Pacific Amateur Golf Classic
Before we booked a Golfing Vacation to Bend in late September, I got in touch with Ted Taylor with the Central Oregon Visitors Association to get some recommendations on courses, resorts, and things to do in Bend and I told him about our plans to play and review some golf courses in Bend and add the reviews to Texas Outside. A few days later Ted invited us to participate in the VIP Tournament and Pacific Amateur festivities and he had set us up with lodging and gotten us tee times on 9 different courses and made several recommendations on lodging, dining, and things to do. I love you Ted!!!!
The first three days of our visit to Bend the 19th Annual Lithia Pacific Amateur Golf Classic, known as the PacAm, was taking place on six different courses and Sunriver Resort was the official host site - which happened to be where we were staying for the first few days of our golfing vacation. Read our review of Sunriver Resort to learn more about this great resort with 63 holes of golf. For the last 19 years, Central Oregon Visitor Bureau has hosted over 500 golf enthusiasts for the largest amateur golf tournament in the west. The PacAm offers 54 holes of net, stroke-play on seven local courses. Players in handicapped flights are competing for a coveted spot in the winner-take-all Championship Round at Crosswater Club in Sunriver. Proceeds, which last year were more than $10,000, go to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Oregon.
The PacAm started on Sunday with:
Unfortunately we were in an airplane and then driving to Bend from Portland during all of this.
The tournament started on Monday and Ted had gotten us a tee time on a different course but he invited us o the Pacific Amateur buffet dinner and festivities. The free craft beer from Deschutes Brewery was outstanding, the buffet was expansive and good, and I lost at all the games which included: longest drive in the center of the fairway (I topped the ball and it dripped off to the left side of the fairway); closest to the cup on a very long putt (it would have taken me three putts to sink it); a short chip to a target 20 yards away - again, I topped it; bean bag toss where I kicked butt; and a chip shot over the river to a green 125 yards out - all three of my shots kerplunked into the river. After those humiliating losses I skipped the rest of the games and spent my time drinking beer and watching some very good golfers compete. All of the games required tickets the proceeds of which went to the local Girls and Boys club.
After the first day of competition, I noticed that the leaders of the PacAm, the winners of the long drive, chipping and putting contest and 99% of the golfers were wearing very nice golf pants, a logo golf hat, good looking shirts, and fancy golf shoes - I was dressed in shorts, golf sandals, and a cheap golf shirt that most likely didn't match, and a baseball cap with fishing logo. So after dinner, I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought my first pair of long golf pants and a new pair of golf shoes - for the life of me, I can't figure out why golf attire is so expensive! But I thought
I looked pretty good in the mirror and knew it would help my game. I also made sure I matched my outfit to the new red golf hat I got as a participant in the PacAm festivities!
I was excited the next morning when we teed off at Crosswater for the start of the two day VIP Golf Tournament. I'm looking good, very professional, and ready to go! I got a few turned heads and glances from some of the women golfers, the cart lady, and a couple guys (strange) only to find out my zipper was down and shoe lace was dragging on the ground.
When we got to our tee box, Ted steps up looking like a professional golfer and whacks the ball straight down the middle about 250 yards. I got up and was confident until my driver barely connected with the ball and it sent the tee straight down the middle but the ball dribbled off to the side about 25 yards and into the wetlands! We used Ted's drive and he put it 5 feet from the pin - I went straight to the bunker! And that's the way it went for 18 more holes. As good as I thought I looked, I think I had left my golf game in Texas - I dribbled or sprayed the majority of my tee shots, got my new pants snagged in the sage brush, got my socks soaking wet from the river that swallowed my golf ball, and filled my pants pockets, hair, and shoes with sand from being in the bunkers so much. We played a Shamble - did they name it that just for me? A shamble is where all members of a team tee off and the best drive of the four is selected, similar to a scramble and from that point, all four golfers play their own ball from the location of the best tee shot to the hole. One of the rules is you have to use two drives from each of the players, so at least we all got to play two of my drives - one in the rough and one from a bunker! To my surprise, we ended the day with a score in the middle of the pack. However, I really felt sorry for Ted who expected to win and on his own shot around 79 or so.
I really enjoyed the tournament and Crosswater is magnificent. Crosswater is an open links style layout on 600 scenic acres of woodlands and wetlands. The gently flowing Deschutes and Little Deschutes Rivers come into play on 7 holes and they swallowed 4 of my golf balls. But the pristine conditions, scenic views, and superb layout made up for the lost golf balls. During the Shamble, I found a lot of bunkers, three of which were on the hole on the left! Read our review of Crosswater.
After golf we enjoyed a light buffet, more craft beer, and lots of fellow golfers (me excluded) won prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, etc. I was hoping they might have a booby prize for most divots or lost balls or biggest pile of bunker sand or new pants with the most desert burrs - but no, I got nothing! However, after the PacAm players were done for the day there were heavy, gourmet hors d’oeuvres from local celebrity chef, Chef Bette Fraser served at Lithia Chevrolet and low and behold I got a free sleeve of golf balls but not for my play, everyone got one!
Since the long pants and golf shoes didn't help my game and because the pants were looking a little shabby (dusty, stickers, a tear, etc.) from traipsing through the desert looking for my golf balls, I decided to forget about looking good and revert back to my shorts golf sandals which got a few stares and not from the women golfers. The second day of the VIP Tournament was at the exclusive Pronghorn Resort which is home to the private Fazio designed course and the Nicklaus course that we were playing. What a fantastic course - perfect conditions from tee to cup, scenic vistas of several snow-capped mountain peaks, ponds and water falls, white sand bunkers, challenging green complexes, and lava outcroppings. Here is a link to our review of Pronghorn's Nicklaus Golf Course.
There were drinks and a heavy appetizer buffet waiting for us after our round which was part of the awards tournament. Of course, just about everyone but me won something (golf balls, golf hat, golf bag, gift certificate, new Taylor Made driver, or a hybrid) - I just drank craft beer and started thinking about taking lessons when I got home. Thanks to me, our foursome didn't win anything and I felt very sorry for Ted because he is a superb almost scratch golfer and I'm sure he was expecting to do well - he sure was a good sport about it! Sorry Ted, maybe next year.
That night was the awards banquet and festivities for the Pac Am - a good banquet with flat iron steak, roasted pork loin, seasonal vegetables, risotto and more! Plus drinks, wine, and beer. I happened to find a golfer in shorts and sandals and had to make his acquaintance to find out how he did! He was second out of 30 in his flight. It's not the clothes that make for a good golf score! The next morning I tried to return the pants and shoes, and Dick's Sporting Goods refused to take them back and suggested I try Goodwill!
Thanks Ted for everything!!!! We had a blast and really enjoy the PacAm, the resorts, and the courses we played. Here is a link to our article on a Golfing Vacation to Bend and our review of the Central Oregon Golf Trail.