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

“The turn off Oregon 19 is marked with a sculpture of a flying man over a motorcycle. On a narrow road over hills studded with cattle and trees, we have to wait for a bull to step off the asphalt before our car can pass. ” - James King-Loo Yu, The Sunday Oregonian Sports Forum, “In the Rough” (August 19, 2001).

Kinzua Hills 2009 Golf Season Schedule

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

Flying motorcycle man before Kinzua Lone Rock JunctionLocated near the old town site of Kinzua in Wheeler County, Oregon, Kinzua Hills Golf Club has a colorful history. It was established as a golf course in the 1930's by the owner and workers of the Kinzua Corporation. Areas of the course were once used as a millpond and log sorting yard. Some time after the golf course was put in, interest lagged and the land was converted to a ballfield for a semi-professional baseball team. At last the land was re-developed as a golf course in 1951. You will find trees, water and wildlife on this up and down, six-hole valley course.

In 1995, the artist, L. Kangas, painted a mural on a building in Fossil evoking the bustling heyday of the Kinzua Corporation which lasted from 1927-1978. It is a must-see on your visit to Fossil, Oregon.

Over the Hill Golf TournamentDuring the Summer of 2001, Kinzua Hills Golf Club was written up twice in The Sunday Oregonian. "Down-home course suits Fossil fine," by Stu Watson appeared on July 22, 2001 with the following wisdom: "Once golfers figure that three times around is 18 holes and learn to dodge the balls on the fifth fairway, they're home free." On August 19, 2001, James King-Loo Yu's “In the Rough” appeared in The Sunday Oregonian Sports Forum. He describes his trip with his buddies to play Kinzua Hills which happened to fall on the day of the Kinzua Golfing Derby.

Other Annual Kinzua Golf Club events include the Over the Hill Golf Tournament Where Old Friends Meet, usually held in September. Foursome (shown here) coming off the final green during the Kinzua Hills 28th Annual "Over the Hill" Golf Tournament, September 8, 2001.

Kinzua, Oregon 1927-1978

The whistle blew at 4:00 p.m. at the end of the final shift of the Kinzua Corporation.

Millpond of the Kinzua Corporation

The millpond as it was during the active days of the Kinzua Corporation.

Kinzua Mural  in Fossil, Oregon by L. Kangas

The words, "May the memories live forever," appear on this mural wall in Fossil, Oregon.

Kinzua Hills Playcard

Name of Course: Kinzua Hills Golf Club
Address: P.O. Box 22, Fossil, Oregon 97830
Phone: 541-763-3351
Location: Wheeler County, Oregon
Fees: Payment is on the honor system, $5 for 6 holes, $10 for 12 holes, $15 for 18 holes. Place fees in the lock box on the club house porch. Any non-member who wishes to become an annual member is more than welcome! Annual memberships: $200 Family (includes children thru high school), $100 Single Adult, $35 College Student, $10 Junior (thru High School $10), $20 riding-cart trail fee; day-to-day play: $1 per hole, $2 riding-cart trail fee for up to 18 holes.
Number of Holes: 6
Yardage: Regular Women's Course = 1388, Regular Men's Course = 1463
Par:   Men's Par 22, Women's Par 24. If played three times around, par 65 for 18 holes.
Local Rules: Replace divots, rake sand traps. Keep power and hand carts at least 30 feet from greens and tees. Wheeler County is designated open range. Cows and rattlesnakes always have the right-of-way.
Course Type: Was owned by the Kinzua Corporation, the course has been purchased from its prior owners and is now owned by the Kinzua Hills Golf Association itself - that is, the members. Much of the money for the purchase was provided by an economic development loan and the association is paying it back over a number of years.
Designed By:
Year Built: Originated in 1930's but was replaced by a ball field for a semi-pro team. Re-established as a golf course in 1951.
Facilities & Amenities: The clubhouse is open and provides restroom facilities from May to October. Soda vending machine is also available then.
Events: Calendar of 2004 Kinzua Golf Club Activities Coming Soon! (pdf version - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader). Over The Hill Golf Tournament - Where Old Friends Meet held in September. Fossil Annual Fireman's Tournament, held in September. Contact: JT Wimer at (541) 763-2501.
Prior Uses: Log yard for the Kinzua Corporation, included millpond. Baseball diamond for semi-pro team.

Kinzua Hills Golf Course signTo get to Kinzua Hills Golf Club from Highway 97 north of Madras, Oregon, go 49 miles to Fossil on the Oregon Scenic Byway E293. Be sure to stop at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Clarno Unit. Once you get to Fossil, go south on Main street to the intersection with Highway 19. Turn left towards Spray-John Day. (In about 3.8 miles, just after you see the flying motorcycle man, go left at Kinzua-Lonerock junction.) You will climb the next three miles into pine and fir forest hills. Take a left at the bottom of the grade just after crossing Thirty Mile Creek. Follow the signs to Kinzua Golf Club, continuing north past the junction of Lonerock Road.

Kinzua Hills Golf Club Scenes from September 1999

Fossil Volunteer Fire Department Golf Tournament Fundraiser 1999 The Fossil Volunteer Fire Department hosted a fund raiser at Kinzua Hills Golf Course on September 25, 1999. After the 18-hole tournament, the afternoon agenda included a pitch and putt competition. All comers were welcome to enter at $5 a head.
Closest to the pin competition Kinzua Hills Golf Course Contestants needed to account for a stiff breeze and a good amount of friendly banter during play.
Welcome to Kinzua Hills "Welcome to Kinzua Hills" is the sign on the clubhouse wall. For 18 holes, you play the course three times around.
Before you play sign and pay The Kinzua Hills motto, "A bad day golfing beats a good day working." Score cards are found in a box beneath the sign-in book.
Kinzua Hills Golf Course Kinzua Hills Golf Course lies in a natural valley. You will find trees on the course. In September, after a long, hot summer, the creek through the course is dry. Expect to find rushing water there at other times of the year when water drains from the surrounding hills.
First tee Kinzua Hills Golf Course The first tee is elevated and overlooks the course. If your bag is on a pull-cart, just carry up your driver, tee and ball as it calls for a bit of a climb.
Kinzua Hills Golf Course First Green While we didn't see any cattle on the course, there were signs of their passing. Wheeler County is open range. You may have to wait for the doggies to mooove before you play through.
Kinzua Hills Golf Course Second Tee Men's second tee for a 293 yard par 4, is set back at course edge next to what once was a millpond.
Kinzua Hills Golf Course Second Fairway The cattails in the vicinity of the second fairway are what remains of the millpond where logs were sorted during the active days of the Kinzua Corporation. Parallel swales in the second fairway show where logs once lay.
Kinzua Hills Golf Course Second Green The second green lies on open ground near a creek hazard.
Third tee Kinzua Hills Tees for the third hole are found up slope beyond the border road. Play is into trees.
Memorial Bench Kinzua Hills This memorial bench is located at the Men's Third Tee.
Horseshoe tee markers Tee markers are made of horseshoes.
Kinzua Hills Fourth Green A short putt on the fourth green.
Longest hole Kinzua Hills Follow the arrow to the fifth tee in the trees for the longest hole, a Men's 381 yard par 4 and Women's 363 yard par 5.
Kinzua Hills Clubhouse Play is uphill to the sixth green which lies in front of the clubhouse. Don't be surprised if a gallery on the long covered porch watches the final shots of play.

Kinzua Hills Golf Club - 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: April 24, 2009

Copyright © 1999-2012 Bruce Manclark & Cory Eberhart