A Solid Conclusion in Southern Oregon

I’m back home in Southern California. There’s no time to rest for me, though, as I need to get caught up on the final couple of rounds I played in Oregon.

Stone Ridge Golf Club • Eagle Point, OR • 7/6/13

Since this trip was all about exploring different parts of my “home away from home” state of Oregon, I decided to take the driving route home that would take me through Medford. It worked out well because Stone Ridge is a course I’ve been wanting to play for some time. I played the more well-known Eagle Point Golf Club several years ago, but I’ve always heard very good things about Stone Ridge as a comparable, yet less expensive, option in the town of Eagle Point. It seems to be the course locals like most.

I booked a 12:06 tee time on GolfNow for only $20, which was a walking rate. They only charged $10 more for the cart when I checked in, so $30 total was a fantastic deal. They paired me with another single and sent us out a little early so we could play ahead of a couple of other foursomes on the tee sheet. We played through a couple of slower threesomes on the front nine and then an amusingly slow fivesome on the back nine (amusing only when you imagined circus music as they drove around in circles all over the course and wandered aimlessly through the bushes).

As far as the layout goes, Stone Ridge did not disappoint. The first half of the front nine plays in a flatter marsh area and isn’t anything too interesting. But once you starting getting up into the hills a bit, it becomes a very fun course with a lot of great scenery and diversity. The back nine is especially enjoyable. There are a few blind shots, some tricky doglegs and plenty of trees in play. The course isn’t super long at just over 6,300 yards from the blue tees (there are blacks, too, if you want some more challenge), so many holes are about staying out of trouble (trees, ponds, deep fescue, etc.) and having good approach angles. There are a few uphill holes that do play much longer than the scorecard suggests, as well, so it’s a nice mix of holes.

One hole that stands out is the short par-4 13th hole. It’s only 303 yards from the blues and it plays straight downhill, making it drivable for longer hitters. It overlooks the valley, the fairway slants significantly from left to right and it is pretty narrow with trouble left and right. It begs you to hit as far down the hill as you can to find a flatter spot as it opens up near the green. The following hole (#14) also offers an incredible view from the tee box, but is a much longer and wide open hole.

As far as conditions go, the course was fine and plenty playable, but it didn’t look as “pretty” as I’m sure it can. Though mostly green from a bigger picture perspective, there were a lot of brown spots (some dead, some just dried out grass) throughout the fairways and rough. Some goes on the tee boxes. The greens, however, were in nice shape. They were slow, though, with a little longer cut to combat the summer heat I imagine.

In the end, I didn’t love Stone Ridge as a “hidden gem” as much as I wanted to, but the prices are great and the layout is definitely fun. I would definitely recommend it while in the area, but I think Eagle Point is still a better course overall.

Some pictures from Stone Ridge Golf Club (7/6/13):

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From Stone Ridge, I headed not too far down the road back into Medford for my next course:

Centennial Golf Club • Medford, OR • 7/6/13

This is a relatively new course. It was built just before the housing crash and was meant to be the centerpiece of a luxury golf community at the south end of town. The homes were never built, but the course and nice clubhouse remain, and it looks like it’s been enough of a success to keep going forward on its own.

I got out there a little before 3:00 and could see it wasn’t too crowded. Myself and another single walked in about the same time and we both thought there were more people out on the course than there actually was. So we joined up and played together. We played through one slow couple early on and then had the rest of the course to ourselves the rest of the way. It was smooth sailing all the way on a warm afternoon.

Despite not knowing too much about the course heading in, one of the reasons I chose to play here is because I could get a discount with my OB Sports card. They were already charging twilight rates when I got there, but was still able to save a few more bucks and it cost me $35 with cart included.

A lot of the Medford area is farmland and this part of town has a nice rolling topography that is well-suited for a links style golf course like Centennial. It’s not far from the I-5 Freeway, but it doesn’t detract much from otherwise unobstructed views throughout the course. There aren’t many trees and the ones that are there aren’t very mature yet. The scenery isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s a nice pastoral setting with some mountains and hills in the near distance.

The course features a few minor elevation changes and uses the naturally undulating terrain to provide plenty of contour and variety. There are uphill, downhill, side-hill and dogleg holes with a pretty basic links style design. The fairways are wide and forgiving and there’s plenty of bail-out room in the first cuts of rough. There is a lot of long fescue on the outer edges the holes, which provide a nice visual contrast, but it’s not hard to avoid. There are a number of lakes in play, too, but I would also say those can be easily avoided and are slightly more aesthetic than practical in most places.

The layout isn’t too dramatic and a lot of the holes start to blend together a bit, but it’s solid overall. The most interesting aspect of the course is the greens, which are massive and very challenging. They are firm and fast with a lot of subtle (and not-so-subtle) breaks. Chipping and putting is no easy task at Centennial on these super slippery greens.

Also, the course is quite long and can play even longer depending on the wind. From the tips, it’s over 7,300 yards. There’s another set at just over 6,900, too. I ended up playing the whites, which are 6,401 and seemed to play longer than that. Unfortunately, the next set up (green) is only 5,760 and that’s too much of a difference. Still, with the wide open layout the extra length makes sense because you really can “grip it and rip it” from most every tee.

The course was in excellent condition. The fairways, rough and tee boxes were lush and green. The turf underneath was a bit firm, so you’d get some big helpful bounces on drives, but on top they were a bit stickier and you wouldn’t get too much roll-out anywhere except on the greens. The bunkers all had great soft sand. The greens are super smooth and fast as described earlier.

The conditions warrant a decent price and it’s a solid layout, so I have no reservations in recommending Centennial.

Some pictures from Centennial Golf Club (7/6/13):

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