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 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.