Golfing the Gems of the Oregon Coast
If you’ve visited the Oregon Coast — with its 363 miles of awe-inspiring coastline, diverse wildlife and delightful food and drink — you’ll know why it’s one of The Seven Wonders of Oregon. And the Coast is home to one of Oregon’s Seven Golf Gems — the state’s best golf courses located near the Wonders. The gem of the Coast is the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
The world-class Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a golfer’s mecca with four distinct courses that draw avid golfers from around the world, along with a 13-hole course and an 18-hole putting course. The namesake Bandon Dunes, designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, is perched high above the ocean with expansive views of sweeping, undisturbed shoreline on nearly every hole. The Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald and Bandon Trails courses each offer a unique dunes experience, with challenging play and unparalleled scenery. Shorty’s is a 9-hole par three practice course also designed by McLay Kidd. Intended for fun and practice, it’s the perfect spot to hone your shots. Off the links, relax in one of the resort’s six restaurants and lounges. A variety of accommodation — from single rooms to spacious four-bedroom cottages — provide a peaceful escape to relax, rest and revive.
While Bandon Dunes is a standout, the Oregon Coast is incredibly diverse, with windswept dunes, craggy cliffs and coastal forests providing an enchanted backdrop for not-to-be-missed golfing up and down the coastline.
Chosen by Golf Magazine as one of the Top New Courses in 2007 and a “Favorite Hidden Gem” of PGA Travel, Bandon Crossings also represents an excellent value. Designed around the natural contours of sand dunes, over streams and open coastal forest, it’s a challenging course with a fun layout and several elevation changes.
Salmon Run in Brookings is an 18-hole public course that’s among the most demanding on the Coast; tight, complex holes require a good aim, but those who are up to the test are rewarded with beautiful greens, scenic vistas and glimpses of wildlife. An inland location means that you can often enjoy sunny conditions when the rest of the Coast is socked in.
Hit the links at two notable courses in Florence, both of which take advantage of the unique contours of the Oregon Dunes. Ocean Dunes Golf Links, a favorite for locals and travelers alike, has a unique course layout that follows the natural lines of the land. Breathtaking scenery and narrow fairways, pot bunkers, a double green and gorse plants make Ocean Dunes an invigorating golf experience. Nestled amid windswept dunes and towering pines, Sandpines Golf Links was selected as Golf Digest’s “Best New Public Course of the Year” when it opened and since then has received numerous accolades. You can tell that the natural beauty of the site inspired world-renowned golf course architect Rees Jones, who created this glorious array of holes to highlight the scenery of coastal pines, blue lakes and dunes.
More spectacular scenery awaits at Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, where a re-designed course by Oregon golf legend and PGA pro Peter Jacobsen features nine holes set in old growth timber, and nine designed for links-style play. Relax post-golf with a massage or explore the main clubhouse, featuring works by some of the Northwest’s most notable artists.
Legend has it that Gearhart Golf Links began life about 1888, when a group of homesick Scotsmen knocked balls through a makeshift three-hole course. If so, that makes Gearhart the oldest course in the Pacific Northwest and arguably in the western United States. Today the Links offers a pleasant 18 holes among seaside meadows that characterize the North Oregon Coast.
Good things come in small packages at the nine-hole Manzanita Golf Course. Constructed on a beautiful hillside overlooking the surf, the course boasts majestic firs, lush fairways, well-tended greens and native wildlife And an informal vibe makes Manzanita a terrific budget-friendly family golfing option.
For a more complete list of Oregon Coast golf options, click here.
Photo: Salishan Golf Course by Greg Vaughn