Pumpkin Ridge – Witch Hollow Course

Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge
12930 NW Old Pumpkin Ridge Rd.
North Plains, OR

Course Review Date: 10/17/2011
Course Reviewer: Ian

Seriously? A random Monday in mid-October and mother nature is setting me up with a remarkably clear day in the upper 60’s?! And I am playing 36 holes at two very exclusive private clubs in the Portland area?!  Winner winner chicken dinner my friends!  The 36 hole escapade started at the home course of our Golfchops.com professional, the Portland Golf Club then led to the 2 time home of the U.S. Women’s Open, Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge.

Witch Hollow is the famed private side of the 36 hole Pumpkin Ridge golf complex that has hosted a number of famous professional tournaments.  Besides the 1997 and 2003 U.S. Women’s Opens the Witch Hollow course was home to the 1996 U.S Amateur (the one where Tiger made the crazy rally to win his 3rd AM in a row.  One note I learned while out there is that in some, if not all of those tournaments, the 18th hole at Witch Hollow was not used.  They played the 18th at Ghost Creek (the highly regarded public side of Pumpkin Ridge) which is one of most famed finishing holes in Oregon and the entire country.  After playing #18 at the Witch I can understand why, but I’ll explain that in a bit.

At first glance Witch Hollow seems like a pretty straight forward and open jaunt through some wooded farm land.  The first hole doesn’t throw too many curve balls at you minus a slightly winding fairway with a couple bunkers and a short iron approach to a smallish green.  Hit that first one in the rough though and you are going to get a taste of some very thick cabbage that you will find on nearly every hole.  In the summer when 3rd cut isn’t trimmed down as far as it was, and that fescue is sitting knee high plus, this course is going to throw a hell of a challenge at you.  As can be said with all golf, keep it in fairway and your day is going to be a whole lot smoother.

3 is a very solid hole, but the fun for me really got going when we hit #5, now one of my favorite par 3’s I have ever played.   187 yards from the blue tees (211 from the tips) this par 3 features a pretty slender horizontal green, completely protected by water, with a bailout left.  An extremely intimidating tee shot that left me down-right giddy to hit pin high and have a birdie putt at.  The front 9 also features a very tough par 5 (#7) that plays at 623 yards from the tips and showcases fairway bunkers literally all the way up the left hand side.  You are finished off in grand fashion on the front with the split fairway of #9.  Play from the high right or low left side of the fairway bunkers that are dead center.  I went low, Matt went high and we both made par.  Your call.

The back nine is no slouch either featuring more excellent par 3’s like #10 coming in at 212 yards.  A long play to a large, but very well protected green.  Then hole 12, which plays very similar to #5 gets the knee knocks going a touch with a pretty much full water carry shot.  It may only be a 9 iron or a wedge, but a miss is doomed.  This course really has some exceptional par 3’s.  I found hole #14 to be a very tough par 5.  Although it only chalks in as the #8 handicap hole on the course and isn’t a particularly long par 5, it features fairways bunkers and trees left, more trees right, more sand on the approach shot to the right and water left protecting the green.  It just takes one miss to make an utter mess of this hole.  Trust me.

The first 17th holes are pretty special but I kind lost my mojo on 18 and wasn’t a huge fan of it.  Not that it’s a bad golf hole, it just didn’t fit my eye very well.  It’s an odd 545 yard, par 5 that has a creek style water hazard that runs through the middle.  Once you have hit the first landing area you have to decide to challenge going over the water hazard, which plays to the left, but if your drive isn’t long enough you lay up with a wedge and then have a very long approach over the creek and up to the green which is surrounded by trees.  I took my snowman and bailed, but in honesty I’m sure it was a ten.

All said this is a heck of a golf course with excellent par 3’s, challenging rough and swing changing bunker placement.  This is absolutely a thinking golfer’s course.  Lastly, maybe we caught an odd day but there was a bug hatch out there like I have never seen before in my life.  It was literally a Hitchcock movie with millions of ladybugs swarming everywhere.  I have ladybugs in the car, in the golf bag, in my living room…everywhere.  It was pretty wild.

Many thanks to the team at Witch Hollow for having us out to play their exceptional golf course.  Thank you!

Golfchops.com rating: 21/25
Customer Service: 4
Condition of Greens: 3
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
Value: 4
Amenities: 5

Rating Notes: 
– Two guys in the proshop were very friendly and hospitable.
– Greens rolled pretty well, but they have some spotting and slight discoloration.  More ball marks than I would expect from a course of this quality.  All that said they still played very well.
– Course was in great shape and looks like they had recently cut down the fescue for the winter.  No damage, ground under repair, or temp tee boxes out there.
– Hmmmm, hard to say as I do not know what the guest fee is and I played as a guest of the course.  I am going to take a wild guess and say its $100 which isn’t that terrible for this kind of quality.
– Super cool driving range that features members on one side, public course players on the other, both hitting towards each other.  Total Bushwood CC.  Good putting green and an honor system snack shop at the turn w/beer.  Also, a solid proshop packed with Travis Mathew gear.  Yes, I like.

Pictures of Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge


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