Best Golf Courses in Oregon

The state of Oregon is famous in the golfing world essentially for one main reason: Bandon Dunes. This golfing resort counts with the best golf courses in Oregon, and probably in all America. But apart from Bandon, there are some other gems that are worth a visit in the Beaver State. This top ten list will name a few of them, in case you are thinking of visiting Oregon and take the clubs with you. Let’s get started with it!

Best Golf Courses in (Province/State)

1. Pacific Dunes (Bandon)

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Welcome to one of the best public golf venues you could ever visit: the well-known Bandon Dunes Resort, located in the coastal city of Bandon. This facility counts with five courses, all of them conceived to make you feel a real Scottish links experience. But the one we decided to crown here is the Pacific Dunes Course, ranked by Top 100 Golf Courses as the 10th best course in the United States (public and private), after some legendary courses such as Cypress Point, Pebble Beach or Augusta National. It was opened in 2001, and designed by Tom Doak, who made a total masterpiece. The Pacific Ocean will be distracting you all the time, as you try to focus on the game while enjoying some spectacular views. The course has some other features such as the rippling greens (which Doak said to be natural formations of the ground), huge dunes and deep bunkers, with some elevation changes and the coastal wind adding some more challenge to the mix.There are great holes here, combining challenge, beauty and originality. Lots of holes could be signature ones in many courses, but we finally go for the 10th. A par 3 really difficult to focus on while you enjoy some astonishing views of the Pacific Ocean. This hole is quite punishing if not played accurately: an elevation change, the strong wind and a thick rough will make the club choice definitely deciding. Rates here are not cheap, as you may imagine. If you are not a guest from the resort, depending on the season the price ranges between $150 and $300.

2. Bandon Dunes (Bandon)

Rating: 5.0/5.0

The second place is for the homonym course of the Bandon Dunes Resort, and its original one. Opened in 1999, it was designed by the architect from Scotland David McLay Kidd. He made sure that the Scottish roots were present throughout the whole course: as its sister of Pacific Dunes, the ocean is present at all times as background and big dunes come into play in multiple holes, giving it an authentic links style. Without the possibility of using golf carts, the walkable experience gives the round a more natural and genuine golfing feeling, and the ocean, the dunes and the perfect greens and fairways will make you feel absolutely alive. Some of the best holes may be the par fours: the 4th, with a green almost melting with the Pacific; the 5th, having a breath-taking panoramic views and dunes; or the 16th. But of course, in a course of these characteristics, every hole is an absolute gem. The rates are the same as in Pacific Dunes, and as its neighbour, is always quite in demand, so make sure of calling some days (or even months) to make your reservation.

3. Old Macdonald (Bandon)

Rating: 4.8/5.0

Following the steps of Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes, is their younger brother, Old Macdonald. Its name comes from the legendary golf course architect, Charles Blair Macdonald, and their designers Tom Doak and Jim Urbina tried to keep his spirit here. For some, like Golf Digest, this is the hottest course in America right now.Opened in 2010, this course had some challenge ahead of it: competing against two of the best golf courses in the States. But the good thing is that its landscape is different from Pacific and Bandon, what gives it an alternative style for those who may want to try another thing at Bandon Dunes. Its greens are somehow more difficult to read, making it more challenging for the short game. However, this is compensated by wide forgiving fairways, which make it quite easier to reach the green. The signature hole here, the 7th, a dramatic par 4 with a deciding second shot to an uphill green, where a stunning view unveils the moment you get there.Take a look at the Bandon Dunes Resort website, where you can find each of its courses and holes, analysed one by one

4. Bear Mountain Golf & County Club

Rating: 4.7/5.0

The last Bandon Dunes course from the list is the Trails, which was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and opened in 2005. Starting on the top of a huge dune, this course offers great variety of holes, having some links-style ones, meadows and forest. The main difference from the other courses at Bandon is that the Trails doesn´t play along the ocean (although you can see it at the beginning and the end of the course).The 14th is a hole to remember: a par 4 which plays downhill and will punish the brave ones who try to reach the green from the tee shot and fail in the attempt. Apart from this one, there are two amazing par 3s: the 5th and the 17th. Some say this course is underrated in some way, and that needs to be played more than one time to fully appreciate its personality. If you are at Bandon, and want to try something different, do not hesitate to play at the Trails!

5. Pronghorn Resort – Nicklaus Course (Bend)

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Finally, we leave Bandon and its coast to reach the arid desert at Pronghorn Resort, located in the city of Bend. The resort counts with two courses, designed by two of the most renowned golf course architects: Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus. However, only the Nicklaus course is open to the public. This signature course offers a real golfing experience, easy to walk and perfectly maintained. Stop at the 12th and prepare yourself for the next stunning yet challenging four holes, with the natural landscape as backdrop, ponds, and waterfalls as decoration. The best for us, the 15th. Some other particularities of this course is the ancient lava rocks crest arising from the ground throughout the whole course, the juniper trees and some sharp canyons as landscape.Apart from the golf course, the resort offers everything you can imagine: a 5,000 square meters clubhouse, spa, dining service and accommodations. The rates may fluctuate between $100 and $200, not cheap but worth the price for most users!

6. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Ghost Creek (North Plains)

Rating: 4.5/5.0

We stop now in North Plains, a little city only half an hour from Portland, the capital of Oregon. Here we find what we think is the best public course in the area: the Ghost Creek Course of Pumpkin Ridge. Designed by Bob Cupp and opened in 1992, it hoste some Nike Tour Champinships back in the day. It has some tough holes, such as the 9th: a par 4 with bunkers that will make you aim to the left, but be careful: a huge water hazard can destroy your scorecard in a moment. This hole and the others can be checked in their website, with maps and videos of every hole.For the public guests, the amenities include a clubhouse with a grill restaurant and a pro shop.

7. Sunriver Resort – Crosswater Course (Sunriver)

Rating: 4.4/5.0

The Cascade Mountains are the background of this resort, located in the little town of Sunriver, close to Bend. This place offers the best climate of the state for playing golf: almost 300 sunny days per year.Designed by Bob Cupp and John Fought, which said to have created a more challenging course due to the existence of other two more forgiving courses in the resort (Woodlands and Meadows). Proof of this is the 17th, named “Homestead”: a killer par 3 that will punish you hardly if you go too much to the left. Other example can be the 5th (called “Little Deschutes”): a par 4 with an exigent tee shot, playing over a river and with multiple bunkers and trees that will oblige you to hit straight. Rates here range between $100 and $150, similar prices to the rest of the courses seen until now.

8. Tetherow Golf Club (Bend)

Rating: 4.3/5.0

This course was designed by the Scottish architect David McLay Kidd, creator of the Bandon Dunes original course in 1999. After that successful project, McLay Kidd decided to keep up the momentum with the design of the course at Tetherow. From the signature 6th you can visualize the beauty of this course from the elevated tee box: water hazards, multiple choices of play and contoured greens which make this course an absolute test for the most skilled players. This fact has created it some critics and enemies: Tetherow is a challenging course, and not an ego-booster at all, so it is not recommended for beginners.They have a well-designed website where you can check all the services offered in the resort, from accommodations, events and restaurants to all the sports you can play in the area, including swimming, fitness, biking and of course, golf!

9. Running Y Ranch (Klamath Falls)

Rating: 4.1/5.0

The legendary golfer Arnold Palmer designed this course, located in the southern city of Klamath Falls, almost touching the border with California. This resort offer a full experience for all the family, and the weather normally doesn’t disappoint.The course starts with some tricky first three holes, having doglegs, water hazards and bunkers, to pass on to the most beautiful holes of the course, the 4th and the 5th, the latter being the first par 3 and considered the signature one of the course.The golf rates here are more affordable than the previous courses, ranging around 50 to 100 dollars. And of course, the amenities are infinite: spa, restaurant, luxurious accommodations, bike rentals, tennis, swimming pools, horseback riding, and even a mini golf to have fun with the youngest of the family.

10. Aspen Lakes (Sisters)

Rating: 4.1/5.0

Located in the city of Sisters, only a half an hour drive from Bend, the story of Aspen Lakes Course began when the Cyrus family bought a 1000 acre land parcel next to their farm.The first 9 holes of this course were designed in 1996, and the second ones, in 1999, both of them supervised by the architect William Overdorf. He made sure that the course was built taking advantage of the magnificent landscape Central Oregon had to offer.The particularity of this course, apart from the stunning mountain views, are the red-sand bunkers: seeing that the classic sand had to be imported, they thought it would be more eco-friendly to use their own, so they started crushing the red cinder that emerged naturally on their property. This red colour contrasts beautifully with the greenish grass, the blue sky and the snowed Three Sisters Mountains, creating an incredible golf paradise.This course is also the cheapest of the list, with rates oscillating between $30 and $80. Also the dress code is less strict than other courses, allowing to play with denim trousers.

Wrap up

As we have seen, Oregon has some of the most incredible public golf venues in The United States. We absolutely recommend to pay a visit to Bandon Dunes before anything else, but if not possible, any other from the list will also get your golf blood running. Have fun and let us know how it went!

Author: Abraham

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