Skamania Lodge Golf Course, in the Columbia River Gorge town of Stevenson, WA, is a high quality venue noted for its unique and tricky design. Built into the north bank of the Gorge, the scenic Skamania Lodge features extreme elevation changes and ultra tight target zones. Short distances on this regulation track offer some reprieve, but if this wind-filled river canyon lives up to its reputation, all favorability can be lost. The forested and tree-lined layouts can work in the golfer’s favor as shelter from the wind, but they’re more commonly known for consuming errant shots. Keen observation, careful club selection, and sharp accuracy are in higher demand than normal here at Skamania Lodge. Simply aiming down the middle and hitting the ball straight will not get it done. Surveyance of the land is at a premium in order to avoid the abundance of trees. It’s easy to blame a poor round here on its atypical design, as many golfers rarely play a course like this, but if it’s played as intended, its an honest test of golf. Besides, no two courses are alike and with its awe-inspiring setting in the Gorge, its amusing layout and wealth of natural features, the exceptional Skamania Lodge is no exception to the rule.
Skamania Lodge, as mentioned, features intense topography changes and must be navigated in a cart. Sloped, filtering fairways have a strong effect on shot results, and in conjunction with the trees, is undoubtedly the toughest aspect here. Even decent golfers should come equipped with plenty of extra golf balls. Thanks to relatively short yardage, long hitters have the luxury of clubbing down and maximizing their chance of safety, all while leaving a favorable distance on the approach. Shorter hitters will benefit from huge length advantages from the front tees, and ideally, should also be able to use conservative shot selection. Adding to the challenges here is a fair amount of water, notably on the front 9. Green side ponds, traversing creeks and neighboring hazards exist on a handful of holes. Sand is not much of a contributing factor to the difficulty of Skamania Lodge. In fact, most of the bunkers are located with the purpose of saving errant approaches from reaching the trees. The greens are kept in great shape with fast speeds and very true rolls. They provide a fair mix of size and sloping, relative to the difficulty of the hole design.