Portland Golf Club was founded back in 1913 and nine holes on the present site opened for play in 1914. A few years later, club professional George Turnbull added a further nine holes. Subsequently Portland has received numerous makeovers, including one from Robert Trent Jones who is attributed today as Portland’s course designer.
Ben Hogan claimed his first Major title here at Portland Golf Club, winning the 1946 PGA Championship. The following year the club played host to the Ryder Cup that nearly didn’t happen but resulted in a comfortable win for the USA team. Numerous other important events, including the U.S. Senior Open (won by Miller Barber) and the 2015 U.S. Women's Amateur (won by Hannah O'Sullivan) have been hosted at Portland, but the club is rarely billed alongside other historic golfing venues.
Measuring a modest 6,700 yards from the back tees, the parkland Portland is not the longest course in the Beaver State but it’s still a challenging test which demands attention right from the off. The opener is a tough par four which requires an accurate tee shot that must avoid the avenue of trees to set up a mid-iron approach to a shallow, well-defended green. There’s no letup at the plus 400-yard 2nd, where the elevated tee shot provides a clear view of the task at hand. This was once voted among the best 18 holes in Oregon by The Oregonian newspaper.
Portland’s most picturesque hole is the short par four 7th called Bristol – so called as it was funded and designed by Henry Bristol. The 350-yard hole features a lake, which cuts in front of the green. The lake was dredged from former swampland by horses in the 1920s and is perhaps the most memorable hole at Portland Golf Club.
Recently had the pleasure of visit one of the premier private clubs in Portland, Oregon. the Portland Golf Club. Set in the hills of Northwest Portland this club was the host of the 1946 PGA Championships won by Ben Hogan and the 1947 Ryder Cup won by the USA 11-1 in a rainy Pacific Northwest mud-fest!
Portland Golf Club is one of these perfectly manicured private parkland courses that gives you the feeling you are walking through some beautiful garden. We played it on a simply perfect fall day (felt like summer to me). Course was playing surprising firm though it was very green and lush.
Most fairways are lined with huge trees right out of PNW forest and while I think removal of many of these trees would ad greatly to the quality of the course I can't say that it feels too narrow or unfair off the tees. It would however, be tough to play a complete round here (unless you are extremely straight) without finding your self having to hit recovery shots around or from under trees. In most cases this is possible since the bottoms of the trees have been cut away and are maintained pretty well.
The terrain is rolling forest with significant elevation changes and that makes for a lot of exciting shots, some highly elevated tee shots and other steep uphill approaches which are very interesting. In true parkland form there are various ponds to navigate, some more for decoration for good players, others challenging your peripheral vision and other simply right in play.
The course also has a fun mix of short and long holes including a few reachable par 5's.
All in all a great day out especially when the course is playing firm and a wonderful course to be a member of. Though I'd be pulling for serious tree removal, as that's what's needed to have the course reach its full potential.