Updated: May 29, 2015
Review: Mallard Creek Golf Course:If you want to play a golf course with a challenging course set in a beautiful foothill environment, check out Mallark Creek Golf Course in Lebanon, Oregon. Their website notes that the course is "off the beaten track" and this is certainly the truth. I have been going down here once a year from Portland for the past few years and I enjoy the round of golf every time. The best time of year to go is late spring or early fall, but summer is not bad either since you can never guarantee the weather in Oregon. The course has a natural setting to it and there are no houses surrounding it like you find with other metro courses that may be closer to home. Mallard Creek is definitely a challenge but it's completely fair. I prefer to walk the course since it's so beautiful, but a few holes on the back nine could get you winded since they have you going uphill so take a cart if you need it. There is a small bar/restaurant attached to the pro shop so you can grab a lunch or snack before or after your round.
From the black tees you will almost 7000 yards to deal with but I find the blue tees are plenty challenging at almost 6600 yards. The course winds through marshlands, creeks, ponds, and open fairways surrounded by Douglas fir and Ponderosa pines. Deer can be seen as I have witnessed many playing down here. I even saw a skunk one time scurry across the fairway in front of our group. The mature landscape is worth the extra drive down here as there is something calming about the layout and scenery. The course begins with a relatively hard hole (1st) that has a carry over a wetland area straight in front of you and off to the right. Even the 2nd hole has a quirky setup with a layup off the tee only going about 150 yards into a par 4 that only measures about 300 yards that has water in front of it that would make a pretty big carry if you wanted to try. The 3rd hole is a par 3 that is really short (120 yards) and should get your scorecard going. The 4th is a tougher par 4 that goes along the water on the right. The green is tough to approach as any shot right is wet. The 6th hole is a hard par 5 that literally winds almost 270 degrees with a huge dogleg left once you get off the tee which is a straight shot. One of my favorite holes at the course is the Par 3 7th which is surrounded by trees and a big bunker sits in front of the green to swallow up shots that come up short. The back nine is tougher with more elevation change and the 10th hole is a good example of this with an elevated tee box and a sharp dogleg right at the end of the fairway. Don't go right of the tee. Another thing is that the greens are pretty small on this course, especially on the shorter par 4's. The uphill 12th hole is a par 5 and reachable in 2 if you hit some solid shots. Beware of going long since getting back on the green is difficult. The 13th is a downhill par 3 that requires a straight shot through trees that line the box. The course is fun and scorable if you keep your tee ball in play. The greens are fast, but certainly playable. You can visit their official website at Mallardcreekgc.com. Mallard Creek is a good course to try once a year, right up there with Elkhorn which is just slightly closer when driving from Portland.
Location & Maps:Part of the reason I don't play Mallard Creek Golf Course too often is because of the location in vicinity to Portland. I live a little south of the Porland metro area and it still take a good 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there. You have to travel about 1 hour down I-5 and then go roughly 20 minutes off the freeway and into Lebanon, OR. It's not a bad drive, but it turns into a long day. A map is below to give you an idea where the course is located visually once you get off I-5 and head east into the foothills.
If you prefer written directions, then go HERE and get detailed driving instructions from the north or south. The address is 31966 Bellinger Scale Road, Lebanon, Oregon 97355.