The Ultimate Golf Challenge - 75 Holes in One Day
Growing up playing the Sunriver Resort Golf courses likely qualifies me as a spoiled child. Living on Woodlands #13 (previously #4) has always given me an inner pride in the Sunriver golf landscape, and two summers working in the Golf Outside Services department gave me plenty of opportunities to strut my confidence around. I have played the golf holes at Sunriver Resort more times than I can even begin to count.
Playing them all in one day, however, is a completely different ballgame.
This summer, 12 Sunriver Resort Associates were put to the ultimate Golf Challenge: play every hole Sunriver Resort has to offer (75 to be exact), and do it all before the daylight runs out. For golf fanatics like myself, this was too tempting a challenge to pass up, and frankly, much too great of an excuse to get out of the office on a perfect, 78 degree Central Oregon day.
The challenge began at 7AM at the Woodlands Golf Course, where ponderosa pines outline almost every fairway. The mountain elevation of Sunriver Resort’s location can sometimes throw out surprise frost delays (yes, even in the summer), but we teed-off on time with the sunlight reflecting the morning moisture on the dog-leg left fairway of Woodlands #1. The thick covering of woods is known for swallowing golf balls, but surprisingly, this was the only course I escaped losing any ProV1s. We flew through our first round, completing it in a little under 2 ½ hours, waving to some Golf Course Maintenance staff on the fairway of #11 as they let us pass through.
Arriving at the Meadows golf course an hour early for our schedule tee time allowed for a leisurely round on the Meadows putting course. The kid-friendly 9-holes gave us the chance to practice our lag putts, and with some of the larger greens at the Meadows combined with some unruly 8-iron approach shots, the warm up proved necessary to get through the second batch of 18 holes. Meadows is known for its challenging placement of bunkers, and at times the fairway traps are magnets for the best drives of the day. My drives were going straight off the tee, and I avoided the Meadows bunkers the same way I avoided the Woodlands trees (although I clocked most of my beach time for the day at the Woodlands). I was feeling confident leaving the Meadows, thinking I was escaping the tricks of these masochistic golf course designers!
I never imagined it would be Caldera Links that would do me in, but the tiny targets made the previous 45 greens seem like Cultus Lake. The nine-hole links style course reminded me of the lesson my Grandfather drilled into me for years—golf is a game of accuracy. We took a slight detour after Caldera Links Number 5 and played the best kept secret in Sunriver Resort Golf—three practice holes hidden just behind the 9-hole Caldera links. The Par 5, 3, and 4 practice holes are in pristine condition from little player traffic and from the brilliant tending of the Crosswater Golf Maintenance crew. The three holes are designed to be played three times from different distances, with each holes hosting several different tee boxes to choose from. Guests of the Resort and Caldera Springs Homeowners have access to the holes, and for those golfers who desire to seriously improve their game, an afternoon at Caldera Springs is likely just what Mr. Nicklaus would order.
We finished the day playing the infamous Crosswater Club in a timely three hours, with an hour and a half of daylight to spare. Crosswater Club is a challenge in itself, but after already playing 57 holes, I felt like I was headed into the last 5 miles of a marathon. It was pure adrenaline that got us through those final holes, and as if the golf gods were looking down on me to make sure I stayed humble, the river guarding the green of Crosswater #18 stole 2 of my golf balls right after the other. I finished the day off right—with a whopping triple bogey.
There is nothing like playing 75 holes of golf in a day to showcase the immense variety of golf Sunriver Resort has to offer. Each course tells a different story, highlighting in their own unique ways the beauty of this High Desert landscape—forested woods, open meadows, calm wetlands, mountain views, desert sunsets, blue skies—the splendor and wonder of a place where civilization is built within nature rather than over it.
The next morning I woke to sore wrists, back and rib cage (it is the core that is used the most in the golf swing!) feeling like I’d accomplished something significant, especially for a Sunriver Native like myself. I think there is only one thing that would have made the experience better: waking up the next morning and doing it all over again.