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MailTribune.com
  • Get in the swing at these six golf courses

  • If a round of golf is on your agenda, there's a course in Southern Oregon that will fit the bill.
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  • If a round of golf is on your agenda, there's a course in Southern Oregon that will fit the bill.
    Here's a rundown of the primary courses in the area:
    Centennial Golf Club
    Holes: 18.
    Par: 72. Driving range and practice area.
    Daily rates: Monday-Thursday, $45; Friday-Sunday, holidays, $55.
    The course opened in 2006 to rave reviews and has lived up to the billing.
    It was named the sixth-best public course in the country in the 2010 Golf World Readers Choice awards and has drawn the top spot for seven straight years in a similar Mail Tribune poll. The superb condition of the course is often cited as a reason for its popularity.
    Renowned designer John Fought crafted the track, using an open expanse of former orchard land as his canvas. His plan was to build the course into the 400-plus-acre terrain — the less dirt he moved, the better — and let the natural contours provide challenges. Were it not for four ponds totaling nine acres, there would have been very little grading.
    It can play short (5,244 yards) or long (7,309). It opened as one of the state's longest courses from the tips. However, five sets of tee boxes give players of all levels suitable tees.
    Shorter, easier holes have more trouble around the greens. The opposite is true of the harder holes.
    And there is variety. The No. 1-handicap hole plays uphill and long. It's followed by a downhill par 3 with the largest green on a course full of big greens.
    No. 7 is a long par 4 that often plays into a head wind. The next hole goes the opposite direction and can play shorter because of the wind.
    The longest hole is the par-5 16th, which is 603 yards from the black tees. It's followed by the shortest hole.
    There are 73 bunkers to provide bite on the landscape devoid of troublesome trees, but the sand traps also serve as guides. The closer you are to some, the better shot you have to the green.
    Eagle Point Golf Club
    Holes: 18.
    Par: 72. Driving range and practice area.
    Daily rates: Monday-Friday, $45; Saturday-Sunday, $50.
    Eagle Point has the distinction of being the only course top architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed with ownership in mind. He built the course, which opened in 1996, and owned it for a time before turning his full attention back to his design business. He's been involved with 275 courses around the world, but he visited Eagle Point last fall and reiterated that this course was done right.
    The parkland layout features four sets of tees ranging from 5,091 yards to 7,099.
    It has a 4.5-star rating out of a possible 5.0 from Golf Digest, was named the Oregon Golf Association facility of the year in 2009 and has hosted major state tournaments.
    The course holds up well year-round because Jones opted to lay down $1 million worth of sand as a base during its construction.
    Eagle Point provides a multitude of challenges. There are many fairway bunkers, steeply sloping greens, and creeks, ditches and ponds that encourage thoughtful shot selection.
    On the par-4 second hole, for instance, players may want to steer right of a pond on the left side. But shots that get away will find a greenside bunker on the right or a dicey chip back to the green sloping toward the pond.
    There's another pond on the third hole, fairway bunkers on the fourth, a false front on the very short par-4 fifth and a split fairway on No. 6, the No. 1 handicap hole that is dissected by a creek.
    Much of the same can be found the rest of the way around the well manicured track.
    The par 5s provide risk-reward opportunities galore, and one of them, the 16th, serves as the course's signature hole with a stunning view of Mount McLoughlin from the tee box.
    Stone Ridge Golf Club
    Holes: 18.
    Par: 72. Driving range and practice area.
    Daily rates: Monday-Friday, $30; Saturday-Sunday, holidays, $34.
    Stone Ridge offers an experience that is diverse and challenging but also tranquil on a layout set into rolling and hilly terrain. There are four sets of tee boxes, ranging from 6,738 to 4,986 yards, and several elevated tees that provide expansive views, particularly on the par-4 14th hole, which has been known to momentarily take one's breath away.
    Stone Ridge has received a number of honors over the years, including a four-star rating from Golf Digest and recognition in USA Today as the top course in Oregon with green fees of less than $50.
    The first five holes are relatively flat but feature a few doglegs, and the risk-reward, par-5 fourth hole has water up the entire left side. Bigger hitters are lured into going for the green in two, provided their daring tees shots snuggle the left, or water, side of the fairway.
    The route after No. 5 takes players uphill, then down, with sharp doglegs left. The back nine heads into the hills again before Nos. 13 and 14 head back to the valley. Similar to No. 4, the 15th hole is a par 5 with water short and right of the green to test the mettle of players.
    There's more water on the 16th that players tee off over, and a creek runs in front of No. 18 that forces players to put on their thinking caps.
    The greens are of decent size and, owing to the terrain, have plenty of break.
    There are no houses on this bucolic course, but there are plenty of squirrels and deer to be spotted.
    Stewart Meadows Golf Course
    Holes: 9.
    Par: 35. Driving range and practice area.
    Daily rates: Nine holes, $17; 18 holes, $27.
    Stewart Meadows was called a "little gem in the heart of the valley" by Oregon Golf Association personnel during rating. It features two sets of tees for players playing a full 18-hole round and is kept in pristine condition.
    At 2,910 yards from the blue tees, the course is not long, but four ponds, three-dozen sand traps, a creek that runs throughout and trees that have matured in its two-decade existence provide a test for most players.
    An enjoyable course that is easy to walk.
    Quail Point Golf Course
    Holes: 9.
    Par: 35. Practice area, 18-hole grass putting course.
    Daily rates: Nine holes, $18; 18 holes, $28.
    This little course packs plenty of punch, with three par 4s from 366 to 386 yards and a 481-yard par 5 guarded by water in the front left. There's intrigue with a couple of sharp doglegs, and elevation changes add variety.
    There's a lot going on at the well maintained facility. The grass putting course is a nifty, professionally designed attraction to test your ability with the flat stick.
    On the actual golf course, in addition to the three regular tees, the PGA Family Course setup has its own scorecard, features markers in the fairways for a short version of play on a big course.
    Oak Knoll Golf Course
    Holes: 9.
    Par: 36. Driving range and practice area.
    Daily rates: Nine holes, $16; 18 holes, $24.
    There's plenty here to give players a challenge. There are two par 5s measuring just under 500 yards, a couple of difficult par 3s that require medium to long shots into smallish greens and tricky par 4s, especially the uphill eighth and No. 9, which requires a drive over sizable valley.
    The first half of the course, which is kept up nicely, is fairly straightforward, with holes paralleling one another, and the terrain is flat except for the final couple holes.
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