With more than 200 golf courses to choose from in Oregon, many award-winning, it was not an easy task to whittle them down to just three. The purpose of our planned trip, though, was to test our skills on links-style courses, as well as to review the associated lodgings and restaurants. So, eventually, we made our selection and plotted a route from eastern Oregon to the coast, with an average drive time of three and a half hours between stays.
Silvies Valley Ranch
We had read many favorable reviews in golf magazines of our first stop, Silvies Valley Ranch. Located in central Oregon, the ranch dates to 1883 and was purchased in 2007 by Scott Campbell, a successful veterinarian with deep local roots. He and his family restored the property to health after years of misuse, and it is now a 140,000-acre working ranch specializing in organic beef and goat. In 2017, the Campbells decided to add a resort and built 34 cabins and lodge rooms. In addition to the usual dude-ranch activities, Silvies has a large spa and four golf courses.
The drive to Seneca from the Boise, Idaho, airport takes slightly over three hours, and en route the landscape changes from desert to a mix of sagebrush and ponderosa pines. (Private aircraft can also fly in and out of the resort’s paved airfield.) On arrival, we exchanged our car for a fancy golf cart with camouflage paintwork. The package we booked included unlimited golf, spa access and meals (to which a 20 percent service charge is added to discourage tipping). Check-in was rather chaotic, as new staff were being trained, but eventually we were provided with laminated ID tags on lanyards and instructed to leave our luggage on the sidewalk near the lobby. We then loaded our cart with golf gear and headed straight to the clubhouse.