Golf Where the Locals Do
The sun is out, the Masters is on the brain, and you’ve got a lull in your day. These three courses are the place to get a golf fix on a whim. They’re scenic, staffed by friendly folks, and — at moderate lengths and slopes — offer plenty of opportunity for the first Oregon birds of the season.
When Medford businesspeople and visitors have an hour or two to kill midweek, they often steal over to Bear Creek Golf Course for a quick nine along the area’s signature waterway. With no set tee times, pro and owner Marla Corbin seems to always find a slot for all comers: “It’s a relaxed place to play and have a good time.” Bear Creek is an executive layout with two par fours sprinkled among seven threes, but the elevated, small greens will test even a low-handicapper. All spring and summer the course offers a $10 play-all-day rate on Thursdays.
At Agate Beach Golf Course, just north of Newport, you can plan your visit to the coast and satisfy your craving for a round of golf. A short pitch from the beach, the course loops among windswept evergreens in a forgiving, mostly flat 9-hole layout that has kept locals and weekenders happy since 1931. Long hitters can still revel in two par-fives playing at 501 yards and 448 yards from the blues. And the challenging par-three 8th, built by late pro Jim Martin in 1960, dares a duffer to drop a tee shot between towering hemlock and fir on the right, and a large greenside bunker on the left. Martin’s family still operates the course today.
Three-quarters of a mile from the heart of downtown Hillsboro (just outside of Portland) you’ll find bucolic McKay Creek situated perfectly for people looking to squeeze in nine holes. It sits on converted dairy farmland, and the creek winds beside several holes before veering across the fairway on the par-5 ninth and challenging the ambitious to fly it with their second shot. A loyal local following joins regular scrambles, glow ball night competitions and six-hole mini-tourneys. In the evenings, players also tune up their swings at the lighted and heated driving range.
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