Golf in the Pacific Northwest has its hot spots. Napa and Northern California, of course. In and around Reno and Lake Tahoe. The outskirts of Seattle. Even across the 49th parallel, Vancouver’s lower mainland and British Columbia’s interior has seen a surge of great golf facilities in the last decade or so. The state of Oregon, snugly set between all of these popular golf regions, is beginning to adapt likewise, with a climate and topography offering a dramatic setting for the game. It is what brought David McLay Kidd and designer Tom Doak to Bandon Dunes on the Pacific Coast, and what brings guests year-round to Sunriver, a superb 54-hole resort on the dry, interior side of the Cascade Mountain Range. 15 minutes south of Bend, the evolution of this rugged but charming county from military training ground to four-season wonderland is as nice a backdrop as the soft, snowy peaks that creep up to its western boundary.
Geologically, the area is a former lake that dried into a mountain meadow thousands of years ago. Noting the isolation of the area, the U.S. Army built Camp Abbot there in the 1940s for the training of its recruits. When the troops departed in peacetime, they left a series of bridges over the Deschutes River that made the meadow into a workable area; one that burst with potential as a wilderness resort destination in the Pacific Northwest . By the mid-1960s, prominent businessman John D. Gray had paired with Portland attorney John V. MacCallum and set Sunriver in motion, creating the resort and residential community that exists today. Its success today is attributable to their prescient foresight and vision—the original plans demanded that the number of homesites be limited, and total municipal services were to be offered within the region. It became a self-sustained vacation community with a strong allegiance to the preservation of the environment, borne of its name and the aesthetic appeal Sunriver had held since the days of the earliest trappers, settlers, and explorers.
the renewed vitality of the terrain, golf at Sunriver was a natural fit.
With the addition of the Crosswaters Course in 1995 – among Golf
Digest's '100 Greatest’ in the 1999-2000 rankings - Sunriver
became a 54-hole complex, enhanced by the Robert Trent Jones
Jr.-designed Woodlands Course and John Fought's Meadows layout. While
the latter two are strong and enjoyable courses, the addition of
Crosswaters seven years ago was a watershed moment for the Sunriver
Resort, merging the stature of the resort with its golfing facilities.
Once a resort whose strength could be find in its diversity, golf has
now become Sunriver's drawing card, and for good reason.
setting in the
doesn't hurt, either.
On the dry side of the range, and bisected by the Deschutes and Little
Deschutes rivers, the Sunriver resort offers better-than-average weather
in one of the most stunning regions in the world. A recent three million
dollar renovation to the accommodations offers guests three distinct
lodging options. The River Lodges, a series of two-story mountain
townhomes with 33 deluxe rooms, feature traditional Northwest décor
with a few unusual and luxurious touches—like a stone wall gas
fireplace with raised hearth, in-room coffee maker featuring locally
harvested Sunriver Coffee Co. beans, and private decks from which guests
can enjoy the views of the sprawling valley. Rooms in the main Sunriver
Lodge, where most of the renovation dollars were sunk, are equally
impressive, and located close to the resort’s central lodge, the
outdoor pools and hot tubs, and all other amenities. For larger groups
or longer stays, groups also have the option of renting private vacation
villas spread sparsely around the 3300-acre site, all of which have full
kitchens, gas barbeque, and exclusive access to all of Sunriver
Resort’s amenities and facilities. It’s like owning a glorious
vacation home in the
, for as long as you want.
if private lodging is your choice, dining out is still a favourite
activity at Sunriver, if only because the resort’s restaurants offer
some of the finest regional fare available anywhere in the state. The Meadows
At The Lodge, by all standards Sunriver’s principal dining room,
is exquisite, with a creative emphasis on dishes that draw their
flavours and textures from the locally available ingredients. Starters
like pan-seared razor clam and lamb sausage with an olive basil feta
compote are inspirations to the palate, while the selection of mains,
including a roasted elk loin in a blueberry merlot glaze and a
pan-seared rainbow trout, highlight the bounty of the region. The wine
list is strongly represented by
wines, and even features a particular winery’s
products for specific seasons. Prices are good, and the range is modest,
filling out a unique Northwest dining niche that ought to be embraced
for its uniqueness.
trio of other options complement the main dining room perfectly. The
Grille is a carnivore’s dream, with a robust, Northwest-flaired
menu. The in-house smoked steelhead is an unforgettable starter, while
bold mains like the double-cut pork chop with melted blue cheese and the
muscovy duck flatter Damon Jones’ no-frills approach to Northwest
cuisine. At Owl’s Nest, casual fare is the order of the day, though the food
is just as good. Here, the
lamb shank is a
highlight, as are the twice-smoked pork ribs, but stick around for
nightly live music on weekends. Downstairs, the Merchant
Trader is reminiscent of the Wild West’s old outposts, where
guests can grab a morning java, breakfast snack, or a sandwich and salad
the dining and the golf, Sunriver Resort is equipped with all the
recreational options and amenities one would expect from a mountain
resort. In the summer months, mountain biking, hiking, white-water
rafting, and horseback riding equipment is all at the guest's disposal.
Sunriver is also thrilled to announce the recent opening of The Sage
Springs Club and Spa, a fully-equipped luxury experience with
treatments and facilities that reflect a healthy routine in backwoods Oregon.
most golfers contemplate the best destinations for a mountain golf
Rocky Mountains, either in
Western Alberta, interior British Columbia, or Colorado, typically come to
mind. What Oregon's Sunriver Resort has
to offer is the same invigorating environment in a more tranquil and
serene setting. With 54 holes of golf and world-class
accommodations, Sunriver is a welcome member among the elite golf
resorts in North America, in a section of the
continent that is all too often overlooked.