One of just 23 TaylorMade Performance Labs in the world, the location at Columbia Edgewater Country Club uses modern swing technology to gather data about golfers’ games, resulting in club recommendations that are uniquely suited to each player. A certified TaylorMade Club-Fitting Professional guides athletes through the entire experience. While the client swings inside a golf simulator, the pro helms the Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade, an apparatus comprised of six high-speed cameras. These cameras turn the golfer into a three-dimensional digital rendering, similar to the process used by video-game developers and James Cameron whenever he searches for a spouse. Whether a customer opts for fitting with all 14 clubs in his or her bag or a single category—such as irons, woods, putters, or wedges—the technology captures their mechanics down to a tenth of a degree, revealing optimal club parameters ranging from loft angle to shaft flex.
In 2011, Brandon Richardson became a Class A PGA Instructor and a nominee for the Oregon Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year award. These prestigious accolades did not come easily; they were the culmination of more than two decades of teaching and professional play that included stints on the Nationwide Tour. As Golf with Freedom’s founder and director of coaching, Brandon's coaching style allows golfers to grow and develop as a golfer within an environment free of judgment or evaluation, creating a sense of calm toward misbehaving 9-irons. His programs—which range from private coaching classes to small-group and women-only workshops—aim to increase one's ability to self-coach by making swing adjustments on the fly or subbing in a stunt double for help with a particularly difficult lie.
Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display to get results. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s certified personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
The XGolf simulator at BirdieFinish Golf virtually transports players to 93 golf courses worldwide, where they can play and practice while enjoying the comfort of the indoors. The apparatus faithfully re-creates playing conditions at the chosen course, even adjusting the hitting surface to mimic lie angles, and improves upon them by canceling out the possibility of rain, excessive heat, and pelicans that perpetually hum "Happy Birthday to You" in a mocking tone. When not whisking foursomes off to imitations of exotic international courses, the simulator can also be used for club fitting and lessons under the expert guidance of golf coach Jari Hakonen. Repair services are also available for clubs that refuse to play on anything other than tangible courses.
After wrapping up a five-year career for the University of Oregon men's golf team, Justin St. Clair knew he was destined to dedicate himself to golf. A bona fide ace by nearly every standard—he won the 2009 Pacific Northwest Pro-Am and was named an All-Pac 10 Honorable Mention in 2005—Justin couldn't quite ascend to golf's highest ranks, opting instead to channel his passion for the game by opening his own golf school.
Today, Justin presides over the practice facilities at Emerald Valley Golf and Resort, correcting swings with advice relayed in simple terms. Justin can help golfers sharpen swing mechanics at the driving range, where he enlists high-speed video to dissect swings and locate heckling poltergeists, he can improve course management with a playing lesson, or he can determine his clients' ideal clubs with club- and driver-fitting services.
Like a hole in one on a par 3, the creation of OGA Golf Course was the product of time, patience, and a little luck. In 1991, the Oregon Golf Association began its search for a location to build an 18-hole golf course. Their commissioned study, which probed the finances and feasibility of such a project, returned ill tidings: without some sort of aid, the OGA would not be able to open its own facility. One year later, and seemingly out of nowhere, the Tukwila Partners Development Corporation donated 179 acres of farmland to the Association, land that was transformed into a par 72 course.
The holes at OGA Golf Course give players of all skill levels a worthy challenge. The first hole introduces players to the course with a straightforward drive and a par 4 finish. The fourth hole confronts golfers with a par 5 that discourages the use of drivers, as shots must pass through a narrow landing. Players finish their round with the par 4 hole 18 that contains a double green, providing a relaxed ending and ample space to take a nap.
Course at a Glance: