Review & Rating of Tethrow Golf Course in Bend Oregon
Wow, where have you been all my life? I love this course and need to find a way to take it back to Texas with me. I enjoyed playing every hole and although it beat me up, I can't wait to play it again, and again, and again. This review can't do the course justice, there is no easy way to describe in words the experience of playing Tetherow.
Designed by David McLay Kidd, the award winning architect of Bandon Dunes and Castle Course in Scotland, the 7298 Scottish links style layout offers everything that keeps me coming back to play this time consuming, expensive, and frustrating game. It's:
Tetherow takes advantage of the rugged high desert natural rolling and contoured terrain as well as the stunning panoramic views of the Cascade peaks, including Three Sisters and Broken Top. Tetherow has been honored by nearly every major golf publication, for example: upon opening, Tetherow was ranked #1 as the Best New Course You Can Play in The Country by Golf Magazine and has since then received numerous other “Best New” Rankings from Golf Digest, Links Magazine, Golfweek, T&L Golf and the Robb Report. And in 2015 Tetherow was named in Golf Digest's “Top 100 Greatest Public Courses” and Golf Digest's Travel Editors placed Tetherow in it's 2015 ranking of the “Top 40 U.S. Public Courses.”
Part of why it's rated so high is because every hole is different and unique and challenging. It's hard to pick a few holes to single out, but we found the following holes on the front nine to be outstanding:
The back nine at Tetherow has a different look and feel - it seems less rugged, some trees line several fairways and can come into play, there are some beautiful homes set way back overlooking the fairway, the conditions seem a little better, and all the holes are a blast to play. Some of the holes we really liked included:
The fairways at Tetherow are firm, wide to tight, heavily contoured, well bunkered, and loaded with mounds and knobs. Miss the fairways and you're most likely lost in the native grass. The fairways were in good condition when we played.
The bunkers at Tetherow range from small to huge, flat to steep and deep, and the sand is light but shallow. There are also several swales, collection areas, and natural sand bunkers to contend with.
The greens help define Tetherow - most are huge, heavily contoured with spines, tiers, and ridges and all have some kind of trouble if you miss them. Three putts were common for me, even with the help of our forecaddy, primarily because I couldn't get close to pin on the approach and would typically have to putt through two or three breaks. They were recovering from some fertilizer damage and had recently been punched, as such they weren't in the greatest shape. The greens on the back were much better. All of the greens were firm and running a little slow (thank God) at around 8 and a half. When they recover they will normally run around 10.
Forecaddies or playing with a member is required and if you're playing Tetherow for the first time you'll worship the value they will provide. They will find your ball, give you yardages to the target and advise on where to hit the ball, rake the bunkers, find your ball, and most importantly help you with your putting by telling you where to aim. In my case, Ryan our forecaddy was kept very busy - he spent a lot of time looking for my ball, raking the bunkers, and giving me advice, which at the time seemed very wrong to me. For example, he would have me putt way left of where I thought I should go or hit a hill on the back left side of the green on the approach - sure enough the ball would roll straight toward the cup.
Tetherow is an Audubon International Certified Signature Sanctuary; and was the first golf course in Oregon to achieve the certification.
Tetherow also offers GolfBoards, similar to a skate board, which have all wheel drive and two speeds - a new and fun way to experience golf.
Tetherow is one of the courses on the Central Oregon Golf Trail, which is loaded with some excellent courses and it’s one of the best golf trails we have played. You can read our reviews of some of the other courses we played on the Central Oregon Golf Trail during our visit to Bend on Texas Outside’s Central Oregon Golf Trail Reviews Page. And if you’re planning to visit Bend, be sure to check out the Visit Central Oregon Website with is loaded with information on golf and lots of other fun things to see and do in Central Oregon.
The pro shop is well stocked, the bar and grill is fantastic and overlooks the course, the service is very good, and the practice facilities are great.
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!
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.