Salmon Run Golf Course
We recently ran up the coast and played an afternoon round at Salmon Run in southern Oregon. As is my usual mo, we arrived at about 2:30, allowing enough time to get in 18, and take advantage of the twilight rates. Outfitted with a cart, a couple of iced down beers, and some cursory directions, we were on our way.
They do allow foot traffic, and I usually walk most courses, but I wouldn’t recommend it here, particularly after 2 in the afternoon. Salmon Run is a little like a Frontier Ride at Disneyland.
You drive along fairway 1 as you approach the club house parking lot, but as you head to the first T, you actually travel away from the fairway and up a hill above the clubhouse. Now you must decide which T’s you’ll be using. They offer Professional, Tournament, Club, and Resort. These range from 6274 to 4216 yards, and a slope of 132 to 103 respectively. I chose Club because the slope (difficulty) of 116 is close to my home course, and I’m here to have fun, not beat myself up.
From the Club tee (green tees) my range finder gave me a 190 yd. reading to the far edge of the fairway right before the hole turned into a dog-leg right. Sure enough, about a 180 yd T shot and you’re about at the 150 marker looking at the green which is guarded by a lateral creek crossing a couple dozen yards short of the green.
No. 2 is 324 yards, narrow but straight, albeit sloping to the left. I took out the big dog and hit one parallel to the cart path running along the right side of the fairway. I’m 40 yards out, (so a more modest (smarter) club choice would have worked) and looking at what looks like a two tiered green.
No. 3 is a 423 yard narrow par 4, and the fairway bottle-necks at the first of two creek crossings. Did I mention it was narrow? A good T shot could get you over the first water hazard…or not. In retrospect, I’d lag up, hit a second shot short of the second water hazard, then chip close for a possible one put.
No. 4 is a wicked lovely 3 par island shot. Grab a wedge and launch one!
By the time you get to No. 5, you realize this definitely isn’t a driver/wedge golf course. Reading some of Salmon Run’s literature, their intent is to require you to use every club in your bag on their course and as many as possible off the tee—a thinking man’s course. Now I realize I should have gotten a six-pack. It seems that with the narrow fairways and all the twists and turns, a good formula for the numerous 4 pars is to calculate the yardage back from the very prominent 150 yard markers, and choose your club to tee off accordingly.
No 6, the first 5 par. You need to pick a long iron or hybrid off the tee to get you to the bend at about 170 yards. Then with a 180 yard club I landed about 110 out for a wedge (plays deceiving long) into a rather long green.
No 7 is a straight forward three par. No 8 features a fairway sand trap about 180 yards out, so by lagging short of that you’re left with about 70 yards to the pin.
No 9 can be a little confusing until you get up to your tee shot and look left. The diagram on the scorecard isn’t very helpful but if you target the 150 marker which is about 170 yards from the tee, then turn to your left it all becomes clear. Then you understand why they have a sign at the T blocks warning you that you will be held liable for any damages to the clubhouse. Being a dogleg left, if you were to drive directly to the green, that trajectory would take you right over the clubhouse.
This is a beautiful and challenging course with greens that are both true and fast. This is the second time I played Salmon Run Golf Course, and understanding what their intent was in designing the course (using all your clubs) improved my score dramatically. More on the back nine later. Get out there and play!