The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club
4805 SW 229th Ave.
Aloha, Or 97007
Course Review Date: 8/26/2012
Course Reviewer: Ian Favre
A first for the website, writing a review on a golf course that I didn’t get to play. Hooked up by Golfchops writer Sean Charlton, I had the opportunity to caddy for a pro or celebrity in the Regence Pro-Am, part of the Umpqua Bank Challenge hosted by long time tour player Peter Jacobson at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club just southwest of Portland, Or. Ummm, caddy for a pro, add a golf course to the website that I have never played and watch a crack up of a golf clinic hosted by Peter Jacobson? Yeah, I’m in for sure.
The North Course at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club – The Reserve is a 36 hole facility in Aloha, Or just Southwest of Portland. From talking to a few of the volunteers at the tournament it sounds like they were pretty evenly split on which one of the two 18’s was better. I had previously heard the North was much better than the South, however while on the property no one went as far as to say one was better than the other. One thing is for sure, the clubhouse and practice facility immediately stand out when you get the Reserve. The clubhouse is an amazing looking building that sits perched on top of a hill overlooking the 18th green and a few other holes of the golf course. A very large driving range and nice sized putting greens for each course are available for warm up and attempting to get comfortable putting on some seriously undulated greens.
The North course is a pretty unique design dominated by rolling undulated fairways and greens. It’s not an overly difficult driving golf course where mostly level (even though undulated) terrain and lots of room to safely miss with the driver can be found. However, approach shot wise it’s one of the tougher tracks I have ever seen, especially if you have never played the course before. False fronts, false backs, multi-level tiering, and slope after slope eat approach shots up and spit them out in unpleasant locations all day. It kind of reminded me of The Home Course in Dupont where you can miss with the driver but if your iron play is poor and short game isn’t on, you’re going to have a very long day.
Overall this course was very very nice. It wasn’t one that knocked my socks off but I would definitely recommend going and checking it out. That said, I think its the kind of place that would eat me for breakfast 🙂 Oh, one note, I’ve trashed the 95 yard par 3 at Echo Falls before as the worst par 3 in the Northwest. Well, I might have discovered the worst par 4. The 13th hole is a very short (290 ish) dogleg left guarded by trees that sit very tight to the tee box. Here’s the gig; first, there’s another green off to the right that looks reachable and looks like the green you are hitting at. Even the pro I looped for played to the wrong green from the tee box. The approach shot to the green is blind due to a large build up in front of the green allowing you to only see the top of the flag stick. After playing your approach shot you discover a very narrow horizontal green that you had no chance of holding. Basically your only chance is to blast driver all the way up there and pray. It seemed like an after thought of a hole. Besides the one stinker of a par 4 the rest of the course plays pretty straight forward and the places to avoid stand out pretty well. The only other oddity to note was while I was looping I didn’t think the yardage book was as accurate as it could be. The number seemed right, but the visual description of the greens in the book didn’t match up to well at time.
Minus the one clunker hole the course is dotted with excellent holes tee to green. I loved the design of the closing hole, a reachable (469 yards from the tips) par 5 that is strongly protected by water that runs from about 200 yards out and goes all the way to the green. A perfect risk vs. reward design that if played correctly is a very doable eagle and when played poorly is an easy double. The trick to it is that with the water running up so much of the hole, even the layup has a lot of danger to it. The designer, Bob Cupp did a good job of mixing different style of golf holes into the course. On one hand you are playing traditional tree lined Pacific Northwest Golf, with small water hazards and thick rough. Then a couple holes of almost links style golf with rolling undulated fairways, wispy fescue in the rough areas and a large putting surface. It was cool to see the way different golf course styles and design elements were blended together to create the 18 hole trek. Pretty imaginative really.
All in all this is a heck of a golf facility and a track I highly recommend you get out and play. I’ve heard many say this is the best public track in Portland, and while I don’t think I’ve played enough public golf in Portland to back that statement up, I will say it’s one of the better ones I have seen down there.
Golfchops.com rating: 23/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 4
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
– Their biggest tournament of the year at the course and maybe the biggest in Oregon all year. Safe to say everyone had the service mojo rocking.
– Didn’t get to putt on them but they looked perfect and rolled very quick. I liked what I saw.
– Place was in incredible condition for the tournament as you’d expect.
– $85 is their highest prime time rate and I think that is more than acceptable for the quality you are getting.
– Fantastic clubhouse and practice facility
Pictures from The Reserve…sorry I couldn’t get more, I was looping.