Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Central Oregon Golf Open and More Accessible than Ever

Area has three Top 100 courses and hidden gems to discover

(BEND, Ore.) — A prime summer tee time at the best of Central Oregon’s golf courses isn’t always a gimme. But 2020 is no ordinary year, and that presents an opportunity for golfers — a chance to beat the summer heat and enjoy the very best of Central Oregon golf however and whenever they choose.

With its 30 golf courses — including three in Golf Digest’s Top 100 and diversity in course design that is rare — Central Oregon has long been considered among the top destinations in the country for a golf trip. That is particularly true in Central Oregon’s famously mild summer when the dry, clear days of the High Desert yield average high temperatures that settle in the low-80s.

In this era of social distancing, Central Oregon’s appeal to golfers has only strengthened with courses that offer plenty of room to roam.

“Central Oregon’s golf courses can feel a world away from more crowded city courses,” said Julia Theisen, president/CEO of Visit Central Oregon. “And with course designs that range from postcard-perfect, pine tree-framed fairways, to stunning Scottish Heathland designs, to striking desert links carved by ancient lava outcroppings, the landscape of Central Oregon gives golfers so many options.”

Anchored by its cultural hub in Bend, Central Oregon is home to championship designs spread throughout the region. That includes the PGA Tour pedigree of Sunriver Resort’s three championship golf courses, including Crosswater Club, a Golf Digest Top 100 mainstay. IT includes the accessible-to-all designs of Black Butte Ranch’s two championship designs. Central Oregon’s offerings include more Golf Digest favorites such as the Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio courses of Pronghorn Resort and the David McLay Kidd gem of Tetherow, as well as the player-friendly design of Brasada Ranch in Powell Butte.

The options include less familiar names like Aspen Lakes Golf Course in Sisters — named by Golf Advisor as one of the country’s great hidden gems — and budget-friendly choices like Juniper Golf Course in Redmond, considered the top municipal course in Oregon.

The region’s golf product always manages to get better, too. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Black Butte Ranch has opened a new family-friendly putting course designed by John Fought, the award-winning architect who also designed the resort’s Glaze Meadow course and co-designed Crosswater. Tetherow, where GolfBoards were born, added Finn Scooters to its fun mix as well as continued refinement of its links-style course. It also means exciting new places to stay, including Pronghorn’s Huntington Lodge, which opened in 2019.

And golf isn’t all that makes a great golf trip in Central Oregon, which is home to nearly 40 breweries, distilleries, and cideries, as well as a creative culinary scene that includes everything from fine dining to an eclectic food truck culture. Many have reopened their dining rooms after making the necessary adjustments under current health guidelines. And thanks to an abundance of outdoor dining options—including food truck pods throughout the region, most brewpubs, and many of the best restaurants in downtown Bend, Sunriver, and Sisters—eating out in Central Oregon is hardly a confining experience.

“With Central Oregon reopening and springing back to life, the region is getting back to normal,” Theisen said. “Golfers can truly enjoy the full Central Oregon golf experience without the crowds that they might expect this time of year. There may never be a better opportunity to enjoy the summer golf season in Central Oregon.”

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

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