The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has completed its $3 million purchase of the former Spokane Country Club and has changed the club’s name to the Kalispel Golf & Country Club.
Depending on the weather, the golf course is scheduled to open between the middle of March and early April, says Julie Holland, public relations director at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights. The Kalispel Tribe, which owns the resort and casino, took ownership of the 117-year old property last week.
Northern Quest general manager Phil Haugen, one of several tribal members who spoke at a recent press conference the tribe held to announce details of the acquisition, says the renamed country club, located at 2010 W. Wakiki Road on Spokane’s North Side, will be open to the public on a limited basis. The club has 260 members, and Haugen says he’d like to see membership be a “little bit higher.” A round of golf at the 6,600-yard-course will cost $115 for the general public, which includes the use of a cart, Haugen says.
Four women, who were former club members, beat the Spokane Country Club in court in 2013 when they alleged the club discriminated against them by saving the best tee times for men and not allowing women in certain areas of its restaurant.
After four years of litigation, the Spokane Country Club filed to reorganize its debts through Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Kalispel Tribe’s $3 million purchase of the course also includes paying off nearly $2 million in legal fees and judgments owed to the women and their attorney, Mary Schultz, court records say.
Other bids for the club included one by a group led by professional golfer Phil Mickelson. That group’s offer was contingent upon existing members having to pay thousands more in fees and dues. Mickelson’s group pulled its bid in September.
Haugen said the Kalispels’ decided to incorporate a frog in its logo. “The frog is proof of health and balance in the ecosystem.” Haugen says the tribe wants both private and public users to feel welcomed at the club.
Current club members have been invited to maintain membership. Dues are $475 per month for families and $425 for individuals. New memberships come with a joiner fee of $3,000. Haugen said he was a 10-year member of the former Spokane Country Club.
Securing the club gives Northern Quest another attractive entertainment piece in its current portfolio, Haugen says. The course will be advertised as part of a “stay-and-play” package for customers at the resort and hotel.
“We bought it to make revenue,” Haugen said. “We want this to be the premier golf club in Eastern Washington.”
The Kalispel Golf & Country Club is one of the longer courses in the area. However, Jeff Gullickson, course superintendent, says that being designed and constructed in 1917, the golf course doesn’t “play long” like its more modern counterparts.
“It’s walkable and a more quaint experience. It’s got smaller greens because that’s what they were like at the time, which makes the course more challenging,” Gullickson says.
He adds, “Through the years at area pro-am events, at different courses compared to here, scores at the country club have traditionally been higher than at other courses. If you’re shooting a 3- or 4-under par here, then that’s a great round of golf,” Gullickson says.
Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, will be the general contractor for a new gastropub restaurant there that will feature higher-end beers and food. The initial designs are underway, and Haugen said work on the project is scheduled to start in spring 2016.
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