1100 South East Waverly Drive,
Oregon (OR) 97222,
- +1 503 654 6521
6 miles S of Portland city centre
Members and their guests only
Chandler Egan, Gil Hanse
It’s reckoned that when Waverley Country Club was founded in 1896, it was only the second private golf club established west of the Mississippi River. Chandler Egan redesigned and improved the layout soon after he became an honorary member in 1913 and Gil Hanse has been advising the club since drafting a restoration master plan at the start of the new millennium.
Since Hanse’s involvement, hundreds of trees
have been felled, improving strategy by creating more width. Many of
Egan’s Golden Age design elements had disappeared, so a good number of bunkers from
the original design were reinstated.
Laid out on a tight parcel of land beside the Williamette River, the course has hosted a raft of prestigious USGA tournaments down the years, including three US Women’s Amateur Championships (1952, 1981 and 2000), the US Senior Amateur Championship in 1964, the US Amateur in 1970 and the US Junior Amateur in 1993, when Tiger Woods won the event for the third consecutive year. More recently the club hosted the 2017 Senior Women’s Amateur, won by Canada's Judith Kyrinis.
Highlight holes include the 177-yard 6th (“Trap”), the first of the par threes which plays downhill to a left-to-right sloping green, the 603-yard 8th (“Lone Pine”), where the fairway bends slightly left to a green protected by a necklace of bunkers on the right hand side, and the 532-yard 17th (“River”), which features an enormously long, two-tiered putting surface.
Waverley has an impressive history of hosting USGA events. It also boasts having some members who went on to make history in USGA, British and professional events such as Lawson Little and Peter Jacobsen.
The course was routed by Jack Moffat in 1898, improved by Chandler Egan in 1912, and restored in 2012 by Gil Hanse. As it is today, the course is one of the most fun courses one will play due to the routing that takes one up and down hills before ending on flat land alongside the Williamette River. It is not a course that will overwhelm you given its short length with the Black tees at 6688 yards resulting in many short holes. On most of the holes the main defense are the greens which can be both sloped, large, small and sometimes undulating. On other holes the defense lies in the possibility of blind shots to an uphill green. The bunkering is good with a nice mixture of large and small bunkers, sometimes very deep bunkers, and well placed bunkers including numerous center-line bunkers.
The course stresses playability and a very good chance of recovery. While there are several blind or semi-blind shots on those holes the greenside bunkers do not block access via the front of the green. There are many trees on the course, some very tall, but they are generally staggered so that one can have a decent chance of advancing one’s ball down a fairway or even make it to the green. The rough can sometimes be thick but generally one is able to get a club under the ball to get it back into the fairway to a desired distance.
The course is very scenic due to the trees, hills, and the view of the river as well as a beautiful clubhouse.
I do think this to be a course that due to the slopes on many of the greens can result in a high score above one’s handicap. However, there is an equal chance to score lower than one’s index as one learns the nuances of the greens and pin placements.
The highlight of the course is in the par 3’s of which they are all different and feature some of the best greens on the course. This is followed by the par 5’s even if three of them play relatively short.
From the black tees the course measures 6688 yards, par 72 rated 72.8/134. The Blue tees are 6338 yards rated 71.5/132. There are two sets of lesser yardages as well as three combination tees.
1. Par 4 – 333/324. The opening hole is fun, with the green placed into the side of a hill bordered by a tree overhanging the green from the right side. There is an early bunker on the left that should be cleared followed 50 yards farther down the fairway by a bunker on the right in play for longer hitters. The longest hitters can likely reach the green from the tee. The green has a substantial back to front tilt with a front left large bunker. The green makes this hole fun but it should be a par.
2. Par 4 – 422/392. This hole plays as a semi-blind tee shot uphill and bending slightly to the right. The right side of the fairway has perhaps the thickest trees on the course. On the left side are two bunkers followed 40 yards later by a tree. The fairway is a bit pinched here. On the right is a small bunker placed about 40 yards from the green. The more difficult bunker is on the left side beginning just before the green continuing halfway up. The green is tilted back to front with several smaller swales in it. Much like the first hole, this is another good green.
3. Par 4 – 362/347. This hole features twelve bunkers of which there is an early central bunker likely not in play but acts more as a guideline. Down the right and left side of the fairway are four bunkers on both sides of which the right side begins about 40 yards earlier. Once again this creates a narrow opening for longer hitters. However, the longest hitters will fly nearly all of these bunkers. The green is very tilted back to front and to the right. There is a bunker on the left that is problematic to any pin on the left side as one will likely not be able to stop one’s ball from going down to the bottom of the right side of the green. There is a rear bunker on the back right corner that is invisible from the fairway. The bunker on the right side of the green is perhaps as much as 13 feet below the near surface of the green. While the first two greens are good, this green is very good.
4. Par 4 – 438/406. This hole plays essentially straight and is tree-lined on both sides starting halfway to the green. There is another early central bunker serving more as a guide line. This is followed by another central bunker about 90 yards from the green. The green is large and mainly flat. After playing the first three holes with very good green shapes, this green is disappointingly flat.
5. Par 5 – 463/451. The fairway is narrow here but not suffocating. Out of bounds is to the right side in the form of housing but the trees will likely knock down a ball hit to the right. The firs fairway bunker is placed inside the fairway on the right about 75 yards from the green. The green has an early bunker on the left side and one that is placed down the right side. This green does not have a lot of movement to it other than the obvious slight back to front slope.
6. Par 3 – 177/157. I loved this hole playing downhill to a green set below higher ground to the left side and rear. The hole is well defended with three bunkers that are fairly deep with one on the front. There is also a small rear bunker on the right side that seems to be unnecessary but woe to anyone in it given the slope of the green that is both back to front and left to right. This green has several smaller shelves in it and is probably the best green on the course. Combined with the beauty of the hole this is perhaps the best par 3 on the course.
7. Par 4 – 385/373. You play uphill with a likely blind shot to the green unless one is a long hitter. There are staggered bunkers on the fairway with the left one coming first about 25 yards in front of the one on the right. There is a thick line of trees down the right side of the fairway. The green has a long bunker on the left side starting before the green going halfway up. The green has a slight rise at the front and is very quick if putting to the left side given the slope of the green to the left. This hole plays longer than the yardage due to the uphill.
8. Par 5 – 603/568. The longest hole on the course offers an early large bunker on the right side with a line of trees going down the left side. The hole plays downhill nearly all the way to the green so longer hitters can still easily reach the green in two. I did like the five bunkers down the right side that begin about 75 yards before the green going to the right side of the green. There is a single bunker on the left side of the green. The green is one of the easier ones on the golf course.
9. Par 3 – 130/119. The green is placed close to the clubhouse with a large and deep bunker fronting the green as well as a bunker on the left. The green has a slope to the left although it cannot be seen from the tee how steep the slope is. It is a good hole but likely the weakest par 3 on the course.
10. Par 4 – 411/400. There is a new back tee that I think I saw said 488 yards which is not on the scorecard. This would make the course become more than 6700 yards. This straight hole has its first bunker on the right about 50 yards from the green followed by one on the left about 25 yards from the green. The final bunker is on the right side of the green. Much like holes four and five, this is a flattish green.
11. Par 3 – 169/156. There are many interesting greens on the course but the most diabolical is on the eleventh. There is a serious 5 feet high false front but more importantly the green is very tilted back to front. The green has a left side that goes out with a mound just to the left of it. There is a long and deep bunker going down the right side of the green. One could make perhaps as much as a seven on this hole given the slant of the green. The hole plays about a club longer.
12. Par 4 – 413/400. This hole reminded me of the seventh as it plays uphill. There is an early bunker on the right. The more important bunker is much farther up in the form of a central bunker. Near the green is a small bunker on the right about 10 yards short and one on the front left corner. The green is very large but somewhat flat.
13. Par 5 – 512/491. I really liked this hole which plays downhill from the tee. An early bunker on the left should not be in play off the tee but the right one is due to the favorable roll-out one can get. The hole continues steeply downhill after this bunker so longer hitters can perhaps reach 425 yards in length. The hole moves to the right about 110 yards from the green. There are two central bunkers at 110 yards and 85 yards as well as a pond on the left that can come into play. The green is fronted by a bunker on each of the front corners and one on the right. One can go long on this green and still have a chance for recovery with multiple options as there is short grass behind this green as it blends into the eleventh tee.
14. Par 3 – 153/137. This is another pretty par 3 back dropped by trees. The holes is ringed with five bunkers with the green tilting slightly to the left.
15. Par 4 – 365/354. This is the final uphill hole with an early bunker on the right and a central bunker about 110 yards from the green that likely catches a lot of balls. The green complex includes a small bunker 5 yards from the green on the front right as well as one on the left. The green is large but primarily flat.
16. Par 3 – 224/215. This hole plays slightly shorter as it is downhill. One is playing directly towards the Williamette River. There is higher mounding to the right that will kick a ball to the left. There is also a long bunker on the right side placed well away from the green. I thought the length of this bunker to be unnecessary. There is an early central bunker about 15 yards short of the green. The green also features mounding to the left center but then fall-offs. This hole is visually attractive but not quite in the class of six and fourteen.
17. Par 5 – 532/490. You finish with two par 5’s along the river. These holes are flat. The seventeenth features two final central bunkers as well as four bunkers on the left shaped like an arc. These are more in play for longer hitters. At the green are two bunkers on the left and one on the right. The hole features a fabulous long green that I estimate to be nearly 60 yards with a much higher back half. We had a front half pin location but I really wanted to see what would happen on the back half of the green.
18. Par 5 – 576/558. The finishing hole features three small bunkers on the left off the tee more in play for longer hitters. They are not really strategic for average players. The green has both bunkers beginning before the start of the green but they are not overly difficult. The green is sloped back to front. While the green appears to slope also to the right, this is only on the back half of the green. It is a fine finishing hole.
I very much enjoyed Waverley due to its many interesting greens, par 3’s, and three very nice par 5’s. The course is a bit inconsistent as some of the holes have flattish and uninteresting greens and several of the uphill holes feel the same. There are a few weaker holes that cannot be improved without perhaps doing more interesting work at the green complexes. However, this course is a treat to play.
Note: Inside the clubhouse is a “museum” of the club’s history. It is well worthwhile spending some time reading the history of the major important events and members of the club.
Waverley CC is a throwback, the original architect, Chandler Egan was a big fan of C. B. Macdonald. Gil Hanse has reswizzled the course to bring back much of the original features.
The first hole is a short welcoming par 4. Slight dogleg right, please don’t block it right as that is the road into the club. The second hole is also a dogleg right. It is longer and tighter yet is ranked as an easier hole then the first? It is uphill with a blind tee shot trees right and fairway bunkers on the eft elbow. The 3rd is a good example that a hole does not have to be long to create challenges. The hole leans left with fairway bunkers staggered right and left. The approach is demanding, the green slopes hard back left to front right. Missing left is death, it is extremely unlikely to stop your recovery shot on the green. In a bizarre sense, if you are going to miss, the deep right front bunker is the place to be. The 4th is the longest par four. It is pretty much straightaway with a few scattered fairway bunkers. There are no hazards around the green, so you can run your approach on. The first par 5 is only 463 yards long and straightaway. Other than a waste bunker in front of the tee there are no hazards until about 90 yards out where a cross bunker appears on the right. There are greenside bunkers front left and right. Definitely reachable in two, however. The fairway is only about 30 yards wide and is tree lined. Birdie oppty, but you gotta hit it straight. The first par three is short and has 3 large bunkers, right front and left and one pot bunker back left. This green tilts left to right, so aim a wee bit left of the flag. The 7th is pretty straight but appears snakelike on the tee box due to the fairway bunkers. There is greenside bunker left. The 8th is a long downhill par five. There is a large fairway bunker on the right about 330 yards out from the green. There are also fairway bunkers on the right side as you approach the green starting about 125 yards out. Three decent shots and you should be putting for par, not sure why it is the number one handicap hole. The 9th is the shortest hole with a deep front bunker with a steep face. Fun and pretty little hole.
The back starts off with a straightaway par four. The fairway bunker you see on the right is not really reachable and there is a greenside bunker right. The 11th is a short par three with a water hazard left and greenside bunker right. This is another raised green, so middle of the green. The 12th is an uphill dogleg left par four. Off the tee aim at the two fairway bunkers on the left. There is another fairway bunker left in the landing zone and one further on the right. The green is protected front right and left with bunkers. The 13th is a downhill par 5 that bends right and the contour is left to right. Favor the left side off the tee there is a large bunker right about 250 yards out. If you find the fairway you will probably have a downhill lie, not exactly a green light go for it. There is a water hazard left hat comes into play about 140 yards out and another fairway bunker on the right opposite. The 14th is another really short par 3. It has a raised green and is surrounded by four bunkers and the green is exceptionally small. The 15th is an uphill par 4 with a fairway bunker in the middle of the fairway in the landing zone. The hole slopes right to left, so favor the right side off the tee. This green has a very subtle false front. The last par three is long but downhill. The bunkers are well in front of the green and you can roll the ball onto the green. The finish at Waverley is unique. I cannot think of a course that finishes with back to back par 5sThe 17th is a short par 5 paralleling the river and your drive will essentially go over the 16th green. The drive is covered by fairway bunkers left and right, not to mention the Willamette River right. The green is almost a Biarritz, but a lot of fun regardless. The 18th is another short par 5. Not a lot of trouble other than the river right, but there are two very large greenside bunkers left and right.
This is an awesome course with a lot of history and is a lot of fun.
Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to join a couple members for a first round at Waverely. Although I’m from Oregon originally I didn’t golf when I lived there so I have a lot of catch up to do in terms of seeing all the local courses. Waverly had the fortune of a recent thoughtful renovation from Gil Hanse and team. This included a ton of tree removal and the opening up of vistas which was apparently much needed. The result is truly wonderful and has propelled Waverely to being one of the best courses in the PNW.
It’s the kind of course you really need ot play a few times to work out the best way to play the holes. It also really throws everything at you from blind shots to drop shot par 3s and long uphill par 4’s.
With constant views out to the Willamette River it’s really an idealic setting. The 16th is a long par 3 that plays down a steep hill to a green nestled above the Williamette. 17 and 18 work their way back to the clubhouse along the river. A perfect finish to a perfect day out on the links.
Making my way over to Waverley Country Club directly after an 11 hour flight from Europe was not ideal preparation. Although I did manage to watch Caddyshack in the plane and I hoped this may have provided some insights.
The first thing you notice as your confused Uber driver brings you through the gates and along the winding drive are the immaculate conditioning, the charming southern-style clubhouse, and the beautiful setting alongside the glistening Willamette river. Quite a first impression.
After being introduced to our caddies, we were immediately away at the first, a short right doglegging Par 4. After narrowing missing the green left, I noticed one of the great features of this course - short grass and the wonderfully tilted greens. It’s a classic gentle handshake. At the second you are introduced to another key feature of this course - the regular elevation changes of this undulating property. At the back of this green you have a graveyard that’s very much in play, where OB presumably stands for Obituary for your score should you hit it in there.
After a few holes of confusing my caddy (the habit of carrying my own bag is clearly a hard one to break), my mind was already made up: Waverley Country Club is by far the best parkland course I’ve played. The conditioning and views are great, but the strategy and playability are abundant. Short grass and clever bunkering everywhere. It takes some getting used to the fact it plays firm and fast - it’s deceptive, but you can run balls into these greens if you want. Sometimes it’s the best option. The greens themselves are not tricked up in any way, but they are quick, true, and at times severely sloping. If you’re not close, a 2 putt is often the best you can hope for. This adds up to a fun challenge.
Since Gil Hanse got involved with some restoration work, they’ve cleared out many trees and this gives the course a feeling of space and opens up views everywhere. It’s quite a big property in this sense and only the narrow 5th felt a little cramped. This space also makes it quite forgiving off the tee for weaker players. However, the greens and playing angles keep good players honest. Thus a perfect playability balance is achieved.
I had several favourite holes - with a beautifully framed tee shot and then challenging second up into the raised green, the 3rd is a complete joy and pleasure. The set of 5 Par 3’s are excellent, with perhaps 11 & 16 being my favourites. Trying to work out where to layup to on the Par 5 13th is a good puzzle (and one that I failed to solve). The vistas as you tee off at 16 & 17 are suggestive of Loch Lomond.
For me this is a very strong 5 ball, but it gets top marks because between the original designer Chandler Egan and Gil Hanse’s recent work, I think they have made the absolute most of the site. Which reminds you that some links courses can be a bit design lazy because of the great land they occupy, and it’s perhaps harder to paper over the cracks at a parkland venue. Waverley also has all the trappings of an exclusive US Country club, which on this occasion was a pleasing novelty for me that enhanced the experience. And then there’s the Waverley Cooler that must be sampled while out in the course. It’s just very cool to play a parkland course this good. My caddy was actually working here in part to win a college scholarship, but that is where the similarities to the Caddyshack parody ended: This was both serious Golf and serious fun, and it was hard to find fault.