Review for Waverley Country Club

Reviewer Score:


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.

Date: July 31, 2021

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