Road Holes — 04 January 2013 by Bob Sherwin
Top Five: Central Oregon

Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices. continues its annual assessment of the Top Five courses to play within 12 West Coast states and British Columbia. Today, the 25-part series focuses on: Central Oregon.



DIRECTIONS FROM BEND: Head southeast on NW Wall St. Right on NW Colorado Ave., which turns into SW Colorado Ave. after traffic circle. Take third exit onto SW Century Rd. Turn right on Skyline Ranch Rd. Course is on the right.

PHONE: 866-234-4848

OPENED: 2008 (Architect: David McLay Kidd)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site:

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,298 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: This is semi-private so it’s a little more difficult to get on. The public can play at certain times and days – at a higher rate. It’s worth it because there may not be a tougher test of golf in the Pacific Northwest.

The course, with the image of the Scottish highlands in mind, is up and down with tough bunkers, uneven lies, plenty of waste areas and lots of roll. It’s wonderfully maintained. Fore-caddies are part of the package and they are needed for direction, distance and local knowledge.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 17, par-3, 182 yards. You hit directly into a pumice rock quarry with a 2,500-square-foot green.



DIRECTIONS FROM BEND: Take Hwy 20 east and turn left on Powell Butte Hwy. Turn left onto Pronghorn Club Dr. Follow road to clubhouse. The resort is 18 miles from downtown Bend.

PHONE: 800-541-9424


Pronghorn, Nicklaus course

OPENED: 2004 (Nicklaus course); 2006 (Fazio course)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site:

LAYOUT: (Nicklaus) Par 71, 7,460 yards (four tee positions); (Fazio) Par 71, 7,462 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Like Tetherow, these courses also are semi-private but the public can find ways to get on these courses, albeit at a higher rate.

You are at 3,200 feet above sea level so the ball will fly farther and roll longer. They are designed to play like desert courses. You’ll see lava rock and granite outcropping throughout the complex. Nine Snow-capped peaks are in the distance.

SIGNATURE HOLE: (Nicklaus) No. 8, par-5, 625 yards. You get no breaks here. Not only is it exceeding long, but there is water along most of the fairway to the hole. The smallish green is protected by water and traps in front right and behind. (Fazio) No. 18, par-5, 566 yards. What a finish. It’s a slight dogleg left on your tee shot before all the trouble starts. Water on the left side will be a factor on your second and/or third shot. The fairway narrows considerably as you approach the green, making accuracy paramount. There’s a long trap on the left, with water behind, and a small bunker on the right.


LOCATION: Sisters, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM SISTERS: Take US-20 seven miles to Hawks Beard Rd. Take a left and go two miles. Course is on the left.


Big Meadow

PHONE: 866-901-2961

OPENED: 1972 (Architect: Robert Muir Graves)

GREEN FEES:Rates vary, check the web site:

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,002 yards (four tee positions);

LOWDOWN: This is a mature course that has all the natural Oregon amenities, lakes, meadows, tall firs, within a valley surrounded by the Central Oregon mountain range. It’s a great walk and reasonably priced considering all the higher-greens-fee resorts in the area.

Glaze Meadow is a sister course and it underwent $3.75 million in renovations and re-opened this past spring to media praise. Glaze Meadow is a par 72, 7,079-yard course.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 14, par-4, 401 yards. A most photographic hole, from the tee and fairway you have a dramatic view of the jagged Three Fingered Jack peak above the forest. Beware of the bunkers – everywhere – along with fairway landing areas and protecting the green.




Lost Tracks

DIRECTIONS FROM BEND: Go south from Bend on Hwy 97 and take the Knott Rd. exit. Head east for about 1 ½ miles. Turn right on China Hat Rd. The course is on the right.

PHONE: 541-385-1818

OPENED: 1996 (Architect: Brian Whitcomb)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site:

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,003 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: With snow-capped peaks all around, this is indeed an unspoiled walk. There are several greens out on land spits with water carries.

There are few structures that border the course because it is adjacent to a national forest. It’s a quiet getaway amid the tall pines and still water.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 9, par-5, 573 yards. To begin with, it’s a severe dogleg left, not easy for draw-less right-handers. But what’s fun about it is you can cut some of the distance on your second shot by hitting over water and/or a waste area toward the green.


LOCATION: Sisters, Or.


Aspen Lakes

DIRECTIONS FROM BEND: Take Hwy 20 west to Hwy 126. Take a left at Camp Polk Dr. and right on Aspen Lakes Rd. It’s ends at the course.

PHONE: 541-549-4653

OPENED: 2000 (Architect: William Overdorf)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site:

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,302 (three tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Beautiful layout, especially with the backdrop of the peaks all around. The designers took great pains to carve the course with care and consideration to the natural elements, including red cinders that make up the bunker material. The course is enrolled in the Audubon Signature Sanctuary Program.

When the course opened, it was recognized as one of the country’s Best New Affordable courses by Golf Digest. Brainstorm Magazine ranked Aspen Lakes second in the Northwest for Best Overall Experience.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 3, par-5, 606 yards. Success on this hole all depends on your tee shot. Too short and you end up behind trees on this dogleg left. Too long and you could be in the trees. There is a narrow fairway opening for your second shot but you then have to hit over a small creek. The green is protected by a series of bunkers on the left and water to the right.

– Bob Sherwin

TOMORROW: Oregon/Portland

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About Author

Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 53rd year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 19 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for Cascade Golfer Magazine and Destination Golfer. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle.

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