Brasada Ranch Canyons Course designers Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy must have been delighted when they saw the raw land available to route the golf course.
The marketing material talks about “canyons and ridges,” but I would dub it ridges and ravines. You are either playing up or down a ravine or on a hole running across the ridges. Eleven holes are routed in the ravines, while others are along the ridges or ravine edges. There are no parallel holes on the course.
In typical Central Oregon weather, the views from the course are stunning. It is set at an elevation of more than 3,200 feet.
One marshal told us that he taken a photo from the top tee on the par 3 No. 6 (171 yards). It showed Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the north and went all the way south beyond Mt. Bachelor. Views of Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Jefferson are common from many Central Oregon courses, but there are few, if any, panoramic views from a golf course to match Brasada. Unfortunately, we missed that because Central Oregon has been covered in smoke from many wildfires since June.
Having experienced those views on other winter, summer and spring visits, we can only imagine what we missed first-hand from Brasada which is built on the side of Powell Butte. The developers have ample land behind the gates of the residential community and could easily add another one or two courses as well as many more home sites.
Before starting, there’s a 5-acre practice facility to warm up. The practice ground is set into the meadow that still has pasture land for horses—a testament to the Brasada history as a working ranch.
Hole No. 1 sets the standard: it’s a par 5 that plays 573 yards uphill from the Jacobsen tees (the tips) and is the No. 3 handicap. As was often the case, the green was a narrow little target at the top of the canyon.
No. 2 reverses and runs back downhill at 430 yards to another relatively small green. No. 3 turns back uphill and so it goes for the next 15 holes.
As you would expect for a semi-private club, the conditions were excellent, both greens and fairways. The impeccable green fairways are framed beautifully by the rugged high desert landscape.
The backside starts just like the front with an uphill par 5 set into a canyon with houses overlooking it on both sides. One of the more interesting holes on the back nine is a downhill par 4 that is potentially drivable at 377 yards. There are abundant fairway bunkers both left and right, plus greenside bunkers. Miss left and you are down the ravine.
The only water on the course is the pond that guards the green at No. 18. It plays modestly downhill at 584 yards with a dogleg right about 250 yards from the back tees. Placing the driver well is critical. The ravine frames both sides of the fairway until you reach the green.
From the Jacobsen tees, Brasada Canyon plays 7,295 yards at a 145 slope.
The golf course is one of the amenities at the ranch, which also features two farm-to-fork restaurants, a spa, a 17,000-square-foot fitness center and plenty of activities for the entire family aside from golf. Conde Nast has named it the top resort in the Pacific Northwest three years in a row.
Incidentally, the snack shack adjacent to the pro shop offers burger dogs in the tradition of the Olympic Club and the Silverado Resorts. I could not resist enjoying one for lunch.
The golf course is limited to members, guests of members and people staying on the property. There are three lodging options at Brasada. Given the desert landscape and a somewhat moderate climate, the course is open for play year-round. During the winter, skiers can experience Mt. Bachelor in the morning and then get in 18 holes at Brasada in the afternoon.
By Tim Hunt