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.
Central Oregon’s Black Butte Ranch provides championship golf and vacation fun for the whole family.
In a scene from the classic Disney movie, Bambi excitedly shouts, “Look Mother, it’s the MEADOW!” only to be admonished by his mother to never go out in the meadow without looking and listening first. When Bambi asks her why, she replies, “Because MAN is in the forest. True. Bambi’s mother bade him to be careful of man because of the danger man invokes to the creatures of the forest. True, but not in the case of Black Butte Ranch. Guarded by an ancient cinder cone from which the ranch gets its name, with landscape carved and created as only Mother Nature herself could, Black Butte Ranch offers a Bambi-safe, and people-oriented destination resort fit for those who love the beauty of natural surroundings, with modern day conveniences, without sacrificing the most important part. Nature.
Located just eight miles west of Sisters on Highway 20 on the outskirts of the Bend/Prineville area, Black Butte Ranch has been the ideal all season family destination since 1970. The ranch, situated on 1,800 acres of property, offers endless recreational opportunities. With 18 miles of bike and walking paths, 19 tennis courts, 5 swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor), horseback riding, fishing, and an array of adventure outfitters available, there is no limit to the things a whole family can enjoy.
Most of all, two of the Northwest’s most respected and well loved golf courses are available for play, complete with a professional golf staff to assist golfers in every aspect of the game. Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow are considered to be among the top courses in the Northwest. The Ranch received Silver Medal status on Golf Magazine’s US Golf Resort lists in the 1990’s. In 2013, Golfweek gave Big Meadow a “Best Courses You Can Play” in Oregon, and Glaze Meadow earned Golf Inc. Magazine’s 2013 “Renovation of the Year.”
Big Meadow, a Robert Muir Graves design, was the first course built at the ranch. Originally nine holes (1971), a second nine was added in 1972. In 2004 and 2005, Robert Muir Graves did a full renovation, with significant renovations by Damian Pascuzzo, a longtime Graves associate, in 2008.
Big Meadow, a high-mountain golf course with only two holes aligned parallel, is an interesting mix of undulating fairways, cape and bay bunkers, and 18 visually stunning holes. The course stretches out to a lengthy challenge of 7,002 yards from the tips, but with four sets of tee boxes, players can choose a comfortable distance for their game. The blues play 6,538, and the whites play 6,086, with the forward tees playing a comfortable 5,485 yards.
The surrounding snow capped peaks provide a suitable-for-framing backdrop to the pines and aspens lining the course. The fairways are wide open enough to allow an occasional miss-hit fade or draw, but accuracy is key to avoiding the bunkers that are strategically placed. Playing from the tees that suit your shot-making is the key to Big Meadow. The terrain is smooth and devoid of holes or dips that will jostle riders. The fairways feature strong grass that holds the ball up for easier iron play. Mailing label size greens run medium-quick and true. A well placed shot into the green will hold well, too.
Equally, each hole contains its own distinct flavor and visual quality. Risk and reward opportunities present themselves along the way providing a reason to play the course more than once to choose alternate routes to the greens, and test your choice of clubs.
My favorite holes are #12 and #16. At 379 yards, the Par 4 #12 requires a strategic drive for good positioning to the green. Walking away with a bogey is par in my book. The cool part about the hole is Paulina Springs, literally, spring right up out of the ground offering a cool respite on a warm summer day. The elevated green that slopes from back to front makes it the 2nd hardest hole on the course. Make sure you are putting from below the flag on this hole.
Hole #16 is a downhill, double-dog leg, Par 5. At 514 yards, it’s three shots to the green for most everyone. The key is to avoid the bunkers on the drive and second shot. A third approach shot will have to be well positioned to avoid the subtle breaks from any position on the green.
And let’s not forget #14. Aptly christened the signature hole for Big Meadow simply because of the awe-inspired, “Woa,” golfers utter when they approach the elevated tee box and take in the beautiful view of fairway, bunkers, green, and trees, all accentuated by a straight on view of Three Fingered Jack mountain in the background.
Big Meadow is sure to provide fun and visual aesthetics for young and old, from the scratch golfer to the 20 handicapper.
Glaze Meadow, designed by Gene “Bunny” Mason, followed in the same fashion as Big Meadow in its construction of one nine at a time (1978 and 1980). In 2012, it received a complete 3.75 million dollar renovation by John Fought.
After 32 years of growth, the course had grown in on itself, essentially making it too narrow to allow golfers a pleasurable round. Players found it difficult to play, and rounds dropped off considerably. So, with the blessing of the Black Butte Ranch Association, Fought began his renovation with the philosophy of letting the land dictate the course, and allowing the beauty of the land to show itself through the process. Fought kept the basic routing of the holes, but cut out many of the trees (over 700,000 board feet of merchantable timber) along the corridors allowing more sunlight for the refurbished bent grass greens and a mixture of bluegrass fairways.
Fought also believes courses should be fun for the regular golfer while still providing a challenge for the low handicapper. At 7,079 yards from the tips, his placement of five tee boxes on every hole, and the placement of hazards to test the best, achieved his goal of providing a course that the whole family can enjoy.
Glaze, a thinking man’s course, has strategically placed traps and doglegs that require careful club selection. Planning distances from green to tee is best. Sometimes, a driver is not necessarily the best club selection off the tee. From the tips, the course is a formidable challenge for any golfer. From the blues, the length is still a test at 6,506. The whites, reds and gold tees are 6,5931, 5,367, and 4,909, respectively. No matter what your handicap is, there is a distance that allows for comfortable play.
Not yet a full two years into the renovation, the course still maintains a mature feel. With the new “sun therapy,” the fairway grass is strong and verdant. Balls stand up proudly to benefit those of us that have a tendency to hit heavy. The greens vary in size, mostly
dictated by distance and approach. Longer holes offer slightly larger greens, and most offer openings in the front allowing a run-up shot for players with a lower ball flight than the dart throwers who go for the pin. Course modification also restored much of the sprawling meadowland that is part of the ranch. In particular, holes two through five meander through those flats, where the natural wetlands contribute a pair of water hazards on three of the holes.
One of my favorite holes is #5. Signature in its visual appointments, it features a boulder lined creek that runs the length of the 164 yard Par 3, and flanks both sides of the green. Behind the green, the lake demands an accurate tee shot. The green itself is smallish, but forgiving with no real difficult undulations to wreak havoc over a well placed tee shot.
Another favorite, #9, is an uphill shot to a dogleg Par 4. At 380 yards from the tips, the green is partially hidden from the fairway with a deep bunker guarding the dog leg and the front of the green. People on the patio outside the club house can watch you the whole way. I placed my drive perfectly and used a pitching wedge to reach the green. I ended up one-putting for birdie. I tipped my hat to an imaginary gallery, and got a golf clap from a couple on the patio. No wonder it’s one of my favorites.
The variety of Glaze Meadow is evident on the back nine. There are three of each kind of Pars to enjoy. Hole #12, is one of the longest holes in the Northwest. Visually, it’s one of the prettiest. Playingly, at 612 yards from the tips, it’s a thinking man’s hole. It’s a test no matter what tee box you play from.
The most memorable hole may be #17, a 182 yard, downhill Par 3 that can have golfers holding their breath as long as the ball is in the air.
Number 18 is probably the most fun. Three bunkers guard the drive on the 446 yard, dogleg Par 4. With a well placed drive to the corner, birdie can be had on this finishing hole.
It’s difficult to tell which of the two courses are my favorite. They both implement the terrain’s natural elevation changes, providing tracks that are interesting, provoking and just fun to play. Blessed with the remarkable topography of the Cascades and equally inspiring vistas, Big Meadow and Glaze Meadow are “must plays” in Central Oregon. Black Butte Ranch offers the best mountain style golf in the region along with ample amenities designed to provide destination recreation the whole family can enjoy. Even Bambi’s mother would approve.
Make your tee times online or call 541-595-1545 for Big Meadow and 541-595-1270 for Glaze Meadow.
The Lodge Restaurant–The award-winning Lodge Restaurant is the highlight of the Ranch, providing a relaxed, fine dining experience with some of the most spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains. Aspen Lounge–The Aspen Lounge, perched high atop the 3rd floor of the Lodge, offers a scenic vista and special retreat to enjoy regionally inspired house-made cocktails, wine and draft beers. Robert’s Pub–located inside the Big Meadow clubhouse is the perfect gathering place for families and golfers. Robert’s Pub is an excellent summer choice for a casual appetite. Glaze Meadow Snack Shop–located inside the Glaze Meadow Recreation Center offering ice cream, snacks, burgers, espresso drinks and other cold refreshments to help keep you replenished as you’re enjoying the pool, a round of tennis or while passing by during an afternoon walk or bike ride.
Lakeside Bistro–located next to the Lodge pool featuring Take & Bake Pizza and by the slice, toasted sub sandwiches, salads, hard scooped ice cream, fountain sodas, draft beer and wine minis–perfect after a swim, or paddle board or canoeing excursion on the lake. Glaze Meadow Grill–Glaze Meadow Grill is the perfect place to satisfy your hunger cravings before or after a round of golf. Tasty breakfast burritos, pastries, sandwiches, burgers and more are available at the Grill. Lodge Espresso Shop–Located just inside the entrance to the Lodge. Stop in and enjoy a specialty Sisters coffee or espresso, freshly baked pastries or an early morning newspaper.
Editor’s Note: Do you have a favorite destination resort/golf course? Tell us your story in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you.
John Fought redesign brings playability and easier maintenance back to Glaze Meadow Golf Course in the Central Oregon resort community
Emerging from a field of twenty-one entries, John Fought’s dramatic transformation of the Glaze Meadow Golf Course at Black Butte Ranch in Sisters, Oregon earned first place honors in Golf Inc. Magazine’s Renovation of the Year competition for public courses. The course will be featured in the July digital edition of the magazine.
Golf Inc. Magazine holds an annual Renovation of the Year competition recognizing the best renovation projects of the past year from around the world. Nominees are judged on how effectively the renovation improved the course, based on four primary criteria: routing, playability, maintainability and aesthetics.
Built in 1978, the Glaze Meadow golf course was overrun by dense forest growth, creating a claustrophobic playing
environment and a frustrating golfing experience. An aging irrigation system triggered the renovation, but instead of focusing on a single component, Black Butte management decided that the tremendous potential of the course could only be realized through a comprehensive renovation. The makeover was entrusted to acclaimed architect John Fought, well known for his restoration work at Pine Needles Golf Club in North Carolina, among others. Fought’s significant experience with Golden Age golf courses, of the type designed by golfers such as the late Donald Ross, was deemed a perfect match for Glaze Meadow. Though only thirty years old, Glaze Meadow had the foundation of a classic course design respecting the lay of the land and the spectacular natural beauty of the surrounding vistas. Every aspect of the Glaze Meadow course was reviewed, refined and made new including tee boxes, greens, bunkers, grasses and irrigation. The removal of trees created better views and improved playability enhancing the golf experience for families at the resort, as well as the discriminating low handicap players. Even though the renovation was extensive, “nothing was forced,” Fought said.
The result–a 3.75 million dollar makeover that is “a home run for everyone,” Fought said.
Six private and three public golf courses earned Golf Inc.’s Renovation of the Year honors. In addition to the Glaze Meadow, other winners include, inalphabetical order: BackTee New Course at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort in Denmark; Denver Country Club in Denver, Colorado; the Luna Vista Golf Course in Dallas, Texas; Okla
homa City Golf & Country Club in Nichol Hills, Oklahoma; Old Tabby Links at Spring Island, S.C.; Richmond Golf Course in Surrey, England; and Pelican Marsh Golf Course in Naples, Florida.
About Black Butte Ranch
Black Butte Ranch is perfectly positioned for an authentic Central Oregon Cascade experience. The 1,800-acre destination community, located seven miles west of Sisters on Highway 20, is nestled beneath the Cascade Mountain Range with sweeping views of Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Black Butte, Broken Top, Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson. The family-friendly property offers an array of lodging accommodations, two championship golf courses, four swimming pools, award-winning restaurants, a full-service spa and abundant four-season recreational opportunities.