New owners hope that Sunland Golf Club, with a course known throughout the region by golfers for its excellent greens and relaxed setting, will also come to mind as something else: open to the public.
CH Investment Fund in late September announced the purchase of the 18-hole course just north of Sequim.
Columbia Hospitality, a national management and consulting company that specializes in public and private golf course operations, including Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, McCormick Woods Golf Club in Port Orchard and Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club in Blaine. (CH Investment Fund is an investment fund created in 2022 that’s affiliated with Columbia Hospitality to invest in properties managed by Columbia Hospitality.)
Dave Williams, principal of CH Investment Fund, said in an interview that Columbia Hospitality took over operations of the course in 2020 and that the course owners were looking to sell.
“We had familiarity with the course and the guests and how it operated. “For a long time it was a private club. They had a board, it was operating fine [but they] wanted to golf. It’s hard when you have 80 owners.”
The former owners talked to some other brokers to sell it but wound up swelling to CH Investment Fund.
“As an investment entity, as we talked through it, we thought ‘Let’s give it a go’,” Williams said. “Sequim is growing, it’s a place to grow the golf population.
“We want to attract the senior community, but also new families coming in, single people, people that enjoy golf.”
Formerly a private course, Sunland and its 6,265 yards of fairways and greens, has hosted numerous championship tournaments, including the WJGA District 1 Championship, WSGA Women’s Amateur Championship and ESPN National BB Regional Championship, among others.
Its facilities include a large grass driving range, practice area, fully stocked golf shop, Fire & Stein restaurant and ballroom for events.
Williams said the new ownership has “eased” Sunland into open-to-the-public status, offering various types of club memberships (Premier, Executive, Twilight/Twilight Plus, Social and a First Responders membership for full-time firefighters, police or active-duty military) along with driving range passes and golf car rentals.
“I think a lot of people view it as, ‘Oh it’s that private course.’ We’ll try to get out into the marketplace that anyone who loves golf can come here,” Williams said.
Sunland joins The Cedars at Dungeness and SkyRidge Golf Course as public courses.
“It’s a different experience [than The Cedars at Dungeness],” Williams said. “They have a wonderful golf course. Sunland is a very serene setting, relaxed.”
Williams said the attractiveness of the course should be a draw for both golfers and those looking to enjoy a bite at Fire & Stein. The restaurant at 109 Hilltop Dr. is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“It’s a place to have a drink have a decent meal, [to get] good quality food, good service, a relaxing atmosphere,” he said.
Williams said that, apart from changing a few irrigation heads and possible changes to tee boxes, he doesn’t see any major changes coming immediately to Sunland’s 18.
“What were always taking about is projects; what projects can we do to enhance the experience for the golfer?” Williams said. “Honestly, from what I’ve seen, the the greens are fantastic; they’ve done a wonderful job.”
Arthur Vernon (A.V.) Macan, a prolific and revered Pacific Northwest golf course architect, originally designed the course. Williams said it’s possible Sunland could see a redesign in the future, but nothing is imminent. Sunland plays somewhat narrow for golfers, he said, but taking out trees could change the course as those trees block sunlight and can affect the fairways and greens.
“We’d love to open it up in certain spots,” Williams said. “We’ll continue to reevaluate it … [but] we’re not going to do anything drastic.”
He said there are some capital improvements int he works, including a new roof for the clubhouse, in the works.
Williams said CH Investment Fund representatives planned to attend a meeting with the SunLand Owners Association (SLOA), to connect with the community of about 915 homeowners who have on-property access to tennis and pickle ball courts, swimming pool/spa and greenspaces/walking trails adjacent to the course.
SLOA representatives did not respond to request for comment for this story.
Williams said he hopes to connect with both golfing and non-golfing neighbors, to help both communities respect the private property and the course itself.
“We want to maintain the golf course for the golfers and the community at large,” Williams said. “We want people to come [but] we also wants to be good neighbors.”
Said Williams, “We’re committed to the golf course and the community. We’ve worked with the course and with the previous owners, so we know what we’re getting into.”
For more about Sunland Golf Club, visit sunlandgolf.com.