Golf Course Review: Pumpkin Ridge, Ghost Creek (OR)

Located less than 30 minutes northwest of Portland’s city center, Pumpkin Ridge is a beautiful golf venue that has played host to many big-time championship golf moments throughout the years, including David Duval’s win in the 1993 Nike Tour Championship, Tiger Woods’ final amateur championship and others including the Safeway Classic, Women’s Open Championship, US Girls’ Junior Championship, the US Junior Amateur, US Women’s Amateur and others.

Most notably of the club’s major golf moments is perhaps Tiger Woods’ climactic victory in a 36-hole match play before turning pro in the 1996 US Amateur. It was Tiger’s third consecutive US Amateur title, and his PGA career that would follow changed the world of golf forever.

An interesting side note: Do you know what Tiger’s first PGA event was? The answer is the Greater Milwaukee Open at Brown Deer Park, in my home area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The big golf publications took notice of Pumpkin Ridge’s fantastic golf early and often, and even with the Bandon property also located in the same state, their courses continue to be highly ranked, including:

Golf Digest:

  • Ghost Creek: 67th best public course (US)
  • Ghost Creek: 13th best course (OR)
  • Ghost Creek: Best new public course (US, 1992)
  • Witch Hollow: 2nd best new private course (US, 1992)

GolfWeek:

  • Ghost Creek: 7th best public course (OR)
  • Witch Hollow: 151st best course (US)

Golf.com:

  • Ghost Creek: 56th best public course (US)
  • Ghost Creek: 6th best public course (OR)

One of the things that really shocked me about Pumpkin Ridge is how small the greens are. The course is not overly long at 6,839 yards from the tips, but the fairways are rather tight and the greens remind me of ones that would have been designed in the 1920’s and 1930’s at great private clubs.

Ghost Creek is not a private golf club, though, while Witch Hollow is. Tight fairways with small greens means shots off the tee are not easy, but more importantly approach shots are unbelievably challenging.

The one thing I had on this day, though, was solid approach shots.

Ghost Creek leads off with a straight-forward par four to help golfers get warmed up. At 392 yards with a slight lilt to the right, this is an easy driving hole with a fairly benign green complex – softly risen with sand front-left, but otherwise level and hittable.

Hole 1: Par 4 (447/392/372/328)

Hole 1: Par 4 (447/392/372/328)

Hole 1: Par 4 (447/392/372/328)

Hole 1: Par 4 (447/392/372/328)

Don’t get too used to wide open driving areas with adjacent fairways to bail out poor drives, because the second hole tightens the fly zone considerably. Playing a yard shorter than the first hole from the blue tees, the second is 391 yards with a slim corridor through trees to one of the toughest greens to hit on the course.

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Hole 2: Par 4 (414/391/364/325)

Hole 2: Par 4 (414/391/364/325)

The first of the par threes on the Ghost Creek course at Pumpkin Ridge, the third hole is an absolutely beautiful one-shotter downhill to a wide green that is miniscule from front-to-back:

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