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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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”