Date Played August 16th

I was in Jorgenson Golf in Mukilteo last week stocking up on balls.  I told the owner I was headed to Portland and she told me about the courses that the members club play in Portland every year.  The Reserve Golf and Vineyard, and Langdon Farms.  She mentioned that she likes Langdon better but being the ever dedicated blogger I am, I decided I’d better play both…just to make sure.  I’ll have a post up later about The Reserve, but don’t play it.  I didn’t and I won’t ever do it.

I made my morning tee time at Langdon Farms website the day before.  It was easy and didn’t require a payment online, which is nice.  It’s right next to the freeway which made for easy access and pulling up, it’s got quite a bit of character.  The clubhouse is a giant red barn, which I’m told is modeled after the barn on the old Langdon Farm.  It was noted online that range balls were included in the price, so imagine my surprise when I arrived early and the range was closed, without explanation.  This is the biggest knock on this course.  Only one guy knew that it was even closed, and they wouldn’t say why.  It looked like it was in top notch shape.  I payed $54 riding at 8am on a Thursday.  Not great, but certainly not bad for the quality.

The practice green was large and allowed chipping, which on Seattle courses is almost always frowned upon.  I started on 10, and while I won’t dock points for it, is less than desirable as this is the longer and tougher of the two sides.  It’s hard to get acclimated to a course when you’re fighting to make bogey on every hole.  One cool feature about Langdon Farms is the combo tees.  They only have 4 sets of tees, but you can play the combo set which basically switches you between blue and white tee boxes to toughen up the course a little bit, without forcing the full stretch to blue.  It’s a nice feature for a mid handicapper like myself.

The course lays out a lot like a Sumner Meadows or Tri-Mountain.  It’s an american links style course.  There isn’t much water, but there are large mounds between all the holes and fescue abounds to swallow up your ball if your not in the fairway.  The fairways are wide and undulating, and tend to be pretty accepting of tee shots.   There aren’t a lot of holes where you need to think from the tee.  That would normally be a negative, but the way the fairways feed your ball can really alter the hole, so it’s understandable that they don’t force a straight ball.

The course was in fantastic shape; absolutely flawless except for one fairway that was only halfway mowed.   The groundskeeper was in the process of finishing, but waited for us to play past before doing so.  The greens rolled incredibly true.  Slowish in the morning, but by the turn, they had baked into a very tough test.  The fescue ate nearly a half dozen of my balls that day.  There aren’t any truly signature holes here, but on the flip side there aren’t any throw away holes either.  Holes like the 115 yard par 3 6th hole, which offers a straight shot with no real danger onto a medium sized green, are aided by terrific design nuances like deliberate collection areas and false fronts.  It seems that every hole has a surprise, even when it looks like nothing special.

My two favorite holes had to be the par 4 15th and the long par 4 8th.  The 15th hole is a short par 4 with a medium width fairway that features a fairway width bunker about 250 yards out.  It’s not easy to reach it, but it will gobble up drives.  You then play into a significantly elevated green with ridges and slopes that might make you dizzy when reading a putt.  The 8th hole is the quirky sort of hole that I love to play.  It’s 450 yards from the blue tees and shares a giant 125+ yard wide fairway with the 9th hole.  The fairways are split with a 75 yard long church pew bunker that can make a second shot a real pain.  If you land in the fairway, you then have a long iron at best into a huge green with a false front.  Be careful of the big freaking barn(!) that you have to hit over if you went left.  You read that correctly, there is a barn in the fairway.  The cart path runs right through this old beauty too.  It’s really a cool hole.

For my money, this is the best course in the Portland metro area.  It’s a super design, in great condition and at $54 riding on a weekday, a pretty darn good value.  I certainly recommend checking it out.  In fact, play this twice instead of going to the reserve. Final Score: 54/60

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