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With beautiful wine country producing world-class wines, the north-west states of Oregon and Washington are also home to brilliant golf courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Perhaps overshadowed by southern neighbour California, both in terms of wine and golf, Oregon and Washington nevertheless proudly boast the Walla Walla Valley and central Oregon as superb wine regions which also happen to be home to fantastic golf resorts.
The Walla Walla Valley is located in Washington state and extends southwards into the northeastern corner of Oregon. Hugged by the Blue Mountains to the southeast, the Palouse to the north, and the Columbia River westward, today it is home to more than 120 wineries working in this warm and distinct climate.
Low rainfall and complex soils lead to multi-layered, full-bodied wines. The dry July and August heat provides a vibrant core of ripeness in the berries, while the growing chill of September gives the acidic background necessary for creating great wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most well known and widely planted grape in the area, followed by Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc.
Whether staying within the town of Walla Walla itself in Washington, which boasts over 30 wine tasting rooms within walking distance of award-winning restaurants and accommodations, or off the beaten track surrounded by vineyards, you’ll never be far from great wine, or golf.
The Wine Valley Golf Club is a Dan Hixson design which unravels over rolling hills in the shadow of the Blue Mountains. With broad fairways, every hole offers multiple possibilities for all levels, providing an entertaining round. The course plays fast and firm in the tradition of great links courses in the summer months and is long at 7,360 yards.
The club offers stay & play packages with nearby partners the Hampton Inn, Suites Hilton and the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.
Central Oregon is home to the Willamette Valley which has two-thirds (700) of the state’s wineries and vineyards. It is recognized as one of the world’s premier Pinot–producing areas. The moderate maritime climate here allows Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes to gain flavour and structure during the warm days, while maintaining their acidity with the cooler temperatures that can roll in from the Pacific Ocean.
Pronghorn Resort, close to the small city of Bend, is surrounded by incredible views of the Cascade Mountains, and is home to two courses which have become brilliant destinations for golfers of all levels.
It’s a resort that can boast the enormous privilege of having signature courses by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, opened in 2004, passes through ancient lava rock ridges and outcroppings with mountain views. It’s a stern challenge and one of the most beautiful courses in this part of America.
Opened in 2006, the Tom Fazio Championship Course is a truly dramatic layout. Rolling fairways and sculpted greens are accented by ancient lava rocks, water features and juniper trees. It’s also home to one of the most unique holes in the world: the par-3, 8th hole that has a 45-foot canyon and an exposed lava tube.
Visitors can stay at the Huntington Lodge & Spa, a hotel inspired by the local nature featuring wood furnishings, modern and clean architecture complemented by soft, organic layers for comfort and style. There’s an outdoor pool, spa and wellness centre.
About 15 minutes outside of Bend, Sunriver Golf Resort is home to three brilliant golf courses set against the stunning Cascade Mountains. Visitors here can stay at the cosy and casual Sunriver Lodge Village, or the upscale Sunriver River Lodges with suites available.
The first golf course, Crosswater, is a heathland-style Robert Cupp design that derives its name from the rivers that flow throughout the course. Meadows, designed by acclaimed architect and former US Amateur Champion John Fought, runs next to Sun River with the magnificent scenery of Mount Bachelor as its backdrop.
Woodlands is a Robert Trent Jones Jr course that’s a must-play in Oregon. Forests of Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine, rocky outcrops and various water hazards make for a truly memorable golf experience.