When the sun shines on the high desert, Central Oregonians get outside and play. Lucky for us, the sun shines shines nearly year round. That means plenty of time for a round (or two) of golf. The luck continues, because the Central Oregon Golf Trail features 30 courses around the region. Let us tee you up the perfect round: Maybe you’re a newbie, looking for a public course to improve your skills. Perhaps you’re visiting with the dream of playing an award-winning 18 holes through lava rock and sagebrush with a spectacular view of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. Or it could be you’re hoping to hit the links and then finish the day at a happy hour of craft cocktails and chefmade snacks. Central Oregon’s golf courses have something for everyone.
Central Oregon Golf Resorts
Let’s start with the swank. Central Oregon has a variety of destination resorts with world-class golf courses, and each of them will challenge you in their own way.
Among the top golf resorts in Bend is Tetherow. At the western edge of Bend, this links-style course is likely different from anything you’ve ever played before — the David McLay Kidd-designed course is wide open among scrub and sage, but it has hidden challenges for all golfers. It was recently named a Top 10 course by Golf Digest. And it’s the home of the GolfBoard, a sort of motorized surfboard with wheels that will speed you along the course and add an entirely new angle of fun. Bonus: once you finish challenging yourself on the course, you can sit by the pool, hang out in the boutique hotel, or enjoy one of the three restaurants. The Row offers a perfect post-golf happy hour of craft beer and Scotch eggs.
Just south of Bend in Sunriver is Sunriver Resort, which offers options for all skill levels, so even the kids can find the fairways. You may want to check out Crosswater, a Golf Digest Top 100 course once a stop on the Senior PGA tour. The Little Deschutes River meanders through the course, which has a very Oregon hazard — a pioneer cemetery on the 11th fairway. Or perfect the family’s swings at the Links at Caldera, a nine-hole course that makes golf accessible to all. When you’re done, visit SHARC or the new Cove Aquatic Center, both of which have slides and lazy rivers perfect for relaxing.
Farther afield, Pronghorn Resort rounds out the Golf Digest top courses in Central Oregon, with its Jack Nicklaus-designed 18 holes. If you don’t know what a ghost tree is yet, you will when you finish your round here — junipers, dramatic lava formations and deep canyons define this stark and stunning landscape. This is Central Oregon golf at its finest. For ultimate indulgence, stay at Pronghorn’s Huntington Lodge, which offers every amenity a golfer (or tagalong) could dream of.
Finally, don’t skip Black Butte Ranch. This old-school resort has been a destination for decades, and a recent facelift provides new options for families. What hasn’t changed? The golf here is some of the best in the region. Swing away on Glaze Meadow Golf Course, which cuts through pines and provides epic views of the nearby mountains. Or check out the Ranch’s newest addition, the Little Meadow Putting Course, which opened in 2020 and has 12 holes. Test your putting prowess, or just enjoy a fun diversion before getting back to the real links.
Top Public Golf Courses in Central Oregon
When you think of public golf courses, you may picture run-down municipal spots with thatchy grass and uneven greens. Prepare to rethink it all, because Central Oregon’s top public golf courses are just as stunning as the private spots.
In Sisters, the Aspen Lakes Golf Course combines stunning views of the Three Sisters with one of the best oddities of Central Oregon — red lava sand traps. Or head south to Quail Run Golf Course in La Pine, which has some of the lowest greens fees in the region but plays like an expensive private club. This oasis in the high desert sagebrush provides challenges to every skill level.
And just when you think you’ve seen all Central Oregon golf can offer, you’ll discover the area’s disc golf options — no clubs necessary. Try the course at Pine Nursery Park, which is tucked among (you guessed it) the Ponderosa pines. Or get an elevation workout with a trip to Mt. Bachelor’s disc golf course in the summer, which will have you hoofing up the side of the mountain — a good incentive to carefully place your shots!
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.