In 1971, a group of like-minded locals set out to build a golf course amid the natural splendor of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Setting to work on the Washington-side of the mighty Columbia River, they dedicated their time, labor, and resources to setting their loop against the backdrop of Beacon Rock and Archer Mountain. The course itself may now be over the hill, but those imposing peaks still loom high above golfers as they make their way through the 18-hole layout. Along the way, players encounter the watery threat of Hardy Creek, plenty of tree groves, and smooth-rolling greens?not to mention enough picturesque views to distract focus from important iron shots and pre-putt tai chi routines.
In his 25-year coaching career, PGA professional Jack Young has taught more than 30,000 golfers, ranging from 5-year-olds to 90-year-olds, from scratch players to first timers. In 2007, he left a post as a golf club's head golf pro to dedicate all of his time to coaching, putting to use the encyclopedic knowledge of golf-swing mechanics and the clear communication skills that have made him successful from the start. Operating out of Vanco Golf Range, Jack often uses video swing analysis in lessons, providing his pupils with visual aids and material for their acting reel. His familiarity with multiple swing models lets him mold his advice to pupils' natural tendencies. "I believe in physics," Jack says. "There are a lot of ways to hit a golf ball; everyone has their own unique signature to their swing." Jack's skills extend to club fitting, which he has been doing for 20 years and offers free of charge. His expertise extends beyond simple swing mechanics: Jack also advises golfers on the mental approach, short-game skills, and unique kind of physical fitness needed to fortify swings and get away with late-night cart tipping.
I & G Golf Range gives golfers ample space to address holes in their golf game and develop consistent, dependable swings at a driving range with flagstick targets marked with distances. Visitors collect their allotment of range balls and tee them up on one of the covered mat stalls or, when weather permits, on one of the grass tee stations. Sending golf balls into lower orbit or toward flagsticks scattered at various distances about the range helps players master distance control and understand why ships fly flags to hinder the aim of nervous cannoneers.
Bill Scheller took a leap into an untested space when he registered the domain name GolfClubs.com in 1995. The internet was still a big, giant question mark, but whereas most golf stores were constrained by space and stocked a limited amount of equipment, clothing, and robo-caddies, physical space was not an issue on the wild frontier of e-commerce. Bill set out to assemble the biggest selection number of irons, drivers, and apparel on the planet and couple that selection with great customer service.
Though the GolfClubs.com homepage looks different than it did in 1995, Bill's original vision remains the same. Golfers of all stripes can look to the website for equipment from major brands such as Callaway, TaylorMade, and NIke?indeed, just about anything that helps them play the game they love. Players can also head to the company's brick-and-mortar location in Portland to sample that same selection in person instead of online.
Golf instructor Micheal Charles believes the process of learning golf should be as enjoyable as playing the game itself. From an early age, Charles became immersed in a life of athletic pursuits. His father was an international soccer star and a former head Olympic coach. Though Charles preferred golf over soccer, he still went on to an impressive career as a professional tournament winning player, as head coach of Lewis & Clark College and the University of Portland Women's Golf Team, and his current role instructing at Eastmoreland Golf Course. Instruction plans include private lessons to tighten individual aspects of the client's game and playing lessons where Michael plays alongside students while analyzing their course management skills and providing feedback on how to win any impromptu golf cart race.
The game of golf is rife with opportunities for children to build character, learn new skills, make new friends, and adopt healthy, active lifestyles. As the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization, First Tee of Greater Portland seeks to expose the community's youth to this fun pastime and plant the seeds of a lifelong passion. Unfortunately, a number of hurdles lie between the game and those kids who stand to benefit the most, ranging from equipment cost to course proximity to the inner city. The First Tee helps disadvantaged youth overcome these issues with programs dedicated specifically to their unique situations, including free rounds and lessons, educational programs, and mentorships with responsible adults who aren't just desperate for caddying gigs.
The Portland chapter of The First Tee operates at 6 locations around the city, but only one is dedicated solely to the development of junior golfers. The Children's Course is a 9-hole layout with different pars for different age groups: it's a par 3 course for anyone 13 and over, a par 5 course for ages 9-12, and a par 7 course for those 8 and under.