Central Oregon has a great reputation as a destination for golfing trips, and it’s easy to see why: From the gorgeous views of the Cascades as you play across dozens of courses to the ease of finding an excellent craft beer or hearty meal afterwards, Bend is a popular place to tee off. Of course, it’s even better for locals who can get the most out of every golfing season while living just minutes away from their favorite courses.
Over the years, a broad variety of courses and clubs have opened around Central Oregon to meet golfing demand, from clubs located right in town to more remote locations that embrace the surrounding beauty of the landscape. There are enough courses that it can be difficult to decide where to begin, especially if you are scouting out Bend for the first time, or recently moved to Central Oregon. Our rundown of popular nearby courses is the perfect place to start.
1. The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Golf Club
It’s easy to recommend the Nicklaus course at Pronghorn to any newcomer. It features classic views of the Cascades and nearby lava rock formations — a welcoming invitation to explore the Central Oregon outdoors under a vast blue sky and perfect summer weather. As the name indicates, it was designed by Jack Nicklaus, and is a no-nonsense course that features back-to-back par 5 holes on the back nine for those who are truly devoted to finishing the course.
2. Brasada Ranch
Brasada Canyons is an excellent course for those who prefer rugged, desert views. Surrounded by expansive plains and sage, this course also prioritizes privacy, with no two holes running in parallel. But Brasada Ranch is also far more than just golf – it’s a full-experience resort designed to mimic an Old West experience right in the heart of Oregon. That includes horseback riding and beautiful décor in the rooms, plus a full spa, live music, a well-equipped athletic center, fine dining, and frequent seasonal events. That makes Brasada an excellent place for a weekend getaway or longer…plus, you’ll need to be a member or official guest to use the course, and tee fees are waived if you book a long enough stay.
3. River’s Edge Golf Course
River’s Edge is one of the very few courses located smack in midtown Bend, behind the Riverhouse Hotel. That makes it accessible from almost anywhere in Bend. The 18-hole course is the perfect Central Oregon outdoor experience when you aren’t teeing off, including a variety of terrain and mountain views – check out the drone footage for yourself. It’s also one of the only courses that stays open as much as possible year-round, although you’ll want to bundle up if you go on a cold day. A full-service pro golf shop and restaurant are located on the premises as well.
4. Widgi Creek Golf Club
Widgi Creek’s spacious course is located in the Deschutes National Forest of southern Bend, where it offers classic rolling greens with a forest backdrop – and one of the longest par 5s on the West Coast. The club includes both putting greens and chipping greens for more casual play, as well as pickleball. There’s also a full-service spa on the premises, a full-service bar, and a venue that can be booked for a variety of events. The proximity to the city makes this a particularly popular course for those who like regular golf sessions.
5. Lost Tracks Golf Club
Another forest course, Lost Tracks was designed by Brian Whitcomb and includes 7,000 yards and a rugged, adventurous style that can feel like an old-fashioned hike in Central Oregon as you make your way between holes (don’t worry, the carts all have built-in GPS if hiking isn’t your idea of fun). This public course includes generous annual passes for Bend residents.
6. Awbrey Glen Golf Club
Awbrey Glen’s championship course is known for its embrace of the craggy rocks that make up so much of the Cascades, along with an array of beautiful small lakes. It has one of the best practice centers in the state, including a double-ended driving range. All practice center activities are open to the public without the need for a membership, making this an excellent option for brushing up on your skills.
7. Broken Top Club
Broken Top takes its golfing seriously; it’s an entirely private club situated within the city, but those interested in a full membership will be able to enjoy a pleasant course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, combining traditional aspects of beloved courses worldwide with Central Oregon views. The Club also offers PGA professionals who teach golf lessons and clinics. They provide custom club fitting for your gear and rotate a selection of seasonal golf apparel as well. That’s in addition to the full suite of club amenities, including massage rooms, steam rooms, spas, tennis courts, and much more.
8. Tetherow Golf Club
Voted one of the top 10 courses in Oregon by Golf Digest, Tetherow’s course was designed by David McLay Kidd, known for his work on the Bandon Dunes courses, some of the most well-known golfing options on the West Coast. The full course includes plenty of mountain views, and a fun partnership with GolfBoards, electric skateboards that you can use to navigate around the club. It’s also particularly friendly for local play, offering special discounts to locals and allowing golfers under 17 to play for free. The lodge also includes plenty of amenities, including an excellent fitness center.
9. Aspen Lakes Golf Course
Aspen Lakes is a bit longer of a drive over to the town of Sisters, but it’s a must-play course if you love mountain views. Up here, the Three Sisters peaks are much closer, and the 18-hole course is a well-planned adventure. You’ll notice unique red sand bunkers along the course that are made from crushed red cinders (something Bend also uses to deal with road ice in the winter). It’s not surprising that this course has achieved accolades like the best overall golf experiences in the Northwest, as well as the best new affordable golf courses by Golf Digest.
10. Meadows Golf Course
Sunriver is around 20 minutes from the outskirts of Bend, and golf fans will want to make the commute at some point to explore Sunriver’s excellent – and affordable – resort courses. We’ll highlight Meadows as one of the most popular options to start with. Designed by John Fought, the course was specifically influenced by early American courses from the 1920s, evoking a sense of grandeur that has led it to host USGA and NCAA championships. Since it’s open to the public and first come, first serve, you’ll want to plan an early outing here if possible. Fortunately, Sunriver Resort is packed with plenty of other things to do, too!
What you should know about golfing in Bend
- Think about the views. Bend’s courses can differ greatly thanks to the varied landscape. Mountain views, rolling hills, meadows, placid rivers, pine forests, desert plains – which backdrop do you prefer? What sort of landscape do you like to golf in? Keep in mind this can also affect difficultly, and some Central Oregon courses can be particularly challenging when they incorporate natural elements.
- Bring your camera. Another thing about all those views – they’re an excellent opportunity for photos as you play a round. Your phone will work fine for a social media post, but those who like to mix their photography and golf should bring something a bit more professional to really benefit from the shots you can find.
- As always, watch the weather. Golf lives by the season in a high desert climate. Courses generally close for the winter, or at least for snowstorms, and they can be uncomfortably cold until temperatures start warming up in mid-spring. Likewise, Bend has had temps over 100 degrees in the hottest parts of summer, which may be too hot to comfortably play for some. Keep an eye on the weather when making your plans: Bend provides plenty of sunny days and moderate temperatures that are perfect for a golf game.
- Explore your after-golf meal options. While not all clubs offer much in the way of food, some like Awbrey Glen do have more expansive menus curated by skilled chefs. That’s an option if you’re short on time and still want a good meal, but otherwise nothing is really on par (ha) with some of the fine dining you can find in Bend, like Bos Taurus, Ariana’s, Zydeco, and even brunch options like Lemon Tree. Remember to make some reservations along with your golf plans, and you’ll be set.
- Looking for deals? Check out sites like Groupon, which offer local deals and online booking, some as low as $10 to $20 for a round. You won’t find all courses here, but it’s a great way to explore golfing and save some money.
Interested in learning more? Moving to Bend can help
We know a lot more than just golf at Moving to Bend. While researching what Central Oregon has to offer is fun, when you are serious about moving here, we have a host of relocation services that can help. That includes guides on how to get to Bend schools, help finding work, services to find a rental, and more. Let us know how we can make your move easier!