Oregon High Desert Locale


Tetherow Golf Club:

The Jury is Out on the Love It or Hate It Vote.

Posted by Rick Parnham.

Central Oregon is blessed with a fantastic climate, gorgeous vistas, a vast palate of nature’s splendor and outstanding golf spread across the region. One of the most recent additions to the cadre of world-class golf facilities is found in a rugged bowl of land a short drive southwest of the city of Bend Oregon.


Opened in 2008, Tetherow Golf Club is one of the most unique golf courses in the Central Valley. Built on a parcel of high desert landscape, once the victim of a forest fire, the nearly treeless property was transformed by Scotsman David McLay-Kidd to be home to a unique, yet in the opinion of some, quirky, destination golf experience. Winding its way through a sprawling residential community, the design highlights the breathtaking views of the Cascade Range peaks to the west looking past the neighboring Deschutes National Forest. The ruggedly exposed landscape features considerable elevation change along with chasms, wetlands and even an old pumice mine site which frames the penultimate hole.  


Mt. Bachelor in the horizon from the 3rd tee

The Tetherow experience begins just a few steps from the massive alpine-styled clubhouse overlooking the property. A handshake par 4 eases you into the round while a rollercoaster par 5 follows full of choice, creativity and plenty of trouble lurking on the way to the massive rolling green complex. The opening side’s pair of highlight holes share the banks of the same pond. Crossing over the impressive bridge leading to the third you get a view of the magnificent Mt. Bachelor and its snow covered peak in the distance. The long par 3 third hole presents a demanding forced carry over the water leading to a large green tucked behind a menacing pot bunker. A raised back section of the green is protected by sharp steep ridges, making any putt a delicate task. Sharing the other side of the pond is the creative par 4, 6th hole. The fairway is split in the landing area creating has two distinct sides. The right is elevated and interrupted by craggy outcrops and desert sage waste areas. This route to the green leaves a near blind approach to an elevated green. The riskier tee shot takes you to the lower left level of the fairway tightly hugging the edge of the pond. This is rewarded with a clearer look at the green and more room for error on the approach.


The back nine opens with a fantastic drivable par 4, playing downhill off the tee and offering a narrow opening for the perfectly struck drive. An expansive bunker on the front left collects anything struck errantly, while a small yet devious pot bunker on the right will gather most shots that land short of the green. Easy to get in, but most challenging to get out, this is no place to be should par be your goal. The par 4 11th is a tremendously well designed challenge. One of the only bunkerless holes on the course, the dogleg right plays into a bowled fairway framed with high sides of sand and sage brush. A sentinel tree at the right corner needs to be avoided so shaping your drive around it is paramount to a successful tee shot. The green is tucked behind mounds that pinch the landing area and also are included in the putting surface. Some putts can feel like you need for a sherpa to help navigate the rise and fall to the cup. Another stand out hole is the 13th. It is a lengthy par 5 meandering downhill to peninsula green site jutting out into a pond and rimmed by a high rock wall. Generally the back is flatter and has more home sites, creating a tighter feel to the holes.


Narrow and Exacting Hole 17

Tetherow has quickly become one that sparks the “love it” or “hate it” debate. It is visually stunning and highly creative in both routing and shaping of the holes. For those familiar with true links golf, the ridges, rugged edges, and fine fescue grasses with tight lies offer a seaside feel.  Combined with the high desert waste areas framing the holes, these elements provide a distinctive golf experience unlike many others in the region.  The green complexes are the most controversial and confounding design features of this routing. Many are massive in size with severe slopes and multiple tiers. Others have stark ridges and exaggerated humps making 3 and 4 putts a real possibility for most players.


Course Stats: Tetherow Golf Club:

Par 72
75.2 / 142
73.9 / 138
72.4 / 137
61.3 / 135
75.7 / 144
69.7 / 131
71.1 / 134


A visit to Tetherow can be about the golf experience alone. It is a remarkable facility and a most unique design. However there is also luxurious stay and play possibility within the resort. Tetherow Lodges is the hotel option, providing 50 rooms overlooking the golf course, with balconies exposing the beauty of Mt. Bachelor to the west. For larger groups, vacation rental homes are available. Three on-property restaurants will satisfy your palate and the bordering Deschutes National Forest offers a multitude of high desert outdoor activities to fill your docket. The resort is a short drive to the contemporary Century West neighborhood, home to a new campus for Oregon State University and just a few miles further to the historic yet restored Old Bend downtown filled with boutiques, cafes, restaurants and an abundance of craft breweries.


Tetherow Golf Club
61240 Skyline Ranch Road,
Bend, OR
































Rugged Beauty

























Sculpted Hole 11