Lake Oswego plans to replace 18-hole par-three course with new nine

  • Lake Oswego
    Dan Hixson

    Dan Hixson has designed an entirely new nine-hole layout on the site of Lake Oswego’s existing 18-hole par-three course

  • Lake Oswego
    Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course Project

    The growth in tree coverage, as shown in the shaded areas, in 1994, 2002 and 2020

Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers

City planners at Lake Oswego near Portland, Oregon, are in the final process of approving designs for a new nine-hole public course to replace its existing 18-hole par-three layout.

The project arose as a result of a decision to build a new Recreation and Aquatic Centre on the 40-acre golf course property.  A team comprising golf course architect Dan Hixson, who lives a few miles from the course, Milroy Golf Systems, Mears Design Group, Polymath Architecture and PBS Engineering was appointed in December 2020 to design and build the revised layout on the reduced footprint.

The existing course, built in 1964, is compact and basic, with small domed push-up greens and simple tees. “Hundreds of trees were planted to provide protection, but many of them have simply overgrown the property and the playing corridors,” said Hixson. “The conditions were about as good as possible given the near 50 per cent coverage of the tree canopy over the whole property. Shade, lack of air-flow along with endless falling debris made for course conditions less than the city and its residents desired.

“The site has great potential for natural beauty, but it is simply blocked by the trees, and the turf suffers the most. The new design has some room for the players to spread out and hit some drivers. It will have larger fairways and tees, bigger greens with a variety of appropriate undulations to give the golfers a much sportier golf course.”

Hixson’s plans include three par fours at the first, fifth and eighth and six par threes, resulting in a par-30 layout of approximately 1,600 yards. The existing driving range will be expanded and renovated, and a putting green will be created. The work also includes the construction of a new maintenance facility.

The project team is now awaiting approval from the city and hopes to be able to begin construction in early summer 2022, to complete the new layout by summer 2023.

“I am very excited for the project for many reasons,” said Hixson. “Because of the great need of improvements and the potential of the site, it will most likely be the project I make the biggest overall improvements to, of any I will ever work on. I am lucky to have been hired to design on many excellent high-end country clubs in the area and have built a handful of courses on great land for great clients. Now this course will be where many people play their first rounds of golf.

“Designing a course to help people fall in love with the game is a pretty great opportunity. On top of that, I live 2.9 miles from the site, so the pressure is on. If I want to live here, I better do a great job. It’s not very often you get a home game in this business, and I do not want to hear it from the locals.”