|Northwest Highland Golf Tour Report|
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The craziest thing happened in 2003...despite PastureGolf.com's discontinuation of the Northwest Highland Golf Tour, a hardy group of Portlanders played it anyway (do you guys ever look at this website?). Thanks to Don Mann for their story (btw, a gift bottle of Scotch is in the mail...)
Thought we'd drop you a note and tell you about our adventures last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To say the least: it was grueling! But we've done worse (score-wise). Last weekend we set out to kill two birds with one stone and, with the exception of a few snags, I'd say: "WE WERE SUCCESSFUL!". Soon after we hit the road, we realize that we all failed to pack a camera so this story (and our scorecards) will have to suffice. 3 days / 3 nights, 4 courses and 4 checkpoints later, we're a little darker and a little wiser than we were.
We set out on Thursday night (7/24) on our trusty 750 Hondas (1 Shadow, 1 NightHawk). This time our chaser vehicle was none other than a topless Jeep. Packed to the brim with clubs, coolers, clothes, and camping stuff, this vehicle was perfect for the job. It's passengers enjoyed an exceptionally quiet and comfortable ride with new tires (amongst other Amenities). This year reigning champion: Darrell (DJ) Johnson opted to sit this one out so in his place, we welcome: "Rockin' Robin" Mikalisko.
Eastbound on I-84, our first stop was the CharBurger restaurant in Cascade Locks. We made this checkpoint #: 1 on our Rose City M.C. Grand Tour. Then we're off to beautiful downtown Condon where the summer home of a good friend awaited us. A little stiff after our short ride, we found that some practice chipping in the front yard loosens us up and prepares us for nightfall (and helps us reduce the number of golfballs in our bags).
We awaken refreshed and ready to hit course #:1 on the tour: Condon G.C. Nothing exciting to write home to Mom about this course, other than it played fast with all but maybe one other lone hacker on it with us. Winds were low and weather was warm. Perfect conditions for play. All seemed to score relatively good, as well as we get the kinks out on this first jaunt.
'Nuff said about this sleepy little "city", we pack up and head south to the sleepy little town of Fossil, OR where, somewhere tucked back in the shadows is the "community" of Kinzua Hills. We decide this course, (like Condon) deserves 2 two times around only instead of 18, we card 12 (6 hole golf course).
If I was to say ANYTHING about this course, it would be: "This course truly has it's UPS and DOWNS!" Literally! In the heat of the day, it can (and often does) take something away from you.
With course #: 2 safely out of the way and the sun falling rapidly in the West, Tim and I climb back on our bikes in search of checkpoint #: 2 on the R.C. Grand Tour. Destination: Stanfield, OR, (somewhere between Hermiston and Pendleton on US-395) while Rob & Ty head for a reserved teepee near John Day.
We arrive at our destination only to find a vacant building and a FOR SALE sign on the door. After visiting a local establishment (which was kind enough to show: Proof of arrival), we head south hoping Rob & Ty have found the teepee with our name on it. The ride was cold and long but at least it was dry. We arrive shortly before midnight to awaken the dozing duo. Sleep is almost nonexistent for some as I SWEAR we slept with a bear (or at least someone who's snore was a perfect impersonation).
Morning comes and so does the rain as we quickly pack up and head for John Day G.C. (just down the road). This was a little added bonus we penciled in and hoped to play bright and early Saturday morning. Needless to say, even if you don't think you'll need teetime reservations, it's always wise to check with the course to make sure you will "get off". You can imagine our disappointment when we arrive and they inform us of a tournament in progress.
No problem: Tim and I head east for a 3rd checkpoint and Rob & Ty head west to the town of Dayville. Talk of the town is: "Dey got's dis new 6 hole butey up dare!" A PAR 3, nonetheless, but in fairly good shape, so at least SOMEONE is going to golf today!
Tim and I catch our 3rd checkpoint about 30 miles east of John Day and decide to catch breakfast while we watch it pour (no hurry to jump on those things again!). With no way to avoid the inevitable, we climb back on our rides and find our way to what I continue to complain about each year: Seneca. This truly can no longer be considered a golf course. Last year the greens were infected and spotty with large clumps of crud all over them. This year they were mostly mud and dirt. Playing the Woodburn Municipal Golf Course (with sand greens) would be like playing SpyGlass in comparison. I strongly suggest you switch the new 6 hole course in Dayville for this "course". Cruel and inhumane punishment as well as a poor excuse for a golf course.
Battling thunder, lightning, and heavy rains, we manage to get yet another chore out of the way; all not soon enough as it probably took us over an hour to dry off (rain in late July! Who would've thought ...?).
The clouds move on and we move south where, at Burns we make the split: "bikers" go another 55 miles east to another checkpoint and "Jeepers" go west a few to their final destination: Christmas Valley. An insect infested motel awaits them as it was the only one in town with a supposed "view". After our little rendezvous, all meet at the only motel on the tour for a good night's sleep (I think the bear finally left!). Sunday morning: the course is ours and, SURPRISE! There's no wind! Still challenging, we make our way a couple times around and find that sunscreen is a must! Also, we learned that, when the winds die down (and if you can stay in the fairway), one of the obstacles on the course is excessive duck poop. Don't be standing near anyone who decides to utilize this stuff for practice chipping. Seriously, though, the real challenge on this course appears to be getting out of the rough if your clubs choose to ignore the narrow fairways. We finish the last 18, pack up and head for home with about 100* temperatures. A short visit to see Fort Rock along the way and we're off to Highway 97 through LaPine. A refreshing shower sprinkles over us evaporating as quick as it hits us.
Not long now, only a couple hundred more miles to go until we're home free!
Great trip, anyway, and this time we found we could play better if we were to ride at night and play at day. Less fatigue was involved when riding AFTER golfing instead of before.
Below listed are our scores (which we hope can attest to that fact).
Cheers from Portland, Oregon!
Don, Robin, Tim & Tyler
Our Invitation to Play the Second Annual Northwest Highland Golf Tour was accepted by a hardy lot of golfers in 2001!
Thank you to all who participated in PastureGolf.com's Second Annual Northwest Highland Golf Tour (also known as the Oregon Pasture Golf Tour), a virtual type of golf tournament played through September 30, 2001 on four great Oregon indigenous courses.
Darrell Johnson, Tim Arnone, and Don Mann journeyed through central and eastern Oregon in mid-August to play the Highland Tour and reported back with stories and photos of their great adventure. Their play included 18 holes at Condon and 12 holes at Fossil on a Friday. On Saturday they played 9 holes at Seneca and 18 holes at Christmas Valley. Thanks, Don for sending PastureGolf the following photos and commentary!
SHOT #: 1 - 6:05 A.M. Friday, August 17th: With the help of a jump-start, two 750s are awakened from hibernation. The "chaser-vehicle", an '88 Olds 88 holds 3 sets of clubs, 3+ days worth of clothes for each of us and plenty of cold beverages comfortably while keeping DJ (in white) in check with all the creature comforts (air, cruise, tilt, tunes, etc.)
SHOT #: 2 - Sometime after 9:00 A.M.: All coffee'ed up and taking our sweet time enjoying the scenery, high winds of the gorge and our first perfectly gorgeous weather conditions in some time, we arrive at the Condon Golf Club. Looks like a fairly simple course; should be able to do 18 in no time. No one in sight in the clubhouse or nearby, Tim (in striped shirt) helps DJ fill out the envelopes and deposit in the designated slot. Bad timing on our part: Coincidentally it's time for the sprinklers to turn on. Without any kind of warning, we find most of our clubs saturated.
SHOT #: 3 - Refreshed from our morning shower, we thought we needed to pose for a picture before teeing off (that studly dude now in a tanktop is me!). I'll lose the most balls this weekend and still give DJ a run for his money. Tim, now sporting a bright but dry orange tee-shirt, will stay in the fairways and play conservatively while heckling the hookers & slicers.
SHOT #: 4 - Couldn't resist a shot of these grain silos or whatever they are. We originally set out to snap a picture of the man made of golfballs. We are sorry to have to report: He is deteriorating rapidly and is almost unidentifiable. Two laps around this course had us penciling in scores of 89, 95 and 114. Although DJ and I tied on the front 9, I was no contest for him over all.
SHOT #: 5 - After being humbled by that innocent little "straight course" in the middle of nowhere, we hop back on our bikes for a quick jaunt to the neighboring town of Fossil, Oregon. Kinzua Hills, located several miles outside the town, is the state's only 6 hole golf course. We arrive in the barren parking lot to find: "There's no wait getting on here, either!"
SHOT #: 6 - Exhausted after only two rounds, 12 holes on this course left us topless and thirsty. I gotta admit: Seeing how you panned out "score-wise" was a bit of a challenge. Par for those 12 holes was 43. We shot: 49, 59, and 65 respectfully. The resident greenskeeper was kind enough to give Tim a couple gallons of gas for his bike that had limited range and required frequent refueling. Nice Guy! And NO CHARGE! "Just come back and see us again, sometime soon!" was his request. Although I hadn't shot in the high 50s for quite sometime, this course, (which DJ and I once went around 9 times on) literally ate me up! "It's gotta get better", I thought as we re-hydrated ourselves with gallons of ice cold water. As the sun goes down, we straddle our bike again and head down a freshly paved winding road through breathtaking canyons lines with rock formations similar to parts of Utah and Arizona. Next stop: Clyde Holliday State Park. Eight miles east of John Day, a teepee awaits us in the dark. Accommodations include: 3 mattresses (which were surprisingly comfortable) and a "teepee light". Teepees were equipped with 2 110V AC outlets and an entryway that would give a midget a backache. Teepees are not bug-proof. Make a note: "bugzapper needed." Maybe it was the teepee light? The following morning we awaken to find a line up that extends outside the restrooms. Only one of the three of us experienced a hot shower that washed away some of the desert dust we had been accumulating. Oh, well! Point us toward some hot coffee and we should be "good to go" for now!
SHOT #: 7 - Refreshed and revived, a clean DJ stakes out the number #:1 teebox @ Seneca. Located after a long straight-away south of John Day, you CAN (and we DID!) miss this course/town if you happen to blink. A U-turn at the end of the little village and some searching behind buildings led us to find the first fairway located behind a small baseball field.
SHOT #: 8 - Looked like a pretty safe place to park our 2-wheeled machines, (next to the scorecards/moneydrop). Once again, we loaded up the envelopes and stuffed 'em in the slots, deciding early to only torture ourselves with 9 holes on this one. "Self Service Golf" I kinda like it!
SHOT #: 9 - After the 8th hole, we wandered around in the sagebrush and sand until we stumbled upon this bridge. Remembering what we had read on the webpage, we knew it would lead us to the final hole.
SHOT #: 10 - Hotter than a chillypepper in Tabasco sauce, DJ and myself contemplated jumping off the bridge but settled for a camera shot, instead. Like most of the holes we played this weekend, the 9th here was not very forgiving. All of us double-bogied it! Upon completion, we tallied up our scores only to find that I had somehow outshot the leader of the tour by one stroke. 47, 48, and 54 was the final outcome. DJ was by himself.
SHOT #: 11 - The weather was excellent as we headed south for our longest leg of the journey into Christmas Valley. We couldn't resist stopping in Burns at the local high school when we found we were in the heart of "Highlander Country".
SHOT #: 12 - We were about a week early from being there on "Highlander Day", (August 23rd). Shoot! We might've even had a welcoming committee to meet us when we arrived! Just south of Burns, Tim and DJ get hungry along the way and insist we stop at the "very next town" to get some grub. Low and behold, we arrive in wonderful Wagontire, Oregon; Population: 2. However, we don't recommend the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, there. DJ's burger looked tasty served up by a previous owner of the town. I think the new owner was the cook! About an hour or so later, we float into Christmas Valley. Once again, no one around but this time the open restaurant next door (with no patrons) will take our money. Wind is a very big factor on this course as we withstand gusts of 45 - 50 M.P.H. Nice course! Best of all four; but don't forget to wait for the traffic crossing the first fairway. After fighting high winds, sand, rocks, and shrubs, DJ returned the favor of having 1 stroke less than me on this 18. Final stats: 103, 104, and 121. The sun was blinding as we head west to our motel in La Pine. Once it dropped behind the mountains, temperatures quickly dropped into the 40s (burrr!) About the time we reach Fort Rock, I realize we were too delirious on the last course to remember to take pictures.
SHOT #: 13 - A shot of our bikes in front of Fort Rock will have to do, this year.
SHOT #: 14 - By the time we reached our final destination, we were frozen like popsicles, tired from dodging deer and battling high wind gusts. Fellow teammates found it most fitting that our reservations were made at none other than the Highlander Motel (how fitting!). Next to a semi was an empty spot reserved for us. We just didn't feel right not having an 18-Wheeler to park.
SHOT #: 15 - Another view of the motel confirms our suspicions that we are not at a truckstop. After a couple of well-needed hot showers, we wandered across the street to the local "Sing&Slurp". Friendly folks, they was, not many of them, "havin' a slow night" they said. After a couple hours, we called it a night and headed home.
SHOT #: 16 - Morning found us in 37* of frost and fog. Heading north on U.S.97, we were treated to 18 holes (w/cart) from DJ, co-owner at Eagle Crest Resort. The scorecard for this wasn't worth publishing as we learned excessive street bike riding and golf don't mix.
SHOTs #: 17 - 20 The next four shots are of the 2-wheeled wonders that carried us through our adventure; a '93 Honda 750 NightHawk and an '83 Honda 750 Shadow. Either one of the two riders (Tim or myself) would gladly do this tour again; only if we can share the air conditioned comfort of the rig DJ was driving to and fro. And, maybe, with the promise of a free drop if one of our balls was to land in a cowpattie! Anyone, (I repeat: ANYONE!) who considers themselves a golfer needs to accept this challenge. Although every bit of the trip went off like clockwork (w/great timing), our scorecards can attest for us that our game just wasn't on.
Thanks for the invite. See you next year? - Don
This Page Updated: June 27, 2005
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