Take a Tour of Central Oregon

Updated: June 1, 2010

Crooked River: The fifth hole along the river gets your attention
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.”

Juniper: New Harbottle-designed course is a gem
Juniper Golf Club has undergone some serious changes in the last few years. The biggest, of course, was a completely new Juniper, which opened five 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 five years ago, it was a hit both on and off the course. The course also hosted the Oregon Open in 2007.

“The two courses are both different,” said head professional Bruce Wattenburger, who has been with Juniper for over 20 years. “We’ve got ourselves a winner with the new Juniper.”

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 offers a great look at the Cascade Mountains and 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.

Aspen Lakes: The views and red sand stand out
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 new rustic clubhouse has also opened.

Running Y Ranch: One of the top courses in Oregon
Outdoor recreation has always been a main attraction in Klamath County, Oregon. From hiking, biking, canoeing, camping to fishing, the outdoors is where all the fun is. Crater Lake National Park, the only National Park in Oregon, is one of the main visitor attractions.

But with the opening of the Running Y Ranch in 1997, golf took on a new presence and put the area on the golf map. The resort overlooks Klamath Lake, the largest natural lake in the Northwest. There are several ponds, wetlands and 100 bunkers guarding the course as it plays through rolling terrain and pine forests.

The course is the only Arnold Palmer designed course in Oregon and ranked among the top six courses in the state. The Running Y Ranch was named the nation’s “Best new affordable public golf course” in 1998 by Golf Digest. A showcase of natural landscape, The Running Y Ranch is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. Other courses in the region include Shield Crest and Harbor Links Golf Courses.

Lost Tracks: Old railroad bridge to a par-3 island green
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. On the first hole a lake has been added and fairways have been lowered on the ninth and 10th holes. An indoor teaching studio was also added to the course adding to its appeal for players looking to improve their game.

River’s Edge: If it’s hills and views you like, this is the place
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.

Eagle Crest: Plenty of golf and other outdoor recreation
Eagle Crest is a full-service destination resort that has all of Central Oregon’s outdoor activities within reach. The resort has a wide range of activities from world-class fishing, rock climbing, river rafting, skiing-both water and snow, and of course golf. There are also plenty of things to do inside at the Resort Sport Center and the Ridge Sports Center. The Resort Sports Center has two indoor tennis courts, a weight and aerobics room with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a kid’s game room, three racquetball courts, an outdoor pool and hot tub. The Ridge Sports Center and Spa has much of the same except the pool is indoors and it has a half-court basketball court and a full service spa for massages and skin treatment.

There are three golf courses to choose from at Eagle Crest Resort, each with its own unique look and feel. The Ridge Course and the Resort Course are two championship-caliber layouts and the Challenge Course is a tough par-63 track. The Challenge course is a great way to work on your short game, as well as try to reach some par-4 holes on the shorter course.

Black Butte: Big Meadow has a new look, Glaze Meadow is next
Black Butte Ranch is one of those special places that not only has plenty of family activities, but also offers two golf courses to choose from.

With the Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow golf courses, Black Butte is a golfer’s paradise. Each course is provides a different, yet challenging golf experience and both are worth the trip to Central Oregon.

Big Meadow underwent a scheduled bunker renovation four years ago. With the new and remodeled bunkers, the course is even more challenging. The Big Meadow course has undergone changes as well and now features new tee boxes on every hole. The Glaze Meadow course takes the golfer on a scenic trip through the trees, with enough water and sand to keep your attention.

Black Butte Ranch has completely remodeled one of its two golf courses, now it’s time for the other. Work on the Glaze Meadow course is expected to begin later this year – work which will give the course an entirely new look.

Northwest architect John Fought has been brought in to handle the re-model and he will change virtually every hole and every shot. Starting with the first hole, which will now be a par-4 instead of a par-5, the course will undergo a year-long project. The course will stretch to nearly 7,000 yards after the project is completed. Glaze Meadow opened in 1980 and was designed by Bunny Mason.

Fought’s plan call for the reconfiguration of some holes, addition of bunkers – giving the course a look of what golf was back in the 1920s. The course is expected to be shut down for year while the work is being done to complete the re-model and will re-open in May 2012.

Black Butte homeowners voted to approve the $3.5 million renovation plan.

Sunriver: Three championship courses get your attention
If you are seeking a variety of incredible golf courses and want to stay in one place, then Sunriver Resort is the place for you. The Meadows and Woodlands courses are both beautiful and challenging, but are often are overshadowed by the attention given to the award-winning Crosswater. Sunriver is a popular resort for families in winter and summer and has all of the activities that you would expect to find at a top resort including a spa, many dining options, a fitness center, and of course the golf. A new course called Caldera Springs has opened, located next to Crosswater, and is a perfect place for some short game practice, although there are some longer holes as well.

Crosswater: Listed among America’s Greatest 100 courses
Sunriver’s Crosswater course, designed by Bob Cupp and John Fought, is perhaps one of the most visually pleasing course you will ever come across.

The Little Deschutes River runs through the course and comes into play on many of the holes. Mount Bachelor is visible from several holes and the Deschutes River also can be seen.

The course was ranked in the top 100 Greatest in the country by Golf Digest and is ranked third in the state. The course plays 7,683 yards from the tips and has shots that force you to carry wetlands.

Widgi Creek: Back in Business
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: If you like water, this is your kind of 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: A beauty in the town of LaPine
Quail Run had always been thought of as a terrific nine-holer, but when the 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: David McLay Kidd design is a stunner
Tetherow Golf Club in Bend opened for play two 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 hilly, 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: New course has hosted Oregon Open
Brasada Ranch, located in Redmond, was designed by the team of Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hard. The course is a gem, and offers panoramic views of mountains, hillsides and the Central Oregon desert. The course has also hosted the Oregon Open, giving the course an opportunity to be seen by the top club professionals and amateurs in the Northwest. And everyone liked what they saw.

Private clubs: Private clubs are among the top in the state
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 the newest 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. The Fazio course was named one of the top 4 best new private courses by Golf Digest in 2008.

Resort golf
If you are on vacation with your family, and not everybody golfs, there are still plenty of alternatives in the Central Oregon area. From sightseeing to hiking, from swimming to tennis and river rafting, there are several resorts to experience with plenty of activities on and off the course.

• Black Butte: Located near Sisters, it has two terrific courses and loads of other activities. You can take your pick from horseback riding, tennis hiking, fishing and two fine golf courses. Major re-modeling at the Big Meadow course features new bunkers, tees . . . the works. Big plans are underway to upgrade the Glaze Meadow Course.

• Brasada Ranch: New resort in Redmond has a jewel of an 18-hole course The course is a Jim Hardy-Peter Jacobsen design effort. Brasada Ranch is owned by Jeld-Wen, which also owns Eagle Crest Resort, which sits a few miles away and is one of the top courses in the state.

• Eagle Crest Resort: Located in Redmond has expanded in recent years and has resort lodging, three golf courses and a spa. The Resort Course and Ridge Course are championship-caliber challenges and the Challenge course, though shorter, is a great way to hone your iron game. There are also plenty of outdoor activities nearby, which is great for fishermen and hunters.

• Kah-Nee-Tah Resort: Located in Warm Springs with activities for the entire family – including a European Spa. There is also a casino and a golf course on property. Unique teepee camping is popular with the kids.

• Running Y Ranch: Resort in Klamath Falls features an Arnold Palmer-design course and plenty of outdoor amenities nearby. The course is the only one that Palmer has done in the state of Oregon. The Running Y offers something for everybody. For those who love the outdoors, there is an area that offers miles of hiking and biking. Nearby wetlands are great for those who want to see birds. A year-round covered ice area gives skaters a chance to show their skills on the ice. And add in tennis, a boating basin, a canoe club and a sports and fitness center, the Running Y Ranch has it all.

• Sunriver Resort: A popular resort – in both winter and summer. It’s proximity to Mount Bachelor provides skiers with a close trip to the slopes and its three golf courses allows golfers a good selection, including the award-winning Crosswater course. Sunriver has opened its new Caldera Springs, a nine-hole course with an extensive practice area. Caldera Springs features a 400-acre residential and recreational reserve near Crosswater. The Caldera Links offers holes ranging from 70 to 170 yards while a nearby Golf Park will feature three greens and several tees for more practice. The project also involves 320 single-family homes, 45 rentable cabins as well as miles of hiking and biking.

Click for Map of Central Oregon – PDF