Updated: May 29, 2015
Tetherow Golf Course Review:I am a big fan of links style golf courses and I've had the chance to play several including all those at Bandon Dunes in Oregon and many more over in Scotland. David McLay Kidd is the key designer/architect at Bandon Dunes and he also did the Castle Course over in Scotland (which I was able to play as well). A newer course out in Central Oregon was designed by Kidd and it is called Tetherow. The course has been open just a few years now and it has achieved some high praise considering Central Oregon is loaded with top rated golf courses (Pronghorn, Sunriver Crosswater, Black Butte Ranch, Brasada, etc.). I was excited to play in June 2012 with a friend and my brother. My brother had played before (when it first opened and 1 other time) so I was going off of what he had said about the course in terms of what to expect. From the clubhouse you look over the huge practice facility and some of the holes. The landscape is very wide open with only a few trees along the course. They require a forecaddie so we met our guy Ryan and headed to the practice area to warm up.
Ryan is an excellent forecaddie and I would recommend him if you ever get out to Tetherow. Choose from 5 sets of tee boxes - depending on your skill level. The tan tees at 6500 yards played very fair considering the course is at roughly 4000 feet in elevation so the ball will go further than usual. Our caddie mentioned how the course has changed lately - slowing the greens down and softening up the area around the greens. Unlike true links courses where hitting the greens is a no no, you could hit some greens at Tetherow and be ok. A few times I tried to run the ball up on the greens with approach shots but that tactic didn't work so well. There are lots of blind tee shots that run out beyond your field of vision. Having the forecaddie was really nice - especially for those that have never played the course before. There were at least a dozen times where the forecaddie helped guide me through a tee shot or approach. Perhaps the most memorable tee shot is at the par 4 10th hole. You hit from a huge elevated tee box and it's a short par 4 at roughly 280 yards. All in all, the course played fair and there were some fun holes on the course. The greens rolled true, but I like the style of links greens you find at Bandon Dunes better. The forecaddie is necessary - I complained a bit before the round but afterwards realized it was nice to have someone out there helping. We were lucky to play the course on a really calm day. I've heard that breezy conditions are the norm at Tetherow and this can make things very difficult. There are birdie opportunities on several holes, so keep your head in the game and you will be rewarded. Their official website is at http://www.tetherow.com/oregon-golf/. Get details on their location, phone number, and tee time information.
Cost to Play at Tetherow - Tee Times:Tetherow is considered a semi-private course with tee times available to non-members from 9:40 AM to 12:20PM and then after 1:40PM. The course is only open from April to November, so don't expect to play in the winter months as it is too cold. Rates start at $85 for PM rounds in April/October, but you are looking at $175/round for June-September AM rounds. Locals pay anywhere from $80 to $100 and a replay round currently costs $50. The rate includes cart, practice balls and base rate for forecaddie - you are expected to tip the caddie based on performance (we each chipped in $20 when we played). Is Tetherow worth it? I would say not at the $175 rate. If you come when it's closer to $120 I think that is fair. The course has changed a bit over the first few years since opening - now it's softer around the greens and the greens themselves aren't playing like a true links style course. That's ok for the majority of golfers, but I was looking for true Scottish links experience as advertised and was disappointed when that didn't happen.
What Others are Saying about Tetherow Golf Course:There are several websites with Tetherow course reviews - Worldgolf.com, Golflink.com, and Google Plus. The key thing to remember is that the course has changed since it opened up, so the earlier reviews may point out features in greens or the course that are no longer an issue. I like the video review posted online at http://golfpnw.com/3/golfpnw-review-tetherow-bend-or. It gives you a good idea of layout and what to expect. Central Oregon has lots of golf so Tetherow will have to compete with those courses in order to stay open. There have been talks in 2012 of some golf resorts being in financial termoil in the Bend region.
Looking down on the 10th hole - a short par 4.
From the outdoor seating area at the restaurant looking back on the first hole and practice area.