I'm headed out to Central Oregon next week to take in three days/two nights fishing on the Deschutes, followed by two more nights in Tumalo. My plan is to fill in the days in Tumalo by playing golf.
My golfing companion has an "in" at Aspen Lakes, so we're planning on playing there. However, I'd like to cross off a course in the area from my "yet to play" list, and still be economical. I've played Lost Tracks, River's Edge, Eagle Crest (though just the front 9 and it's been nearly 17 years), Eagle Ridge, and Big Meadows.
My gut tells me that I should try Widgi Creek. I've heard good things, and it seems reasonably priced (for a grad student). Is this a good course to play? Is there anything I should know about it ahead of time?
I LOVE Widgi Creek. Personally its one of my favorite courses in Central Oregon, and it just fits my game well.
I've played every course in Oregon now, but recently upgraded my laptop and have my write ups on the courses on a flash drive. I will post it for you a little later. I will be at Eagle Crest this weekend playing those courses again. If you're staying in Tumelo though and looking for value, have you played Crooked River ranch? Or for that matter Meadow Lakes in Prineville? Both of them are fun courses and probably much cheaper than Widgi.
Widgi Creek Golf Club, to me, is the perfect example of what my favorite type of course is supposed to be about. But then that shows you what my personal preference in a course is all about. Carved out of a beautiful piece of property on cliffs high above the Deschutes river, surrounded by tall pine trees, small lakes, and built with plenty of sand traps, from holes that range in length from 131 yards to a monstrous 653 yards, depending on the sets of tee’s you play, this course gives everyone all the challenge you can ask for. Starting out with a 343 yd dogleg left par 4 to a generous size green, then you cross the street to a 204 yd par 3, you are off and running on just one of the most fun courses to play in central Oregon. From flat straight away holes to doglegs both left and right, to uphill shots, across canyon shots, over water and every single type of hazard you can imagine all on one course.
The 138 yd. 5th hole is just a crazy green. U shaped, where if you are on the back left corner and the pin is in the right left corner, you either need to purposely 2 putt to the right then the left, or chip to the pin, except you have 3 trees blocking your way. Just a crazy fun hole to play, it certainly gives you an incredible challenge on your tee shot. Then the 334 yd 6th hole, with water along the left edge and in front of the 3 tiered green requires a good lay-up shot to give you a wedge to the pin. Just make sure to stay under the pin. The back 9 presents more challenge as far as hills go, and the 13th and 14th are the best examples of that. After a 551 yd. par 5, the uphill 377 yd. 13th requires a long straight drive to give you a shot at the green, then the 366 yd. 14th calls for a short iron lay-up, better being short or you roll down into a 50 foot valley. With a short lay-up to the 150 yd. stick you have a good view of the green.
Just a very fun course to play. When you get to the par 3 15th tee box, make sure and walk to the back of the black tee box and check out the view of the Deschutes river far below. Just a wonderful view of a beautiful river. The only real complaint I have about Widgi Creek is the 18th hole. It’s only 325 yards from the back tees, surrounded by sand traps, and to me just doesn’t seem like a good finishing hole for such a wonderful course. But, that’s part of what is so great about this game, everything is up to each individual to enjoy different aspects of a course.
I like Widgi as well, and my advice would be to sharpen up your iron game. The holes are relatively short but narrow, and on many holes playing an iron off the tee versus even a three wood is the smart play. I really like the par three's on the course and came close (within three inches) to getting a hole-in-one on # 5. I love fishing the Deschutes as well, very jealous of your trip right now! Rip some lips!
Played Widgi Creek a couple of times and like it a lot, compares to Big Medow without the views. A really good value is the new municipal Juniper course in Redmond (maybe 6 yrs old) on the South end of town. Liked the layout and the challenge, plays somewhat tight (probably a little hot in the pm. sun).
Fished East Lake yesterday (drove over from Eugene for the day). We caught our 15 fish, mostly Kokanee, lost about 30 more and probably had another 50 bites without hook-ups (damn light biteing Kokanee). Trolling from my drift boat while rowing.
From Friday through Tuesday I will be experiencing some of the best Central Oregon has too offer. The fun and challenge of fishing from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, followed by a tee time on Monday at Widgi Creek.
While I go down the Deschutes every year, Widgi Creek has me very excited. Playing a new golf course - a really good one - is like seeing a fantastic new movie or reading an amazing book for the first time. I can't wait.
This probably sounds dumb, but take some time as you go...... stop.........turn around and just look at the scenery from different perspectives... Widgi is one of the more picturesque courses I've experienced !
Fishing was great from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. I had a great time reeling in an 18" rainbow, though there were many other about that just weren't as cooperative with my line.
My friend Chris and I played Widgi Creek on Monday afternoon. It was in the mid-80s and a bit humid, so maybe we should have carted it instead of walking. I thought the layout was decent, and I especially liked holes 3, 4, 6, and 8 on the front; and 10, 15, and 17 on the back. I didn't care for the "quirky holes": 5 (where Chris did have to contend with landing the green but needing to chip at the hole) and 13; I scored fine on them, but felt blasse about their eccentricity. I didn't like 18 as a finishing hole since it was way too short. I wish I could get another crack at 11: my tee shot put me in deep weed, but I appreciated the challenge of the long par 3 over water to a high green.
I had an ok experience overall at Widgi. I played poorly, especially around the greens. They were like putting on ice - let alone the severe undulations. Perhaps they are always like that. But for my money those are the most unforgiving greens in my limited experience on Oregon golf courses. There was also a foursome in carts behind us, and even though there were three of us on the front nine and just Chris and I on the back, it seemed like there were always riding up our asses. We weren't playing slowly, it's just these guys were playing at a hyper speed, but never so much that it seemed like we should let them play through. They just wouldn't take any time to wait a little, and hit into us three times on the back nine.
Aspen Lakes was a far better experience. Even though the clouds were out, the views are vastly superior to Widgi, and I prefer AL's layout more. I also had an "in" at AL, so I got a great rate on the round, which always helps. So does playing much better, not having a crowded course, and having overcast. I know many people don't care for the lava bunkers (and I have complained about them in the past) but they didn't cause me any grief this time.
On the whole I appreciate people's recommendations for Widgi. I've played, and might again. Now it's off the golf course checklist, and it's time to figure out what to play the next time I'm out in Central Oregon.
Laner wrote: On the whole I appreciate people's recommendations for Widgi. I've played, and might again. Now it's off the golf course checklist, and it's time to figure out what to play the next time I'm out in Central Oregon.
Juniper, Big Meadow and Brasada for starters.......depending on your budget. For fun courses and less cost, Crooked River and Meadow Lakes are fun. I personally hate Lost Tracks and Riversedge...... but thats just me. As Ive said many times before, no such thing as right or wrong on golf courses just personal preferences.
well ok except for Ontario, and Bear creek, and Marysville LOL those are 3 pretty nasty courses.