Oregon’s Can’t Miss Golf Courses

With golf season well underway, we took the opportunity to ask Akbar Chisti, founder of Beaverton based Seamus Golf, about his favorite golf courses in Oregon.

Seamus Golf

As founder of Seamus Golf, maker of hand crafted golf accessories, Chisti travels around the country, visiting golf accounts and playing some of the nation’s top golf courses. Chisti points out that here in Oregon, we’re very lucky to have a wealth of amazing golf courses in our own backyard that range from world-class to flat out fun.

Here is Akbar Chisti’s list of favorite golf courses in Oregon and why:

1) Bandon Preserve – At world renowned Bandon Dunes, in Bandon, Oregon, there is but one par three course that truly redefines how the game is to be enjoyed.  We love all four full length courses, and after a round at one of them we like to head to the Preserve for the pitch and putt of a lifetime.  Up and down impressive dunes and a panoramic view of both the Pacific Ocean and the first course, Bandon Dunes, the Preserve is site to more religious bromantic experiences than any other course I’ve played in the world.

2) Tetherow – David McLay Kidd of Bandon Dunes designed this gem in Bend and as a links course it has some fantastic amenities.  A new pool and vacation rental launches this summer, giving families more reason to make this the spot to stay.  For a central Oregon destination, Tetherow offers the luxurious and affordable spot to stay, eat, and play on the way to Mt. Bachelor.  If you think golf courses close down the fun in the winter, think again, folks can play on this gem with the kids on supplied sleds down the driving range.  Or perhaps the nanny can run them down while you park it at The Row, Tetherow’s uplifting spin on a casual pub with American -Scottish fusion offerings that are consistent with the vibe on the Kidd designed course.

3) Gearhart Golf Links and The Highlands – While these two destinations are separate entities, I like to talk about them as one golf destination as they border each other and need to be experienced together and many times in the same day.  For starters, Gearhart is arguably the oldest golf course in the Pacific Northwest.  Recently, the course was renovated and cleaned up by the highly reputable shapers Jim Urbina and John Strawn.  The McMenamins operated hotel and Sand Trap bar offer great before and after round refreshment and meal options. The neighboring Highlands Golf Club is a beautifully manicured, fun and playable 9-hole course that is walking only (the way it was meant to be), and is one of the few courses on the Oregon Coast with views of the Pacific Ocean.

Gearhart - Don Frank Photography
Photo credit: Gearhart Golf Links/Don Frank Photography

4) Pronghorn Nicklaus Course – One course that doesn’t look like any other course in Oregon is the Nicklaus course at Pronghorn in BendI’ve heard that it’s even possible for the public to get onto the exclusive Fazio course these days.  While it’s not good to pick the better of two sons, it is the Nicklaus course that carves through rock ravines and other unique natural features that sets it apart from most all of Pacific Northwestern tracks I’ve played.  Couple that with an afternoon round at the Fazio and call it a day well spent.

Photo Credit: Pronghorn

5) McMenamins Edgefield Pub Course – Golf is supposed to be fun, right?  This little pitch and putt at the historic Edgefield in Troutdale is heaven for golfers and non-golfers alike.  A wedge and a putter is all you need, and the cart staff will be whipping around with 22 ounce bottles of fresh brews on a very regular basis throughout the day.  It has one 20 hole par three and one 12 hole par three, with greens that legitimately roll as nice, true, and fast as some of my favorite local private clubs.  A distillery, brewery, historic hotel rooms, summer concerts and great dining options make this a necessary part of annual calendar.

6) Pumpkin RidgeThis course in North Plains is home to many great championships and most importantly the iconic 1996 US Amateur when Tiger Woods defeated amateur Steve Scott.  After the round he was whisked away in a black car barricade to a small athletic company in Beaverton, Oregon.  That following week, the news broke, and Tiger went to start a career in the PGA smashing many records and making the Swoosh one of the most impactful brands the game might ever see.  I’ve had the chance to play both courses and just love Ghost Creek for its need for strategy, well planned flow to the course, and probably the nicest manicured fairways one can play in the summer time.

7) The Reserve – The Reserve in Aloha boasts not one but two championship courses and a deck that gives a fantastic view.  While the north course has open rolling mounds that mimic those of Scotland, the South design by John Fought has probably hundreds of bunkers staged throughout the course.  I like to take the ‘Leave no bunker behind’ approach when playing this spot.  I would give them a drink cart rating of 10, and the best in the state, as you will see the staff about every three holes.  The chateau style clubhouse spreads the reoccurring theme of vineyards and wine, which is totally fine by me.

The Reserve
Photo Credit: The Reserve: M.O. Stevens

Akbar Chisti is president and co-founder of Seamus Golf, a craft maker of fine goods for the enthusiast golfer including its signature golf head covers hand cut and sewn in Oregon.  As an avid golfer with an appreciation for quality craftsmanship, Chisti co-founded Seamus Golf in 2011 with his wife Megan. Combining Akbar’s business savvy and desire for traditional, yet functional tartan head covers with Megan’s design experience, Seamus Golf was born. Seamus Golf products are featured in some of the finest golf shops in the U.S., including Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, and Harbor Town. The company is named after the family Irish Terrier.


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