Every spring, around Easter time, the start of the golf season begins for the USA in Augusta, Georgia. The Masters is when we golfers watch our annual trip through Augusta National. With fairways and putting surfaces so green they put St. Patrick’s Day to shame.
A scarce few of us get to play the course. A few more of us visit and watch the tradition like no other in person. The majority of us, though, are happy to watch the event over four days in April on HiDef TV. Brothers and sisters there is hope. Because in Eugene, Oregon, the home of the University of Oregon Ducks, has its own emerald jewel.
A classic Pacific Northwest layout framed by towering firs sits the Eugene Country Club. The course offers attractive water features, impressive par 3s, and immaculate conditioning. As for putting, the greens are just a few Stimps short of USGA fast. But dead accurate if you can prejudge the speed and line.
The Eugene Country Club began in 1899. It is the second oldest country club in Oregon.. The Club’s first golf course was a nine hole layout with sand greens.
Robert Trent Jones redesigned the original 1925 H. Chandler Egan layout in 1967. Jones widened the playing corridors, expanded the greens, and added bunkers. Jones reversed the original Egan routing by placing the first tee near Egan’s 18th green, and so on. He routed just two holes from the Egan design (#7 and #12). Jones built up the green complexes and teeing areas, doing little to the original 16 fairways. The reversal of the routing allowed him to add lakes and waterways to the course of play. There are soft undulations in the property help make the course a comfortable walk. Carts are also available.
The signature hole for me is the par three #5. Although the hole plays downhill from all but one tee box, a breeze can often knock down shots. A pond guards the front and right side of the green. Going after hole positions in the front part of the green can be risky. Hitting over the green will leave you with a difficult downhill chip or bunker shot. Bunkers dot the entire rear hillside. Also, note that the markings on the water hazard. Both yellow and red stakes, depending on the location, are along the waterway.
The club has hosted many USGA and NCAA championships. A few weeks before my game they played the 2016 NCAA Championship there. The ECC will again be on stage for the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur. If you enjoy magnificent tree lined courses the Eugene Country Club is to be one of your favorites.