A Golf Get­away So Close To Home

Golf Today Northwest - - News - Byy DE­STON NOKES

The sharp, sweet scent of pine trees and the snow-tipped peaks of the Cas­cade Moun­tain Range com­bine to pro­vide a glo­ri­ous back­drop for a per­fect golf get­away in Cen­tral Ore­gon. With 300 days of sun­shine, the high-desert cli­mate nur­tures rolling fair­ways and fast greens. Call me crazy, but the ball just seems to fly far­ther there. Ac­cord­ing to Ted Tay­lor at Visit Cen­tral Ore­gon, there are more than two-dozen cour­ses on the Cen­tral Ore­gon Golf Trail in the Bend and Sun­river area — with three award-win­ning golf cour­ses ranked among the Top 100 public cour­ses in the na­tion. “I think the great­est selling point is the di­ver­sity of the cour­ses,” Tay­lor said. “You have ev­ery­thing from the Scot­tish links-style course at Tetherow, to play­ing through the mid­dle of an an­cient ju­niper for­est at Pronghorn.” Lo­cated just a few hours away from Port­land or Eugene (and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by air from most ma­jor western cities), Bend is a per­fect des­ti­na­tion ei­ther for you and your sweet­heart, your fa­vorite group of mates, or your whole fam­ily. Even if the other mem­bers in your party don't golf, Bend's has a won­der­land of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to keep them en­ter­tained. While you play, they can be swim­ming, cy­cling, white­wa­ter raft­ing, horse­back rid­ing, fly fish­ing or hik­ing. Plus, af­ter a full day, ev­ery­one can look for­ward to a wealth of top-notch restau­rants and nearly 30 brew­pubs. Here are some of the re­sorts of­fer­ing the finest in Cen­tral Ore­gon golf:


Pronghorn Re­sort is an ideal, up­scale ro­man­tic break from the usual. Lo­cated in Bend, Ore­gon, this ex­clu­sive golf com­mu­nity in­cludes two world-class cour­ses: the pri­vate Tom Fazio course and the Jack Nick­laus Sig­na­ture course, the lat­ter voted #36 in the coun­try among cour­ses you can play. While the Fazio course is sloped to help play­ers reach the green, the Nick­laus course of­fers no such con­ces­sion.

“We try to en­sure a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence, from when you ar­rive to when you leave,” ex­plained Mark Meyer, Pronghorn's first as­sis­tant pro. “We pro­vide out­stand­ing ser­vice from the bag drop to the tee, and then hav­ing a Pronghorn caddy help you on your round. We even greet play­ers on the 18th with a snack or de­li­cious bev­er­age.” If you want to sharpen your game, Pronghorn Academy of­fers a high-tech smor­gas­bord of tech­ni­cal wiz­ardry. Led by di­rec­tor Tom Van­haar­ren, the academy has a three-bay in­door hit­ting fa­cil­ity with GEARS 3D, JC Video and Flightscope tech­nol­ogy. For play­ers who want to try some­thing new, Pronghorn rents Golf­boards and golf bikes. The re­sort is also build­ing a new lodge with 104 rooms, which is slated to open in 2018. Nearby, the Deschutes River is renowned for white­wa­ter raft­ing and kayak­ing, with hair-rais­ing rapids and rugged scenery. Hik­ers can walk around or climb the craggy spires of Smith Rock or trek along the world's largest ob­sid­ian flow at New­berry Vol­canic Mon­u­ment. Green fees on­line are $210 to $100. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 541-693-5365.


Black Butte Ranch epit­o­mizes a fun, out­doors fam­ily ex­pe­ri­ence. In ad­di­tion to golf, it fea­tures horse­back rid­ing, arts and crafts shows, 22 ten­nis courts, raft­ing, 16 miles of bi­cy­cle paths and fly fish­ing on­site. It also has five pool com­plexes, so when you sneak off for a round of golf, you know your fam­ily will be hap­pily splash­ing with their new friends. For the golfer, Black Butte has two cour­ses. Glaze Meadow un­der­went a $3.75 mil­lion makeover in 2012 by ar­chi­tect John Fought, and was named the best ren­o­va­tion in the na­tion in 2014. “It was done in ‘Golden Age of Golf' ar­chi­tec­ture,” said Jeff Fought, Black Butte's di­rec­tor of golf and brother of the ar­chi­tect. “It has sod roll bunkers, square tee boxes and some tree trimming re­vealed views that have not been seen in decades.” An­gled fair­ways and el­e­va­tion shifts re­quire sure shots to stay in play. The greens rest on lava rock, which makes them faster. Big Meadow is dif­fer­ent with a land­scape arch from the 1970s, Fought said. De­signed by Robert Muir Graves, this moun­tain course al­lows play­ers to be a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive with their driv­ers. But there are plenty of bunkers around the greens to be­devil care­less ap­proaches. On the 14th

hole, golfers will find them­selves agape in the shadow of Three Fin­gered Jack peak. Both cour­ses are em­i­nently walk­a­ble, but golf carts and Golf­boards are avail­able to keep play­ers zip­ping along. Green fees are $79 at the high, but twi­light fees drop to $49. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 541-595-1292.


Tetherow hired David Mclay Kidd, the ar­chi­tect be­hind Ban­don Dunes, to cre­ate its stel­lar, Scot­tish links-style course golf course. Most links-style cour­ses are lo­cated on coasts, but the fes­cue grass mix­ture in this high-desert cli­mate al­lows for firm and fast play. To keep it re­gional, even its bunker sand is from the Ore­gon coastal town of Florence. The course has been lav­ished with ac­co­lades as a best new course from nu­mer­ous golf pub­li­ca­tions and it is ranked No. 63 of “Best Cour­ses you can Play” for 2017-2018. Ac­cord­ing to Ted Tay­lor, Tetherow was also the first club to fea­ture a fleet of Golf­boards, which are es­sen­tially 4WD skate­boards with a place to hold your bag. For an ex­tra $20, this is the place to give it a try. Tetherow re­cently trans­formed it­self into a des­ti­na­tion re­sort, by build­ing lodg­ing in 2014. It fea­tures a new pool and fitness cen­ter, meet­ing space and a huge event space. Some of the no­table ad­di­tions are free gui­tars for rent (acous­tic, please) and a place to plug in your Tesla. The sum­mer green fee is $175, $100 for re­sort guests and lo­cals can play for $110 af­ter 1:40 p.m. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 877-298-2582.


Lo­cated just 15 miles south of Bend, Sun­river is a fa­vorite of golfers and fam­i­lies alike. Sun­river Re­sort's 63 holes of cham­pi­onship golf are ringed by Mt. Bach­e­lor, Mt. Jef­fer­son, Three Sis­ters, Bro­ken Top and other peaks – in­spir­ing golfers to lean on their clubs, pause and gaze at na­ture's mag­nif­i­cence. Sun­river has four ac­claimed cour­ses, two of them public: Mead­ows, de­signed by John Fought, has seven of its 18 holes hug­ging a lazy river; and The Wood­lands by Robert Trent Jones, where the wa­ter and lava rock out­crop­pings re­ward ac­cu­racy. Sun­river's Cross­wa­ter course was de­signed by Bob Cupp and built within a wet­lands. In fact, golfers could end up

cross­ing the Deschutes and Lit­tle Deschutes rivers seven times. This is clearly a course that re­quires one's A game. This hacker lost a healthy num­ber of balls into the drink, but the panoramic moun­tain views made it all worth­while. Next door is Caldera Links, an­other Bob Cupp-de­signed, fam­ily-friendly, nine-hole course per­fect for a quick, fun round. “You haven't played golf un­til you've done it in bare feet, three clubs in one hand and beer in the other,” one fan told me. “You can play this lit­tle par-three course in just an hour and a half. It's just won­der­ful.” Fam­i­lies love stay­ing at Sun­river be­cause it's a self-con­tained re­cre­ational com­mu­nity. It has 35 miles of paved bi­cy­cle paths run­ning along­side paved, pon­derosa pine-lined streets. The re­sort has a warm, rus­tic am­biance with­out sac­ri­fic­ing com­fort or qual­ity. Sun­river has an out­door mall, which is a mag­net for teens. It has a full gro­cery store, an old-fash­ioned soda foun­tain, a tasty Ital­ian restau­rant (Mar­cello's) and shops where va­ca­tion­ers can rent gear for all types of out­doors ac­tiv­ity. For those who en­joy ten­nis, there are 28 courts, so there's al­most never a wait. There are four swim­ming pools, a sta­ble for horse­back rid­ing, and a ma­rina for launch­ing all kinds of wa­ter ves­sels. The re­sort con­ducts guided trips on the Deschutes River through classthree rapids, or peo­ple can rent ca­noes and kayaks for a nearby, leisurely, six-mile float. Plus, fly fish­er­men will revel in the river's sweet cast­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. All eyes will be on Sun­river this fall as it hosts the 2017 Pa­cific Am­a­teur Golf Clas­sic on Sept. 23-28. This is the 21st year of the an­nual tour­na­ment, which of­fers di­vi­sions for golfers of ev­ery skill level in­clud­ing: the Open/gross Divi­sion for golfers look­ing to play with­out hand­i­caps and mul­ti­ple Com­pet­i­tive Net Di­vi­sions sep­a­rated by age (men, se­nior men, mid-se­nior, su­per se­nior and women). There's even a Non­com­pet­i­tive Divi­sion for the golfer who just wants to have fun and ex­peri­ex­peri ence Sun­river's Cross­wa­ter Course. Golf fees vary de­pend­ing on the course. To book a time or for more in­for­ma­tion, call 541-593-4402.

Photo Courtesy Tetherow Golf Course

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