'Golf Digest's Golf Weekends'

By: Dr. John Wagner

My wife and I like to buy three to four books on an area before we visit them so we can prepare for the possibilities. You can throw this one in as an option for golf, places to stay and where to eat. I have read better guidebooks, such as ones like Jeff Shelley's "Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest, which give me a lot more information on the courses in a region.

The problem with books like Shelley's is that when they get published, there will be newer courses not included in them. For example, in Western Washington two great public courses have opened in the last two years that aren't in his book. One is the Chambers Bay course in Tacoma, a great venue, and the other is the Home Course in DuPont, which is owned by the Washington State Golf Association and is truly a fun layout to play.

There are no courses mentioned in Western Washington in "Golf Digest's Golf Weekends" and none in the Phoenix area, rather unusual omissions as both places have great courses, hotels, and really good food. Seattle is such a great city to visit and sightsee.

By the way Golf Digest editors: Pacific Northwest rainfall in July and August is less than an inch a month, plus there are no thunder and lighting storms to chase you off a course like other parts of the country. Try matching that rainfall total with the East Coast. The same can be said for the entire West Coast; summers in Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon are especially beautiful.

The Golf Digest book may be trying to do too much. If I were looking for restaurants in a certain area, I'd get a book that deals only with that subject. We were recently in San Francisco and our book on places to eat was as big as this book that covers golfing weekends.

"Golf Digest's Golf Weekends," Editor John D. Rambow, 464 pages, $19.95, ISBN 1-4000-1368-2.

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. John is currently a Member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.