum, one of Washington’s tiniest cities. Newcomers discover a step-back-in-time golf escape surrounded by Suncadia’s tree-lined 6,400-acres. Just 80-miles from Seattle, but nuzzled at the base of the Cascade Mountains, Suncadia proudly describes its hidden gem status as “Conveniently close with the feeling of far away.”
Some of the biggest names in golf have gladly partnered with Suncadia. Arnold Palmer, Peter Jacobsen, and Tom Doak were tapped to design the resort’s trifecta of championship courses. Golfers making the trek to central Washington’s enjoy the freshest air, bluest sky, towering evergreens, epic Cascade Mountains, and wildlife that quietly watch your every move.
Prospector Golf Course
The Arnold Palmer-designed Prospector Golf Course sparked the first wave of guests for Suncadia Resort in 2005. Seattle natives, looking to escape from the big city, immediately fell in love with this quiet luxury destination. Word spread in a huge way, and legions of golfers started making Suncadia a new home away from home.
The Suncadia region has quite a mining history, and the resort incorporated this thread into the names of its streets, its restaurants, and markers honoring the gold and coal workers who placed Cle Elum, as well as the neighboring city of Roslyn on the map.
For the Palmer design team, scores of mature Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine trees served as the perfect amphitheater for this 7,100-yard layout. Prospector’s visual momentum builds toward the Par 4, 408-yard, 10th hole. From the 10th elevated tee box, golfers thrill to a breathtaking gaze downward and a vista spanning all the way to the Cascade Mountains. After your round, a drink or a bite at the The Stovehouse Restaurant promises a magical view of the 18th green.
Rope Rider Golf Course
The Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy-designed Rope Rider Golf Course opened in 2011. The Rope Rider name touts the man who balanced himself on the cable train bringing coal from a mine.
Rope Rider is a living tribute to the mining industry that flourished in the Suncadia area during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The 7200-yard design is built along the site of the historic Roslyn Mines. The Roslyn Mines closed in 1962, and the venture was one of the last coal mines to operate on the west coast. The course also features Tipple Hill, a 120-foot mound made up of coal tailings that runs along holes 16, 17, and 18.
The Rope Rider experience features an infinite throng of Evergreen trees, a Cascade Mountain backdrop, and immaculate tee-to-green conditions. After signing your scorecard, walk next door to the Swiftwater Cellars winery, Tasting Room, and Hoist House Restaurant. A glass of wine on Swiftwater’s patio makes for a great way to celebrate your round.
Tumble Creek Golf Course
If you know someone who knows someone, the private Tumble Creek is regarded as the ultimate Washington mountain course. This Tom Doak design features a pine forest terrain perched along the Cle Elum River bluffs. Doak positioned 18 golf holes that maximize the view of the easternmost stretch of the Cascade Mountains.
In 2005, the vision for Tumble Creek was “built on the dream,” as General Manager Jared Jeffries likes to say. Almost two decades later, the Tumble Creek Golf Course and surrounding residential community continues to flourish. This is a members-only club, and the fortunate golfers experiencing the serenity of these surroundings whisper how no two days feel exactly alike.
In 2021, the 17,000-square-foot Great House opened between the Tumble Creek practice green and the pro shop. Offering panoramic views of the Cascade Mountain ridgeline, there may be no better place in Washington to enjoy dinner than Tumble Creek’s Descend Restaurant patio.
Suncadia Resort’s Lodge, Inn, and Condominiums serve as a wonderful places to lay your head after golfing their three magnificent golf courses. You’ll soon learn that Suncadia offers so much more than golf.
Miles of hiking and biking trails await, along with swimming, kayaking, fishing, and a spa. At night, there’s great dining in their restaurants, while music plays on weekends, and the resort’s firepits glow in a sundown nightly tradition.
Whether you’re a golfer, an outdoors person, or simply wish to get away from it all, Suncadia Resort is a back-to-nature experience for the ages. If mountain golf in one of the Pacific Northwest’s most awesome environments sounds like the perfect vacation getaway, there’s a former gold and coal mining refuge at the base of the Cascade Mountains waiting to welcome you.