Crooked River Ranch GC

Crooked River Ranch Golf Course, in Terrebonne, OR, is a fun and player friendly golf adventure adjacent to the awe-inspiring Crooked River Canyon. With incredible upfront views of sheer rock cliffs, raging waters and distant mountains, the scenery alone is reason enough to visit. Factor in a rather dynamic, albeit scorable, course design, and Crooked River Ranch is an all around engaging environment to be enjoyed by all. Wide like the carved-out river canyon, the fairways are forgivingly large on most holes, yet cohesively laid out with the natural landscape. The relatively open acreage of the front 9 makes it notably easier than the back 9 which has a more diverse path including trees and neighboring desert terrain. The back 9 has modest hole distances such as the front, but requires more selective shot planning. Constant throughout are the well maintained holes that effectively navigate the ideal vistas of the beautiful surroundings. That being so, the fastest route to an exciting but manageable test of golf in a magnificent high desert golf arena, is a straight line to Crooked River Ranch.

The grounds of Crooked River Ranch have a blend of flat terrain and elevation change. The front 9 features a mix of elevated tee boxes and greens, while the back 9 journeys along a gradual hillside for several holes. Most of the fairways are very generous in size, but desert terrain tightens things up a bit at times on the back 9. The impressive Par 4 13th requires a significant carry over desert brush, and a bad miss right is fodder for the canyon. Water only comes into play on a couple occasions, and sand is also a minimal factor, adding to the user-friendliness of Crooked River Ranch. If you miss the wide layouts, you will likely be contending with long grasses or craggy grounds of rock and plant life. But play it smart, and finding fairways and greens is a very doable task. The greens are kept in great shape, providing a true roll. Their speeds are moderate to fast in the shoulder seasons and speed up nicely in the hot summer months.

Brasada Canyons GC

Brasada Canyons Golf Club, carved into Powell Butte due east of Bend, OR, is an exclusive semi-private course at Brasada Ranch that showcases one of Central Oregon’s most impressive vistas. Brasada Canyons is distinguished by its broad panorama spanning well beyond the long spectrum of adjacent Cascade Mountains. Set up along the ridged base of Powell Butte, Brasada Canyons takes full advantage of its natural terrain and desert vegetation. In addition to its countless awe-inspiring views of the broad landscape, Brasada Canyons is prided on providing 18 truly unique looks thanks to a masterful course design by the team of Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. Lush green fairways meander their way up, down and around the arid, contrasting surroundings. Built on a large plot of land, the holes are spread out and mostly secluded from everything but the countryside beauty. Capped off by truly pure putting surfaces, and Brasada Canyons reaches the ranks of Central Oregon’s finest. A destination trip to Brasada Ranch provides a first rate Western stay and access to play this top notch venue. From tee to green and from Powell Butte to the Cascade range, the wonders of Brasada Ranch are near and far, far and wide.

Brasada Canyons Golf Club has a lot of gradual to significant elevation changes as it moves through canyons and over ridges. Much of the course offers large and unintimidating landing zones from the tee, countered by directional bunkers. These sand traps are well placed to make longer hitters second guess their intended line or weigh the risk reward on potential scoring holes. Beyond the fairways, there is minimal rough to slow down off-line shots. Miss these roomy fairways and you’re in the dry desert dirt surrounded by sagebrush, rocks and Junipers. While it’s possible to retrieve and play shots out of this, sometimes it’s best to take your medicine. Keep it in the fairway, and most approach angles are open and attackable. Bunkers guard all of the greens but the putting surfaces are large and inviting overall. The greens are kept in pristine shape and provide an ultra smooth roll and quick speeds.

Playing Brasada Ranch

The front nine at Brasada Canyons Golf Club begins your trek up the hills that make up Brasada Ranch. The first tee box gives you a glimpse of whats to come in the form of a fair and straight away Par 5. However, the angle of the fairway makes this inviting fairwaytougher to hit then it looks. The first forced carry awaits on the second hole, leading into an undulating green. Miss long here and you can all but say goodbye to that golf ball. An elevated tee box awaits you on the third hole, an impressive hole carved into the canyons. Hole #4, the first Par 3 is wide open on the left, but any miss to the right is gone. From the tee box at #5 you cannot see the green on this dogleg left. A shortcut over the mound brings danger into play but can reward a great drive with a short approach. #6 is your second Par 3 on the back. The green on this hole is long right to left, but very thin from the box. A catch area is provided on the right side, allowing for some forgiveness on your second shot. The seventh is a long, uphill Par 5 which is fairly straight away hole, but don’t be fooled, bunkers guard every landing area. #8 is a tricky, downhill, dogleg right. From the box this hole is deceiving and a driver may not be your best play here due to the tight landing area. The front nine finishes with a long Par 4 from the back two tee boxes. A forced carry and an ever tightening fairway challenge you before making the turn.

The first of bookending Par 5’s on the back nine, Hole #10 at Brasada Canyons Golf Club is a dogleg left that asks you to make decisions that may cost you. Try to cut the corner off the box and two traps await. Your approach features on of the smallest greens on the course. #11 is a narrower than it looks Par 4 and very scorable. Natural ridges throughout the hole create challenging lies as you make your way to this elevated green. #12 is one of the more visually appealing Par 3’s on the course, with a heavily guarded green very little room to miss short. Four consecutive Par 4’s come next, each varying in difficulty. The 13th Hole is a slightly uphill hole with more room the farther left you go. However, large fairway bunkers loom straightaway. Hole #14 is notable as a long Par 4 with a narrow chute that if hit properly can mean the difference between a 6 iron and a wedge coming in. #15 is a drivable Par 4 for heavy hitters, but the aggresive line is a dangerous one, as the desert engulfs any ball missed short and left. Capping off this stretch of Par 4’s is #16. Miss left and you will find one of the few ravines deep enough to give up on your ball without looking. A downhill Par 3 gives a small sense of relief before moving on to the 18th and final hole. #18 is a spectacular Par 5 running through a canyon. #18 boasts the only water on the course, as well as Brasada Ranch’s signature bridge as the backdrop as you finish you round.

Black Butte (Glaze Meadow)

Glaze Meadow Golf Course, one of two golf courses inside the 1,800 acre Black Butte Ranch, is nestled among the rolling foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, located seven miles west of Sisters on Highway 20. Originally built in 1982, Glaze Meadow, with its narrow Ponderosa Pine lined fairways has always had a classic design. With 18 new greens and tee complexes, as well as a revamped bunkering scheme, the renovation at Glaze Meadow has created a unique playing experience on an already vintage layout. The restoration of Black Butte’s natural meadowlands throughout the course, in addition to beautiful forest and vista views on every hole creates a natural beauty that all golfers have come to enjoy while playing golf in Central Oregon. Former PGA player turned golf course architect John Fought led the $3.75 million remodel project in 2010. The Portland native is responsible for local designs such as Centennial, The South Course at The Reserve and Langdon Farms. The new Glaze Meadow Golf Course at Black Butte Ranch opened to the public in June 2012.

In addition to the complete rebuilding of its infrastructure which includes modern irrigation and drainage systems, two major changes to the course were made with John Fought’s new design. The widening of landing areas off the tees as well as new perched greens that drop off along the edges yet are open to shots running up the front of them are vital updates to this 30 year old course. The removal of large trees that originally made some tee shots awkward were made with great attention to keeping the courses distinct Aspen forest setting. Most of the expanding of fairways and rough areas were made on the second nine. These holes have limited changes to their original design, but golfers that have played the course previously will be delighted with the more spacious layout that leads to much more forgiving play off the tees.

The front nine now includes a stretch from holes 2-5 that incorporate beautiful wetlands that can be seen on nearly every shot. The renewal of these areas has pleasantly created distinct views that differ from the remainder of the course. Golfers will be challenged to play forced carries and strategically aim for safe landing areas in order to avoid these natural hazards. This more open part of the course is vulnerable to high winds adding to the difficulty of the design. Similar to any brand new golf course all new greens and a majority of the fairways lined with new turf will cause this course to take a bit of time to mature. The high quality in these areas is already evident in how they play, and soon the fairways and greens on the Glaze Meadow golf course will be world class. With an all new and more challenging bunker design on every hole, even the most experienced golfers will have plenty to worry about on most shots. The grass faced bunkers at the new Glaze Meadow match the rest of the course in quality. They are all filled with pristine white sand and well maintained throughout the course. Attention to details such as these lead to a very enjoyable and memorable playing experience at Glaze Meadow.

Playing Glaze Meadow

The front nine at Glaze Meadow begins with three very manageable holes that lead to great birdie opportunities. The first hole plays downhill and does not require driver from the front tees. The fairway slopes heavily to the right so do all you can to avoid the trees on your right side from blocking your approach. The view from the back of the first green is a great photo opportunity as well as a chance to see what lies ahead on the 3rd and 4th holes. Keeping the ball straight on the Par 5 2nd should lead you to a short approach shot to the green, which will be needed to get the ball close on this large but sloped green. The shortest Par 4 on the course is number 3. Find the fairway here and you have succeeded. Windy conditions can make club selection difficult on both shots.

John Fought’s new design has many directional bunkers laid out for your assistance on this course starting with the 4th tee. Aim just left of the bunker and you will find the fairway, get brave and try to cut the corner and you may pay dearly especially into any kind of wind. The 5th tee shot is more picturesque than it is easy. Anything other than the center of the green is risky. Beware of a tricky green on the Par 4 6th, long putts are not easy here. Once again use the directional bunkers on the Par 5 7th to keep your ball in the fairway. Take advantage of the opening in the front right leading to the green on the Par 3 8th. This is there intentionally as the opposite side leads to trouble. The 9th tee shot plays uphill so be sure you can clear the bunker on the right before challenging it. The 9th greens opening is on the left side, once again play here for best results.

Three Par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s lead to a unique 2nd nine at the Glaze Meadow Course. As with all the Par 5’s on this course, avoiding trouble off the 10th tee is key to scoring well. Don’t cut off too much of the corner, right of the fairway bunker is fine. Stay clear of the fairway bunker on your second shot and you will have a good chance to attack the right side of this green. Club Selection is critical on the Par 3 11th. You must play enough to make it over the slope on the right side of the green, but it is difficult for low shots to stay on this green. The Par 5 12th is not only the longest on the course, but also one of the longest in the Pacific Northwest. On your 3rd shot beware of the green falling away in the back. The Par 4 13th is all about your approach. The green is slightly downhill and once again the front left side is wide open. The Par 3 14th tee shot is not that difficult if you can manage to get all that sand out of your head. Anything straight is ok as long as you are not long.

The Par 5 15th is challenging off the tee. The fairway is difficult to land on as everything slopes towards the bunker. If you can challenge the right side and reach the top of the hill in the fairway you are in great shape. The right side of the green is open and you should do all you can to never see the bunker or rough on the left side of this green. The Par 4 16th is one of the holes that designer John Fought is most pleased with. If you played the course before the redesign, what was once trouble left is now your target area. Place a tee shot straight over the left bunker from the tee and you will be rewarded with a short approach. Scoring well here can set you up for a great finish to your day. A beautiful Par 3 17th is straightforward if you get your club right. Try to land your ball on the front center of the green. Only challenge the bunkers if you are sure of your distance. The fairway bunkers on the right side of the 18th fairway are tough to carry with any kind of wind. Play just left of them and find the fairway. Your approach has to be precise, this shot is downhill to a slightly elevated green, avoid being long.

Aspen Lakes Golf Course

Aspen Lakes Golf Course, in Sisters, OR, is a traditional style course and one of the best all-around golf experiences in Oregon’s central region. From panoramic views spanning more than a half dozen mountain peaks, down to the sound course design and features, Aspen Lakes is the complete package and everything you might hope for when golfing the high desert. Certain elements are to be expected in this area of quality golf, and Aspen Lakes meets or exceeds those expectations. Handfuls of perspectives allow you to gaze at the towering Cascades, namely the front-and-center grouping of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and the Three Sisters. A uniquely memorable aspect at Aspen Lakes are the sand traps composed of crushed volcanic rock. Plotted throughout the course, these signature, red-sand bunkers are a creative point of distinction that is fitting to the regions geology. Despite long distances and plenty of challenges to meet the demand of the more skilled, generous hole widths make this course manageable for all. Factor in a balance of classic high desert layouts lined with pines, and vegetated, water-filled holes, and Aspen Lakes is a truly rounded, top-notch track.

Aspen Lakes Golf Course is built on rolling terrain with a lot of gradual elevation changes. Target zones are favorably large and a friendly counter to the lengthiness of the course. There are out of bounds areas in the form of trees and desert brush, but in many cases are relatively avoidable. Key course challenges arise from sheer distance and design. A blend of bending doglegs, directional and green-side bunkers and frequent water features can also collectively lengthen many layouts. There’s not a bland hole on the course, as all have a varying mix of the mentioned features. A notable stretch that well-represents the potential difficulty here, are Holes 14-16, or “Amen Corner.” This Par 4-3-4 combo holds respective distances of 466, 201, and 426 yards from the blue tees. Accompanied by elevation changes, and a wealth of sand & water, this can be a daunting test as your round nears conclusion. Overall, Aspen Lakes contains water in all forms, but predominantly as large ponds throughout much of the back 9. The well-noted bunkers exist in large numbers all over. Their volcanic sand is not as finely ground as traditional beach sands, and plays a bit heavier. The greens at Aspen Lakes, while providing some occasional large slopes, are fairly user-friendly to putt on. Their speeds are fast in season, but normal for the region.