There have been several caretakers of this piece of property, but the present caretakers are different from all the previous. For some reason they decided to create a golf course here and proceeded to make significant changes. They mowed grass, moved dirt, brought in extra dirt, removed trees, planted new grass and cleaned up trash. When the brothers started in to create a golf course, the grass was chest-high on what would be the fairways and their only equipment was an old John Deere tractor-mower. Bill remembers seeing just the top of Jim’s head as he sat on the tractor and worked against the unruly grass. They upgraded slightly when they borrowed a better mower from a nephew. When they were done, they had another problem: “Jim, what are we gonna do with the hay?” They managed to get a farm rake from a friend, who had one stipulation: He didn’t want it back. The rake, now retired, is a permanent visual feature in the middle of the golf course. Equipment has come and gone, but one constant remains: Family. For instance, the hillside above No. 5 is called Ashley Oaks, named for Dunson’s great-niece (Jim’s granddaughter) who always seemed to hit her golf ball up onto it. Fuzzy’s Gulch, near the No. 4 green, is named for a nephew who backed his van into Gate Creek, which usually runs only until late May, depending on the runoff. A temporary monument to Jim Dunson is gone, now residing with a son, but a new permanent monument arrived in April and found a place of honor by No. 4, near the little park on the property. Dunson’s next-door neighbors, Chris and Tonya Pleasant, are family in all but blood. Chris does course maintenance out of the goodness of his heart, Dunson said, and Tonya does all his computer ordering for the golf course, besides being heavy into planning for Dunson’s 90th birthday party, set for May 30. The docket is full at Gate Ranch, with the annual July 4 tournament a fixture on the calendar and the Wild and Wacky event – with a different gimmick at every tee – ready to ride again. Various community groups hit Dunson up for their fundraisers or parties. He’s busy and engaged, but Dunson says,“I can see myself slowing down. You can only go so far.” What will happen to the golf course when he’s gone? Bill isn’t sure. “I’d love to see somebody get it and continue on, for a few more years anyway,” Dunson said.“As long as I can go out the door and I’m still breathing, it’s still open.” MOUNT ADAMS COUNTRY CLUB BY YVONNE PEPIN-WAKEFIELD Clubhouse to clubhouse, no matter which direction you travel, MOUNT ADAMS COUNTRY CLUB is a scenic 48 miles away from the Goldendale course, with the drive through the Yakama Indian Reservation on Highway 97. In the shadow of Mount Adams, the 18-hole course is located on the Reservation, 20 miles from Yakima and just a few miles outside of historic Toppenish. Like the Goldendale course, the semi-private Mount Adams Country club, founded in 1923, originated on pastureland with sand fairways treated with oil to keep the soil from blowing away. Smooth wire fences were strung to keep out cattle. Before wooden tees were common, players mounded up sand to tee the ball, later using one to two-inch sections of rubber hose. Water hazards were irrigation ditches and members used hay mowers to cut the salt grass. Early women club members planted Siberian elms and kept them alive by hauling water with teams of horses.The first clubhouse was a three-sided shed with sawdust floors and a two-hole outhouse. In 1964, 70 acres of sagebrush were purchased and groomed into the present-day front nine. More trees were planted in the mid-‘70s and now provide shade for the new clubhouse which was constructed in 1995. Rick Sifuentes, pro shop manager, oversees the course, pro shop, restaurant, numerous tournaments and 12 full and part-time employees. He said about 125 active members make up the core of the club. A robust tournament schedule of about 80 in-house and corporate tournaments help to keep the club afloat. By rule of common knowledge, once your ball gets off the fairway you are in trouble – unforgiving rough or corn fields bordering the course are famous golf ball gobblers. 509-865-4440 • 22 PACIFIC NORTHWEST GOLFER | MAY 2019 Rick Sifuentes, pro shop manager at Mt. Adams