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Swin Through the Decade: Swinomish Golf Links

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Happy Thursday! We hope you all had a safe and joyful holiday. With Christmas out of the way, we are that much closer to ringing in the New Year. Before we welcome the new Roaring ‘20s, we’re reminiscing on a few of the notable ways Swinomish Casino & Lodge has grown and developed over the past 10 years. Last week, we dove into the 13-month process behind building the Lodge. This week we’ll continue to look back on Swin Through the Decade with the historical story behind Swinomish Golf Links.

The Swinomish tribe purchased the course in September of 2013; however, to truly begin the tale, we need to jump back in time to nearly 100 years ago. Before Swinomish Golf Links came to be, our beloved course used to go by the name Similk Beach Golf Course. It was originally owned and operated by the Morgan-Turner family for over 80 years. The founder of the course, R.D. Turner, first opened the greens back in 1928 due to the booming popularity of Similk Beach at the time. In the early 20th century, Similk Beach, also dubbed “Queen of Beaches,” was the place to be in Skagit County. Turner believed a golf course would be the perfect addition to the flourishing community and he was correct. Four generations of the Morgan-Turner family worked at Similk Beach Golf Course, including Earl Morgan, son-in-law of R.D. Turner, who led the hands-on operations of the business for over 40 years. The family devoted a lot of love and hard work into the property during their 80+ years of ownership. So, once it came time to sell, the family knew they wanted the business to go to someone they could trust to put in the same level of care and commitment their family had. Marty Loesch, a consultant for the Swinomish tribe, mentioned in an interview with goAnacortes that the tribe was glad to purchase the land from a family who had invested so much time and dedication to the property. “It’s meaningful to the tribe that there is a family that has cared for the land all these years,” said Loesch. “If anyone understands a multigenerational connection to land, it’s the tribe.”

The tribe had been interested in purchasing the Similk Beach Golf Course long before the Morgan-Turner family made the official decision to sell. The area on which the golf course resides holds great historical significance to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. The over-250-acres of land Swinomish purchased was cut from the tribe’s original reservation by executive order from President Ulysses S. Grant in 1873. Which is why the opportunity to bring that land back under the tribe’s care was such a monumental occasion for the Swinomish community. Although discussions of the sale started years prior, the process didn’t start really moving along until the summer of 2013. The deal wasn’t finalized until September 9, 2013 — 140 years to the day after President Grant signed the order that removed the land from the reservation, an unintentional coinciding of dates. Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish tribe, spoke about his relief to bring ownership of the land back to the tribe once again. “I cannot describe the feeling in my heart knowing we have secured the original boundary of our reservation for future generations,” said Cladoosby. “I get choked up just thinking about how many generations of Swinomish people have waited for this day.”

Since that day in 2013, Swinomish Golf Links has transformed into the breathtaking, 18-hole, par-72 course we’ve all come to know and love today. This evolution wouldn’t have been possible without the continued loyalty and support from amazing guests like yourself. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate this past decade’s growth than alongside our guests! Grab your finest fedoras, flapper dresses, and fringe to ring in 2020 with us at Swinomish Casino & Lodge! Experience an evening of Glitz, Glam & Game while celebrating the new Roaring ‘20s. Toast to the start of a new decade with exciting promotions all day and night, ranging from 10am to 1am, and win your share of $60,000! To find out how you can start the new decade off right, check out: swinomi.sh/NYE2020