PNW Golfer Writers
Since 1994, Pacific Northwest Golfer has been the Northwest’s premier golf magazine – it is the longest running golf publication in the region.
We thought we’d shed some light on a few of the award-winning writers and contributors who have made this possible. These are some of the finest golf and sports writers in the Northwest; and yes, they write about golf, but they also play it, breathe it, shout to the sky about it, and are otherwise knee-deep in it.
We, and they, wouldn’t have it any other way.
After undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Iowa, during which he also attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Jim Achenbach worked 40 years for Golfweek magazine, with many years spent as that publication’s associate editor for equipment & technology. A winner of six first-place awards in the annual Golf Writers Association of America writing competition, Achenbach recently retired from fulltime duties at Golfweek, still contributing to its equipment editorial. He lives in Happy Valley, Oregon, where he competes in PNGA championships and volunteers for the OGA Junior Program. Jim is the founding editor of www.seniorgolfinsider.com.
Ron Bellamy was the featured sports columnist at the Eugene Register-Guard for 20 years, from 1987-2007, and the newspaper’s sports editor from 2002 until his retirement in 2011. After spending 40 years in daily journalism, he continues to write the Guard’s golf section six months out of the year. His writings can be found at www.ronbwriter.com.
A former British PGA apprentice professional and member of the University of Liverpool golf team, Tony Dear is an award-winning golf writer now living in Bellingham, Wash. He contributes to numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic, and has authored four books on golf, most recently The Golfer’s Handbook. His own website can be found at bellinghamgolfer.com.
Eric Degerman gets paid to drink wine and play on the Internet. He was the online managing editor of the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald and managing editor for Wine Press Northwest magazine until recently leaving the Herald (after 25 years) to become co-owner of Great Northwest Wine LLC, a wine journalism business. He’ll continue to write for the AP and for the McClatchy newspapers, and will still write golf articles for the Herald. A native of Portland, Ore., he helped Clark Community College in Vancouver, Wash., win consecutive NWAACC golf championships.
Kent Gilchrist has been a Vancouver Province sports columnist specializing in golf since 1988. Before that he was a B.C. Lions beat reporter for 11 years, then sports editor for six years during the 1980s. He has covered Olympic Games, Stanley Cup finals, the Kentucky Derby, The Masters, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and many Grey Cups. Gilchrist was inducted into the CFL’s Football Reporters of Canada Hall of Fame in 2005. Recently retired, he is working on his game, which he claims needs it.
The former golf writer for The Bend Bulletin in Bend, Ore., Zack Hall is now an award-winning freelance writer with 14 years of newspaper experience, writing on subjects ranging from real estate to college football. He pioneered the real estate and construction beat in 2005 at the Reno Gazette-Journal, covering the meteoric rise of that region’s real estate market and its subsequent collapse. He authored one of the Gazette-Journal’s first blogs, and then went on to develop the Central Oregon golf beat after becoming The Bulletin’s first full-time golf writer. Hall also led a team of reporters and multiple photographers from 2007 through 2010 during the Jeld-Wen Tradition, a major championship on the Champions Tour.
Josh Kerns is an Edward R. Murrow and Emmy award-winning radio news reporter. He has written extensively about golf destinations for Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine and other publications, and covered a number of major championships including the U.S. Open for the CBS Radio network. Josh plays out of Glen Acres Golf and Country Club in Seattle and currently carries a 10.7 Handicap Index, the epitome of short but straight.
Blaine Newnham started as a sportswriter for the Oakland Tribune, covering the Raiders from 1965-71. He was then the Sports Editor for the Eugene Register-Guard until 1982, before moving to Seattle to become the Times’ Associate Editor and sports columnist from 1983-2005. He covered the 1966 U.S. Open, following Ben Hogan around the Olympic Club. He covered his first Masters in 1987, when Larry Mize won it in a playoff with an unlikely chip shot. He covered the four majors of the “Tiger Slam,” when Woods won his four consecutive championships. Newnham authored the book “America’s St. Andrews,” about Chambers Bay and the 2015 U.S. Open.
Bart Potter has taught journalism at a public college and private university, and won awards for sports writing and news reporting as a daily journalist. He manages the golf and travel website, www.greygoateegolf.com.
A graduate of the University of Oregon, Paul Ramsdell has been a sportswriter for the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seattle Times, and the Eugene Register-Guard, an Online Editor for ESPN.com, and is a past Editorial Director for Pacific Northwest Golfer Magazine. Paul has also been the editor for many regional tournament programs, including the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links and the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior. He is a past president of Fircrest Golf Club (near Tacoma), and spent six years as President of the Northwest Golf Media Association. Paul is currently the Executive Director of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Bob Robinson started covering golf for the Oregonian in the mid-1960s. He has covered 24 major championships, two Ryder Cups, and more than 30 LPGA Tour events. With Robinson leading the way, the Oregonian had the most complete and detailed year-round golf coverage of any media outlet in the Northwest. His knowledge of the game made him one of the most well-known sportswriters in the region, if not the country. During his career, Bob has been named the Oregon Sportswriter of the Year, and has been awarded the Dale Johnson Media Award by the Oregon Golf Association and the Distinguished Service Award by the Northwest Golf Media Association.
Jeff has over 25 years experience in golf writing and research. The co-founder of the NWGMA, he was the editorial director of Cybergolf.com from 2000-2015. An honorary member of the Washington Turfgrass Association, Jeff is a regular member of the Golf Writers Association of America. He has volunteered for several golf organizations and is the board president of the First Green Foundation, an innovative nonprofit that brings school children of all ages to golf courses to learn about the environmental and sustainability aspects of the game. Jeff, co-owner of Fairgreens Publishing, authored three editions of the book, Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest, and co-wrote and published Championships & Friendships: the First 100 Years of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. In 2007, Jeff received the NWGMA’s Distinguished Service Award.
Craig Smith was born in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. His career began as editor of the UW Daily. After graduating, he worked for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska before moving on to the Associated Press, Seattle P-I, Charleston Gazette in West Virginia and Northshore Citizen in Bothell, Wash. Before retiring from the Seattle Times in late 2008, he penned a popular high school sports column under the byline “Sideline Smitty”, as well as being the newspaper’s golf reporter. A former caddie at Inglewood CC in Kenmore, Wash., Craig remembers shooting 142 the first time he played. He now shoots in the mid-80s (that’s what he says).
Jim’s 40-year sports writing career started with the San Jose Mercury-News (1970-85), a few months after he returned from Vietnam as a U.S. Army war correspondent. His assignments at the M-N included stints with the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. He also covered several golf events, including the Bing Crosby Pro-Am and U.S. Open. He moved to Seattle in 1986 to cover the Seattle Mariners for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. After a two-year hiatus in Arizona with USA Baseball (1999-2000), he returned to Seattle to become the first Mariners beat reporter for MLB.com (2001-10). He co-founded the website, golferswest.com, in 2011 and, in 2014 wrote a book about his adventures, Life from the Press Box. He is married to Becky (aka Superwife) and they live in Seattle.
During a long career in journalism, Jim Sutherland has been editor of magazines such as Vancouver, Western Living and the Vancouver Sun’s weekend Mix section. Six years ago he went freelance, and now writes for a host of publications and websites on subjects including food and wine, design and architecture, business, travel and, most enjoyably, golf. He has also completed a comic novel entitled “Stack and Tilt.” Jim lives in Vancouver, B.C. with his lovely wife Jessie, who routinely wins most of the couples’ tournaments they enter.
An award-winning columnist at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Art Thiel is co-founder and columnist at Sportspress Northwest (sportspressnw.com), a regional news website. In 2003 he wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, Out of Left Field, which became a regional bestseller. A Northwest lifer, Art is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University as well as two dead papers and a live one (The Tacoma News Tribune), and his radio commentaries can be heard Friday and Saturday mornings and Friday afternoon on KPLU-FM 88.9.
Bill Yeend spent 44 years as a news anchor on Seattle’s KIRO and KOMO Radio and for years has served as the emcee at the bi-annual PNGA Hall of Fame banquet. During his career he won five Edward R. Murrow awards for journalistic excellence. In 2006 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Northwest Golf Media Association, and is a single-digit handicapper.
During a 30-year career with the Vancouver Sun newspaper which began in 1985 and included the role of sports editor for five years before returning to his true passion of sports reporting, Brad Ziemer established himself as one of the premier golf writers not only in British Columbia but in all of Canada. He has covered virtually every significant golf event in British Columbia, both amateur and professional, over the last few decades, including seven PGA TOUR events in Surrey. In 2013, Golf Canada presented him with its Distinguished Service Award, making him only the second B.C. golf writer to receive the award, following in the footsteps of his esteemed colleague (and 2012 NWGMA Distinguished Service Award recipient), Arv Olson. Recently retired from the Sun, Brad now writes full time for British Columbia Golf.