Central Oregon Golf: A Destination That Brings People Together

by | May 17, 2023 | Travel


Sun-drenched greens, natural surrounding beauty, and scores of off-course activities make for an unforgettable summer golf destination.

(SUNRIVER, Ore.) — The Central Oregon Golf Trail is much more than golf with a view. But with the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters seemingly watching over every shot under bright Central Oregon skies, those views certainly leave an impression.

Central Oregon’s 2023 golf season is upon us, promising sunny days that seem to last forever and emerald-green fairways designed by some of the best-known golf architects in the world.

The majesty of Central Oregon’s geography is part of what has long made it a cradle of imaginative course designs as diverse as anywhere in the country. The mountainous backdrop and evergreen forests give way to a rugged High Desert landscape with red-cinder volcanic outcroppings and juniper forest. Famed names in golf architecture like Bob Cupp Jr., Tom Fazio, John Fought, Robert Trent Jones, David McLay Kidd, and Jack Nicklaus have all painted Central Oregon’s unique canvas over the years to create vastly different golf experiences.

Central Oregon’s three Golf Digest Top 100 courses — Pronghorn Club’s Jack Nicklaus Course (No. 40) east of Bend, Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Club (No. 61), and Tetherow Resort in Bend (No. 82) — are perfectly emblematic of that diversity. All within 20 minutes of each other, these three gems are carved from different landscapes to create their own experience. Yet together, they create a golf adventure that is uniquely Central Oregon.

Oregon golf

Surrounded by Instagram-worthy views of the Cascade Mountains, both nationally acclaimed Pronghorn Club Golf courses have emerged as a bucket-list destinations for golfers of all levels.

With nearly 30 golf courses, though, there is more to explore. The Central Oregon Golf Trail also features stunning resorts, including Sunriver Resort and its three championship golf courses, Black Butte Ranch and its two championship designs, Pronghorn Club at Juniper Preserve, the Scottish heathland-style Tetherow, as well as the player-friendly design of Brasada Ranch in Powell Butte.

Round out your bucket list. Trail adventure with hidden gems like Aspen Lakes Golf Course in Sisters — named by Golf Advisor as one of the country’s great hidden gems — and Juniper Golf Course in Redmond, considered the top municipal course in Oregon.

“One of the main attributes that helps set Central Oregon apart from most golf destinations is the array of course designs that are of the highest quality,” said Julia Theisen, president/CEO of Visit Central Oregon. “Central Oregon is home to picturesque pine tree-framed fairways that many think of when they think of golf in the Pacific Northwest. But Central Oregon is also home to stunning Scottish Heathland designs and striking desert links carved by ancient lava outcroppings. The landscape of Central Oregon has given course architects so many options, which is a big part of the joy that comes from a golf trip here.”

The Central Oregon Golf Trail is also continually evolving. Sunriver Resort is currently undergoing a major bunker renovation project at Crosswater, which will reopen on July 1 fully refreshed. Black Butte Ranch has also nearly completed a renovation of Big Meadow’s bunkers.

Sunriver and Black Butte Ranch have added family-friendly putting courses in recent years, and the putting course at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond remains a favorite.

Golf isn’t all that makes Central Oregon such an enticing golf destination. Central Oregon has earned its reputation as a paradise for outdoor recreation. And home to nearly three dozen breweries, distilleries, and cideries, as well as a creative culinary scene that includes everything from fine dining to an eclectic food truck culture, finding fun off the course is never difficult. The region’s cultural and entertainment offerings continually grow. That includes a live music scene featuring some of the biggest names in music, whether catching a summer show at Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend or taking in live entertainment at intimate venues throughout the region.

“Central Oregon’s combination of high-quality golf and off-course activities ensures that even the novice or non-golfers in the group will have a great time,” Theisen said. “Golf is a game that is best shared. And Central Oregon is a destination that brings people together, whether a group of friends or family.”

To begin planning your golf trip to Central Oregon, visitcentraloregon.com.

Photos courtesy Visit Central Oregon