Oregon’s headlines are more frequently full of headlines that suggest the federal government is less than willing to share its land with municipalities...the history of Juniper Golf Course suggests otherwise. With an oncoming interstate project threatening the existing municipal club in Redford, the town purchased a swathe of federal land and brought in John Harbottle III to create the current layout.
The course features a fine display of routing, squeezing nearly 7,200 yards of course into a relatively compact piece of property. That Harbottle found a way to allow parallel fairways to breathe is a testament to this. For those not wanting the professional length option (this is a municipal, after all), six other sets of tees promise more playable yardages.
The town is located just north of the popular tourist destination of Bend, which now hosts numerous acclaimed golf facilities, including the Pronghorn Resort and Tetherow (One could argue that Juniper was well ahead of the curve in this regard). As with these properties, Juniper features the terrain and visual appeal of the Oregon “high desert” biome.
The immediate Bend area has some of the finest summer weather in all of the United States. Golf course development clearly became a hot topic during the 1990s and the overall golf product in the area has centered around a few facilities of note such as Pronghorn, Tetherow, Crosswater, etc, etc. The public side also received a boost and one of the more undervalued layouts is in nearby Redmond -- roughly 17 miles north of Bend.
Juniper is the handiwork of the late John Harbottle. The golf course architect had produced a number of interesting layouts -- mainly in the west with the likes of Palouse Ridge in Pullman, WA, and Genoa Lakes and the Challenge Course at Arrowcreek in NV, to name just three. Sadly, John suffered a fatal heart attack at age 53 in 2012 when traveling between course visits and is no longer with us.
Harbottle's effort at Juniper is very good and provides sufficient elasticity to fit the program for a wide range of golfers. The countryside of central Oregon is a big part of the agenda when playing the course. You don't have the clutter or interference to take away from the golf. You can inhale the qualities of what being in this part of Oregon is all about.
The facility is also smartly priced -- being a bit removed from the immediate Bend area has proven to be an attractive way to bring golfers there.
The routing at Juniper is constantly changing -- maxing out all the element of the property. Harbottle's keen sense in shot making diversity can be seen with the range of holes -- from the risk/reward driveable par-4 12th to lengthier par-4 holes sprinkled about and featuring a good contrast in back-to-back par-5 holes at the 6th and 7th holes respectively. Harbottle also included a range of different greens -- varying in configuration and quite vexing with an array of baffling internal movements.
M. James Ward