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

“The nine-hole layout looks simple, flat and narrow, but hooks and slices are severely punished here. The rough is sagebrush, dust and roots. Some shots chase down jackrabbits; some fall down sage rat holes.” - 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

If this was Scotland, you would be in the gorse and heather, but since it is Christmas Valley, Oregon, if you are off the fairways you are in the sagebrush, greasewood and salt grasses which thrive in sand. This is an indigenous course which makes good use of the natural environment.

Good idea to wear a hat here
A few aspen and pine trees grace the fairways but primarily you will find yourself out in the desert sun. Be generous with the sunscreen, wear a hat and if you don't carry water, take advantage of the drinking fountain on the course. Chances are you will find yourself communing with coyotes, sage rats, jack rabbits and ants.

It might be a course to keep the big dog in the bag and use long irons off the tee. Play will test your golf skill with a premium placed on your ability to hit long, straight drives. It is a long course including a 600 yard Par 5 on Hole 6. The course designer can be justifiably proud of the championship length.

Expect narrow fairways with no rough. It is very easy to lose balls in the sage and rabbitbrush. Those found are often in unplayable lies. Bring lots of balls and in the interest of fast play adhere to the five minute search rule. It is a good course to practice a bump and roll chipping technique. If you don't birdie or eagle during your round there is a good chance you will get a goose near the ninth hole water hazard.
Canada goose

If you regularly tour other, well-known golf courses of Central Oregon, it is worth the drive to Christmas Valley to test your skill on a true links style course. You will find interesting geological attractions in the vicinity as well.

Christmas Valley Golf Course Playcard

Name of Course: Christmas Valley Golf Course
Address: Christmas Valley Blvd., Christmas Valley, OR 97641
Phone: 541-576-2216
Location: Lakes County, Oregon
Fees: $15 for 9 holes, $20 for 18 holes. Subject to change without warning.
Shop: Pay Fees at the City Park & Recreation office or at the restaurant next door. If no one is available at the Christmas Valley Lodge or the Parks office, an "Honest Box" is provided where you can pay your golf fees.
Number of Holes: 9
Yardage: Regular Women's Course = 3070, Regular Men's Course = 3393, Champ. Course = 3517
Par:   36
Local Rules: A match with one open hole ahead must upon request permit the following match to play through. On short hole No. 1 and No. 5, as soon as all players are on the green, they must immediately signal the following match to drive. Replace divots, smooth sand traps. No caddie carts on greens.
Season: Year round
Course Type: Public
Designed By: Joe Ward
Year Built: June 1962
Facilities & Amenities: Maintained by Christmas Valley Parks & Recreation Service
Course Record: Boots Porterfield of Grants Pass who shot a 33-35--68 to win a Pro-Am tournament held at Christmas Valley in 1964.
Advice: Wear boots to protect against the hazard of Canadian goose "residue" near the ninth green pond.

Scenes of Christmas Valley Golf Course September 1999

Christmas Valley Golf Course sign, Christmas Valley, Oregon We played this course on a Saturday when the Park & Rec. Building was closed and so paid our fees to the waitress in the Christmas Valley Lodge restaurant.
First green Christmas Valley Golf Course Putting for par on the first and shortest hole of Christmas Valley at 170 yards.
Second tee Christmas Valley Golf Course The little shade found on the course was at the second tee. On a breezy day, you send your drive away with the sound of whispering pines and rustling aspen leaves overhead.

Bench at Christmas Valley Golf Course
Two ready golf players, Christmas Valley Golf Course In the interest of etiquette and fast play, ready golf is agreed to in advance. Here two players, both ready, move toward the pin.
Lost in the rough, Christmas Valley Golf Course A sandy strip separates the fairways from the deeper rough. When a ball goes beyond that point, it is nearly impossible to get a line on it as the sage appears so similar in size, shape and color. Finding a ball out there was sometimes just a matter of luck.
Playing out of the rough, Christmas Valley Golf Course To play it where it lies was a challenge at times.As another player mentioned, anthills in the rough made for some awkward stances. Some players make the claim they are searching for arrowheads while actually looking for a lost golfball in the rough.
More rough strokes, Christmas Valley Golf Ant hills make for awkward stances, Christmas Valley Golf Course
Unplayable lie, Christmas Valley Golf Course

A good question for the course marshall (of which there is none in Christmas Valley) would be, when a ball is in an unplayable lie, such as in a rodent hole at the base of some sagebrush, and in attempting to retrieve the ball, it rolls down a tunnel into a den completely out of reach, is the ball now lost and does the player take a two-stroke penalty?

According to local custom, a player who recovers a golfball from a sage rat hole is allowed to give the ball a hard throw toward the next putting green.

Approaching the green Christmas Valley Golf Course
Tending the pin, Christmas Valley Golf
Tee marker, Christmas Valley Golf Course Twice efforts were made to install sand traps on the course, both attempts foiled by scouring westerly winds that carried away the sand leaving piles of tumbled sagebrush in its stead.
Jack rabbits native to Christmas Valley Golf Course Expect to flush out a jack rabbit or two while searching for lost balls in the rough.

Christmas Valley Golf Course - 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.

More about the amenities of Lake County and Christmas Valley, Oregon


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This Page Updated: June 27, 2005

Copyright © 1999-2012 Bruce Manclark & Cory Eberhart