Golf Blog

Goat Caddies!

When I first heard that there was a magical place in Oregon where goats carry your golf clubs, I stopped everything that I was doing and booked my trip immediately. Yes, that’s right, they have goat caddies in Oregon. In case I don’t have your attention I will type it in capital letters…. GOAT CADDIES. The good news is that these goat caddies do not come alone. At Silvies Valley Ranch you have first class hospitality, a massive cattle ranch, and 4 different golf courses. Oh and also, caddies that are goats… GOAT CADDIES.

Bruce the goat caddie gives me the stink eye after a missed short putt.

Bruce the goat caddie gives me the stink eye after a missed short putt.

To fully understand the story of the goat caddies, we must first go back to the 1880’s when a French Trapper named Silvie entered the land that would later become Silvies Valley Ranch. He had come not for goats, but to trap the go to commodity of the 1880’s… beaver. The removal of these beaver would shape the landscape over the next 120 years eventually making way for the Campbell family to purchase the property in 2007. Over the last dozen years or so, the 60 square mile ranch has been ecologically restored and countless improvements have been made.

One of those improvements is the establishment of a very unique golf resort. Located in the remote town of Seneca, Oregon, Silvies has created a wildly fun an interesting place to play golf. Unfortunately, the ranch is not an easy place to get to, but once you arrive on the property, you will be instantly glad that you and your friends made the voyage. The staff immediately welcomes you to the property and makes you feel like you are part of the family.

With a dining lodge, spa, and spacious rooms, the golfer has everything that they need for several days of golf and related shenanigans. Each guest has their own personal golf cart to drive around the property and since there is no cell phone coverage, they give you walkie talkies to request anything that you might need from the staff during your visit. We used it to broadcast movie quotes and have conversations like this classic exchange from the movie Airplane. I am not joking.

Now, when I mentioned four different golf courses at the beginning of this post, I was serious. Not only are the golf courses different from each other but they are different from most of the other golf courses in the United States. Here are the vital stats on the courses at Silvies Valley Ranch.

  • Hankins Course

    • Dan Hixon Championship 18 hole course

    • 7075 yards

    • Played odd # days

  • Craddock Course

    • Dan Hixon Championship 18 hole course

    • 7035 yards

    • Played even # days

  • Chief Egan Course

    • Par 3 golf course

    • 9 holes, 875 yards

    • Goat Caddies available

  • McVeigh’s Gauntlet

    • Challenging executive course (par 2’s 3’s and 4’s)

    • 7 holes, 1177 yards

    • Goat Caddies available

The opening hole on the par 3 Chief Egan Course

The opening hole on the par 3 Chief Egan Course

Sunset on the Egan.

Sunset on the Egan.

On the drive up into Oregon from California I phoned my friend Sean, from BreakingEighty. I hadn’t talked to Sean in a while and I wanted to get the latest on his adventures.

  • Sean: “Hey Patrick, what’s up?”

  • Me: “Ah, not much man, just driving up to Silvies Ranch in Oregon.”

  • Sean: “You’re driving to Silvies Ranch in Oregon? I am driving to Silvies Ranch in Oregon!!”

That is the story of how Sean and I found out that we were on the same Silvies’ agenda for the week. We had no idea that we were scheduled to visit at the same time, but it was a welcome surprise. If there is one thing that I love more than golf it is beating Sean Ogle at golf.

Since we arrived in the afternoon, we started off the fun on the Chief Egan par 3 course. Sean had brought his friend Jamie and we decided to go with a 2 on 1 skins death match. After Sean and Jamie took the first two skins, I decided to get serious and stormed back to win the match with some clutch putting. Sean and Jamie would get used to this sort of devastation.

The 2nd on on the Egan course

The 2nd on on the Egan course

Up next we took on the heart of the Silvies Golf Resort, the Hankins and Craddock courses. Both of these 18 hole championship golf courses were designed by Dan Hixon. Named after the early pioneers of Silvies Ranch, they are also the most similar of the four golf courses on the property. That is because they are played on the exact same piece of land.

Yes, that’s right, I am talking about a reversible golf course. The Craddock course is played on even numbered days and then the routing is reversed and the Hankins course is played on the odd numbered days.

The 15th hole on the Craddock course is the 3rd hole on the Hankins course. It is my favorite green on the property.

The 15th hole on the Craddock course is the 3rd hole on the Hankins course. It is my favorite green on the property.

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The 4th hole on the Craddock Course

The 4th hole on the Craddock Course

The two courses share a majority of the green sites with 27 green complexes in total. The 9 additional greens provide completely unique golf holes for each of the two courses and adds great variety to both the Hankins and Craddock golfing experiences.

The most important aspect of the two designs is that you absolutely do not feel like you are just replaying some of the same green sites. You approach the greens from completely different angles and usually from a different length, making each approach feel like something brand new. It’s also pretty fun to uncover the routing and see just how different the course unfolds playing the other way.

The 12th hole on the Hankins course is also the 5th hole on the Craddock course.

The 12th hole on the Hankins course is also the 5th hole on the Craddock course.

#16 on Hankins or #2 on Craddock

#16 on Hankins or #2 on Craddock

The sun sets over #16 on the Craddock course.

The sun sets over #16 on the Craddock course.

The par 5 5th hole on the Hankins golf course

The par 5 5th hole on the Hankins golf course

The fine folks at Silvies Valley Ranch believe that golf should be fun. The best part about this belief is that they just don’t sit around believing it, they actually do something about it. In addition to the varied golf courses at the Ranch, they also offer a number of fun challenges that golfers can take part in. You can win prizes in the golf shop by accomplishing these challenges. It is a shining example of how to make golf fun.

Nailed It

The 18th hole on the Hankins course is at 5000 feet elevation, it is downhill, downwind, and very dry. If you know anything about golf ball aerodynamics, you know that this is the perfect setting for bombing a huge freaking drive. The hole has been designed to inspire the long ball and if you manage to hit the longest drive of your life they will provide you with a Silvies Valley Ranch “Nailed it” flask filled with whiskey. Since this is golf, Silvies goes on the honor system.

As was expected, both Sean and I swung like a couple of madmen on the tee box and actually made some pretty solid contact. Sean’s drive measure 358 yards and mine came in at…… 366 yards. Neither of us could remember a time when we hit one further so the flasks were gifted upon us.

If you complete any of these challenges, you also get to sign the “Book of Winners.” I signed my name right next to tour player Graham DeLaet… who hit his drive 390 yards.

The “Nailed It” flask on display.

The “Nailed It” flask on display.

One-Putt Challenge

The final four holes on the Hankins course offer a similar challenge in terms of putting. If you manage to one-putt all 4 of these holes, you will earn a round of the course’s signature drink, “The Horseshoe Nail,” for your foursome. We immediately managed to 3 putt like a bunch of fools and spoiled our chances.

Fortunately, the challenge also allows the golfer to one-putt the 18th green to earn their own personal drink. I decided to hole out from off of the green and Sean hit the flagstick to tap in for his drink. I donated my “Horseshoe Nail” to Jamie and continued my journey of sobriety for another day.

One putt the 18th and you are drinking for free in the clubhouse.

One putt the 18th and you are drinking for free in the clubhouse.

Lucky 7

The final challenge takes place on the McVeigh course. Complete all of the challenges below and you get to play for free golf at Silvies Ranch for an entire year. Good luck with #7.

  1. Complete score on all 7 holes

  2. Use less than 7 clubs

  3. Use less than 7 balls

  4. Drink less than 7 beers

  5. Complete the course in under 77 minutes

  6. Birdie the par 2 Bonus Beer hole, (which has a 7.7 inch cup)

  7. Have a score of under 17

No one in our group even came close to finishing within 17 strokes. I don’t think we even kept score. We were too excited about our new friend Bruce... THE GOAT CADDY.

Bruce the goat caddy arrives to the first tee with his goat handler, Hadley.

Bruce the goat caddy arrives to the first tee with his goat handler, Hadley.

From the moment our group set eyes on Bruce, he was immediately part of the team. He strode right up onto the first tee and all of the appropriate introductions were made. This was by far the most excited that I have even been about a caddy (sorry, Shuster). You could tell that Bruce was eager as well, but I got the feeling that he would have been just as content to sit there and eat the bushes for an hour.

By the second hole, Bruce would get into the flow of the round and easily keep pace with our group. In no time, he was handing out clubs left and right while dispensing golf balls like the veteran goat caddy that he is.

I asked Bruce for advice several times during our round and both times he just kind of glared at me. I could read it all over his face. “You know what club to hit Koenig, just step up and pull the trigger, you pansy.” Bruce is a no nonsense type of goat caddie and has little tolerance for indecisiveness. I stepped into line quickly.

Front view: Bruce The Goat Caddy

Front view: Bruce The Goat Caddy

Rear view: Bruce The Goat Caddy.

Rear view: Bruce The Goat Caddy.

Bruce is outfitted with a custom made double bag goat saddle from Seamus Golf. It has got all of the pouches and accessories that one would want from their caddy. We only put 6 clubs in each of Bruce’s bags and they fit nicely. Bruce carried it with ease.

Even though Bruce was stealing the show, McVeigh’s Gauntlet was certainly holding our attention as well. The course is designed to be so difficult that it’s fun. The greens are sloped, tiny, and elevated onto hill tops. If you miss your target even slightly, you will face a tough up and down from a potentially precarious situation.

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The wildly difficult 3rd hole on the McVeigh Challenge Course.

The wildly difficult 3rd hole on the McVeigh Challenge Course.

The view from the tee box on the 1st hole.

The view from the tee box on the 1st hole.

Bruce keeps his eye on the paparazzi as I hunt down flagsticks.

Bruce keeps his eye on the paparazzi as I hunt down flagsticks.

Bruce the Goat Caddy Facts:

  • Bruce has done 4 loops in one day.

  • Bruce does not accept cash tips, he only accepts peanut tips.

  • Bruce has appeared on Good Morning America.

  • Bruce is not easily impressed.

  • Bruce’s selfie game is strong to very strong.

  • Bruce has a goat caddy buddy named Mike.

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Silvies Valley Ranch ranks as one of the most unique and fun golf destinations that I have visited. While the emphasis is on the goat caddies, the golf and the entire experience is first class. As my friend Evan Schiller would say, “Go for the goat caddies, the golf is not baaahhd either.”

I will leave you with the link to my Instagram story on the goat caddy experience. You will want to click on it..

Portugal Pants

As a golfer who takes a lot of golf trips, some destinations can be routine and I look forward to some more than others. So when Portugal landed on my calendar, the excitement level was at a pretty solid 10/10 for several months. What excited me even more was that I was partnering with one of my favorite clothing brands, Bonobos. If possible, the excitement was boosted to another level with an off the charts Portugal golf crew. Since we were all outfitted by Bonobos in Portugal Pants, polos, and shorts, this post is going to score off the charts with style points. Now normally I like to start out a blog post with a stunning golf course photo, but in this case, the Portugal pants must be displayed.

Brodie Smith joins the airport pants party.

Brodie Smith joins the airport pants party.

The Portugal pants in Portugal

The Portugal pants in Portugal

After jumping a smooth flight with TAP Air Portugal, the stunning golf views would come the very next day at Oitavos Dunes. Rated as a top 100 golf course in the world, the anticipation for Oitavos was high and the dunes did not disappoint. The course was only matched by our top notch golf crew. Below you will find the golf roster. A golf roster this powerful is best read while listening to AC/DC, so please crank up the “Shoot to Thrill” and review your lineup.

  • Patrick Koenig - Golf Photographer, Golf High Kicker, Local Golf Enthusiast, #1 Male Model, Golf Idiot.

  • Brodie Smith - Legend of the Frisbee, YouTube Star, Golfball Bomber, has his own Wikipedia page.

  • Blair Wheeler - Surf Stud, #2 Male Model, Master of Style, 3 Putt Expert.

  • Ben Boskovich - Managing Editor, 12/10 “cool ranking” for entire 2015 year.

  • Carly Rappoport - Manager of Brand Communications for Bonobos, Voice of Reason, Hashtag Consultant.

Things heat up as the back nine at Oitavos Dunes reaches the ocean. Here is the view behind the par 5 13th hole.

Things heat up as the back nine at Oitavos Dunes reaches the ocean. Here is the view behind the par 5 13th hole.

Brodie rips a driver. The shot tracer is on the left and Blair Wheeler is on the commentary.

Brodie rips a driver. The shot tracer is on the left and Blair Wheeler is on the commentary.

The par 4 10th in the background with the par 3 14th in the foreground.

The par 4 10th in the background with the par 3 14th in the foreground.

This was the only time all day that I found the short grass at Oitavos Dunes

This was the only time all day that I found the short grass at Oitavos Dunes

Not only is Blari Wheeler a fellow Male Model, but he can also snap a solid photograph. Photo: Blair Wheeler

Not only is Blari Wheeler a fellow Male Model, but he can also snap a solid photograph. Photo: Blair Wheeler

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When you go golfing with Brodie Smith, you don’t just play a normal round of golf. Since Brodie is a big deal on the YouTubes, almost every shot on this trip was filmed. We were constantly rolling commentary and filming ourselves in good, bad, and sometimes awful predicaments. While it is a lot of fun to do, it takes up a lot of time and can be very distracting to playing actual quality golf. Between the jet lag and the YouTube production efforts, I had the perfect excuse for my horrid play at Oitavos Dunes. I made a snowman right out of the gate and never looked back.

What didn’t suffer was the amount of enjoyment I took from playing golf in a new country and on a new World Top 100 golf course. There are some really good holes out at Oitavos Dunes and you can see why it is ranked as the country’s best golf course. Some of my favorites include the drivable par 4 11th hole, the par 5 8th and the back to back par 3’s on 14 and 15.

For our stay in Quinta da Marinha, the golf crew had a little golf house at the Sheraton Cascais Resort. My only grumble with the property was that we couldn’t stay and enjoy the place for a week. The 4 bedroom suite was perfect for golfers visiting and playing the Oitavos Dunes course. The next day, we disembarked from our living quarters and got right back to pants modeling the portugal pants by Bonobos at Dom Pedro Golf.

Ben Boskovich finds the center of the green as the pants pictures continue..

Ben Boskovich finds the center of the green as the pants pictures continue..

Some good options on this short par 4. Our group went with the “Hammer it at the green” option.

Some good options on this short par 4. Our group went with the “Hammer it at the green” option.

With five courses at Dom Pedro Golf, there was plenty of championship caliber golf awaiting our group. We were scheduled to play the renowned Victoria course. In 2015, the World Cup of Golf was played on the Victoria course and it has been the home of the Portugal Masters since 2007. However, the big honor would come in early June of 2019, when it would host the first ever Portugal Pants Cup sponsored by Bonobos. Oddly enough, pants were optional.

The WGC globe still looms large at Dom Pedro

The WGC globe still looms large at Dom Pedro

From above Dom Pedro Golf

From above Dom Pedro Golf

The Portugal Pants Cup, or PPC, is a total team score match play format. It was Brodie and Blair vs. Ben and I. Despite being constantly ridiculed for having the only first name not starting with the letter B, I was hanging around and making some putts to keep things close. After 17 holes, the Portugal Pants Cup was all even. The tough par 4 finishing hole was going to decide the outcome.

Like a man in charge, I stepped right up to the tee and hooked one into the lake. I remember it made a significantly larger than normal splash that really got some oohs and ahhhs from the opposing team. I teed it up again and hit one down the middle. “Did it really have to make such a huge splash like that?” I wondered to myself as I headed back to the golf cart.

Not to be outdone, Blair suffered a lost ball penalty off of the tee which kept things close, then Ben made up some ground with a killer approach shot. Slowly we were inching back into the hole. Brodie did some stuff and then Blair did some other stuff, to keep it short, a lot of things happened on that 18th hole. However, it came down to my bogie putt from the fringe. In one of my finest Portugal putts of all time, I rolled in that 30 footer for bogie and celebrated like we had just won the Portugal Pants Cup… which we had.

Blair Wheeler, demonstrates style on and off of the course in the inaugural Portugal Pants Cup by  Bonobos .

Blair Wheeler, demonstrates style on and off of the course in the inaugural Portugal Pants Cup by Bonobos.

The 5th green and 6th tee at Pine Cliffs.

The 5th green and 6th tee at Pine Cliffs.

Up next was a visit to the cliffs of Portugal, to be specific the Pine Cliffs of Portugal. This resort features a stunning cliffside beach and one of the most fun short courses I have played. Even though there are only 9 holes at Pine Cliffs, each one will hold your interest and captivate you with the views.

The resort itself is also freaking amazing. With easy access to the beach (you have to take an elevator down the cliffside), and a handful of amazing restaurants on the property, you won’t run out of things to do for quite some time. Even when all of the restaurants and evening activities subsided our crew wandered out onto the 9th hole for some night golf putting competition. That Brodie Smith guy won both nights.

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When I hit my four iron into the 6th hole at @pinecliffs I heard a roar from the forward tees. It wasn’t just a 1 foot roar, it was an ace roar. Since you can’t see the bottom of the hole from the tee, I asked “Did it go in!?” “Maybe, it one hopped and disappeared, man!” “I think it’s in!!” @brodiesmith21 @benbosk @blairwheeler couldn’t confirm the ace but they were fairly certain that it went in. When we got up to the hole we found the golf ball in the bottom of the cup and I started running around like a madman. The problem was that I was the only one screaming like an idiot. Brodie, Ben, and Blair were just standing there with bummed out looks on their faces. That’s when it hit me, “Oh you sons of guns!” Unbeknownst to me, they had sent a scout to put my tee shot into the hole and I fell for the ace prank hard. At least I looked real classy in my @bonobosgolf apparel. FYI: ”sons of guns.” has been edited for internet decency.

The 6th hole at Pinecliffs and scene of the ace prank.

The 6th hole at Pinecliffs and scene of the ace prank.

After our time at The Pine Cliffs resort was up, it was time to head back into Lisbon to do some exploring. After we checked into the super fancy Pestana CR7, we got some lunch, turned down numerous (15) offers for marijuana, and hit the streets of Lisbon to explore the city. Most of the townspeople speak Portuguese, which is kind of like Spanish but an entirely different language.

My favorite story dealing with that language barrier comes from an art store tucked into an old Lisbon side street. Brodie was looking for a painting of a horse to go with his DarkHorse themed logo. After a little explanation, the store owner recognized the word ‘horse.’ Excitedly, he came over and started quickly rummaging through a large pile of paintings he had created. One after the other, he handed paintings of horses to Brodie. “Horse! Horse! Horse!” he then paused and rapidly flipped through several more paintings. “Horse!” Then another pause and more shuffling. “Horse! Horse!” “Ok, I think I got enough here.” replied Brodie. Brodie purchased one of the dozen horse paintings and we happily left the store. It was a good moment in horse history.

Advanced male model pose #NSFW

Advanced male model pose #NSFW

We were a little early for the rave at the Viking.

We were a little early for the rave at the Viking.

The pink streets of Lisbon.

The pink streets of Lisbon.

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What you can’t see here is that none of us are wearing our  Portugal pants by Bonobos .

What you can’t see here is that none of us are wearing our Portugal pants by Bonobos.

Never miss an opportunity to male model.

Never miss an opportunity to male model.

Our fearless troop leader, Carly Rappoport.

Our fearless troop leader, Carly Rappoport.

When we were traveling back into Lisbon, Brodie asked me, “We got a free morning, should we just call up a random course and see what we find?” “Absolutely” was my response. We decided to check out a local course called Lisbon Sports Club. I chose the golf course solely on the fact that it had a cool name and it was old… 1922 old. “Worse case, we still get to play golf, right?”

As we piled out of the Uber the next morning at Lisbon Sports Club, we were immediately greeted by a goat. That is when I knew that our gamble was going to pay off big time. After following our goat to the first tee, I took one look at the opening par 3, grabbed my camera and smiled. This was going to be fun.

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While the quality of play was uninspired from both Brodie and myself, the round of golf was a lot of fun. Each hole had a ton of character with a hint of golden age architecture. Some holes were quirky, some holes had castle remains, and some had blind shots. Every one of the holes felt like a new experience. At this point, I have played over 900 golf courses and seen around 16,200 golf holes. However, “I’ve never seen a hole quite like this one” was muttered at least a dozen times.

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After a perfect week of weather it began to rain as we finished up our round at Lisbon Sports Club. To escape the rain, we quickly holed out our bogie putts and headed to airport. The good news… it was upgrade time!

In all of my travels, I have never flown first class, business class, or any sort of class for that matter. That all changed on the flight from Lisbon to New York with TAP Air Portugal. You can lay down, the television is bigger, the have a full desk for all of your stuff, they even give you a little gift bag . It is full luxury! For the first time in my history of flying, I was bummed out when the plane touched down. “Awww man, you mean we have to leave now?” Yes, unfortunately, the Portugal Pants party post has come to an end.

I never smile like this in economy.

I never smile like this in economy.

They give you business socks, in business class.

They give you business socks, in business class.