Heron Lakes Golf Course, located in N. Portland, is a classic golf haven for metropolitan golfers. With PDX airport just several miles away, the P.I.R. tracks bordering to the east, and a railroad to the west, it may be difficult to imagine the peaceful grounds of this course. However, these signs of the city are a weak rival to the natural beauty present in this urban wetland setting. The planes flying high above are less noticeable than the Blue Herons who share the sky. And no screaming engines lapping the raceway can top the vistas of Mt. Hood, which is viewable from many locations on the course. And the only trains you really need to worry about are the ones of the bogey variety, as railroad activity is seldom (as well as the usage of the raceway). Heron Lakes allows you to soak up the thrills of the game and appreciate your ability to escape the daily grind, all while remaining within the shadows of downtown.
Heron Lakes is comprised of two full-sized courses, Greenback and Great Blue. The 36 holes of golf here undoubtedly enhances it’s ability to serve it’s central location. Each course is unique to it’s own, and caters toward golfers of varying skill levels. Overall, Heron Lakes is a complete golf facility. With a turf driving range, an expansive practice green, a separate chipping green, and a sizable retail and restaurant within the clubhouse, they have everything you could want in a municipal course. For a heavily used city course, it’s apparent that great care goes into maintaining the grounds in which many Portland-Vancouver golfers refer to as their home course.
The Greenback Course at Heron Lakes Golf Club is your classic municipal golf course; challenging enough to test all golfers, yet straightforward enough for beginners to get by. There’s a fair share of trouble areas, but they are well-countered by sizable landing areas and large greens. Water and sand are definitely present, but the most prominent element to avoid are the large trees. While the course layout is great, it is arguable that the greens are the best quality of this track. For the amount of action this course receives, it is amazing what great shape they keep their putting surfaces in. In the summer months, expect country club speeds while putting here. In the offseason months, you’ll struggle to find faster public greens. The Par 3s on this side are notably difficult, especially Hole 3, which requires the clearance of a large pond and the avoidance of bunkers. In general, you must make good decisions off the tee, as long ball strikers will be tempted to take risky short cuts. Greenback tends to fall in line with the general rule that the shorter the yardage, the tighter the hole. It’s a legitimate course in size, design and difficulty. For higher skilled golfers who can manage the course by the book, Greenback is a fine opportunity to score well and feel great about it. And if you’re a novice, it too will provide a fine place for on-course experience after gaining confidence at their practice facilities.