Portland Golf Club’s rich history, turns 110 years old in 2024

Updated: April 30, 2024

By Greg Loper, Special to Inside Golf

Since its establishment in 1914, Portland Golf Club has hung its hat on tradition, excellence, and community, shaping the landscape of golf in the Pacific Northwest. Situated in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood of Portland, Portland Golf Club boasts a rich history dating back over a century. The club has evolved from humble beginnings into one of the premier private clubs in the Pacific Northwest, characterized by its lush fairways and picturesque surroundings.

    The origins of Portland Golf Club trace back to a group of golf enthusiasts who sought to create a space where they could indulge their passion for the sport. Led by visionary individuals such as Edgar P. Warren and John G. Teal, the club was officially founded in 1914 with a modest nine-hole course. Over the years, the club steadily expanded its facilities and improved its course, attracting a growing membership eager to partake in the joys of golfing amidst Oregon’s natural beauty.

    In the early decades of its existence, Portland Golf Club underwent several transformations to meet the evolving needs and preferences of its members. In 1922, the renowned golf course architect A.V. Macan was enlisted to redesign the layout, resulting in a more challenging and aesthetically pleasing course that garnered acclaim from players of all skill levels. Macan’s design principles emphasized the integration of natural elements and strategic shot-making.

    Portland Golf Club – 1947 Ryder Cup. Throughout its history, the club has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments and events that have left an indelible mark on the world of golf. In 1946, Portland Golf Club had the honor of hosting the PGA Championship (won by Ben Hogan, pictured above), marking a significant milestone in its journey to prominence within the golfing community. Subsequent years saw the club continue to attract top-tier competitions including the 1947 Ryder Cup, the first competition between the USA and Great Britain since WWII.

    A litany of winners in tournaments on the course included Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Kathy Whitworth, Donna Caponi Young, and Nancy Lopez. The last major PGA Tour event held at the course, before the PGA required courses to have longer tracks to host PGA Tour events, happened in 1965.

    Portland Golf Club has played a vital role in fostering a sense of camaraderie and community among its members. The club’s facilities, which include a clubhouse, pro shop, and practice areas, serve as gathering points where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to share their love for the game. Whether enjoying a round of golf or participating in social events and tournaments, members of Portland Golf Club have forged lasting friendships and created cherished memories amidst the tranquil surroundings of the course.

    As the years have passed, Portland Golf Club has remained committed to preserving its storied heritage while embracing innovation and progress. Ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance the course ensure that it continues to provide a world-class golfing experience for generations to come. Additionally, the club’s dedication to environmental stewardship underscores its commitment to sustainability and the preservation of Oregon’s natural splendor.

    Portland Golf Club’s storied history and significance extend beyond its immaculate fairways and prestigious tournaments. In recognition of its cultural and architectural importance, the Portland Golf Clubhouse and Golf Course was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2023. This honor cemented its status as a cherished landmark in the Pacific Northwest and underscores the club’s enduring legacy and commitment to preserving its heritage for generations to come. As it looks towards the future, the club stands poised to build upon its legacy and continue enriching the lives of golf enthusiasts for years to come.