Pasture golf is a return to Scottish links style courses. Technique over technology, it makes golf both fun and affordable to play. Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course - Seneca, Oregon

Tired of super manicured courses, ridiculously priced greens fees, spendy clubs and fancy clothes? You'll love the back to basics play of pasture golf!

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Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course

“A helicopter pad lies inside the elbow between the first and second holes, prefacing a challenging tee shot on the third hole through willow thickets over the Silvies River...There is a rustic feel here, with incinerators just beyond the grass and the river winding through.” - James King-Loo Yu, The Sunday Oregonian Sports Forum, “In the Rough” (August 19, 2001).

Also See the Northwest Highland Golf Tour Report for 2001 by Don Mann

Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course Seneca Oregon 9 hole golfBear Valley Meadows Golf Course was built in 1996 by the City and Community of Seneca. A contest was held to name it. An annual event each Spring raises funds for the course. Watch for the Golf Course sign on the west side of Highway 395 as you go through Seneca as the course is not visible from the highway.

From the Mailbag!

I just found out that Cycle Oregon is going through Seneca again and I get the pleasure of resting my sorry, road sore butt on those lovely, hard fairways one more time. Great ride this year. Starts in Prairie City, heads south to Seneca, then on to Crane, and stops for a couple days in Frenchglen. After a hike up Steens Mtn. it's back north to Izee and finishes up back in Prairie City. Seneca is a neat town--smelly water, but a beautiful location. You know how to pick 'em. Peace, baby. —B.W. 2/28/01 (Editor's Note: Thanks for the e-mail B.W.)

Name of Course: Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course
Address: 12 Valley Way, Seneca, OR 97873 U.S.A.
Phone: 541-542-9309
Location: In Grant County within the City of Seneca, Oregon on Highway 395 between Burns and John Day

Cost of play is $7 for 9-holes or $12 for all day. Pay green fee at the Bear Valley Mini Mart or in Fee Box located behind Ballfield at the First Tee if the Mini Mart is closed.

Shop: Bear Valley Mini Mart for anything you need
Number of Holes: 9
Yardage: 2905
Women's Par:   36
Men's Par: 33
Local Rules: Separate tees for women and men. Replace divots, repair ballmarks, let faster players through, abstain from profanity.
Season: May to October
Course Type: Public
Designed By: Lee Brune & other Community Personnel
Year Built: 1996
Facilities & Amenities: Public restroom at City Park, 1 dozen used golf balls ($5) & golf cart rental ($5) at Bear Valley Mini-Mart
Events: Two-Man Scramble (September), Annual Seneca Oyster Feed Fund-raiser for Course Improvements (May), featuring deep-fried and barbecued bivalves, 9-hole Golf Scramble, and Great Silvies Bud Race (floating beer bottles down river for prizes).
Prior Use: Farm fields and Mill site
Recent Improvements: Added new tee markers, upgraded greens
Advice: You'll need lots of balls. 

Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course Scenes September 1999 and August 2000

Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course Sign, Seneca, Oregon
View of Strawberry Mountains from Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course
Fifth tee at Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course, Seneca, Oregon
Hay bales in the rough of the eighth fairway, Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course
Welcome to Bear Valley Mdws Pay Before You Play
Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course is located on Highway 395 in Seneca, Oregon. This is an indigenous course. You will say to yourself, there are no fairway bunkers, there are no large trees looming, but the shrub willow thickets will have you begging for both by the end of the day.
Pay your green fees in the blue box by the first tee and pick up a play card and map of the course.
Michael drives off the first tee

First tee at Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course

A ballfield fence stands to the right of the first tee. The first hole is a 357 yard, par 4. The view north is of the Strawberry Mountain Range.

Players turn westward for the second hole, a 237 yard Par 3.

Old helicopter landing pad on second fairway of Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course

When playing the second hole, a Helicopter Landing Pad offers the possibility for some wild bounces between the fairway and the rough beyond.

These first two holes serve as the entrance to the heart and soul of the course which is hole number three.

Silvies River is a water hazard on third hole of Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course
View looking west across the Silvies. At the third hole you see the Silvies River for the first time. You tee off over the river, drive through a narrow gap of willow thickets for the longest hole of the course, a 424 yard par 4.
Third Tee at Bear Valley
Bear Valley's Third Tee, view looking south, as Michael prepares to drive across the Silvies.
Silvies River runs through Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course
If your drive isn't straight, the alternative is a ball in the rough or gone for good in the Silvies River.
Fairways and roughs were in great shape when we played in August 2000.


Old tee marker for 9th hole at Bear Valley

Old slab wood tee markers have been replaced with painted signposts on the Bear Valley Meadows course.

Seventh tee marker at Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course



Willow thicket pot bunkers at Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course

While the thickets don't look like much of a hazard from the distance, up close they are dense, unpenetrable jungles of willow whips and sharp, brittle punji-sticks which welcome golfballs into their lair along with the intemperate golfer's club.

Greens are watered in the summer months at Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course

Work has progressed on Bear Valley's greens during the past year.
If you are a sea level or lowland golfer, like Ben and Bruce, you can count on longer drives than your norm as Seneca lies at an elevation of 4,666 feet.

Bridge across Silvies River, Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course


At the ninth hole, you tee off over the Silvies River for the final time, then cross the river on a timbered bridge.



Bear Valley Meadows Golf Course Playcard

Bear Valley Meadows - a featured course in the Annual Northwest Highland Tour!

James King-Loo Yu wrote about the competition in the August 19, 2001 Sunday Oregonian Sports Forum. His “In the rough,” was a chronicle of one Portland foursomes' four days of golf at four Oregon Pasture Golf Tour Courses.

The Northwest Highland Tour took place on the following four courses: Bear Valley Meadows in Seneca, Oregon; Christmas Valley Golf Course in Christmas Valley, Oregon; Kinzua Hills Golf Club in Fossil, Oregon; and Condon Golf Course in Condon, Oregon.

The tour season ran from January 1 to September. To participate in the tour, pasture golfers played all of these courses within that timeframe. Maybe next year we'll bring the tour back again.

For more information click here.

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This Page Updated: July 25, 2005

Copyright © 1999-2012 Bruce Manclark & Cory Eberhart