Posted by Rob Rigg
Pumpkin Ridge – Ghost Creek (North Plains, OR)
Par 71 (6,839 yards)
Pumpkin Ridge is what walking golf is all about and that is validated by the overwhelming number of walkers you will see on its two courses every day.
Carts are allowed, but must remain on paths for much of the year.
Witch Hollow, the private side, is where Tiger Woods won his unprecedented third straight US Amateur title in 1996.
Ghost Creek, the semi-public side and the topic of this review, has also hosted many national tournaments including the US Women’s Open.
Bob Cupp designed both courses which opened in 1992 to national acclaim. Pumpkin Ridge is located about 45 minutes west of downtown Portland.
Ghost Creek is a nice golf course that is well maintained for the frequency that it is played. The course is very walkable with rolling terrain that is never overwhelming and green to tee transfers that are fairly short.
The quality of the course architecture is good and the routing is varied which makes each hole a unique experience.
Aestherically, Ghost Creek is a beautiful parkland course fortunate to have the Pacific Coastal Mountain Range as a gorgeous backdrop that can be seen to the west on over half of the holes.
The difficult par 4 9th at Ghost Creek. Photo courtesy of D2 Productions and Pumpkin Ridge GC.
Ghost Creek’s tournament pedigree is evidence of the strategic quality of the course. It can be narrow and demanding at times but the average golfer will find the course quite playable.
The front is the stronger nine with the majority of its holes routed through beautiful corridors of mature trees.
For example, the Par 5 4th begins with an uphill tee shot across a protected wetland to a large landing area. A difficult second shot follows that must fly accurately between a line of tall pines on the right and prickly blackberry bushes lurking on the left. If you are still on the fairway, a short approach to a challenging two tiered green must be on the right level to provide a good chance at par.
The two shot seventh is one of the most challenging holes on the course. An uphill “cape-like” drive forces the golfer to determine how many cross bunkers they can carry safely. An aggressive drive leaves only 150 yards to the pin while a conservative tee shot can leave over 200. The green is dutifully guarded by two “fore” bunkers thirty yards short of the green and a creek to the right.
The back nine is more open than the front and easier to score on, with the two shot 17th and 18th providing a great one-two punch finish.
The wonderful short par 4 17th at Ghost Creek. Photo courtesy of D2 Productions and Pumpkin Ridge GC.
The short 17th requires either a driver or long iron decision off the tee because a creek crosses the fairway about 225 yards out. A long and precise drive creates an excellent opportunity for birdie while a lay up leaves a testy approach over the creek and a little pond to the small two tiered green.
The challenging 18th at Ghost Creek. Photo courtesy of D2 Productions and Pumpkin Ridge GC.
The two shot 18th is a stong finishing hole that demands a long and accurate drive off the tee. The mid iron approach is a pressure cooker that must avoid the water on the right and mounds of thick rough on the left. The large two tiered green has seen many a three putt.
Pumpkin Ridge has a great local golfer program with its “Ghost Pass”. For $150, including a complimentary round, a golfer can enjoy Ghost Creek for between $20 and $65 depending on time of day and time of year.
For visitors to the area Ghost Creek can be a little pricey depending on the season with rates ranging from $30 to $150.
TWG Rating for Ghost Creek:
3.5 / 4 – Walkability
2.75 / 4 – Architecture and Aesthetics
1.5 / 2 – Strategy and Playability
7.75 / 10 – Total
Review by Rob Rigg, 2009
The Walking Golfer Course Rating System
Total is out of 10 Points
0 – 4 points – Walkability
0 – 4 points – Architecture and Aesthetics
0 – 2 points – Playability and Strategy