Review & Rating of Woodlands Golf Course in Sunriver Oregon
Robert Trent Jones Jr carved a fantastic 18 holes out of some towering Ponderosa pines in 1980 and appropriately named it the Woodlands. Some of what makes playing the Woodlands enjoyable and challenging includes:
- water on 7 holes
- beautiful scenery with several magnificent views of the Cascade mountains
- tight tree lined fairways
- big heavily contoured greens on the front and raised smaller and flatter greens on the back
- 53 big steep and deep bunkers to try and avoid
- lots to keep you focused on your game – dog legs left and right, strategically placed bunkers, water, trees that can block your approach, and some risk reward opportunities
- peaceful and quiet except for my ball ricocheting off the trees and some chipmunks yelling at me
- excellent conditions from the tee to the cup
- reasonable rates particularly with Golf Now
- a great stay and play package
- some fun holes
With all of that, it’s not surprising that Woodlands Golf Course has been consistently rated by Golf Digest as one of the best courses in Oregon. There are five sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5333 to 6947 but it’s not the length that makes the course challenging (a slope of 136 to 143) – it’s the tight tree lined fairways, the accuracy needed to make the turn on the dog legs, and the challenging green complexes that put a premium on your approach shot and your putting skills.
The front nine has much larger greens (28 to 47 yards deep) but they are heavily contoured with slope, spines, and tiers. The back nine has much smaller greens (18 to 28 yards) and they are raised (preventing a bump and run) and flatter with more subtle breaks.
Some of the holes that we really liked included:
- #2 is fun with a great risk reward shot from the back tees to carry more of the lake and try to fly some trees to shorten this 427 dog right par 4
- #9 is outstanding – a 403 yard par 4 with a pond off the left side, a tree in the fairway that can block a shot to the green, a sharp dog left along a very tight fairway with a pond on both sides, and a green with three bunkers surrounding it plus off the tee box you can play it safe and aim for a wider fairway on the right or risk flying the pond and stuffing the ball on a very narrow fairway thanks to ponds on both sides
- #15 is a 530 yard par 5 that requires some shot making all the way to the pin thanks to a huge left side fairway bunker that pinches the fairway where it turns left and heads to the green with two left side bunkers and a large bunker on the right that has a couple trees growing in the middle of it making a right side approach shot very difficult
- #16 is a 392 yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot and stunning view of the mountains and a downhill shot past a huge nasty bunker waiting for your drive, and a green with 3 bunkers surrounding it and Mt Bachelor as a backdrop
- #17 is a beautiful par 3 that requires a precise drive to avoid the water surrounding three quarters of the green and the big oblong bunker on the left side
When we played in late September, the greens were starting to show problems from the cold mornings – we still thought that they were in very good condition, but the pro said he rates them a 7 when they are normally a 9 to 10. On the front nine at the Woodlands the greens are flat (bump and run approaches work great) and huge with lots of slope, contour, spines, or tiers. The back nine greens at Woodlands are raised, much smaller, and flatter but with subtle breaks. All of the greens are well guarded with one to three big steep and deep bunkers which means you need to be very accurate on your approach shots. The greens were running a little fast at around 10 or more and ran very true. They are firm and it was common for us to watch our approach shot roll off the back – a high and soft approach shot was required.
The fairways are tight and tree lined with some homes sitting well back but in play if you really spray it. The fairways were in near perfect condition and they are flat giving you some extra roll and a playable lie. The first cut was playable and also in great condition but the second cut was thick and difficult to hit from. Miss both and you're under the pines and native grass and most likely lost.
The bunkers at Woodlands range from big to huge and nasty. They are well maintained and the sand is soft and fluffy but very thin. The lips range from average to steep and very deep making for a challenging shot.
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Service is ok, the pro shop is well stocked, the practice facilities are good, and the grill has some great sandwiches.