Portland A Great Weekend Getaway For British Columbia Golfers

The Par-3 17Th At The OGA Course On Woodburn Is Protected By Several Green Side Bunkers- Image Credit Alfie Lau

by Alfie Lau, Inside Golf

Drive to the Tulalip Outlet Mall 50 kilometres north of Seattle and you’d think you were in Canada because the majority of the licence plates are from British Columbia.

But if you want even better deals without having to fight other Canadians for them, don’t mind driving another three hours south, and pack your golf clubs, then Portland, OR should be your next weekend getaway.

Start with the fact there’s no state sales tax in Oregon and that means when you bring your $19.99 shirt to the cash register, you get a penny back in change from your $20 bill.

Add in the fact that Oregon, and Portland in particular, led the craft brewing charge and you can sit down at any of your local pubs and try beers from Deschutes, Full Sail, Bridgeport, Cascade Brewing and any of the hundreds of craft breweries in the state and be happy.

But since golf is the focus, you can easily slip in a couple of rounds between shopping and tasting. Your first stop should be at the Glendoveer Golf & Tennis Club, a 36-hole facility located less than 15 minutes from Downtown Portland.

Glendoveer also has 4 indoor tennis courts, an 18-hole FootGolf course, and a covered, heated and lit driving range. Both courses won’t beat you up, as 6,570 yards from the tips on the East Course and 6,086 yards from the tips on the West Course are eminently playable.

Glendoveer Is A 36-Hole Golf And Tennis Facility Only 15 Minutes From Downtown Portland - Image Credit Alfie Lau

What sets Glendoveer apart is its tight, tree-lined fairways, where accuracy off the tee is vitally important. And what the scorecard doesn’t tell you is the subtle elevation changes make the front nine a challenging hike.

The 494-yard par-5 4th and 276-yard par-4 6th seem underwhelming until you have to hit your uphill drives and walk up to them. Spray it left or right and your next shot is sideways. If it’s any consolation, the downhill 253-yard par-3 5th is a fun hybrid or mid-iron to a large green.

The East Course is considered the more demanding because of its length and the fact water comes into play on three holes. The West Course is a little easier, with more open fairways, fewer bunkers and water in play only on two holes. John Stenzel designed the East Course in 1926 and completed the West Course two years later.

Best of all about Glendoveer is it offers very affordable rates, with its super twilight rate of $16 the best deal, as not only did our threesome finish the East in 3 hours, we had enough daylight to play another 9 hole on the West Course before darkness fell.

And because there’s 36 holes, it’s not hard to get on, as many people walk on after a hard day’s work. For more information, go to www.playglendoveer.com/golf-course.

The next day begins with some shopping before the round of golf. Thirty miles, or 50 kilometres south of the Oregon-Washington border is the small town of Woodburn.

Avid shoppers know Woodburn well, as it’s the site of a massive outlet centre that dwarfs Tulalip. Anything you could get at Tulalip comes with an almost 10 per cent discount at Woodburn because of Oregon’s lack of a sales tax, so if you love Nike, Columbia Sportswear or Adidas, the Woodburn outlets are a great morning stop.

After you’re finished shopping, drive over the I-5 to 2850 Hazelnut Drive, where the OGA (Oregon Golf Association) course is located. Advertised as The Home of Amateur Golf, the OGA Course is a picturesque 6,565-yard track with hazelnut trees lining the fairways, environmental areas and wetlands throughout, and most importantly, a challenging golf course which will test players of all levels.

The highlights of the course include back-to-back par-5s, at 4 and 5, where the 501-yard 4th features a narrow drive between wetland areas, while the 509-yard 5th plays downhill and is reachable in two for many golfers.

As An Audobon International Certified Cooperative Sanctuary, The OGA Course Features Many Protected Wetlands - Image Credit Alfie Lau

Crossing the street to the back-9, there’s birdie opportunities aplenty at the 368-yard par-4 10th, 364-yard par-4 15th and 155-yard par-3 17th. The 395-yard par-4 finisher features water by the left side of the green, but if you can avoid it, the large two-story clubhouse offers a welcoming 19th hole.

Golfers should take note that the OGA Course is an Audobon International Certified Cooperative Sanctuary and the wetlands feature many plants and animals native to the area. And while the hazelnut trees weren’t in bloom when we played, it’s a treat to be able to pluck those jewels right off the tree.

The course, which also features a grass driving range, hosts many local amateur tournaments and is a great place for players of all ages to work on their games. While members of the OGA receive discounted green fees, regular golfers can get an affordable round at the OGA.

For more information, go to www.ogagolfcourse.com/

All in all, if you plan right, a weekend spent in Portland will get you several rounds of golf, many varieties of craft beer to drink and all the shopping you could ever want. Start headed south to Oregon before everybody else figures out how good it is.