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Area golf courses put beauty within driving distance

May 17, 2018 GMT

In a two-hour drive between Lane County’s mountains and ocean dunes, golfers will find more varied settings for nine or 18 holes than they can shake a stick at.

What pioneers loved most about the Willamette Valley, golfers get, too: lush surroundings. Many city parks lack the array of water features, green meadows, variety of trees and other flora found at most local golf courses.

Courses at McKenzie Bridge and Oakridge nestle beautifully into the Cascade Mountains. And like in Scotland, links-style fairways traverse sand dunes in and around Florence.

Golfers can play 14 public courses in or on the fringe of Lane County. Choices include quick-play par 3 and executive courses, as well as full-blown championship options, some of which are rated among the best in the United States for public golf.

For a stroll back in time, consider three courses founded in 1929: Oakway and Laurelwood in Eugene, and Hidden Valley in Cottage Grove. Forest Hills in Reedsport was one of the Pacific Northwest’s first golf courses when it opened in 1927.

Greens fees for 18 holes at nearby courses range from about $15 to $50, more or less. Difficulty levels also vary, so be sure to check rating/slope numbers on the courses’ websites. Reservations are recommended at most courses.

Willamette Valley courses

Emerald Valley Golf and Resort, 83301 Dale Kuni Road near Creswell. Eighteen-hole championship course has hosted several qualifiers for the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur Championship. Facilities include an indoor event center, outdoor gazebo for 300 guests, restaurant, bar, driving range and practice facility. 541-895-2174; emeraldvalleygolf.com

Diamond Woods Golf Course, 96040 Territorial Road, near Monroe. Regulation 18-hole course with covered driving range also is the site of the Inn at Diamond Woods, which was listed as a top destination site by the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Visitor Center in 2010. 541-998-9707; diamondwoods.com

Fiddler’s Green, 91292 Highway 99 North, near Eugene. Eighteen-hole, par-3 course is fast and affordable, but the big attraction here is one of the nation’s largest golf shops, with 250 models of demo clubs and club-fitting specialists on-site. Facilities also include a covered driving range. 541-689-8464; fiddlersgreen.com/golfcourse.com

Hidden Valley Golf Course, 775 N. River Road, Cottage Grove. Ten-hole course, dating to 1929, wends past gigantic oak trees. 541-942-3046; playhiddenvalleygolf.com

Laurelwood Golf Course, 2700 Columbia St., Eugene. Nine-hole regulation course has a diving range, pro shop, restaurant, pub and snack bar. 541-484-4653; golflaurelwood.com

Middlefield Golf Course, 91 Village Drive near Cottage Grove. Eighteen-hole executive course, bordered by the Row River and operated by the city of Cottage Grove, includes one par 5.541-942-8730; middlefieldgolf.com

Oakway Golf Course, 2000 Cal Young Road, Eugene. Founded by pioneer Cal Young and later expanded from nine to 18 holes, the executive course includes seven par 4s. First-come, first served; weekday leagues available. 541-484-1927; oakwaygolf.com

RiverRidge Golf Course, 3800 N. Delta Highway, Eugene. Regulation nine-hole course occupies part of historic homesteaded farm. Fairways wend through more than 120 species of trees. Facilities include a covered driving range. 541-345-9160; riverridgeor.com

Springfield Golf Club, 90333 Sunderman Road, about 5 miles from 42nd St. exit in Springfield. Semi-private 18-hole course has a golf shop, restaurant and event facility.541-747-9811; springfieldgolfclub.net

Cascade Mountains foothills

Circle Bar Golf Club, 48447 Westoak Road, Oakridge. Affordable, semi-private nine-hole regulation course dates to 1954. 541-782-3541

Tokatee Golf Club, 54947 McKenzie Highway. Founded by lumberman Nat Giustina in the early 1960s, 18-hole championship course was named by Golf magazine as one of the 50 best places in the United States to play for less than $50. Driving range with grass tees. 541-822-3220; tokatee.com

Florence coast

Forest Hills Golf Course, No. 1 Country Club Drive, Reedsport. Nine-hole, semi-private course, dating to 1927, is open to the public. 541-271-2626; golfreedsport.com

Ocean Dunes Golf Links, 3345 Munsel Lake Road, Florence. Built by architect William Robinson, fairways wend through wild dunes bordered by gorse, heather, shorepines and sea grasses. 541-997-3232; threeriverscasino.com/golf

Sandpines Golf Links, 1201 35th St., Florence. Eighteen-hole course designed by noted golf architect Rees Jones. Listed as a “Best Place to Play” by Golf Digest. Large clubhouse, driving range, restaurant. 541-997-1940; sandpines.com