Established as a logging town by early settlers in the early 1900s, Bend has evolved into a modern recreational centre for many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, rafting and, of course, golf.
The town is situated on the eastern side of the Cascade Range at an old crossing point of the Deschutes River and the two exclusive 18-hole courses at Pronghorn lie within a beautiful 640-acre rustic residential development just to the north east of here.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature course was first to open in 2004 and it was joined four years later by a Pronghorn Fazio-designed layout, giving the developers every reason to boast about Pronghorn being the premier golf community in the Pacific Northwest.
With a stunning backdrop of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, and Three Sisters, both sets of fairways are routed over a landscape dotted with lava rock outcroppings that are brilliantly incorporated into the design.
The Nicklaus course presents a stern challenge, none more so than at the long, uphill par four 6th hole, where a blind approach is played to a green tucked in behind a large mound. The signature hole is the uphill 15th, a 543-yard five par. The main prize, apart from hopefully securing a score of five, is the unobstructed mountain views of Three Sisters from the green.
The Pronghorn Resort is located outside the bustling town of Bend in Central Oregon. Named after the long horned antelope that range the property Pronghorn has a unique setting. This particular part of the high desert in Central Oregon has a vast lava base, and is home to the second biggest forest of Juniper trees in the world.
Throw in a dry sandy base with sagebrush at every turn, and snow capped mountains as a backdrop- and you have a stunning location for outdoor activities, including golf, skiiing, bike riding and fishing.
Pronghorn opened in 2004 when Jack Nicklaus completed the appropriately named Nicklaus course. Two years later the Fazio course opened. It is a handy combo!
Although there is not a lot of elevation change on the property Jack has maintained the interest and challenge with strategically placed bunkering dominating the lines of play.
The green contours are not excessive, but there are a number of pin positions throughout the round that can trap the unwary and leave little scope for error
The courses is beautifully manicured, and a joy to play, and has some all world moments- holes you just won't ever forget... It is also challenging enough to test any golfer
Notable holes include:
- the par 5 eighth hole with water running the length of the hole
- the undulating short par 4 twelfth hole, the start of a wonderful run of holes
- the short par 4 thirteenth hole around the lake with a rocky cliff and waterfall as background
- the par 3 fourteenth hole with snow capped mountain as a backdrop
- the long and winding road of the par 5 fifteenth
With two quality courses and terrific facilties, Pronghorn Resort is a one of the premier golf destinations on the west coast. And the Nicklaus course is world class!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.