Silvies Ranch – 140,000 Acres of Natural Splendor, Wildlife, Cowboys, Golf, and Fun!

If you asked me to point to the location of Silvies Ranch on a map I doubt I could get within a hundred miles of it and I’ve been there. Located some three and a half hours east of Bend, Oregon, be sure to fill up with gas when you leave, for the next gas station can be found 105 miles, down Hwy 20. But like many hidden gems, the drive proved more than worth it!

Silvie’s Ranch is luxurious, spectacular, vast, and beautiful. Yes, they have horses, fishing, shooting, off-road ranch tours, hayrides, bike trails, hiking, and all the extra amenities you would find at many world-class resorts. But what Silives, has understood and executed far better than any resort I have ever seen is that golf, in particular, is meant to be fun!

The famed beer tree at Silvies Ranch
The famed beer tree at Silvies Ranch

They start with a world-class, Dan Hixson designed, 18 holes. Laid out across some amazing terrain that plays both forwards and backwards creating a novel, yet excellent 36 holes. An excellent range. A small gem of a clubhouse, Egan’s Hideout, with is amazing deck views. Then they added a beautiful par three course and an extreme seven holes where your caddie is a choice of two goats. There is the famous beer tree, where a putting challenge between holes earns you a cold one. Then there are the various challenges offered on signs throughout the property to sharpen your skills and add or subtract the odd Lincoln or Jackson from your friends. No stuffy rules, archaic dress codes, or frequent signs telling what not to do! Fun is the name of the game at Silvies, and the staff goes out of their way to remind you as they relax the mind with a quick rusty nail before your round!

The course enjoys great topography and diversity as it winds its way through the Orgon wilderness with a very balanced portfolio of holes that go up, down, left, and right. It’s very generous from the tee and the greens are large but don’t let these facts lull you into any sense of complacency for it’s all the challenge you will ever need. The par threes in particular are exceptional with several starting high above their intended target, providing wonderful photo ops as well as a great diversity of shots.

Both the courses are a wonderful mix of birdie, and bogey opportunities with the fast and undulating greens providing the ultimate challenge. All the courses were in superb condition playing fast and hard like a Scottish links and it was so interesting to see how they played the holes backwards.

The 445 yard, 11th hole on the Craddock plays long and offers one of the tightest drives on the course. Even a good one will leave you a 3 wood second to a severely undulating green. There won’t be too many pars on this one. On the Harkins course, the par 3 15th was one of my favorites with a forced carry over a bushy barranca. The wind was always a factor with this hole playing as an 8 iron in one round and a 6 iron in another as the breeze shifted direction. 

Short is not an option on the par 3, 15th on the Harkins course
The beautiful greens are fast, firm and undulating
The tee shot on the uphill 11th demands length and accuracy

Mountain Meadow Par Three 

The mountain meadow course on the Paiute Creek is a Dan Hixson-designed 9-hole par-3 layout, with water on every hole. Named for Chief Egan, the last War Chief of the Paiute Tribe who engaged the U.S. Calvary around this spot in 1882. 

Emergency Nine? How About an Extreme Seven Instead?  

Need to settle a bet or just take the days fun to an entirely higher level, then McVeigh’s Gauntlet is just the test you are looking for. Named for Myles McVeigh, an early pioneer who homesteaded in the Silvies Valley on Paiute Creek. He was drinking buddy of the Craddock brothers and the Hankins boys, for whom the other two courses are named. This seven-hole test is not for the faint of heart for it’s a series of par 3 and one 4s carved into the razorback of a hill and all but one hole is do or die in reaching the green. Each hole plays from steep hilltop to hilltop to tiny greens. But you’ll enjoy the help of your goat caddie and the refreshment of the beer tree along the way with a maximum of seven clubs and seven balls in your bag.

Bruce was not much good at reading putts but on the plus side he works for peanuts!

Luxury Cabins and Rooms 

The eight well-appointed lakeside cabins were as beautiful as the wildlife that can be seen all day long from your window.

The cabins have one or two bedrooms with king-size beds, luxurious rain showers, a stocked in-room wine cooler, stone floors, a hot tub, and a comfy living room with fabulous views. Located just down the boardwalk from the Lodge, they’re plush with western décor, including operable skylights, copper sinks, large flat-screen TVs, and a fireplace. The 18-hotel style, Ranch House rooms are spacious and well-appointed, and these single and double-king rooms each have their own entry for a fast escape to the golf course, spa, or your next ranch adventure. Each room is comfortably decorated with ranch art and includes a rain shower, stocked mini-bar, leather furniture, and large flat-screen TVs.

Wildlife abounds at every turn from your cabin window

The casual atmosphere of Silvies ranch house dining room and saloon is exceptional. The social hour starts at 6 pm with dinner served for all, ranch styles at 7 pm. This provides you with a wonderful opportunity to make new friends from all over the country and indeed the world. 

The cowboy style saloon was not short on beverage choice
The ranch tour is steeped in spectacular views, exciting drives and old west history

Silvies’s Ranch’s tag line is “Simply amazing since 1893” unlike most marketing hyperbole this was an understated for it truly was an exceptional experience. So exceptional I couldn’t get enough and played 55 holes one day. I am sure you will feel the same when you visit :).

At A Glance:

  • 140,000 acre working ranch
  • 36 hole reversable golf course
  • Par three course
  • Extreme 7 course
  • Goat caddies
  • Luxury villas or hotel rooms
  • Large equestrian facilities
  • Off-road ranch tours
  • Shooting
  • Fishing
  • Spa
  • Real estate available
  • Fun, fun, fun!
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