For many golfers outside Oregon, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort isn’t just at the top of the list for great golf in the state—it is the list.
But as good as Bandon’s golf offerings are, with all five of its 18-hole courses nationally ranked among public courses by every conceivable publication, there is a wealth of quality public-access golf in Oregon removed from that remote and popular stretch of coastline.
Here are 10 other public properties beyond Bandon in the Beaver State that golfers should know.
Just north of Bend, the Cyrus family acquired a 1,000-plus-acre property adjacent to their family farm in 1987 to build a golf course, opening the first nine holes in 1996 and the second nine in 2000. While course architect William Overdorf oversaw design, the Cyrus family was involved throughout the process, including clearing, earthmoving, finish work, and seeding. Most notably, though, the signature red sand for the bunkers originated on the Cyrus property, as the natural red cinders—when crushed—proved an environmentally friendly and considerably cheaper alternative to traditional sand.
Black Butte Ranch (Glaze Meadow)—Sisters
Glaze Meadow is one of two 18-hole courses at Black Butte Ranch in Central Oregon (along with Big Meadow) and was renovated just over a decade ago by architect John Fought. Situated at the foot of the Cascades, the course is draped across a rolling landscape, with holes framed by Aspens and Ponderosa pines that offer memorable views of the surrounding peaks, including North Sister and Mount Washington.
Brasada Canyons—Powell Butte
This resort course at the Brasada Ranch property just outside Bend boasts panoramic views from Mount Hood to Mount Bachelor, with no two holes running parallel to one another. Designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy, the layout is situated on semi-arid property dotted with sagebrush, sweeping elevation changes, and even an old railroad trestle. It’s not unusual to find more wildlife on this picturesque Central Oregon course than golfers.
Crosswater Golf Course—Sunriver
Sunriver Resort guests can access this picturesque heathland-style course, a Bob Cupp design situated on 600 scenic acres of woodlands and preserved wetlands. The layout is threaded by two rivers—the Deschutes and Little Deschutes—which can come into play as many as seven times during a round. The course has played host to an eclectic mix of events, from the Champions Tour and the NCAA Championships to the PGA Professional National Championship and Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.
Gearhart Golf Links—Gearhart
More than 130 years ago on the North Oregon coast, a group of homesick Scotsmen knocked balls into cans buried into the dunes on a landscape reminiscent of St. Andrews. By 1892, there was even a 3-hole course at the Hotel Gearhart (the facility’s website proclaims it to be the oldest west of the Mississippi River). Today, it’s an 18-hole links-style resort course that was recently restored by removing select trees and expanding view corridors, including opening sightlines to the surrounding mountains.
Pronghorn was exclusively private when it first opened, with the Nicklaus Course ranked as the nation’s No. 2 best new private course of 2004. The facility, which also has a Tom Fazio course in the rocky high desert, in recent years began to allow public play on its Nicklaus course, which is generally regarded as one of the more friendly designs from the Golden Bear. Both courses are known for their impeccable conditioning and the back nine of the Nicklaus Course has added visual drama as it plays through an ancient volcanic rock flow.
Pumpkin Ridge (Ghost Creek)—Portland
Witch Hollow at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club is a private, members-only course, but Ghost Creek is open to public play. Bob Cupp designed the layout through natural wetlands on a piece of rolling farmland, with holes framed by lush stands of trees and distant mountain vistas. The Pumpkin Ridge facility was the site of the 1997 and 2003 U.S. Women’s Opens, and more recently made news by hosting the 2022 LIV Golf Portland Invitational.
Running Y Resort—Klamath Falls
In southern Oregon, about 140 miles south of Bend and under an hour from Crater Lake National Park, the Running Y Resort features the state’s only Arnold Palmer-designed course. It’s known as one of Arnie’s “Sweet 16,” as he once called Running Y a favorite among his hundreds of designs across five continents. The course weaves through forests and around lakes, offering dramatic wide-open views of the Cascade Range. The property also has a unique putting course among its host of guest amenities.
There are technically four courses at this remote resort escape, which spans 600 acres of high desert ponderosa pine forest and mountain meadows. At over 5,000 feet, they’re the highest elevation courses in Oregon. The 18-hole championship course is reversible, with the course direction reversed daily to create the different Craddock and Hankins layouts with a variety of pin placements. There’s also the 7-hole McVeigh’s Gauntlet challenge course atop a razor back ridge, the 9-hole par-3 Chief Egan course where golfers can take goat caddies, and the reversible 18-hole Claire’s putting courses.
Tetherow Golf Club—Bend
The visually stunning course at this resort community in Bend was designed by David McLay Kidd, the architect who created the original course at Bandon Dunes. The Scotsman’s second Oregon design is quite different than his first, a manufactured layout widely regarded as more penal and unforgiving, yet undeniably impressive. About 20 minutes from Mount Bachelor, Tetherow is situated on 700 acres that border the Deschutes National Forest and offsets the on-course challenge by offering transportation like Golfboards and Finn Scooters to guests staying at the 50-room boutique hotel or in one of the property’s vacation rental homes.
What is your favorite public golf course in Oregon outside of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort?