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).
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,
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
The whistle blew at 4:00 p.m. at the end
of the final shift of the Kinzua Corporation.
The millpond as it was during the active
days of the Kinzua Corporation.
The words, "May the memories
live forever," appear on this mural wall in Fossil, Oregon.
|Name of Course:
||Kinzua Hills Golf Club
||P.O. Box 22, Fossil, Oregon 97830
||Wheeler County, Oregon
||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:
||Regular Women's Course = 1388, Regular Men's
Course = 1463
||Men's Par 22, Women's Par 24. If played three
times around, par 65 for 18 holes.
||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.
||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.
||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
||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.
||Log yard for the Kinzua Corporation, included
millpond. Baseball diamond for semi-pro team.
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
||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.
||Contestants needed to account for a stiff breeze and a good amount of
friendly banter during play.
||"Welcome to Kinzua Hills" is the sign on the clubhouse wall. For
18 holes, you play the course three times around.
||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 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
||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.
||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.
||Men's second tee for a 293 yard par 4, is set back at course edge next to
what once was a millpond.
||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.
||The second green lies on open ground near a creek hazard.
||Tees for the third hole are found up slope beyond the border road. Play is
||This memorial bench is located at the Men's Third Tee.
||Tee markers are made of horseshoes.
||A short putt on the fourth green.
||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.
||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.
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
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.
Other Kinzua Related Links
of a Company Town
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