Gems of the Pacific Northwest: A Dozen of the Region's Best Courses

By Ryan Watson

The Pacific Northwest, consisting of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia, has often been overlooked by the larger golf world. However, some remarkable courses and high-profile PGA Tour events have caught the eye of many golfers. The following is a full dozen of the Pacific Northwest's best golf experiences.

Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Pronghorn Resort

65600 Pronghorn Club Drive
Bend, OR 97701
(866) 320-5025

The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Pronghorn Resort, designed by the legendary man himself, is the main attraction of this Bend, OR favorite. Golfers will enjoy the breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains while the course meanders through the natural terrain. The course has plenty to challenge any golfer, but higher handicappers can still find joy on this beautifully maintained course.

Gold Mountain Golf Club

7263 West Belfair Valley Road
Bremerton, WA 98310
(360) 415-5432

Located in the greater Seattle area, the Gold Mountain Golf Club features 36 holes of golf. The John Harbottle designed Olympic course is the must-play course at Gold Mountain, featuring a beautiful layout nestled in the mountain environment. Expect beautiful trees, elevation changes and tight greens. This is one of the best municipal courses in the Pacific Northwest with a price point to make every golfer happy.

Elk Ridge Golf Course at Carson Hot Springs Resort

1 St Martins Springs Road
Carson, WA 98610
(509) 427-0127

This scenic golf course is known for the beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge, one of the region's most visited areas. But Elk Ridge offers much more than a pretty view, offering a challenging course located less than an hour outside of Portland. The course is relatively wide open, using course layout rather than punitive hazards to force golfers into planning out their shots.

Salish Cliffs Golf Club

91 Washington Highway 108
Shelton, WA 98584
(360) 462-3673

Gene Bates designed this world class course nestled in evergreen forests. In fact, the fairways are so close to the trees and tall ryegrass that errant shots are often lost forever. Elevation changes and forced carries also challenge golfers of all levels. The course is maintained immaculately, and golfers often comment on the pristine state of the greens. This course is a must-play for all golfers in the area.

The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club

4805 SW 229th Avenue
Aloha, OR 97007
(503) 649-8191

The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club features two outstanding courses. The North Course meanders through rolling wetlands while the South Course is a more traditional mountain course typical for the region but featuring an abundance of sand. The North Course requires excellent shotmaking skills to keep your ball out of the water, and features a unique triple green. The South Course punishes errant shots with its numerous bunkers, but remains a favorite for its layout and beautiful views.

Crosswater Golf Course

7600 Canoe Camp Drive
Bend, OR 97707
(541) 593-6196

The Crosswater Golf Course, maintained by the Sunriver Resort, is one of the best public courses in America. In order to play, you must either be a member of the club or a guest of the resort, making this course a weekend getaway for golfers. This course is a "stadium links" or heathland style and has hosted many high profile events. The course is challenging with ample water hazards but still playable for higher handicappers, and the pristine conditions and beautiful vistas make this an easy addition to the list.

Brasada Canyons Golf Club

16986 SW Brasada Ranch Road
Powell Butte, OR 97753
(541) 526-6865

Another pristine resort course, Brasada Canyons is one of Oregon's best courses. The course offers sweeping views of the Cascades while enjoying a variety of terrain including high desert plants. The course was designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy and utilizes the wide open nature of the landscape to craft a unique course. The course demands accurate decision making in order to get the best of this course, and a day at Brasada Canyons will leave a lasting memory for golfers.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club

4612 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
+1 (604) 938-2092

The Whistler course is a standard in mountain golf as it features elevation changes of over 400 feet. Located on the slopes of British Columbia's Coast Mountain range, golfers can expect breathtaking vistas as the enjoy their 18 holes. The course is noted for its use of fast moving creeks throughout the design to create unique water hazard for the mountain environment. And though Whistler is renown for its difficulty, even the high handicapper (with an extra sleeve of balls) can have a great time.

The Home Course

Golf House Road
DuPont, WA 98327
(253) 964-0520

The Home Course is on a beautiful stretch of land that contains views of both Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. Most golfers would never suspect that the course was once the site of dynamite factory. The course layout is generally open without the drastic elevation changes of some of the other courses in the region, though the excellent design ensures something for every golfer.

Bandon Dunes

57744 Round Lake Road
Bandon, OR 97411
(541) 347-4380

Bandon Dunes is one of the Pacific Northwest's most famous courses. It is a traditional links style course designed by David Kidd that pays homage to the original Scottish courses. This course demands excellent decision making and remains deceptively open. What Bandon Dunes does so well is use expert bunker placement and the natural topography rather than gimmicks. It truly is one of the great links courses outside of Europe.

Chambers Bay

6320 Grandview Drive West
University Place, WA 98467
(253) 460-4653

Chambers Bay is public links style course located in University Place, Washington that feels like a classic British course. This Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed course has hosted a major tournament in the 2015 U.S. Open. Natural bunkers and ample sand provide plenty of challenge while golfers enjoy beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Conveniently located near the Sea-Tac airport, this course is easily accessible for visitors to Seattle. Just be sure the weather looks reasonably dry before booking your tee time.

Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course

900 S Floating Green Drive
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 667-4653

While readers may be surprised to see a course in Idaho made this list, the short drive from the Oregon border allows the excellent Coeur d'Alene to make the list. This Scott Miller course is located at a luxury resort, and golfers should expect to pay for the experience. However, the course is one of the most beautiful in the country and features the iconic island green on the 14th hole. There are tougher courses, but few rival the beauty and pristine conditions of Coeur d'Alene.

About the Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.