The Oregon Golf Club is a modern entry to the Portland area’s fine collection of private clubs, designed by one of the area’s most celebrated golfers: seven-time PGA Tour winner Pete Jacobsen. Either he or the founders of the club were well-attuned to the geography of the region but either way, the course manages to fit in many of the area’s signature features across its 7,000 yards.
The club is located in Oregon’s wine country, and a number of wineries surround the property. During several holes on the front nine, “out of bounds left” will be in the form of vineyards. Who knows what accents a TaylorMade TP5 brings to a cabernet sauvignon? Aim right so you don’t find out! The paucity of vineyards owe their existence to the Willamette River, which wanders past the eastern border of the property, and serves as a scenic backdrop for several of the holes on the back nine in particular.
This back nine also brings into play the region’s ponderosa pines, which serve as fairway corridors on some of these holes. They’re beautiful and fragrant but, like the aforementioned vineyards, better seen and not played into.
The bright spotlight caused by the magnificent cluster of courses in Bandon not only casts shadows over other layouts in the USA but truly impacts the roster of quality layouts found in the Beaver State.
Case in point -- Oregon Golf Club.
I have played the course on a few occasions over the years -- often on my way to Bandon. The comments provided by Jack are quite accurate,
The main downside for Oregon GC is how the routing is used for such a hilly piece of terrain. A good example being the awkward nature of the 1st hole. Climbing upwards for each of it 500+ yards the hole is an unrelenting slog for most players. The good news is that such a hole is gotten out of the way from the get-go.
The rest of the outward side then provided a quality mixture of holes. As Jack rightly pointed out the nature of the terrain makes for ongoing changing lies. The only assured level areas is the teeing grounds. After that it's more than likely you will encounter the full gambit of outcomes and players need to be prepared to make adjustments constantly given that assured reality.
The key to scoring rests on being able to place one's tee shots in the prime area for one's approach play. Being out of position only adds to the pressure in being able to find the lowest possible score.
Jack mentioned the qualities of the final three holes on the front -- most notably with the approach at the demanding 9th. They are all fun to play and worthy challenges.
The inward side starts with a daring drive option at the dog-leg right 10th. The rest of the nine has towering pines serving as one's fairway border -- fortunately -- these pines are not placed in a suffocating manner as one finds at Sahalee.
Shaping tee shots is a mandatory skillset one must have on holes 14-16.
The closing hole at 449 yards is a rigorous test. One drives over a barranca and then the approach is played to an elevated target that mandates proper club selection. A pesky creek awaits any hapless plays to the left. For some the climb to the green may be a most demanding chore.
When a course is located on a difficult site it's more than likely you will get a few holes that are off putting. Oregon GC has a few of these but they constitute a minor deviation from the bulk of the other holes which are very good. Abruptly hilly sites face hard choices for any architect to ponder and often many architects will pass on doing work on them for that reason.
Jack's comments on turf quality is spot on. To my amazement when I have mentioned Oregon GC to people who have been to the State on more than a few occasions -- usually in their quest to get to Bandon -- they usually never mention Oregon GC. That' too bad. No question the caliber of courses in Oregon is far deeper than it was prior to the emergence of Bandon. Oregon GC is worth checking out if the opportunity arises. Not everything there resonates at a supreme high level but there's certainly enough present to savor.
M. James Ward
Truly one of the best private golf experiences in the Portland Metro Area. The Oregon Golf Club is an exclusive private club located just South of Portland in West Linn, OR. With the course seemingly built into the side of a hill, vast views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding area are available throughout. The course is kept in impeccable conditions year-round, even wet Oregon winters. The greens are some of the fastest in the Portland area, running true. The Tee boxes and fairways are kept in great shape as well. The one major defining characteristic of the course is elevation change, you will find yourself rarely striking the ball off of flat ground. Uneven lies are the name of the game here.
The front nine begins with an uphill Par 5 to the highest point on the property. Holes 2 and 3 dogleg right and left respectively. Holes 7, 8 and 9 are some of the most unique golf holes one could play. The tee shot on 7 drops over 100' down to a fairway moving hard right, with the inside of the dogleg being protected by a lake. Second shots that go through the fairway must be hit towards a fairway and green sloping towards the water hazard. Hole 8 is a mid-length Par 3 with an elevated tee box. Most players will have to hit a long iron into a small, narrow green, with a small creek running down the entire right side of the hole. The front 9 finishes with an uphill Par 4 that doglegs to the left. Longer hitters can try and cut the corner here, and may lead to a bling second shot into an elevated green. A miss to the right off the tee will roll down towards the lake that surround this trio of holes.
The back nine begins with another unique, driveable Par 4 that travels downhill to the right. After hole 10, the golf course becomes more of a traditional parkland course, with tree-lined holes. The signature hole at OGC is the Par 3 12th (see pictured). With massive scale, you must hit your shot over a deep ravine to a shallow green guarded by bunkers on the front and back. The rest of the back 9 snakes through old-growth pine trees, and plays much longer than the more open front 9. Fairway bunkers and creeks are the main defense of OGC on the back 9. Possibly the most difficult hole on the course is the Hole 18 finisher. A 449 yard Par 4 from the tips, your elevated tee shot must carry around 200 yards over a large berranca. This will leave an uphill shot into the green. The aforementioned creek runs down the whole left side of the hole.
With a course rating of 75.8 and slope rating of 153, The Oregon Golf Club is a great test of golf. The unique layout may not suit the traditionalists, but the course has plenty of challenge, as well as playability. I always find myself looking forward to my next round there. If anyone has the opportunity to play the course with a member, I would encourage them to jump on it.