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.
Great Blue, the big brother of Greenback in regards to price, quality and difficulty, is surprisingly different from it’s counterpart. Everything about this track is several notches more challenging than the Greenback, and it has much more of a links feel to it. Very difficult greens, deceiving hole layouts and a plethora of water and sand are disbursed throughout. Fewer trees here are easily countered by more water and heavily guarded greens. The greens can get extremely tight and appear uninviting from certain approach angles. When you factor in their slippery speeds, rolling the greens can prove as difficult as landing them. Another notable feature is the contoured terrain, and the elusiveness it creates regarding positioning and target zones from the tee. The varying contour extends to the putting surface where there is plenty of break to consider while chipping and putting. This track is undoubtedly designed for experienced golfers. That’s not to say that you must be a low handicap, but unless you enjoy a true test and can maintain pace, booking your tee time at Greenback is a no-brainer.