Date Played: October 2013
In the 14 or so months that this site has been live, I’ve only been able to review one par 3 course. I love them, but in Seattle, they’re just not that plentiful and most tend to be sort of a letdown. So when Eagle Landing contacted me to come do a review, I was excited at the prospect of a 27 hole par 3 facility, but a bit tepid due to the reputation often attached to this flavor of golf. I’m happy to report that Eagle Landing blew away every expectation and notion I had going into my outing. Sitting high up on a hillside above Happy Valley, to the Southeast of Portland, ELGC is an entertainment Mecca complete with 27 holes of par 3 golf, 36 holes of old school mini-golf, and a lovely rental space/wedding venue. The holes aren’t long or super challenging; but they’re damn fun and extremely approachable for all skill levels.
I started off on the South 9, which is a quick loop on the South side (duh) of the property. All the holes here range from 40-90 yards or so, but the greens are postage stamp small and have surprising undulation. The round starts off with a bang as the best hole is the downhill 1st. It’s got a solid 15-20 foot drop, which is exaggerated from inside 75 yards. The shallow, kidney-shaped green is built into a natural mini-amphitheater with thick rough all around. The rest of the holes are all solid offerings that aren’t quite enough to stick with you, until you get to 9 which is right back up the same hill from the 1st. What feels like the biggest green on the South 9 has a bunker left and understated contouring that makes for a tough par.
When you finish the first 9, you’ll cross over to the other side of the site for the North 18. The first 4 holes before you cross the street are sort of plain. But across the street is a really fun stretch with lots of imaginative shots and some good use of the terrain. The 6th hole is one of the longer ones on the course, playing pretty steep downhill into a tough to hold green with a protective bunker short left. The 11th, depending on the tee position is blocked by a rather large tree. While normally I’m not a fan of gimmicky features, par 3 golf by nature is gimmicky. The fact that this is a family forward facility makes fun shots like this seem right instead of desperate.
Bottom Line: Eagle Landing probably isn’t going to win many awards, or find itself on Golf Digest’s “Best in State” rankings; but this is flat-out a fun place to practice and a great place to introduce your little ones to the game. There are amazing views of the valley from nearly every hole, the service is second to none and you can finish up 27 holes in less than 2 hours. You’ll find some unrepaired ball marks and a few big ol’ dirt squirrels lying around the tee boxes, but it was in quality shape, and pristine conditions aren’t exactly why you should come here anyway. This is one of those places that I feel true golf fans will enjoy as much the 100th time as the 1st. Grab a wedge, grab a putter, grab a beer and go have a good time golfing again. Final Score: 74/100
Design – 18/25 (It’s tough to create a “great” 50 yard hole, but hey have about 6 or 7 here that are nearly that. I would, however, rather see it as an 18 hole facility with some lengthier holes.)
Test of Golf – 15/25 (It’s a confidence booster to be sure. When even my lame self can make a couple of birdies, it’s going to suffer in the “test” metric.)
Value – 18/20 (Online prices are between $7-15 for 18 holes. They’ve got great specials that I didn’t know about until I showed up, so don’t be afraid to ask.)
Condition – 6/10 (I’d call it respectable. It’s not country club conditions, but they do a good job of keeping it neat considering the layout.)
Amenities – 7/10 (Hard to score this. No range, no par 4’s or 5’s, no real pro shop…but 36 of mini-golf and beer is pretty freaking cool.)
Experience – 9/10 (Fun course, great staff, and gimmicks — in the best possible way — make for an almost guaranteed good time.)