Pronghorn's Nicklaus Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.6

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Bend, OR
Website
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: September 24, 2015

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Pronghorn's Nicklaus Course Review

Review and Rating of Pronghorn's Nicklaus Golf Course in Bend Oregon

From the minute you arrive at Pronghorn you sense that you're in for a special treat and you won't be disappointed.  Pronghorn sits on 640 acres and is home to an upscale residential community with Villas and beautiful Estate homes, a rental pool of luxury multi-bedroom homes available for a golf stay & play, three restaurants and some resort style amenities, and two of the most sought after golf courses in a jaw dropping high mountain desert setting with ancient juniper trees, reddish brown lava outcroppings, and stunning scenic vistas of the snow capped Cascade Mountains. 

The private Tom Fazio designed course offers a world class golf experience that is worthy of Golf Digest's "Top 200 Greatest Courses" rating.  The Fazio 18 has stunning water features, ancient lava rocks and dramatic juniper trees. A design that embraces the landscape—with rolling fairways, sculpted greens, distinctive bunkers and highly dramatic settings—results in a truly one-of-a-kind Bend, Oregon golf course for players of all levels. Pronghorn's Fazio course is also home to one of the most unique holes in the world: a par three that includes a 45-foot canyon and exposed lava tube.

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn plays firm and fast and accommodates golfers of every skill level. This 7,379 yard, par 72, 18 hole course provides a minimalist experience with an emphasis on the golf game itself—combining strategy with playability, beautiful transitions and true putting surfaces. Ancient lava rock ridges and outcroppings intertwine with natural landscaping accenting magnificent views of the Cascade Mountain range.

Both courses have been a fixture on Top 100 Lists form Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine since opening in 2004.  And the Nicklaus course was #38 on Golf Digests list of the "Top 100 Courses."

The Nicklaus Course is very challenging (a slope and rating of 75.2 and 151) thanks to it's length, the premium it puts on the tee shot, 66 challenging bunkers, lava outcroppings, elevation changes, some tight fairways, and greens with preferred entry points.  But the course is fair and if you pick the right tee box for your skill level (maybe even move up one - there are 5 to choose from), don't try to crush the ball, and play strategically you'll have a very enjoyable and memorable round. 

There are a number of fantastic holes that are a combination of demanding, fun, and scenic - for example:

  • #8 is the the #1 handicap hole - a 625 yard par 5 with a cluster of 8 bunkers in your landing zone one of which splits the fairway that then turns a little left along a wetland and heads to a green tucked into the right side of the fairway with a very challenging approach thanks to front, left, and right bunkers and a pond
  • #13 is outstanding - a 378 yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot over a lake (a good risk reward opportunity to try and carry more of the lake) to a fairway that turns right and heads to a green with a tall rock wall and long skinny bunker on the back, the lake on the right, a bunker on the left plus a beautiful waterfall and creek cascading down the lava rocks to the lake

The course is meticulously maintained, visually stunning and the conditions are near perfect - it's hard to find a blade of grass, a rock, or a pine needle out of place. The fairways are lush and thick (like velvet) and range from tight to let it rip.  Most of the fairways have some contour and many have some ups and downs, mounds, and lava outcroppings.  The rough was a little thick but playable - miss it and you're in the native grass, under the juniper trees, and most likely lost.

The greens are a variety of sizes and shapes and several seem a little smaller than normal.  They were also in near perfect condition, fast, and heavily contoured.   They seemed easy to read with some surprises and they ran very true.

The bunkers at Pronghorn range from average to some huge multi-fingered steep and deep monsters that you need to avoid.  The sand is soft and thick and fluffy.

ixture on Top 100 Lists form Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine since opening in 2004. Stay and play in style at the multi-bedroom Residence Club units - complete with full kitchens and private patios overlooking the 18th green. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf
Pronghorn stands as the premier residential resort community in Central Oregon for those who appreciate an active and authentic lifestyle. Set on 640 acres amidst a beautiful 1,000 year-old juniper forest, this unique Bend, Oregon resort will also soon be home to a brand new multi-million dollar lodge. - See more at: https://pronghorn.aubergeresorts.com/#sthash.JhxuDYJE.dpuf

Forecaddies or a member are required when you play the course and after a fun round, why not try a round of Foot Golf on the driving range. 

Add Pronghorn to your bucket list!

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,379 75.2 151
Gold 7,049 73.8 147
Blue 6,533 71.3 143
White 6,000 68.9 135
Red 5,256 70.8 131

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jack Nicklaus
Greens Type:
Bent
Greens Condition
10.0
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 66 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.6 out of 10
Beauty:
9.8
Difficulty:
9.5
Variety:
9.5
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.2
Back Nine Rating:
9.8
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The facilities are first class, the pro shop is well stocked, the practice facilites are excellent, and the service is good. There is a full service restaurant and a bar.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

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