Trip Dispatch: Golf from Portland to Hood River along the Columbia River Gorge

By Brandon TuckerMay 8, 2013, 1:19 am

PART 1: Travel Editor Brandon Tucker discovers scenic, affordable, walker-friendly golf courses between Portland and along the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. 

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- An Oregon golf trip is done best by putting on a little mileage. This is a state so ecologically diverse, from mountains to oceans to high deserts, you're never too far from a change in scenery.

Since Bandon Dunes opened on the southern Oregon coast, many golfers have beaten the path from Portland along the Umpqua River Basin, as I've done twice before. But heading east from PDX also make for a gorgeous drive along the Columbia River Gorge that takes you past some of the west's finest inland scenery. 

Not only that, the courses are a steal. Consider this: a rack rate tee time at Bandon runs $235-280, yet I played four courses between Portland and Hood River whose rates were under $200 combined (and if you're up for walking it's closer to $150). No, this route never brings you to the Pacific Ocean or experiences pure links golf. But it does includes playing walker-friendly set of courses in a variety of settings. 

My six-day trek that included Portland, the gorge and central Oregon, runs about 350 miles. Should you choose to replicate it, rubber-necking is likely, so drive slow and trade off driving duties equally amongst your group.

Day 1: Reserve Golf Club in Portland

Reserve South

No. 18 of the South Course at Reserve Golf Club in Portland. 

As I've done every time I come to Oregon, I flew into Portland with the idea of dusting off the clubs at a metro area course. I made the journey west of Portland to the South Course at Reserve Golf Club, located in the shadow of Nike HQ. It's one of the area's best semi-private clubs and formerly hosted the Fred Meyer Challenge and the JELD-WEN Tradition. The John Fought design is one that smacks of tour-worthy pedigree with 103 bunkers. Many are enormous and deep with white, flashed faces, and I seemed to have found most of them. It sounds like I'm not alone, because the club is planning a bunker renovation which will also remove some in the coming years. 

Day 2: The Resort at the Mountain

Resort at the Mountain

High school matches tee off on the first hole of The Courses at the Resort at the Mountain.

Before heading east along the Columbia River too far I made a detour down south off I-84 into the mountains towards The Resort at the Mountain in Welches. The Resort stakes claim as the first golf resort in Oregon, when nine holes were laid out here in 1928 beside the original hotel, and the setting makes for a scenic and secluded mountain retreat only about an hour from Portland. The Courses at the Resort at the Mountain features 27 classically-designed holes along a valley floor accented by some John Harbottle-designed touch-ups in 2008, most notably bunker reshaping and some new greens. A river runs along the first three holes of the Foxglove nine and steep, green mountain slopes with cloud cover halfway up surround the course.

Along with upgrades to the course, which went as far as to restore a wild fish habitat in the Salmon River that runs through the property, guest rooms were remodeled as part of an extensive hotel renovation, and I can attest to the fact the bed was the comfiest I rolled up into all week.

Day 3: The Columbia River Gorge: Elk Ridge and Indian Creek

Elk Ridge

No. 18 at the new and improved Elk Ridge Golf Course in Skamania County, Washington. 

I'd neglected the drive along the Columbia River gorge on my first two visits to Oregon, instead heading south towards Bandon Dunes. I had no idea what I was in for: Multnomah Falls, a drive over the Bridge of the Gods and other postcard-worthy spots that made me wish I had time to put a rod in the water. Drive across the Bridge of the Gods into Washington and you come to Skamania County and hot springs country, where hotels like Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa have lured guests to their natural mineral waters since the late 1800s. Up into the mountains is one of the area's newest golf courses, the revived Elk Ridge Golf Course. Formerly Carson Hot Springs Golf Course, it originally opened in the 1980s and was redesigned in the mid-2000s before going into bankruptcy within a year of reopening. The course sat dormant for years, but is now 18 months into its new life and is sporting stellar, dry conditions to go with million-dollar views.

'Easy, it's rock beneath us,' explained Greg Pedersen, Elk Ridge's head professional as to why it's always dry. 'Even after a torrential downpour you won't get mud on your shoes. We're the driest course in the northwest.'

More remarkable is the fact most of the prep work getting Elk Ridge reopened was primarily done by two people. This summer, it makes for one of the country's most spectacular sub-$50 rounds of golf anywhere (walking rates are currently as low as $25 right now). 

My last stop along the Columbia River was in Hood River, a hotspot for wind surfing, so it's to be expected you'll deal with the elements a fair bit on nearby golf courses, which is what I encountered on a brisk morning at Indian Creek Golf Club, a shortish 18-hole layout with a mix of gorgeous par 3s and short, target-style par 4s and some brawny par 5s.

Prior to my visit, numerous golfers mentioned to me that Indian Creek is always in prime shape no matter how much rain hits the gorge, and that's exactly what I encountered on my morning round. It makes sense though, considering the General Manager, Tyson Jacobs, is also the Superintendent.

Mt. Hood, despite being 13 miles away, still towers over Indian Creek on a clear day, and it served as my beacon for making my way down towards Central Oregon.

Click here for Part Two: Golf in Bend and Central Oregon

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.