Columbia Edgewater Country Club was designed by Dublin-born Vernon Macan, who became one of the Pacific Northwest’s most prolific architects of the Golden Age of golf course design. His first, and perhaps most celebrated design, was at Royal Colwood in British Columbia but his creation at Columbia Edgewater, laid out in 1925, is not far behind.
In addition to the Macan course, Columbia Edgewater has a 9-hole pitch-and-putt course called the Mason – designed by Bunny Mason, the head golf professional at Columbia Edgewater from 1960-1972 – but it’s the Macan course that everyone wants to play.
Used as a qualifying course when the US Open was held at Pebble Beach in 2010, Columbia Edgewater has its own rich tournament history, hosting numerous PGA and LPGA Tour events since the club’s inception in 1925. Billy Casper and Jack Nicklaus won the Portland Open Invitational here in the 1960s, during a period when both players each won the event three times.
Macan routed Columbia Edgewater in two distinct loops, the front nine spirals in anti-clockwise direction in the central section of the property, while the back nine takes a clockwise route on the outer part of the land. This routing points the holes in all compass directions ensuring that fickle winds, which funnel down the Columbia River, play havoc with club selection.
Last summer I had the pleasure of a visit to Columbia Edgewater. This parkland course runs along the Columbia River which dissects Oregon and Washington. It’s hosted several large professional tournaments in the past and is seen as a strong championships layout.
It’s very much a classic parkland course with holes that are treelined on both sides. The fairways are fairly narrow and often there is really only one way to play the holes, that is if you want to have a positive outcome. Hitting out of position off the tee will often require a chip back to the fairway. As many treelined courses you often have to shape the ball off the tee or hit to a distance that doesn’t require this.
At one point I believe this course was easily in the Top 10 in Oregon but golf has grown tremendously here in the last 20 years and I’m not sure if I’d include this layout among my elites in the state.
One thing is for sure, it’s a solid test of golf.