CROSSWATER GOLF CLUB – Three Rivers, OR
A – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A – Memorability
A+ – Service Levels
B+ – Pro Shop
A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
(Written by Jim Allen) … Most people associate Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest as a scenic, yet seriously sun-challenged environment. However, if you never go, you’ll never know for sure. One of the great treasures of Oregon is the high desert area around the city of Bend, an area that proudly features spectacular backdrops of the Cascade Mountains. Just 15- minutes south of there, in pretty much dead center of the state, is the popular Sunriver Resort. This is an area that enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year and some pretty awesome golf courses. Among them is the Crosswater Golf Club, which is ranked 28th on the Golf Digest Top 100 list. While on this trip, I took the opportunity to go white water rafting with my family down the Little Deschutes River. Little did I know that this same river and its off chutes would come into play on seven holes.
It’s obvious that it took quite a bit of thought to lay out this place because it is perfectly cut through woodlands and perfectly preserved wetlands in a way that it appears that a bulldozer was not needed. Just in case you are wondering, those would be “ball-eating” wetlands that the name typically implies. If one is feeling Barry Bond-ish, one can tee it up from the gold tee boxes and attempt to steroid their way through a super long 7,683 yard track, which by the way features a grueling slope rating of 150. I was in for more of a friendly resort-type venture and chose the 6185 yard white tees. Because I was staying at Sunriver Resort, I was able to plunk down my $175 to play at this private golf and social club. On this day, I was partnered up with the husband and wife team and Crosswater members Jack and Connie Fox. Their course knowledge of the Robert E. Cupp course made it possible to keep my ball in play throughout most of the day, in a way that I don’t think a yardage book would have done. The pair quickly broke me of my automatic habit of pulling driver on all par 4’s & 5’s, which was a great thing because the big dog would have dealt consequences of the cruelest kind. Because of the marshes and slight elevation changes, depth perception painted pictures of safe landing areas that were not really there. The two most memorable holes were number 10 and 12. The par-4 10th forced me to carry the Little Deschutes River and its surrounding wetlands twice. I had no problem with that scenario and penciled in a four. This hole is named “Coyote” for the four-legged animals that frequently traverse across the hole in search of beverages. Luckily I don’t have a H2O-phobia, because I would have been shaking in my shoes on the dreaded the par-5 12th hole. Water lines the left side of the hole and comes into play at the tee box and every inch of the 572-yards to a small green that is not proportionately sized to the hole. Since I am more inclined to hit a fade, it served as a great anti-water stimulus as I hugged the left edge of the fairway for the duration – maybe even more than was actually needed. Like the Grand Canyon, a verbal description really can’t do Crosswater much justice. But maybe this helps: Crosswater 600-plus acre layout is one of only 150 courses in the United States that is certified as an Audubon Sanctuary by the Audubon Society of New York State. That designation is not just passed out to anyone and the course takes pride in that honor.
I was very impressed with the course and the views throughout the afternoon. This city-slicker was also captivated with the wildlife, including an eagles nest on top of a split tree on the 13th hole. Pretty cool stuff for a Southern California resident who has absolutely no chance of viewing that in my concrete jungle.
In addition to an entertaining and challenging course, Crosswater lived up to its featured course reputation by completing the big picture in all of the all-important categories. This included a very nice clubhouse, well-stocked pro shop, a courteous and friendly staff, and good food and drink.
Crosswater is the also a stop on the Champions Tour each year (mid-August) with the popular Jeld-Wen Tradition. It was enjoyable watching it on the Golf Channel to enjoy the sites and sounds that I missed on the first round. When the opportunity presents itself, I plan to return.