Date Played: July 31 and August 14, 2012

I’ve been working in Portland for about a month now, and trying to play some golf has been a struggle. But convienent to my hotel is the 36 hole Heron Lakes Golf Club. There are two coures, the Greenback course is a target golf test with a pretty healthy amount of water. On the south side is the Great Blue which is more of the typical “American Links” layout. An open course with shaved areas around the greens and penal rough and waste areas.

I played the Greenback first. It’s an older course, typical of the 60’s courses I’ve played in the Northwest. It’s not terribly long from the whites, but a pretty significant test from the blues. The highlight holes are the Par 5 13th, which can be reached in two from the whites, but not without a 200 second shot over water on to a less than receptive green. The 3rd hole is a par 3 that is all carry over a pond. It’s nice both ascetically and from a design perspective. The Greenback, overall, is kind of a ho-hum course. At the price point, it’s a good to very good value, but lacks the wow factor of some of the newer Portland area tracks.

The tougher, newer, and (slightly) more expensive younger brother of Greenback – Great Blue, might be the best of the municipal courses in the city of Portland. It’s an open track, with only a couple of holes requiring the straight drive, pitch, putt style of golf. The mounds separating the fairways often help direct errant drives back towards the target, but if you find yourself in the rough, you could be in real trouble. The rough itself isn’t long or tough. However, you will be hard pressed to find a level lie or a friendly lie among the mounds. The 3rd hole is a super short par 4 (307 from the blues) that is uphill and necks down at about 180 yards. The ground is hard so a long drive is not a good play, but an iron can find it’s way into one of the 4 fairway bunkers that keep you in line. A birdie can be had without much trouble; and so can a double bogey. The par 3 15th is an all-carry mid iron over water on to a wide and narrow green. It’s quite picturesque with the operational train tracks down the right side.

The Great Blue is certainly the better of the two courses. Especially when considering price, I paid $33.50 riding for a 3:15pm slot on the Blue and $27 walking at the same time on the Green. The course feels busy, with the Great Blue sharing multiple holes with Portland Intl. Raceway and the airport being so close. If you put this course 20 miles outside of town, it would be one of my top choices for a round. As is, it’s merely a good complex.

Greenback Final Score: 44/60
Design – 7/10
Test of Golf – 7/10
Condition – 7/10
Amenities – 9/10
Value – 7/10
Experience – 7/10

Great Blue Final Score: 47/60

Design – 8/10
Test of Golf – 8/10
Condition – 7/10
Amenities – 9/10
Value – 8/10
Experience – 7/10