Construction continues on Silvies Valley Ranch, Eastern Oregon’s newest resort

Updated: May 31, 2011

By Brad Faller, PGA
Special to Inside Golf Newspaper

Wedged between the towns of John Day and Burns, Oregon lies Silvies Valley Ranch, future site of the state’s first “eco-resort,” which will include a 36-hole, Dan Hixson designed golf facility.

With guidance from ranch owner Scott Campbell, design and construction on the environmentally-friendly facility began in September 2010. Campbell, founder of the nationally renowned Banfield Pet Hospital in association with the Pet Smart retail chain, purchased the land in 2007 with the vision of a resort that would showcase Oregon unlike any other of its kind.

“Thirty percent of its visitors will come from Oregon, 30 percent from the United States, with the remaining 40 percent coming from Europe and Asia,” says Campbell of his research. The upscale “guest ranch”—rather than calling it a destination facility—will be the focal point of the property, providing jobs to Grant County residents and bringing tax dollars into the area. Ranch amenities will include luxury cabins, a day spa, and a restaurant, among other features.

Hixson, designer of two recent gems in Bandon Crossings in Oregon and Wine Valley in Washington, hopes to be all grown in by 2012, with preview rounds in 2013. The timetable to see the facility in full operation extends as late as 2015, but may be adjusted in time. The course will be on the higher-end and expensive side for ranch guests, but discounted rates will be offered to golfers belonging to other Grant County golf clubs.

As for Hixson’s golf course, golfers will experience a unique transition throughout the two layouts. “You’ll play through three or four major environmental zones,” says Campbell. While Campbell’s goal is clearly driven by the environment, Hixson’s intentions are nearly as simple: creating a fun golf course. “I feel I bring a different perspective to golf course design in light of my background as a golf professional,” says the former Columbia-Edgewater Country Club head golf professional. “I’ve played with and taught beginners, good players, women… this experience has allowed me to design courses with all types of players in mind.”

Construction on the project resumed in May.