by Shellie Bailey-Shah
From an approachable nine-holer to an 18-hole course ranked among the best public golf courses in the country, Southern Oregon offers a wide array of options to satisfy all skill levels, plus a few fun extras – think soccer golf, disc golf and GolfBoards. And at the end of the day, the 19th hole is likely as close as the family-run winery just down the road.
Photo courtesy Eagle Point Golf Resort
Medford & Eagle Point
As you follow Interstate 5 south, you’ll come to nine-hole Laurel Hill Golf Course in Central Point, which provides more challenge than you’d typically expect from a nonregulation course. Bear Creek Golf Course in Medford has a nine-hole layout that’s more geared toward beginners and golfers wanting to work on their short games. After your round, try your hand at disc golf on the on-site course. Stewart Meadows Golf Course and Quail Point Golf Course are two forgiving nine-hole properties that are appropriate for the entire family. Want to feel like a kid? Hop on a GolfBoard (think golfing + surfing) at Centennial Golf Club. Sorry, kids, you have to be at least 18 years old to surf the fairways here. Instead of settling in on the 19th hole, take your thirst on the road with a trip to Jacksonville or along the Bear Creek Wine Trail.
Just north of Medford in Eagle Point, golf at Stone Ridge Golf Club or the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Eagle Point Golf Club at the Resort at Eagle Point, where you can stay overnight in the new chalets.
Running Y Ranch Golf Course. Photo B. Sellars.
Running Y Ranch Resort boasts Oregon’s only Arnold Palmer-designed course, ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest. In the words of Palmer himself, this premier course “showcases the spectacular natural landscape of Oregon’s beautiful unspoiled outback.” Complete the trio of courses in Klamath Falls by booking a tee time at Harbor Links Golf Course on the shores of Klamath Lake and Shield Crest Golf Club with views of Mt. Shasta.
Centennial Golf Course. Photo courtesy Travel Medford.
The 18-hole Oak Hills Golf Club in Sutherlin has been around since 1971, with five sets of tees for different skill levels. It’s conveniently located off Interstate 5 and Oregon Route 138. Farther south, Stewart Park Golf Course in Roseburg has been a favorite since 1960, with nine holes and two sets of tees for different skill levels. The course is a stone’s throw from the South Umpqua River, if you want to squeeze in some water recreation. Another short drive south on I-5 will get you to Cougar Canyon Golf Club (formerly Myrtle Creek Golf Club) in Myrtle Creek, with 18 holes designed by Graham Cooke and Wayne Carleton, who’ve designed courses all over the world. You can book a tee time for all three locations here.
Set in pasture land just north of the Rogue River, Dutcher Creek Golf Course offers panoramic views of the Siskiyou Mountains. The fairways are generally wide, but tree-lined chutes present challenges on several of the men’s tees. Grants Pass Golf Club is a private course nestled in the rolling hills and majestic pines of the Rogue Valley, but it does allow the public to tee it up during scheduled hours. The course’s traditional layout was carved from the footprint of a former horse ranch. Applegate River Golf Club is a challenging nine-hole course cut by the Applegate River, creating a natural water hazard. Soloro Vineyard, on the Applegate Wine Trail, is less than a 10-minute drive from the course and makes for a perfect post-round stop.
Oak Knoll Golf Course. Photo courtesy Travel Ashland.
Started in 1927, Oak Knoll Golf Course in Ashland bills itself as a historic hometown course. In addition to the nine holes of golf, it also offers FootGolf, which is played with a soccer ball on the golf course.
Illinois Valley Golf Club is a semi-private nine-hole course in Cave Junction. Spend the morning on the links and then head to the marble halls of the Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve in the afternoon (check what’s open before you go).