Golf Blog

Central Oregon

Central Oregon is one of my favorite places to play golf, so when Ted Taylor over at Visit Central Oregon gave me a call to tell me about the PacAm golf tournament in Bend OR, I knew that a trip would be in order.  Below you will find a brief rundown of the PacAm and the courses to play in Central Oregon.

The PacAm is one of the larger amateur tournaments in Oregon and in 2016 it celebrated it's 20th year in existence.  I was there to capture the action and most importantly the golf courses of Central Oregon.  The PacAm hosts approximately 450 participants each year and the tournament is played over seven courses with the Championship round being played at Crosswater Club in Bend.

The 16th at Lost Tracks Golf Club

The 16th at Lost Tracks Golf Club

The PacAm starts off with the Festival of Golf, where around $8k was raised for the local Boys & Girls Club of Bend.  Golfers have a chance to win a car with a hole in one, achieve glory with a long drive, or most importantly devour cake.  

Before the golfers got after this cake, it was a perfectly sculpted sight of deliciousness. 

Before the golfers got after this cake, it was a perfectly sculpted sight of deliciousness. 

The Festival of Golf gets underway at the Sunriver Resort.

The Festival of Golf gets underway at the Sunriver Resort.

After the festival of golf had kicked off the tournament, the golfers would head out for 3 rounds over the next 3 days at the 7 area courses.  The tournament is broken down into gross and net divisions and flighted by handicap.  Pretty much anyone has the potential to win if they play well.  

The top 4 contestants in each flight would win M2 Drivers, Nikon range finders, and Taylor Made golf bags and balls.  This was easily the most swag I had seen at a tournament of this nature.  

In the end, Rick Gehrke of Meridian, ID would take home the overall champion honors.  Congratulations, Rick.

The 15th hole at Nicklaus' Pronghorn course

The 15th hole at Nicklaus' Pronghorn course

Next up on the agenda was Tetherow, The David McLay Kidd design offers plenty of challenge and excitement.  Heading up the excitement category are the Golfboards that are available for rent.  Tetherow was actually the pilot course for Golfboard and the company is headquartered in Bend.

If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.  But don't just take my word for it.  Check out this Golfboard review by Chicago's very own, Ferris Bueller.

We quickly doubled up our raffle tickets with some cornhole.

We quickly doubled up our raffle tickets with some cornhole.

Bag piping scene is strong at the PacAm

Bag piping scene is strong at the PacAm

The always interesting 12th hole at Pronghorn

The always interesting 12th hole at Pronghorn

While the tournament was underway, I took the time to visit some of the area's marquee courses.  Among the top of that list is Pronghorn Resort.  With 2 championship courses, one designed by Tom Fazio and the other by Jack Nicklaus, this is a must play for any Bend visit.

I played a pretty solid round and had a chance to break par with a birdie on 18.  The pressure was tense as I faced a tough approach from the right rough.  In the shot of the day, I hit a towering 6 iron that fell out of the sky and right onto the flag stick.  I converted the 3 foot putt for 71 and walked off of 18 with a nice big smile.  

After a tough day on the links at Tetherow, I would cap off my day gloriously with a fine eagle putt.  

With an eagle this spectacular, an equally spectacular celebration is required.  I deliver the putt, then deliver the kicks.

The signature 17th hole at  Tetherow  from behind the green.

The signature 17th hole at Tetherow from behind the green.

When considering your next golf trip, Central Oregon should definitely be on the list for discussion.  With so many public options available, the avid golfer could play for a week without running out of exciting new holes to play.  

Even If you can't make it to the PacAm tournament, the area is definitely worth visiting.  In addition to the world class golf, there is hiking, fishing, skiing, rafting, and rock climbing.  Central Oregon also gets more than 300 days of sunshine a year. 

A big thanks to Ted Taylor and Visit Central Oregon for inviting me out for a fantastic couple of days.

 

 

I didn't make it out to  Brasada Ranch  this trip, but it is another Central Oregon gem.

I didn't make it out to Brasada Ranch this trip, but it is another Central Oregon gem.

The 8th hole at  Crosswate r is a short par 4, that does indeed, cross over the water.

The 8th hole at Crosswater is a short par 4, that does indeed, cross over the water.

Shot of the Year!

I was in San Francisco to celebrate the New Year and naturally our crew was going to play one last round of golf before 2015 was officially done.

We selected San Geronimo as the site for the final round of 2015.  Our foursome decided to play a two man best ball match on a $15 Nassau.  After suffering a loss on the front nine, we arrived on the 18th hole 1 up on the back nine and 1 down in the overall match.

The 18th hole is a "bite off as much as you feel comfortable" scenario with a carry over the lake, with my partner in the drink, I decided to get aggressive and I hit a big drive over the pond leaving me only a 30 yard pitch into the green.  The comeback effort was only a pitch and a putt away... or so we thought.

The finishing 18th at San Geronimo Golf Club

The finishing 18th at San Geronimo Golf Club

Team "Fortunate Bounces" consisting of Paul Gilmore and Joe Garvey both were about 130 out in the middle of the fairway.  Hailing from the beautiful country of Ireland, Paul was up 1st.  My teammate John and I looked on as Paul's ball flew threw the air towards the green.  "Oh shit, that looks really good, I mean really good."  Moments later the ball would strike the flag stick on the fly, bounce an inch away from the hole, and land in the cup for an eagle 2!!  

The crowd erupted with screams and Joe and Paul hugged each other like a couple of giddy school boys.  Even a nearby fisherman turned around to see what had just happened.  The comeback bid had been thwarted in dramatic and epic fashion.  A walk off home run for Mr Gilmore!  It is with great pleasure that I award the "Shot of the Year" to Mr. Paul Gilmore.  What a glorious way to strike your last golf shot of 2015.  Congratulations!

Paul poses for the cameras as he celebrates his final victory of 2015.

Paul poses for the cameras as he celebrates his final victory of 2015.

Like a true gentleman, Paul bought us drinks after his shot on 18.

Like a true gentleman, Paul bought us drinks after his shot on 18.

Double Eagle Weekend

With a title like "Double Eagle Weekend" one would assume this is going to be a rather brief story about holing out a 3 wood for a 2 on a par 5.  Nope.  This is a 2 part story about 2 separate eagles in one weekend.  A Double Eagle weekend.  Not eagles on the scorecard, Bald Eagles, like the type you see on the Colbert Report.

As I sized up the difficult tee shot on the 18th hole at Whitehorse, my first bald eagle of the weekend buzzed right by my head and landed out in the rough.  He looked back at me and calmly waited for me to hit my tee shot.  In the name of America, I stepped up to the challenge and piped one right down the middle.

With a satisfied look on his face, he took off into the distance to tell his eagle buddies about the drive he just witnessed.  "How can you be so sure he was telling his eagle buddies?" you may ask, well oddly enough, he had some kind words for me as he flew away.  I snapped a quick shot for photographic proof of the story.

I was just making the turn on day 2 of the "Double Eagle Weekend" when I noticed another bald eagle hopping towards the pond off of the 10th hole.   Naturally, I hit another drive down the middle of #10 and planned a sneak attack photo opportunity.

I concealed myself behind the reeds along the edge of the pond as the bald eagle bathed happily.  As I rounded the corner, I jumped out to catch him drying off.  He looked pretty pissed off about the situation... He had no words, just his disapproving stare.

AMERICA!!!

Birthday eagle on #8

If you play the game of golf long enough, you will inevitably witness some of the most amazing feats of hitting balls into holes that the world has to offer.

Last week I was able to experience one of these moments.  I was paired up with Gavin and his wife Megan for a round out at Chambers Bay.  To set the story properly, it must be noted that this was a birthday round of golf for Gavin.  

On the 8th hole Gavin found himself 130 yards out and on the side of the steep slope that lines the left side of the 8th fairway.  I was surprised he was even able to find his ball amongst the dense grasses.  Perhaps sensing his birthday moment was upon him, Gavin boldly struck his approach toward the green.

I heard a "great shot" from Gavin's caddy followed by a "It went in!!"  Sure enough, our birthday golfer had found the bottom of the hole for an eagle 3 on the difficult 8th hole.  

It is worth mentioning that anything on the green would have been considered a great shot given Gavin's position on the left slope.  Probably one of the coolest eagles I have ever witnessed!  I'd take that eagle over birthday cake all day long.