Without a doubt, any golfer looking for a memorable outing in terms of a golf course will find The Reserve Vineyard and Golf Club as the cream of the crop in the Portland Metropolitan area. Two courses highlight this venue with each side offering different playing styles. For now, we will be giving the 411 on the North Course (next week, the South Course).
Located on the outskirts of Beaverton/Aloha, the Reserve’s North Course (Par 72, 6,138 yards, designed by Bob Cupp) can be compared to a links-style course. But for those who play it often, it may not be a true links such as Bandon Dunes. Make no mistake, it remains a treat. Rolling fairways, some in an up and down format, it is most enjoyable during the summer months. Winter play here is more difficult than usual. The staff maintains it in impeccable condition. And you would be hard pressed to find greens which roll more true. Often considered fast greens, hold your line and your ball won’t sway. In addition, the course greens stay consistent with the practice green. This is something not seen on other courses.
The North Course is distinctly opposite in terms of layout if you have already played the South. These 18 holes have considerably less bunkers, but noticeably more collection and hazard areas. In other words, danger zones. This is a fair course where accuracy is a premium. The five Par 5’s can be birdie holes if your game is on. Otherwise, you must play conservative. Number 6 (513 yards) has a collection area fronting the green, while No. 8 (536 yds.) and No. 18 (469 yds.) both have water on the right greenside. One nice feature, your round will start off with a Par 5 on the first hole (499 yards). It’s a straight shot, yet, patches of shin-high grass lines the right side of the fairway. If your tee shot is erratic to start and continues, you’ll find these patches and you better have a few sleeves in the bag.
Each of the Par 4’s has an intangible which test your nerves or your confidence level in your ability. On the front side, No.’s 2 (388 yds., dogleg right), 4 (297 yds., drivable for single digit handicappers) and 7 (289 yds.) all have waste areas in the landing zones, either off the tee or approach. Number 9, at 374 yards, is relatively straight. Again, the thick, grassy patches lie on both sides of this fairway. Hence, it is essential to keep your ball in the middle off the tee. On the back nine, the fours seem to play longer than the scorecard indicates. No. 10 comes in at 353 yards, but feels long to what always seems like a headwind. No. 13 (323 yds.) is a sharp, dogleg left which might be considered the only unfair hole. A mound guards the left side of the green with a large fringe collection area on the right side well below the hole. It is extremely difficult to hold the green on your second shot, be prepared. No. 15 (404 yds.) is downhill, but the green lies high above the fairway with another waste area and two bunkers coming in to play on your approach. Seventeen (399 yds) rounds out the Par 4s with a water stream lining the left side and mounds on the right side along with a small forest area. A bad tee shot here gets wet or caroms in to the trees.
No course might offer more challenging Par 3’s than this one. The 148-yd third hole is over water. Be ready to club down on a windy day. No. 5 (158 yds.) plays uphill. If your tee shot is short, it will roll down the false front. Before you know it, you’re chipping and double bogey comes in to play. No 11 (133 yds.) is the 18th handicap hole and actually feels like a lifeline compared to the other short holes. No. 14 also plays uphill at 148 yds. Depending on pin placement, you should do no worse than bogey. The last Par 3 (No. 16) is the toughest, despite being listed as the 16th handicap hole. At 190 yards, it plays slightly downhill. However, a false front hinders the short tee shot and the sloped green from front to back handcuffs any par chance for the long tee shot.
This is a top notch, well run golf course and organization. The staff is friendly and extremely helpful. When calling to make a tee time, whoever answers always does their best to fill you in on the best time to play, if it is crowded or not. Each starter is cordial as well, asking if you have played there before and wishing you well on your round upon tee off.
The Reserve is flat out a positive environment. Any golfer looking for a great experience would be doing themselves a favor by playing a round or two here.