Category Archives: Oregon Golf Blog

Sandpines Golf Links Receives Recognition

Golf Course Recognized by Pacific Northwest Golfer Magazine

Par-3 eighth hole selected as one of the ‘Great Holes of the Northwest’

In the November 2017 issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the par-3 eighth hole at Sandpines Golf Links in Florence, Ore. is recognized as one of the “Great Holes of the Northwest,” one of just four holes selected each year by the Northwest’s largest and longest-running golf publication.

With six different tee boxes, there are numerous ways to set up this downhill par-3, making it a different hole each time it is played. There are dunes on the right and a hillside covered with trees on the left, so it’s a narrow chute looking down at the green. But it opens up down below, and the open area in front of the putting surface allows for an easy run-up shot. There is a large deep-faced bunker that sits on the left and a smaller pot bunker on the right. The green is receptive, with the left side sloping toward the middle and has an undulation in the center, making a back-right hole location difficult to get to.

Designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones, Sandpines Golf Links opened in 1993 and was immediately lauded as the “Best New Course in America” by Golf Digest. Sandpines has recently hosted the 2016 Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship and the 2017 Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ championships.

Southern Oregon Pear Country Harvest–Centennial Golf Club

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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 143the 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), 134_cropand 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.  141Most 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 131be 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.



Playing as a Single: Golf at its Best!

I like playing golf  by myself.  Prefer it actually. 

Of course I golf with other people. I have a regular partner I play with all the time, but he can’t play ALL the time, and if it’s busy at the course, I’m ready and willing to join up with someone. I can get along with anyone, high handicapper, or scratch. I am courteous. I don’t cuss. I know golf etiquette. I can even handle the braggart, the two-ball mulligan hitter, and the not-count-the-strokes guy when he hits out of bounds. I can even handle the guy that should write down a ten, but picks up the ball and takes a seven because that’s all he can post. I don’t care. It’s their score, their game. I’m not competing with them. I’m focused on my score. I don’t cheat. I take all the penalty strokes I incur. I don’t bump the ball. I’m a purist when it comes to my score, and I post everything, because I want to know what my true handicap is. I want to see how my scores ebb and flow throughout the year. The other day I shot a 76. Today I shot a 92 (never try to duplicate a good score–just won’t happen–well, not right away, unless you’re Bernhard Langer). Yes, I do post my score when I play alone. I’m that trustworthy.

When I play by myself, I can whip around the course in two hours and ten minutes. Two hours when I don’t take the flag out (I don’t post those scores).

When I’m out on the course, I get in a zone. A semi-euphoric, robotic state. I talk to myself. I rejoice when I hit a miraculous shot. I don’t need anyone to tell me it was a good one. I don’t need the recognition. Good shots feel good, like a drug. Bad shots bother me, but I’ve been doing golf for so long, I just see what I can do on the next shot to make up for the bad one.

Sometimes I do a play by play as if I am an announcer on TV. I do shot by shot announcing like Jim Nance, and color commentary. I’m a cross between Gary Koch and David Feherty. “Looks like he’s going to use a 7-iron Jim, and he’ll need all of it to make it to the front of the green. Ohhh, just slipped by the hole. Good shot, though. He’s still got a tester of about three feet. It’s no gimmee, but it’s  below the hole, so he’ll most likely have no trouble making par.”

Stuff like that. You know what I mean.

There’s a lot to be said for playing golf alone. I’d rather go alone than hit balls on the driving range. It’s better practice. Just you and the course.

I like to go out early. Sometimes I’m the first guy out. The greens mower and I dance around the course. We know each other’s moves, habits. We even have hand signals to communicate how many holes behind the next group is, so he can plan his route to accommodate me and stay ahead of them. Alternatively, I go out about three hours before dark. Most everybody is pretty much done by then. At my home course, everybody knows me. I wear a floppy hat all the time. When they DSCF6094_cropsee me coming they just wave me on through. They know I won’t hold them up. They know they can go ahead and hit before I’m out of the way.  I watch for them. No sweat.

Golfing alone started when I wasn’t able to find a partner. I’d just go to the course and join up with anyone. I’ve met a lot of good friends that way. My current partner included. Sometimes there wasn’t a sole on the course. That’s when I discovered  the joy of playing the game solo. Mmmm, perfection.