Bear Mountain Hires new Director of Golf

By: Bob Spiwak

There will be a new face at Bear Mountain Ranch Golf Course in 2008. Having arrived late last year, Cory Pickeral will assume the title director of golf. Not to worry, Von Smith will remain the head pro. In Pickeral's words, Smith is, "the face of Bear Mountain Ranch." The course and neighboring homes are located south of - and over a thousand feet above - Lake Chelan in north-central Washington.

Pickeral's involvement will augment Smith's duties which, over the three years the course has been open, have grown exponentially as more and more golfers ply its 18 holes. One of Pickeral's projects is to develop a trail system on the property - something about 3 to 5 miles long which will be used by home owners, and in such a way it will not be an annoyance to golfers. With owners Jerry and Mary Pat Scofield developing the complex on part of their 6,000 acres adjacent to 20 thousand additional acres of public land, Pickeral sees more responsibilities on the horizon.

He will be in charge of the business end, doing public information, budgeting, promotion and payrolls; the pro shop will remain in Smith's sphere. Pickeral is a PGA professional, having worked as both head pro and assistant at southwest Washington courses like The Cedars on Salmon Creek and Royal Oaks Country Club.

Asked about new developments at the golf course, he noted that construction is in progress on a grass berm on the fifth hole to stop or slow down balls that tend to roll out-of-bounds as they skitter down the steep left-to-right-sloped fairway. There will be a cart path down the right side of that fairway along the berm.

The new sixth fairway will make the hole more straightforward instead of an acute downhill dogleg-left to an elevated green. Built and seeded last year, it should be playable this spring. The first tee will be expanded, and a goodly portion to the right will be seeded to make sliced balls more visible while offering a different route to the first green.

A new amenity this year will be unlimited range balls. A cart is included in the green fees, which will run about $50. Barring snow, the course will open on April 8th. For details visit     

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he's back to being a fanatical golfer. Now a contributing editor for Cybergolf, Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob's most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultraprivate Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.