Getting Around the “Typical” Round of Golf

Scaled Down Golf, Big Time Fun

Back in the Don Draper era it may have been acceptable, nay commonplace, for husbands to disappear for whole days on the fairways. For most modern dads that’s neither realistic nor desirable. The reality is that the family dynamic has changed and golf habits have changed with it. Fear not. Leave the five-hour rounds for your buddies trip or the birthday weekend. There is plenty of great family friendly golf (Yes there is such a thing) to be had in Central Oregon.

What follows is a rundown of some of our favorite alternatives to the traditional round. It’s still golf, just without the big hit to your wallet or your ego.

The Old Back 9

Sunset Green

A well-manicured executive course on the south end of Bend, The Old Back 9 might be the perfect course for families in Central Oregon. Situated between mature pines in the Mountain High neighborhood, the course is great fun for all skill levels–from experienced to junior golfers. The 9-hole layout offers the ability to get a round in quickly, which is conducive to the active lifestyle of Bend residents and visitors alike. It’s also one of the best deals in the region with tee times available for about $25.

The Greens at Redmond:

greens at redmond

This 18-hole executive course was designed by Robert Muir Graves, whose award-winning work can be found around the West, including Central Oregon where he designed Black Butte Ranch’s Big Meadow Championship course and the challenging River’s Edge Golf Club in the heart of Bend. While there’s a heaping of Par 4’s on this course, you can leave the driver at home. The premium is on accuracy, placement and a stress-free round that can be completed in under three hours.

Smith Rock Golf Course:

One of the area’s only true Par 3 courses, this Redmond course features nine holes and a full driving range. With peak rates of $10 per round, this is a great way to introduce a friend or family member to the game, or squeeze some golf into a day that is packed with other activities. For an additional twist, keep an eye out for their after-hours, glow-in-the-dark ball events.

Caldera Links:

Caldera Links in Sunriver, Oregon

The newest addition to the family of Sunriver golf courses is this intriguing nine-hole Par 3 layout. Caldera was designed by Sunriver’s Jim Ramey and renowned golf course architect Bob Cupp who also laid out the adjacent Crosswater championship course. The semi-private course is reserved for the use of Sunriver guests, Crosswater members and Caldera Springs homeowners. However, given the great stay and play options, this is worth a look for locals and visitors alike. Best of all, kids under 12 play free with an adult.

Sunriver Putting Course:


Designer John Fought gives the amusement park putt-putt course a four-star makeover with this nine-hole putting course. Your Pro V1 ball and Odyssey putter won’t look out of place on the miniature bent-grass fairways of this layout. Conveniently located between the 18th Green and the “19th hole” in the resort lodge, the putting course is a great way to settle any undecided bets or just wind down after a round. Oh yeah, kids love it, too!

Tetherow’s Twilight Par 3:

View of club house from green at Tetherow in Bend, Oregon

Perhaps not officially a Par 3 courses, the driving range at Tetherow is once a month transformed into a nine-hole pitch and putt course. While it’s best to call ahead to confirm the exact time and dates, the event, which includes a patio BBQ, is usually held on the first Monday of the month during the late afternoon and evening. “The kids basically have the run of the course,” said assistant pro Kelly Wachter.

Central Oregon Indoor Golf:

So you want to play Pebble Beach’s Spyglass. There’s just one problem: you’ve got a $30 budget and no vacation time in the bank. Solution: Central Oregon Indoor Golf where time, money and travel are no barrier. Thanks to the wonders of technology, any golfer can experience St. Andrews or Augusta with the push of a button. This is a great way to whittle away a few hours in a fantasy golf world and a consolation prize for would-be golfers stymied by inclement weather.

Eric Flowers
Eric Flowers
Eric Flowers is a Bend-based freelance journalist and the former editor of the the Source Weekly. His work has appeared in 1859 Magazine, Oregon Business and the Drake. He spends his free time with his wife and two daughters, chasing trout, fresh snow, firm trails and an even-par round of golf.
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