Oregon, Oh Yeah!
One of the most geographically diverse and fun states for golf vacations is only a few hours flight from Phoenix to Portland or Bend, Oregon. While Bandon Dunes on the remote southern coast may be the most famous draw (and indeed a worthy bucket list spot), there are many areas for golfers who love wine, outdoor adventure, and no sales tax.
The river city of Portland is vibrant with art, food and brews. Public transportation is a cinch, even from the airport but rent a car and spend time in Tualatin Valley, home of Pumpkin Ridge. Murals of Tiger line the wall in the clubhouse commemorating his big amateur wins on the Witch Hollow private course where notable LPGA and USGA Championships have followed since. Visitors enjoy the public Ghost Creek course which meanders through the forest and along a shallow canal that may consume a few balls.
The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club is equally fun play and has hosted prestigious PGA events. Golf Digest has honored The Reserve with a 4 1/2-star rating in its bi-annual “Best Places to Play” issue since 2002. 20 minutes from downtown Portland makes it a popular city escape. Don’t let the name fool you. There is no winery here but the wine region in Tualatin Valley is extensive and special due to gentle growing conditions and soil drainage. From Ponzi Vineyards’ Historic Estate Winery to Lady Hill Winery, Apolloni Vineyards and the biodynamic duo of Cooper Mountain and Montinore Estate, there are over 30 scenic wineries in the region. All contributed to Willamette Valley being named the 2016 Wine Region of the year by Wine Enthusiasts.
Tualatin Valley’s culinary scene is eclectic. Syun Izakaya roll out sushi and Japanese specialties. Decarli Restaurant serves authentic and abundant cuisine inspired by Chef Paul DeCarli’s Italian/Swiss/American roots. Mingo in Beaverton Round’s central piazza is perfect for lunch or fine dining and a stroll. The Embassy Suites Portland/Hillsboro is a central spot for taking day trips to golf, wineries, Columbia River Gorge, 80 miles of rugged coastline, or The Hoods. Mt. Hood is snowcapped and skied year-round and Hood River is the birthplace of kite boarding.
Bend in Central Oregon has another efficient airport from which Arizonans may springboard. Bend is a downtown party scene while Sunriver Resort is all encompassing with four courses on property plus Tetherow and Pronghorn nearby. Bike or hike the Sunriver trails or head to the marina for Kayaks and boats to float down the little Deschutes River and commune eye to eye with the ducks. Explore more rivers and lakes or mountains in the area. In Spring or Fall you might ski in the morning and golf in shorts in the afternoon. Sunriver provides a nucleus for reunions of families and friends or conferences like IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators). Held in June, Sunriver partnered with other entities to showcase Oregon in grand style from Bandon to Portland, Tualatin Valley and Silvies Valley Ranch which brought one of their goat caddies for a photo op.
Silvies Valley Ranch is a 140k acre working ranch where guests saddle up in their own golf cart upon check in. The special carts are high horse powered with lithium batteries and heightened suspension for a really fast ride throughout the property past herds of cattle, pronghorn antelope, elk and 600 goats which may be sold for market meat or appear on the Chef’s menu. Or if they are one of the lucky four, they might be promoted to the goat caddie program on the new 7-hole McVeigh’s Gauntlet Course. It’s just fun, like the sayings on the rakes in all the courses including the Chief Okan executive nine-hole course and the reversible loop Craddock and Hankins 18-hole courses.
Fun too is marksmanship training with rifles and pistols on the shooting ranges or learning about the eco system and history of the ranch with Kobe including homestead tours. Fun is biking, hiking, horseback riding or simply lounging in thick western motif robes on leather couches and recliners by fireplaces or windows of the lodge or cabin bungalows where binoculars are handy to spot wildlife.
Views expand from every part of the ranch including the clubhouse patio for breakfast and lunch. Belly up to the bar in the ranch house for evening cocktails and special dinners before heading to the billiard room or firepit for star gazing and storytelling. 3 hours east of Bend and west of Boise, Idaho, Silvies is a grand escape!http://www.silviesvalleyranch.com