Turning off Highway 20, shrouded on both sides by ponderosa pine trees, it doesn’t take long to leave the forests of Central Oregon behind for a wide-open, laid-back vacation at Black Butte Ranch—sitting in the shadow of a half-dozen Cascade peaks.
Once you’ve arrived at the ranch and kicked off your shoes, how you enjoy the ranch is limited only by how many vacation days you get to use. But one of the most popular activities at Black Butte Ranch is golfing. You’ll find two championship courses, a creative putting course, and a variety of fun ways to engage with the game—including lessons and clinics, annual events, group discounts, and (for the hearty golfer) stay-and-play packages.
So if you’re looking to make golf the heart of your next trip, here’s the ultimate guide to golfing at Black Butte Ranch.
Playing the Golf Courses at Black Butte Ranch
You have two championship golf courses to choose from at Black Butte Ranch, not to mention a putting course to help boost your short game. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a bit more detail on what to expect from the comfortable, playable courses:
Glaze Meadow Golf Course: The iconic Glaze Meadow Golf Course was renovated in 2012 (a process overseen by architect John Fought) and includes a variety of popular features and challenges today—including slightly elevated greens, deep bunkers, five sets of tees on every hole, well-groomed bluegrass-rye fairways, rolling hillsides, and a forested setting that positively pops with color in autumn (when quaking aspen dazzles with bright yellow leaves). Cascade peak views along Glaze Meadow include one of the Three Sisters and Mount Washington.
Big Meadow Golf Course: The lengthy Big Meadow Golf Course, designed by legendary architect Robert Muir Graves, spans more than 7,000 yards and offers a breathtaking introduction to the surrounding Cascade Range—creating one of the most scenic golfing opportunities anywhere in the state. Key features include sweeping fairways, broad bunkers, rolling hills, and elevated greens—but the course’s standout attraction is how it integrates the mountainous landscape into the experience. Ponderosa pine and regal aspen trees line the fairway, and the 14th hole offers the course’s most photo-worthy site: the craggy peak of Three-Fingered Jack towering over the landscape below.
Little Meadow Putting Course: If your short game needs work—and who among us couldn’t improve on the green?—Black Butte Ranch hosts the Little Meadow Putting Course, designed by architect John Fought. Though it’s designed as a 12-hole putting course, each hole at Little Meadow can be shortened or lengthened, allowing golfers to try their hand at 18 shorter holes or nine longer holes; the common attributes of each hole, no matter the length, are thoughtfully designed contours, a variety of short fairway-like terrains, and rock formations for a touch of variety.
Planning a Golf Vacation at Black Butte Ranch
At Black Butte Ranch, hitting the links is just the start. The resort hosts several events, offers stay-and-play packages, and attracts groups with enticing discounts all season along. Here’s how to take your next golf outing to the next level.
Golf events: Between April and October, check out a variety of golf events that bring groups together, celebrate special holidays, and help golfers find new gear. The fun includes occasional tournaments, putting challenges, sidewalk sales (boasting discounted gear and apparel), and holiday specials—like on Mother’s Day, where moms golf for free.
Group specials: Planning a family outing, business trip, or gathering of friends? No matter the occasion, Black Butte Ranch offers discounts for groups of nine or more. Groups can even sign up for some of the tournaments and events happening throughout spring and summer.
Stay-and-Play Packages: If you’re the kind of traveler who packs their golf bag before their suitcase, consider one of the resort’s Golf Stay & Play Packages. Deals include discounts on lodging, special rates on two rounds of golf, and great deals on same-day replay rates.
Golf Lessons: Shake off winter’s rust with golf lessons offered by PGA professionals; options include small-group lessons, clinics to help with pitching and putting, sessions for parents and children, and two-day camps for children 6-17.
Enjoying the Activities, Restaurants, and More at Black Butte Ranch
Of course, you can’t golf the whole time you’re at Black Butte Ranch. And whether you’re looking to fill your downtime or the rest of your group is looking to explore the resort while you hit the links, the 1,800-acre resort hosts a variety of restaurants, outings, and other fun activities for everyone in your crew. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find:
Unique Vacation Homes: Black Butte Ranch hosts roughly 1,200 homes, many of which can be rented for your next vacation. Each home is individually owned and decorated, meaning no two houses, cabins, or condos are ever exactly alike; some evoke the 1970s (when the resort was founded), while others boast a modern, 21st-century aesthetic. The common thread through each of those homes, though? World-class comfort and relaxation.
Good Eats: You’ll find two outstanding eateries and one well-stocked market at Black Butte Ranch. Robert’s Pub can be found in the big Meadows Clubhouse and serves a variety of family favorites, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads (note that reservations are required at Robert’s Pub)—and the airy Lakeside Bistro serves light breakfast and lunch items in a lakeside environment where you can enjoy Cascade peak views, unwind after a round of golf, or fuel up after a few laps in the pool—which sits next to the eatery. For on-the-go goods, stop by Black Butte Ranch’s General Store; the market sells locally grown produce, pantry staples, Oregon beer and wine, and more. (Be sure to add The Lodge Restaurant & Aspen Lounge to your bucket list on return trips; the iconic eatery is under construction this season but will reopen in 2023.)
Family Fun: No matter how big your group is, or how old its members are, everyone will find plenty to love around Black Butte Ranch. The fun includes scenic horseback rides, a laid-back disc golf course, summertime camp programs (with children’s activities that range from kayaking classes and climbing clinics to arts-and-crafts workshops), fly-fishing clinics, bike rentals, up to six swimming pools, tennis and pickleball courts, yoga and barre classes, and more.
Finally, a friendly note: Some activities may open or become available at different times throughout the year; most of the resort is fully open Memorial Day to Labor Day, but it can’t hurt to call ahead to see what’s open when planning your trip. And when you’re ready to start planning, schedule your tee time at Black Butte Ranch today.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Central Oregon Golf: Best Par 3s
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Central Oregon Hiking Trails
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.