This new series on The Bogey Free Blog titled "Off The Beaten Oregon Trail", will chronicle some of my favorite lesser known golf courses in the state of Oregon, along with a few in southern Washington and Northern California. Growing up in Bend, OR I was lucky to have such a large number and variety of golf courses around to play, coming in at 30 courses within an hour and a half drive. When golfers hear about Oregon golf, places like Bandon Dunes Resort, Pumpkin Ridge, Crosswater, Pronghorn and Tetherow usually come to mind. My goal is to introduce my top "Off The Beaten" path Golf Courses.
(Aerial View of Crooked River Ranch GC)
I'll start this series off with a course that I have a long history with, the place I have my two lowest rounds in my career, and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful properties I've ever set foot on, Crooked River Ranch. The course is located in the Crooked River Canyon a few hundred feet above the Crooked River north of Terrebonne, OR. On the drive in, the table is set for the spectacular scenery that awaits, dropping in from the upper rim of the canyon looking down on the front 9. If you suffer from road sickness and need to take the edge off, or are searching for a little hair of the dog, don't worry, the Sandbagger Saloon has you covered with ice cold beer and stiff cocktails. The first four holes of the course set the stage and prepare you for one of the most fascinating holes of golf I've ever played. Number 5 is a 90 degree dog leg left par four that measures 260 yards on the card. However the popular risk reward play is to hit a roughly 220 yard carry over the canyon to the green. For me this is the only play, and it helps to have a little liquid courage on your side to have the guts to pull off the shot as there are some size able juniper trees to hit over as well, adding more to the difficulty of the shot.
(#5 Canyon Hole Green)
One of my most memorable rounds was on Mother's Day in 2006 while playing with my folks when my dad pulled off the shot successfully after dumping hundreds of dollars worth of balls into the canyon in his lifetime, leading to his 30 foot eagle putt which he made. Later on in that same round I eagled the 500 yard par 5 14th hole en route to my career best 65. This was the first and only time my dad and I have ever made an eagle in the same round in over 20 years of golfing together.
(View From #9 Tee)
In addition to the breathtaking views, the wildlife is out of this world, with birds of prey, deer and enough rodents to drive Carl Spackler to a news paper rolled joint and Cannonball. The overall experience at CRR is by far one of my favorites in the state. The course isn't long by any means, measuring in at 5800 from the tips as a par 71, yet challenges await at every corner and bend in the river, literally. Depending on the time of year, greens fees range from the mid 30s to mid 50s for 18 holes and is worth every penny. CRR is located at 5148 SW Clubhouse Dr Terrebonne, OR 97760. If you have your sticks and happen to be in the area, I highly recommend stoping in at "The Gem of Central Oregon."
(View From Approach Shot on Hole #12)