You can’t get there from here! That’s how we felt as we tried to travel from Gold Beach, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park. The most dependable route to get there was to drive down Highway 101 into California, then back up to Oregon via Highway 199 into Grants Pass, then on to Crater Lake. You can also take a wagon train through the wilderness of Siskiyou National Forest, which is the more direct and adventurous route. Being the wild and crazy couple we are, we decided to take
the route that Siri suggested…the long way around. No adventure for us – not so wild and crazy today! Either route would have taken us through Grants Pass, so we decided to stop for a quick 9-holes at Applegate River Golf Club. If a river runs through it, you need to stop and play, correct?
Hole #1 is the easiest hole on the course even with a little trouble (road and stream) down the left side. Always like to start a round off with par or better. Two large trees flank the entrance to the green at the par 3 second hole. I found the one on the right. Hole #3 is a short par 4 with a dogleg to the left. As long as you clear that dogleg, there is an outstanding chance for birdie. I know from first-hand experience.
Hole #4 – par 4; 273 yards; creek to carry in front to green; risk/reward; what club to pull; trees fronting green; decisions to make – loved the thought process at this hole. Since I am not long, I hit driver to about 10 yards short of the creek, but my approach to the green was blocked by the trees. A drive to the left is a much better play! Another decision, do I go over the trees or through the gap? Somehow my low screamer bounced on the golf bridge between the trees and ended up just short of the green. How I made par here I have no idea. Sometimes the golf gods are smiling upon us!
The fifth hole is your time to shine. Birdie (or in my case par) is very attainable at this straight 404 yard par 5. Keep your ball away from the trees and creek to the left and you are good to go low. Hole #6 is the number one handicap and today they made it a little more of an adventure. Woods down the left will gladly accept any big hook; water “up around the bend” by the green can be an adventure; and today we had to dodge the sprinklers that were watering the center and right fairway. Hole #7 is an easy (boring) par 3.
Hole #8 is a par 5 with water down the entire right side – slicers beware! When you arrive at the green, if you can’t find your ball, check the water to the left, right, and behind the putting surface. As you exit #8, you cross the bridge over the river and start the reverse journey at Hole #9. The river is once again down the right side so – slicers beware!
Birdie: The long way around still gave us plenty of time to enjoy a fun 9 holes at Applegate River GC; grab a beer and bite at Climate City Brewing Company; and visit Bradley Putters in downtown Grants Pass before heading off to Crater Lake. This agenda is a great respite whether you take the Oregon-California-Oregon, or wagon train route to Crater Lake. Applegate river is a gem; Climate City is, well, a brewpub; and Brad at Bradley Putters makes a fantastic flat stick.
7350 New Hope Road, Grants Pass, OR 97527; 541-955-0480; www.applegategolf.com