Think of a movie or television show you loved as a child, and then watch it again as an adult. Sometimes it’s not the same. But sometimes, you become that kid again on a Saturday afternoon, giddy with excitement about the outcome of the the episode.
Nostalgia waxed poetic as I made the turn into the campus of Running Y Resort, site of one of Arnold Palmer’s Sweet Sixteen golf courses, in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I played here almost one year ago exactly, and about a month after the passing of Arnold himself (you can read my initial impressions here). The caliber of the course was still there. Just like the old re-run, the giddy anticipation of experiencing an Arnold Palmer design in my own back yard of Southern Oregon again, washed over me.
What more could I say about Running Y Ranch Resort that hasn’t been said already? When you think of a course like this, or any of the King’s courses, certain words tend to pop up repeatedly: immaculate, beautiful, serene, and challenging. Much like the man himself, his courses are a cut above the others. Southern Oregon is blessed to have dozens of golf courses within a 100-mile radius, and each one of them pales in comparison to the Ranch. Simply stated, Running Y boasts membership among the Oregonian super-courses like Bandon and Pronghorn.
That was the synopsis of my previous article, and was fresh in my mind as I walked back into the pro shop at Running Y Ranch Resort. But a year is a long time, and Oregon weather has been brutal these last twelve months. I admit I was skeptic, or perhaps concerned is a better word, that Running Y could have the same incredible status as it did in October 2016.
Never doubt the King…or the maintenance crew at Running Y.
We have been without Arnold for a little over a year, but I know that wherever his spirit is playing tonight, he is playing happily knowing his kingdom is being maintained to standards only he could set. Running Y remains the nicest golf course in the area, with every blade of grass right where it should be. The autumn sun shone down on us the entire time, sometimes blocked by the beautiful pine and oak trees that line some of the fairways. Clocking in a round at about 4 hours, our time in the kingdom was short, but it was worth it.
After leaving the grounds, we found ourselves in the Ruddy Duck restaurant in the main lodge overlooking the opening holes of the back nine. My compatriots and I, all equally chilled and tired from our game, sat and shared stories of past feats (some true, some exaggerated) amidst pints and plates of French fries. As would be expected, the staff in the restaurant was incredibly kind and knowledgeable, traits they shared with their pro-shop cousins.
Leaving a beautiful golf course after a great round with your friends is never an easy thing. There is something about the mutuality of golf that brings the best out in everyone, and this feeling is amplified when you step foot onto the higher caliber courses like Running Y. In hallowed glory, the King reigns supreme.