The Pilgrimage: Oregon Golf Trip, Day One (OGA)


A successful day one on the Oregon golf trip. Uneventful flight (cool view of Mt. Hood flying in), golf clubs made it on the flight (hallelujah!), and headed down to Oregon Golfer's Association golf course in Woodburn, OR about 30-40 minutes south of Portland. OGA is a quirky course, especially on the front nine. Definitely the type of course you need to play more than once to figure out where you are supposed to hit it (or more importantly, not hit it). I had to hit iron off the tee on a par five...twice!!! This wasn't a Tiger Woods-like strategy. This was a necessity because the fairway ended at about 270 yards. I don't mind short par 4's requiring a lay-up, but not on a par five and especially not on two of them.

So needless to say, OGA was not a bomber's paradise, and my scores reflected that fact. Plus, the greens were firm and fast, and my short game failed to save me. I three-putted the first two greens (well, one lag putt actually went off the green, so I guess that's considered a two-putt, took penalty strokes on #3 and #4 and stood at seven over after seven holes before making bird on the par 3 8th hole. After that, the round went much smoother, although it did include two more three putts and one more penalty. Breaking 80 look like a possibility after birdieing no. 15, but my hopes were dashed ater missing a couple 4-footers for par on 16 and 17. Final tally: 42-39 81.

Jimbo was my polar opposite today, only hitting five greens but managing to get up and down from nearly everywhere. He had a solid 40-37 77 including one birdie. Great start for Jimbo. Charles was hampered by a recent groin injury that really limited his effectiveness on the golf course. We were all writhing in pain just watching him swing the club. Score: TBD. Hopefully he can get back on the mend before we play Bandon Dunes on Monday. My father-in-law Ken played pretty well, making a lot of key putts and staying out of trouble. 44-45 89. Although he did whiff once trying to muscle a 3-wood off the fairway. We'll just call it a practice swing.

Speaking of Charles, he got the trip started on the right foot before it even started as we talked on the phone the day before leaving. We were going through various details of the itinerary when he asks, 'Who is this Ken guy? Is he a buddy of yours? I don't think I've ever met him.' Charles has met my father-in-law many times and actually has played golf with him...he just never put 2+2 together. Or he never knew what Ken's first name was.

OGA was a good warm-up course to start the trip with, but overall it was pretty mediocre. Beaides the quirkiness of the holes, there were a number of other minor service issues:

- Annoying lengthy check-in process. I think they run a background check on every person before you're allowed to play the course (despite my checkered past, I somehow still made it)

- Multiple screw-ups on figuring out the right price to charge us because we all used these coupons off their website (saved us $23 each!). Basically we had to tell them what the right price was (apparently math is not taught in Oregon schools).

- They were completely out of carts and we were told that they would bring them out to us after the first or second hole (we did end up getting them before the round started)

- They didn't have the black tees out, forcing golfers to go no further than the blues. The blacks are only 6,650 yards, and the blues are 6,350. Jimbo, Charles and I just teed up from the black yardage plates (which was actually turned out to be somewhat liberating getting to tee up anywhere you wanted without tee markers)

On the plus side, OGA was in very good shape and was pretty cheap with the coupon. Overall, OGA will probably end up being ranked in the 170-180 range, which is around a 4.5 on my 10-pt scale. We actually had to pass up on an opportunity to play Pronghorn, a privated Nicklaus course that is one of the top courses in the state, solely because of timing issues. Pronghorn would've been a major upgrade, but we just couldn't swing it logistically.

We're off to play Sandpines tomorrow morning for thirty-six holes. Jimbo has a love affair with Sandpines from their last time out, although I've heard conflicting opinions from Jefe and others. From the yardage book, it looks pretty nice. More of a grip it and rip it course, so I'll be looking to score a little bit better. Stay tuned.

By the numbers:

Birdie Count: 2 for Jim, 1 for Jimbo
Stroke Count: 77 for Jimbo, 81 for Jim, 89 for Ken, TBD for Charles
5 - Holes played before Jim made his first par
9 - Holes played before Charles left his wedge behind and had to go back for it
1 - Whiffs by Ken
0 - Clubs Thrown
TBD - Golf Balls Lost by Charles


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