Tetherow Opens in Central Oregon

By: Dan Murnan

I recently had the opportunity to play the new Tetherow Golf course in Bend, Ore. Designed by Scottish-born David McLay Kidd, the course has been advertised as a "pure links" golf experience. Having made a couple of trips to Ireland and being a big fan of links golf, I wanted to check it out. I was not disappointed.

I had driven around the development and seen the course from the street view before it opened and, even then, was impressed with how it seamlessly fit the contours of the natural landscape. Stepping onto the first tee only magnified the sense that this course had been part of the topography for hundreds of years.

The course feels and plays like an Irish or Scottish links. The fairways are firm and fast, with a wide array of natural hazards entering play when tee shots veer off-line. The greens are large, with many curves and mounds, placing a high premium on approach shots finding the correct sections.

Tetherow is one of the most fun courses for driving I've ever played. Most tees are elevated to offer scenic panoramas as well as and strategic options for where drives should land. Many of the longer holes offer dual fairways, giving choices to playing safe or challenging the course by taking a riskier path to shorten the hole or obtain better angles into the pins.

6th Hole

One of my favorite holes is the par-4 sixth. We played from the "Kidd" tee, named after the designer, which plays to its full 424-yard length. From the tee there is an option to play to the much safer right fairway, or go left with a 250-yard carry to a landing area nestled between a treacherous gathering of ragged bunkers and a pond. Using a tailwind, we chose the shorter left fairway, with mixed results.

Kidd, who now lives in Bend, orchestrates the layout in and around Central Oregon's high-desert terrain. A good example of this is the reachable par-5 ninth, which features a green set against a craggy outcropping only 10 feet from the putting surface. If you miscalculate your approach, and your luck is good that day, you may get a bounce off the rocks that will bring you close to the pin. If not, an unfavorable bounce could take you away from the green and into a pot bunker.

The course is part of a 700-acre resort community located 4 miles west of downtown Bend. The development has 373 home sites and, in the future, will include lodge homes, cabins, townhomes and a hotel.

Tetherow is a private golf club, but the developers are currently allowing a limited amount of outside public play. I would highly recommend playing the course now if you have the opportunity. As Tetherow grows and garners national attention, which I'm sure is in the offing, outside play will most likely become more restrictive.

For more information about Tetherow, call 541/389-5857, email mchuck@tetherow.com, or visit Tetherow. Tetherow is managed by OB Sports.

Dan Murnan is the CEO of Cybergolf.