Centennial is a “must do” for the golfer who’s looking for a superior quality course with a unique layout.
Southern Oregon is full of golf courses. Twelve in the Rogue Valley alone. Some stand out more than others, but all have something that makes them unique, and most can point to some accolade, from some magazine or poll that voted them “best” in some category. Sometimes we don’t pay attention to those claims because, well, you know, sometimes the ratings don’t match the round. One course DOES live up to its ranking, Centennial Golf Club. If you’re travelling through Southern Oregon, Centennial is a “must do” for the golfer who’s looking for a superior quality course with a unique layout.
Nestled next to the foothills of the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, Centennial opened its fairways to rave reviews in May of 2006 and has continued to climb in the ranks of “best” courses in the country.
The course is long, and boasts a choice between 5 different tees, from a spectacular 7,309-yards to an easier 5,244, guaranteeing a pleasant experience for golfers of every level. The course is walkable, with a few uphill climbs on the front nine. Most younger golfers use a three wheeled cart. Golf carts are available for those who prefer them. Other amenities at Centennial include an expansive practice facility featuring a grass driving range, state of the art chipping facility, and a large putting practice area.
Most golfers with a single digit to 12 handicap play from the purple tees (Centennial’s signature color). Twelve and up handicappers generally play from the whites, although even the white tees, at 6,401 yards, provide a formidable challenge for the 225 yard driver.
The par-72 layout, designed by two-time PGA Tour winner and 1977 U.S. Amateur Champion, John Fought, offers spectacular views of the Rogue Valley. The picturesque landscape of the surrounding mountains makes you feel like you’re playing in a huge natural stadium. Every time you hit a good shot, you’ll swear you can hear the roar of the cheering crowd in the stands.
The course itself was built on an old pear orchard. One of the three houses on the golf course sits next to the 14th green. Built in the early 1900’s by a local doctor, now it ministers to the ailments suffered from hopeful yet errant golf shots on the long par 3 hole. My favorite holes are #4, a 213 yard downhill par 3 (I love to watch golf shots fly from an elevated tee), and another par 3, hole #6. At a mere 186 yards, the #6 tee box is only slightly elevated, but the green slants toward a pond. Even if you land on the upper part of the green, it could roll clear to the bottom. Heaven forbid you should miss it to the uphill side and have to chip on. Good luck with that! Another hole I really like is the 281 yard, par 4, #13. Most try to drive the green. Some do. However, the green is guarded on the front by deep sand traps. If you got the guts, take the shot. My most challenging hole, justly awarded the most difficult hole in Southern Oregon, is #3. At 406 yards from the white tees, it should be an easy par 4, but it’s the steep, uphill second shot, to a narrow landing area that makes the hole difficult.
The fairways are expertly manicured to crisp “semi-tight lies,” and the greens are quick, firm and true (be sure to bring your backspin with you). You’ll be impressed with the shape of the course, as well as the consistency of the terrain. There was not a “blemish” in sight the day I played. Matt Grove, Centennial’s Maintenance Superintendent, makes sure everything is properly watered, groomed, and prepared. His crew is polite, and attentive to the flow of the golfers. Attention to details is the norm at Centennial.
The service in the Pro Shop holds true as well. Even at the busiest times, the guys behind the counter are courteous, friendly, and efficient. They all know your name after seeing you once. According to General Manager, Vince Domenzain, “It’s all about the customer. When someone comes out to play,” he says, “they want to have a good time. Everything we do is geared toward that goal.” The Pro Shop is also generously stocked with everything a golfer needs from clothes to clubs.
The clubhouse’s rustic open beam construction offers a casual elegance to its country style atmosphere, making it just right for the after round camaraderie with your golf mates. You can add up your score in the Centennial Grille and catch up on the day’s sports by watching one the two big screen TV’s, or you can sit on the patio overlooking the 18th green while enjoying your favorite beverage and snack. The Grille has a full service bar and menu. I had the Reuben Sandwich. I was glad I did. My partner had the Chicken Wings. He said they were delicious.
Golfers in the region have already come to their own conclusion, putting the Centennial golf experience on a pedestal when they voted the layout as the No. 1 Best Golf Course in the region. When you are traveling through Southern Oregon, stop by Centennial. You’ll vote it #1, too.