The ball exploded off the clubface. The ball climbed high and far…and way, way right. The trees to the right were tall and dense and my ball cleared them with room to spare. There is a road on the other side of the trees, but I heard no screeching of brakes, breaking of glass, or the screaming of a passing motorist. If only that drive would have been straight.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda,…if that drive was straight, I probably make birdie instead of bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course. Hole #1 is in the books and the positive is that nobody is chasing me down the fairway. Two bunkers on the right and a large green greet you when you finally make it down the fairway.
The Fall colors were starting to wow me as I walked down the 475 yard par 5 second hole. This time I decided to keep my ball straight and in the fairway as tree-trouble and out-of-bounds can give you fits at the number one handicap hole. It’s a rollercoaster ride down the entire length of this hole. The fairway goes up…then down…then up…you get the idea. Look out for the fairway bunker that is located about 50 yards in front of the green. Love those 50 yard bunker explosion shots!
Hopefully you will not be introduced to the Willamette River at Hole #3. It flows down the entire right side of the fairway. There is plenty of room to the left, but nothing to the right except water. Not a fun hole for those of you that tend to SLICE! What makes this par 4 even tougher is that it doglegs to the right (toward the water) with two large bunkers at the bend of the fairway. If you keep it left, away from the water, you have a good chance of landing in one of these bunkers. The green can be a little tricky since it is very shallow (back to front) but wide (side to side). Knowing the pin placement for the day can be critical to where you want to place your tee and/or second shot. A fun hole as I recorded my third straight five (2 over after 3).
Hole #4 is a par 4 of 363 yards (white) with a big dogleg to the left. The big hitters can try to clear the trees to the left, but for us wee hitters, down the fairway past the trees is ideal. Shot number two presents another question for us distance-challenged hitters. Parks Pond separates us from disaster or glory, so the question is…lay up or go for the glory? All I can remember is I hit a bad shot to the left and my ball landed between two trees short of the water. Somehow, I was able to clear the pond but there was no way I could hold the green from that lie. A fun hole played poorly!
The first par 3 of the round at Hole #5 should not cause any issues unless you are short (pond); long (trees); or long, right (bunker). Hole #6 is a dogleg right with Parks Pond off to the right. Only a topped or shanked tee shot will find water. As you make your way around the bend, tree trouble can be found down the right side (read: tree trouble was found). The large green is the first one that offers a challenge with its many undulations. I would suggest avoiding the large bunker that surrounds the entire left side of this green. The hole may look benign from the tee box, but the closer you get to the end, the tougher it gets. My 40 foot putt saved my bogey!
Finding the seventh hole was a little tricky for me. When I exited the 6th green, all I saw was the tee box for hole #9. Was I temporarily swept away into some other universe? Did my “senior” brain shut down for a few holes? Were my thoughts on food because my stomach sure was? Or was I just lost? You probably realize it was the latter. My suggestion would be to exit #6 green at the front. If you exit around the bunker to the rear, you may end up the same place as me. Whew, finally made it to this 519 yard par 5. It’s a long, straight hole with the green being tucked up to the left as you get to the end of the fairway. There is a fairway bunker that may be very much in play if you are hitting from the correct tees. My shot from the “whites” landed about 15 feet left of the bunker – so thankful for a straight drive!
Hole #8 is my favorite hole on the course. There is a large landing area for your drive, but you don’t know where the green is located on this dogleg right par 4. Your second shot is where it gets a little problematic. It needs to clear a few mounds in the fairway, then weave its way through the trees that guard the front of the putting surface. A fantastic hole! You leave one of the strongest holes and finish at the weakest at Hole #9. A par 3 end to your round with bunkers surrounding this green. There is a house (protected by trees) behind the green in which the family must get much enjoyment out of watching goobers like me trying to “ace” this hole.
Course Rating – Ace: You are now in Oregon Duck country so be careful what you say and wear. After living in Colorado for 45 years (and having connections to Colorado Buffs & Colorado State Rams), we are trying to become Duck fans – please give us time! The trees are large and mature, and during Fall they were starting to change colors. There were just enough to create challenges but not enough to distract from good shots. The design variety of holes was excellent and the condition of the course in early Fall was outstanding. At the end of the round, you must find the nearest McMenamins (I chose North Bank) for a beer and talk Ducks football. This was the fifth stop on the Oregon/Washington, Always Time for 9/McMenamins, Golf/Beer Trail. The North Bank location sits on the Willamette River and has a long history that dates back to Eugene’s earliest days.
P.S. For a view of Hole #8, visit my Always Time for 9 YouTube channel.
2022 Update: This course is permanently closed.
3800 N Delta Highway, Eugene, OR 97408; 541-345-9160; www.riverridgeor.com