“A gem in the Valley”: The Story of the Snohomish Valley Golf Center


An evening sunset over the outdoor tees at SVGC

Trevor Butler, Sports Editor

Take a drive through the valley at night and you’re sure to see the shining lights of the Snohomish Valley Golf Center. Opened in 2001, SVGC has become a staple of fun in Snohomish for people of all ages. “My brother TJ and my dad came up with the idea [for the driving range] when TJ decided he didn’t want to go to college, and our family had always been entrepreneurs, so we were looking for a way to start a new business that we were interested in and that would take advantage of the farmland we already had so a driving range seemed to be a good fit because we like golf. We were already farming in the valley, so it was a natural fit,” owner Stubby Stocker said.  

Though the range has been open since 2001, it saw its popularity begin to grow around 2017. “It was TJ and I’s main business for a handful of years until we both got married and had kids. At that point, we started another business, a landscape company, and that made a lot more money than the driving range did, and with families we had to focus on the landscape company which morphed into a concrete company. We did that for about 15 years with the range as our secondary business until our backs started to hurt pretty bad and we realized we didn’t want to do that for a whole lot longer so we started investing everything we had into the driving range to try and grow it so we didn’t have to do concrete for the rest of our lives,” Stocker said. 

The first “new” amenity installed at SVGC was a synthetic turf practice green. “In doing that, we helped the company that helped us, and we helped them put in a few more greens which gave us the ability to put in the mini golf course,” Stocker said. Though SVGC had received bids from companies to put in a course, “it was astronomical numbers to have somebody else do it,” Stocker said. They learned how to put in the synthetic greens themselves, and designed and built the whole course. When the course was installed in 2017, SVGC saw an influx of people who weren’t golfers coming in to play mini golf. “That kinda got the wheels turning that we needed to expand on that part of the business, so we started putting a lot of effort in making it an enjoyable place for non-golfers to go, at which point we added the bar and the restaurant along with the patios,” Stocker said. 

The expansions with mini golf, which opened in 2017, and the restaurant, which opened in 2019, helped the popularity of SVGC to trend up. “At that point we were thinking that within a year or two we wouldn’t have to do concrete anymore,” Stocker said. 

In early 2020, SVGC was shut down for six weeks, during which they took the time to improve the facilities while they were closed. Because golf was one of the few things allowed to open, things really started to ramp up for the popularity of the range. “COVID really accelerated the growth of the range by about five years, maybe more. We were very blessed to be one of the companies to do well during COVID instead of getting shut down for long periods of time,” Stocker said. When SVGC reopened, people were looking for somewhere to go to have a good time, and the range became a perfect candidate to make people feel like things were normal.  

Many Grizzlies have also been hired at the range. Senior Scout Hughes has been working as an Expo/food runner since early May of 2022. “I worked here because I just loved the energy and I love being outside. I also like playing golf, so it’s been fun working somewhere where there’s golfing. I like the friendships and relationships I’ve built while working here,” Hughes said. 

Junior Evan Marquardt and senior Blake Willis also work at SVGC as Range Attendants. “I chose to work at the range because I heard it’s a good job and I wanted to make some money. I started back in June, and I’ve enjoyed the people I get to work with and all the people I’ve met through working there,” Marquardt said.  

Blake chose the range because it was close to home for him, and because he had been there many times before. “The range was close to home, and I’d always wanted to drive the cart to pick up golf balls. My first shift there was the last day of March 2022. My favorite thing about working at SVGC is the people. You get really close with everyone and make friends to hang out with outside of work as well,” Willis said. 

Starting in February 2023, SVGC is adding TopGolf’s TopTracer technology, which is set to expand on both the entertainment aspect of the venue and the statistical value that hardcore golfers are looking for. “Beyond [TopTracer] we want to put a second and third story on one of the buildings to make room for more people. I think that will be a huge draw just to be able to be on the second and third story and to give us an extra 40 stall would be a really nice addition,” Stocker said.  

With summer just over the horizon, the Snohomish Valley Golf Center is the perfect place to spend it.