Oregon and golf go way back. All the way back to 1904, in fact. 1904 was the year of the first Oregon Amateur Championship, organised by the Oregon Golf Association (OGA), which today has 40,000 individual members and continues to run the event. Since then, Oregon’s most notable golfing achievement was the 2016 NCAA Men’s Gold Championship, won by the Oregon Ducks’ Sulman Raza who hails from Eugene himself.
It was a home victory for the state and brought the spotlight to some of the golf courses in Oregon, the best of which we have put in this guide. There is some tough competition when it comes to picking the best golf course in Oregon, as courses like Stone Creek Golf Club, Sunset Bay, OGA and the Pronghorn Resort provide a great golfing experience.
A whole cocktail of factors have gone into picking the best golf courses in Oregon, including the eye candy of the landscape, the course structure itself and that all-important clubhouse as well as value for money and the prestige of the course. So, here they are…
Pacific Dunes was the second course built at the Bandon Dunes Resort, pioneered by Tom Doak and opened in 2001.
Being on the ocean front, it has beautiful views and rests beside 60-foot dunes, providing a spectacular landscape on which to play. The layout of the course doesn’t exactly match the grandeur of the views, but it is still special. At 6,660 yards, the course isn’t too long, but the par is set at 71 and provides a challenge for players, especially when the wind is up.
The 16th hole is a par-4 and is situated on a rippled fairway with gorgeous sloping green. It’s a challenge and is definitely the star hole of the course. In terms of value for money, the Pacific Dunes course is subjective. The park green fee is almost $300, yet the course cost $3 million to create, meaning you are paying, in part, for the Bandon Dunes name. Value for money, then, is down to your own personal values.
Bandon Golf Resort
Bandon Golf Resort is one of the most prestigious in the whole of the USA – and its location, right on the coast of the Pacific, justifies that. Bandon may have been criticised by President Trump recently, but it is a pioneer of golfing in Oregon, with five varied courses in total.
The views at all five of Bandon’s courses give Scotland a run for its money and the layout of each course does too. Some are more challenging and scenic than others, but all are different, which is vital if you’re looking for value for money. Bandon came first in Gold Digest’s Best Resorts, has a huge clubhouse with a golf shop on the lower floor and a panoramic view of the Pacific Dunes on the upper, further adding to the value for money. In the summer as a day guest, you’ll pay between $295 and $325, but for access to all five courses in this Oregon beauty, there is a case for Bandon being worth all the money.
Old Macdonald is part of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and was designed by a team of skilled professionals, including Tom Doak and Mike Kieser, paying homage to Charles Blair Macdonad.
Situated on the cliffs along the ocean coast, Old Mcdonald provides vistas of a fairytale kind: a green expanse, sharp cliffs and the fresh ocean make it a special place to golf. The layout of the course does this too, demanding a variety of angles and beginning with a par-4 hole twinned with a ‘wide’ fairway (watch out for the bunkers close by).
Hole six is the star of Old Macdonald’s show, being the longest and directly guided by the summer wind, it’s challenging at a par-5 and needs three well-played shots to make it safely home. In terms of value for money, Old Macdonald is worth it for the sheer experience and the test of confidence it makes any golfer – novice or not – participate in.
Ranked at par-71 and 6,759 yards, Bandon Trails is the lowest ranked of the five courses at Bandon, but still makes it onto America’s 100 Greatest.
There is a very different feel and view on Bandon Trails, largely because it is not situated exactly on the coast and instead lies between dunes and a rough, grassy landscape. The dunes play a large role in the landscape of the course and accounts for the geographical challenge of the course, which is also incorporates the Oregon forest as well as its star hole, the 14th short par-4 where the angle is everything on the smallest green of the course.
Value for money on the Bandon Trails, part of the Bandon Dunes Resort, depends on your level of golfing expertise and goals. It’s great for novices but not so much for those who like a serious challenge. There are better courses, but Bandon Trails is still up there with the best golf courses in Oregon.
Running Y Ranch Golf Resort
Designed by Arnold Palmer, making it one of his “sweet 16”, the Running Y Ranch Golf Resort is prestigious, challenging and situated on a very lovely landscape too.
The vista here is beautiful as the Payne Canyon rests in the background, woodland surrounds and dramatic green slopes frame the course. There is a water element to contend with on this course which runs between parts of the course and on it, adding complexity to the game’s structure immediately.
The Running Y Ranch course has a 73.1 rating and 18 challenging holes, all of which are at difficult angles and all stand out as stars, really. Value for money is at its optimum here as the highest price you’ll pay is if you’re a member of the public during the peak season, which will cost you $115. For a hard course designed by one of the best golfer’s in history, the Running Y Ranch may well be the best golf course in Oregon – and it is certainly deserving of being treated like it.