Drive 20 miles east of Bend and you are deep in the Ponderosa pine forest and ready to enjoy one of the original resorts in the Central Oregon area, Black Butte Ranch.
Black Butte is a gated community built among the big pines. It seems well-removed from the high desert climate, yet is a half-hour away from downtown Bend or Redmond in the quaint little town of Sisters. Black Butte celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2015. It’s a private community of 1,250 homes.
The resort features two courses, the original Big Meadow course and the redesigned Glaze Meadow Course. Big Meadow, designed by Robert Muir Graves, was updated in 2007 and stretches more than 7,000 yards at the 3,500-foot elevation. It has been recognized on the list of the best courses you can play in the state.
Glaze Meadow underwent a major renovation and re-opened to rave reviews in 2012. John Fought, brother of Director of Golf Jeff Fought reshaped the course by taking out several doglegs, hundreds of trees, grass-faced bunkers and redoing elevated green complexes. Golf writers recognized it as the renovation of the year, like Donald Ross designed greens. Fought also did the Players Course at the Indian Wells Resort as well as the Pine Needles Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC.
His work changed the course so dramatically that it has become one of the favorite tracks for the gentleman we played with who has had a second home in Bend for more than 20 years.
The course plays 7,007 from the tips with a slope of 135. From the whites, it’s 5,931 and a 124 slope.
It starts out playing down into the meadow that brings water into play on holes 3-5. It then turns into the pines and remains there. Fought retained playable doglegs on several holes and it was in great shape when we played in mid-September. We happened to be slotted behind a several groups celebrating a bachelor party before a weekend wedding so it was a slow round that left plenty of time for conversation.
That reflects the popularity of Black Butte for destination weddings and buddy trips—a distinction it shares with other resorts such as Sunriver and Brasada Ranch. There are plenty of opportunities to rent a home onsite. Staying there provides 36 holes onsite plus plenty of other courses within a 30- to 45-minute drive.
Both courses are open to the public daily.
By Tim Hunt