A look at the golf available in Central Oregon

Updated: June 4, 2012

There is no doubt that golf is king in Central Oregon. With its abundance of quality courses and resorts, it’s little wonder why people from around the Pacific Northwest, and the rest of the country, have made Central Oregon an annual destination. When you combine the other outdoor activities such as biking, horseback riding, skiing, fishing, rafting and more, the area is truly a playground for families and golfers.
The Central Oregon area is ranked among the top golf destinations in the world with courses like Black Butte, Eagle Crest and Aspen Lakes (lower right). The golf, the fishing, the hiking, the bicycling . . . the area has it all. In the winter, Mount Bachelor offers some of the best skiing in the country.

Editor’s note: Inside Golf Newspaper has traveled to the Central Oregon many times through the years. Here’s a look at some courses you might want to play and what is new at the courses in the area. We hope it will help you plan your visit there.

Aspen Lakes: Red sand bunkers make for cool look
If you had to pick two things that stand out at Aspen Lakes Golf Course it would have to be the unique red volcanic crushed rock sand used in the bunkers and the great views of the mountains in the Cascade Range.

Designed by Northwest golf architect Bill Overdorf, the course was named one of the “Top Ten Affordable Golf Courses” in 2001 by Golf Digest.

Ponderosa pines, scented juniper trees, pristine lakes and breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains at almost every turn make Aspen Lakes an amazing all around golf experience. It’s no wonder it is a popular place for families and as well as corporate outings. A rustic clubhouse adds to the golfing experience.

Eagle Crest: Three Courses and Plenty of Value
Surrounded by majestic, snowcapped Cascade Mountains, Eagle Crest Resort is located along the Deschutes River, just west of Redmond and north of Bend. Named a Golf Digest Best Place to Play in 2008 and 2009, guests return year-after-year for the Resort’s 54 holes of golf (three courses) and extremely valuable, unlimited golf packages. They also return for the fully renovated Lodge at Eagle Crest, well-maintained vacation homes, three sport centers, indoor and outdoor pools, multiple tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, miles of hiking and biking trails, spa, and countless recreational pursuits throughout Central Oregon.

When it comes to golf, challenge, variety and value are the top priorities at Eagle Crest Resort. With two championship golf courses, the par-63 Challenge Course, and a popular 18-hole putting course, links lovers are never far from their favorite pastime. Four sets of tees on each course allow the more experienced golfers plenty of challenge, and the less experienced equally enjoyable rounds. And thanks to the lower elevation, The Ridge and Challenge Courses remain open all winter long.
• The Ridge Course – Host of the 1999 and 2002 Northwest Open, and 2006 Oregon Open.
• The Resort Course – Host of the 2011 Pacific Amateur and Oregon High School State Golf Championships since 1991.
• The Challenge Course – Named the Pacific Northwest’s best short course by LINKS Magazine in 2006.

Crooked River Ranch: Fifth hole must be seen to be believed
At Crooked River, the fifth hole is perhaps one of the most dynamic golf holes you will come across. There’s a great view and a tough shot. The dogleg left hole, a 260-yard par-4, may not seem intimidating on the scorecard, but from the tee box it’s another story.

The Crooked River runs along the left side of the hole in a large deep canyon and the desert sits on the right side. The green can be driven, but it’s a tough shot. Any shot to the left, and you’re left looking straight down 12 stories at your ball floating away in the Crooked River. In his book on Oregon Golf, author Paul Linnman calls the hole “the most spectacular golf hole in Oregon.”

Crooked River Ranch is a place for families. Not only is there the golf, there’s the camping, fishing and boating. With plenty of outdoor activities in and around the resort, a family vacation will never get boring.

Juniper: New Juniper course still a hit with golfers
Juniper Golf Club has undergone some serious changes in the last few years. The biggest, of course, was a completely new Juniper, which opened six years ago and replaced the old Juniper. The old Juniper Golf Club was located near the Redmond Airport and when it became too costly to keep the land, the city of Redmond began to look at other options. The best one was to work on a deal with the Bureau of Land Management to acquire land just south of town and have Northwest architect John Harbottle design a new course.

When the new Juniper Golf Club opened for play six years ago, it was a hit both on and off the course. The course also hosted the Oregon Open.

The new Juniper plays to over 7,100 yards from the tips and has some terrific scenery, with the Oregon High Desert serving as a great background. Golf Digest took notice of the new course, naming Juniper as one of the Best New Affordable Courses (under $75) for the 2006 golf season.

Most holes have great views, but the view from the 14th tee is dramatic. The view from the 14th gives players a peek at two mountains. The 15th hole gives golfers a nice view as well as this par-4 features lava rock and a large sand bunker and water.

Black Butte: Glaze Meadow opens this year with new look
There’s even more new at Black Butte Ranch. Not only did the Central Oregon resort re-do its Big Meadow course, now comes along new changes to its Glaze Meadow Golf Course.

The $3.75 million renovation was a project was approved by the homeowners of Black Butte and was unveiled late last month. Pacific Northwest architect John Fought handled the re-design.

The new look has added tee boxes, greens, bunkers and more. The course will now play 400 yards longer (7,007 yards from the back tees) than the previous layout and the changes start right from the opening hole, which used to play as a double-dogleg par-5 but is now a par-4.

All 18 greens and tee boxes were rebuilt and the course now will feature five tee boxes, including one for juniors.

The course was shut down for a year while the re-modeling work took place. But the homeowners and guests still had Big Meadow to play, which underwent changes a few years ago itself.

To celebrate the Glaze Meadow project, Black Butte Ranch is offering an “Unlimited Golf Package” with rates starting as low as $99 per person. The package is available throughout the 2012 golf season.

Black Butte Ranch has nearly 115 lodging properties on site ranging from two-person hotel-style rooms to six-bedroom residences. See www.blackbutteranch.com for more on Glaze Meadow and the entire resort.

Running Y Ranch: Arnold Palmer Signature Course
Running Y Ranch, Southern Oregon’s only full-service destination resort, is home to the Arnold Palmer Signature Course, Arnold’s only course in Oregon. Situated in the heart of the breathtaking Cascade Mountain range, just across the California boarder on the shores of Klamath Lake, the resort’s exceptionally mild climate and 300 days of sunshine add up to a four-season recreational paradise – featuring world-class fly fishing, birding, hunting, and its nationally acclaimed golf course.

The Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Running Y Ranch is consistently rated one of the country’s best When Arnold Palmer was asked to pick a favorite golf course from his many designs, he did not chose one, but 16. The list has become known as Arnold’s “Sweet 16”, and includes his course at Running Y Ranch. “The course at Running Y Ranch is one of my best tracks.” – Arnold Palmer.

If you’re looking for an Oregon golf resort that has it all, along with plenty of value, you will find it here. Running Y Ranch features a fully renovated, 82-room Lodge and new restaurant, The Ruddy Duck, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, well-maintained vacation homes, sport center, indoor pool, relaxing day spa, miles of hiking and biking trails, ice skating area, conference facilities, and the exceptional four season recreation of Southern Oregon.

Lost Tracks: New water features, same old railroad car
Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend opened in 1996 and was carved out of a stand of Ponderosa pines with lava rock outcroppings and small lakes that give the course a nice peaceful charm.

The bridge to the par-3 16th green is a railroad car, complete with everything you would find in a passenger car including the many bag tags left by golfers from other courses. The course got its name after construction workers found old railroad spikes and train tracks during the early stages of course preparation.

Under owner Brian Whitcomb, Lost Tracks has made significant changes. The most recent change is dramatic – the removal of trees and between the 13th and 14th holes and the construction of a series of water features between the two holes, which includes ponds connected with a stream.

River’s Edge: Plenty of hills to get your attention
River’s Edge Golf Course in Bend is known for its challenging layout and for good reason. The course sits on a hillside and features rolling fairways and undulating greens. Along with its challenges, golfers should be pleased with the amount of positive changes the course has undergone. Tee boxes have been leveled, the fairway on the second hole has been made level, trees and limbs have been removed for better sight lines and the fairway on the par-5 17th hole has been widened.

Private clubs: Some of the top tracks in the Northwest
There are plenty of private country clubs in the Central Oregon area as well as public courses. In Bend, there are three of the top courses in the state with Bend Golf and Country Club, Broken Top and Awbrey Glen.

Bend Golf and Country Club is the oldest, having opened its original nine holes for play 75 years ago. It became an 18-hole course in 1974 and renovations have helped keep the course up to date. Both Awbrey Glen and Broken Top opened in 1993. Awbrey Glen opened as a public course, but turned private in 2000. Pronghorn is a private golf community and has two courses, which have already received a lot of attention. One is a Jack Nicklaus course and the other is a Tom Fazio course.
Sunriver’s Crosswater completes greens renovation in time for 2012 season

Sunriver Resort’s prestigious Crosswater Club is showing off some newly renovated greens for the 2012 golf season.

The 7,683-yard Robert E. Cupp-designed golf course entered its 18th season in late May with 18 newly renovated greens.

Crosswater’s $500,000 greens renovation project began August 15, 2011 and was completed on October 1, 2011; the process included stripping away the existing turf and organic matter down to the original greens mix, while preserving the original undulation of the greens. T-1 bentgrass was then installed on all 18 greens, plus the putting green, resulting in pure greens that are free of non-desirable grasses, such as poa annua. T-1 bentgrass was chosen for the new putting surfaces for several reasons: its ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures and ice exposure, it’s aggressiveness against poa annua intrusion, and its resiliency to recover from ball marks and foot traffic.

The renovation also features a comprehensive improvement to the club’s practice facility, including the addition of target greens on the practice range, a renovated putting green, and improvements to the short game chipping area.

“We are confident this new turf will result in championship-caliber putting surfaces that are attractive to our members, resort guests and tournament players, ensuring that Crosswater remains a Top 100 venue for years to come,” said Crosswater Club Manager, Josh Willis.

Home to the 2007-2010 Champions Tour Jeld-Wen Tradition, Crosswater has been the recipient of 26 prestigious national awards dating back to 1995, when Golf Digest rated it the “The Best New Resort Course in America” upon opening. Crosswater was recently bestowed the honor of hosting the 2013 PGA Professional National Championship for its third time when the tournament returns to the club next June. All four rounds of the championship will be televised live on Golf Channel. The par-72 heathland style course offers a unique blend of strategy and aesthetics, featuring pristine bentgrass tees and fairways along with a challenging interchange of wetlands, lakes and rivers.

About Sunriver Resort: Located in Central Oregon, Sunriver Resort features nearly 250 guestrooms and more than 300 vacation rental properties. A AAA Four-Diamond, Destination Hotels & Resorts property, Sunriver Resort is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with 63 holes of championship golf, 28 tennis courts, 35 miles of paved bike paths, three swimming complexes, an onsite marina, stables, observatory, world-class spa and fitness center and first-class youth and teen programs. For more information, call 800-801-8765 or visit www.sunriver-resort.com.

Widgi Creek: A local favorite for Central Oregon golfers
Widgi Creek Golf Club in Bend seemed to be in trouble in December of 2004 when the course went into bankruptcy, but Portland businessman Barry Helm stepped in, bought the course and immediately has made some noticeable changes.
In order to get the course back to pristine condition, Helm purchased a new fleet of maintenance equipment. He also improved the irrigation system and has renovated the clubhouse, including the kitchen and restaurant. Helm’s improvements have made Widgi Creek a place you want to stop at when playing golf in Central Oregon once again.

Meadow Lakes: No shortage of water at this place
Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Prineville has an interesting background. In 1988 the city of Prineville was looking for a way to treat its water after facing fines of up to $25,000 a day. The solution was to build some water treatment ponds – and build a golf course around the ponds, which became the Meadow Lakes Golf Course.

Today, Meadow Lakes is an environmentally friendly golf course that presents a links-style layout with several water hazards to keep you focused. One of those hazards comes into play on the very first hole, a par-5 dogleg right.
Quail Run: Worth the short trip south of Bend
Quail Run had always been thought of as a terrific nine-holer, but when nine new holes were built, the course suddenly became a Central Oregon hot spot. Quail Run plays to nearly 7,000 yards from the tips and features mountain and desert views. Located just south of Sunriver, the course is worth the few extra miles south.

Tetherow: Award winning links-style golf course
Tetherow Golf Club in Bend opened for play four years ago and the course was an award winner right out of the gate. Many of the top golf publications around named Tetherow as one of the top new courses. And for good reason. The David McLay Kidd design is a challenging layout and offers links golf. The greens are large and undulating and the fairways have some small bunkers to grab those errant shots.

Brasada Ranch: The Best 18 Views in Central Oregon
Brasada Canyons offers amazing golf, top-notch service, and a front row seat to the natural wonder of Central Oregon. Designed by native Oregonian Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy, the course just outside Bend is undeniably one of Central Oregon’s most beautiful and enjoyable. As the name suggests, 18 distinctive and challenging holes wind through, across and along the canyons of Brasada Ranch, beginning from 3,272 feet above sea level and climbing to just over 4,000. Here your ball soars farther, as does your eye, with dramatic, unmatched views of snowcapped Cascade Mountains from nearly every hole. Eighteen holes at Brasada Canyons isn’t simply a day of golf. It’s an experience never to be forgotten.

Golf Map for Central Oregon (PDF)