Hello central Oregon! A must visit for any person with a hint of passion for the outdoors. It is nestled between the Cascades to the west and the Ochoco Mountains covering three primary counties Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook. The largest city is Bend with ~90,000 residents. It is an arid high desert climate with an abundance of sun unlike western Oregon.
Located in Sunriver resort about 15 minutes outside of Bend, Crosswater is ranked 28 by Golf Digest of Americas top 100 Greatest Golf Courses. It is a blast to play with a unique and challenging course layout that is encompassed by stunning scenery. The course was opened in 1995 with course design by Robert Cupp. When it opened it was ranked as Americas Best Resort Course and was the longest course in the US. The course has hosted several PGA Professional National Championships and a Senior Major Championship.
The course takes you on a journey through woodlands, meadows and marshlands with the Deschutes and Little Deschutes rivers regularly coming into play. As stated above it is a long course from the tips so you need your driver to be hitting on all cylinders and dial in the long approaches to score low. The pin positions were also difficult forcing you to make tough risk/reward decisions throughout the round. Water and bunkers are also regularly in play and the course seemingly tightens as the round progresses brining the longer grass challenges into play. The good news is the course is fair and landing zones are ample if you are able to control your shots distance and placement.
It is a course you will immediately want to play again as you are sure to encounter shots you wish you would have taken a different route or flat out paid a stiff penalty by taking on the risk.
Overall it was a highly enjoyable round with fun and challenging golf complimented by expansive riverfront stretches and panoramic mountain vistas.
GO BIG HOLES
2, 5, 6, 12, 16, 17
ON THE LINKS
Located about 30 minutes outside of Bend, Pronghorn is a secluded exclusive resort with two top notch golf courses designed by Fazio and Nicklaus. The resort was initially private but has since opened the Nicklaus course to the public.
We played the signature Nicklaus course which was ranked #2 Best Private Courses when it opened in 2004 and maintains a top 30 ranking in US Public Courses. The course is long ~7,400 yards from the tips but doesn't feel that long due to the variety of hole designs with varying lengths.
Pronghorn setting feels completely different than lush Crosswater's with rivers and marshes. The landscape is true arid high-desert with plenty of scrub, waste areas and volcanic rock. The course is craftily manicured, well maintained with beautiful hole layouts and terrific scenery surrounding the course.
It is a demanding course with true penalties for poor shots. Bring out the artillery shells off the tee as length helps more favorable approaches. The plus is the tee landing areas are largely generous. The negative with bombing is if you aren't in control you will find yourself with difficult forced carries onto the greens.
The green complexes were pristine, fair and putting speed was fast but true. The challenge with the greens comes back to the approach. You will find yourself with long puts if you put yourself in a bad approach position that only provides safe access to parts of the green where the pin is seldom located.
There are a few perfectly designed risk reward holes. Our favorite was hole 13 with a lake on the right side and skinny green protected by water in front and bunkers on the back. A long drive on the fairway to the left provides a significantly easier approach where you can safely utilize the green to reach the pin that was tucked in the back.
Overall we really enjoyed the challenge of Pronghorn and would highly suggest adding this course to a central Oregon golf trip.
GO BIG HOLES
2, 4, 8, 11, 15, 16, 18
ON THE LINKS