Tetherow Golf Resort: Best Desert Golf Course

Tetherow golf resort is one of the best golf destinations in the USA.  Many golf resorts are situated in far-away, hard to get places away from the traditional amenities of town. Not so at Tetherow, it’s just five minutes from the vibrant and fast-growing city of Bend, Oregon. Frequently mentioned in various publications among the top ten, best places to live in America. 

Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountain range along the Deschutes River some three hours southeast of Portland. There, Ponderosa pine forest transitions into the high desert characterized by arid land, junipers, sagebrush, and bitterbrush and brings to mind images from the set of a cowboy movie. Originally a crossing point on the river, settlement began in the early 1900’s as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for an infinite range of outdoor sports, including mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, white-water rafting, skiing, paragliding and of course golf. 

The sporty atmosphere of the area reminds me of Chamonix in the French Alps, and it’s perhaps no surprise then that the fitness facilities were among the finest we have seen in all my travels.

The Range at Tetherow
The range and short-game area are world-class with excellent turf, new Titleist balls, and plenty of greens as targets.

The first thing that strikes you about the boutique, 50 room resort is the amazing views from the rooms. Spacious, well-appointed rooms set up on a bluff with beautiful balconies looking out over the course, the range, the pine trees, and the snowcapped mountains beyond. These are some of the most delightful rooms I’ve experienced in all my travels, and they also offer a full range of vacation home rentals, from two to five bedrooms.  

The layout at Tetherow was designed by David McLay Kidd. The award-winning Scottish architect whose work includes Bandon Dunes, and the Castle Course in St Andrew’s, Scotland. Much of the native vegetation was replanted or left undisturbed, and he worked closely with the Audubon International to be one of less than one hundred courses worldwide to gain full “Audubon International Sanctuary Certified” status. So happy was he with the final result that he maintains a home here and I don’t blame him a bit. The course is spectacular, a true test of every shot value you can imagine and in superb condition. 

There are lots of changes in elevation providing pleasing views and clear mental images of the shot you should play. The course demands great accuracy off the tee with every drive a new challenge of shape and strategy for the brush is unforgiving should you miss the fast running fairways. The green complexes are full of severe undulations, and one must be very thoughtful on where to miss the green in order to have any chance of getting it up-and-down. The greens were beautiful, slick, and tricky. You’ll do well to avoid more than a couple of three-putts. 

11th hole of Tetherow golf resort
A high fade is the shot of choice off the tee on the 11th

There are many standout holes, but the long par four 11 (466 yards) is undoubtedly one of the toughest, a sharp dogleg right with the corner framed on both sides by giant pine trees. Even a good drive still leaves most with a long iron or wood into a well-protected green. The 16th was another excellent hole with a blind drive from the tee downhill followed by an uphill shot to green some 30 feet above you. 

17th hole of tetherow golf course
The 17th offers one of many great photo ops

The 17th hole is a spectacular par three that’s all carry over sand and rocks to green some 170 yards away in a bowl with the perfect backdrop of the snow-covered mountains behind it.

More than most courses, players will benefit significantly in the second round. Where the lines off the tee become apparent, and you know in advance where not to miss the green. 

The course is surrounded by a luxury housing development, but at no point did a high-end-homes interfere with play. In fact, you’ll enjoy the many different variations of “modern mountain” architecture. 

Tetherow offered three unique options for getting around the course besides on foot, including traditional golf carts, golf boards, and a golf motorbike. I opted for the golf board, which I just love. It’s like riding on a magic carpet. Plus, you also get a good leg and core workout once you learn to steer the board with your weight rather than the handles.

Rides at Tetherow
A nice choice of rides awaits you at Tetherow.

At the end of your round, The Row Restaurant and Pub offers an excellent selection of high-quality dishes and local craft beers from the terrace overlooking the course or a grassy area like a European beer garden. They also offer Solomon’s as a fine dining option. Their rotating menu highlights vibrant offerings from the Pacific Northwest such as pheasant, elk, and seafood, thoughtfully prepared alongside plenty of vegetarian creations.

Breakfast at Tetherow
Breakfast like a champion

Must be something in the air for I found the restaurant and the golf operations staff to be engaged and enthusiastic, a refreshing change from many of the places I’ve visited on the Little Red Corvette American Golf Road Trip.

Finally, when it’s time to wind down your active day, Tetherow offers a selection of complimentary guitars to use during your stay. The acoustic guitars are made locally by Breedlove and Bedell, and tours of the guitar-making facility and showroom can be arranged for guests who might want to take one home.

Tetherow golf resort At a glance

  • 18 spectacular holes designed by David McLay Kidd
  • Golf pub with a terrace and grassy area overlooking the course. Fine dining available at Solomon’s
  • Excellent fitness facility and pool
  • Wonderfully appointed rooms with large balconies great views and a fireplace
  • World-class range and short game facility with excellent turf multiple targets and high-quality range balls
  • Just 4 miles away from downtown Bend with its’ lively, walkable downtown, featuring a wide range of restaurants, cannabis dispensaries and almost twenty local breweries. 
  • Traditional hotel rooms and vacation rental homes ranging from 2-5 bedrooms.
  • The Tetherow golf resort is bordered to the west by the 1.6 million-acre Deschutes National Forest, and is smack in the middle of all the outdoor activities offered by Central Oregon, including thousands of miles of hiking biking and skiing trails.
  • Learn More about tetherow golf resort at https://tetherow.com/