LCGG: McKenzie River Golf Course


It’s amazing how such a short drive up the McKenzie River can make such a big difference. McKenzie River Golf Course benefits a great deal from being barely removed from the city.

Located about 20 minutes east of Springfield on highway 126, McKenzie River Golf Course is a 9-hole course owned by Rod Omlid. The course was founded in 1961, opened by Rod’s dad and uncles. In 1979, Rod, along with his sister, purchased the course. In 1996 Rod bought out his sister and has been the sole owner since.


McKenzie River Golf Course may not be the preferred course of single digit handicappers, but it is fantastic at catering to the needs of newer golfers and golfers looking to lower their handicap. McKenzie River Golf Course has all of the amenities necessary for a player to improve in all facets of their game. With three putting greens, places to work on your short game and a new driving range, McKenzie River has all of the tools to help you work on the shots that will lower your score.

Once you begin your round the course offers the opportunity for you to put those skills to practice. Also, the course gives you plenty of risky decisions which allow you to work on improving your mental golf game. McKenzie River has a lot of trees lining the fairways, but not many other hazards for a golfer to worry about. It requires golfers to hit the ball straight and punishes anyone who deviates from this formula. There are several par 4’s around 300 yards where the player is given a choice. If you feel you have full command of your driver you may have an opportunity to reach in one, or have only a short chip onto the green, giving you an almost certain birdie opportunity. However, if you miss with your driver and end up in the trees you will have a difficult, perhaps impossible, time salvaging a score.

If you’re not one hundred percent confident in your driver you may want to pull a longer iron or hybrid off the tee and leave yourself a mid or short iron into the green. This line may lead to more bogies, but it should help you to avoid any triple bogies. McKenzie River Golf Course provides a player with several opportunities to develop your game by appropriately evaluating and taking calculated risks. Regardless of how you actually decide to manage the course, McKenzie River will help improve your in-round decision-making.


McKenzie River Golf Course is a few minutes outside of Eugene/Springfield, so why should you make the trip? I suspect that I am like many others who sometimes need a little decompression time before a round of golf. Maybe life and work have been a little stressful and before you play a game where frayed emotions can lead to an unpleasant experience you may need some time to wind-down and collect your thoughts. A short, pleasant drive may be just the thing you need to prepare you for your round.

Another reason to make the drive is weather. In the thirty minutes it takes to drive to McKenzie River the weather can change drastically. When I asked Rod he said that “it can be raining in the valley and it can be completely clear up here.” McKenzie River is just high enough in the mountains where it can be above the clouds. If it’s raining in the valley and you want to play golf you may want to give McKenzie River Golf Course a call, it may very well be sunny up there!


You may also want to make the trip if you enjoy playing your round and experiencing a bit of wildlife. Like many courses there are lots of squirrels and songbirds. On the holes which play next to the river it isn’t difficult to find Osprey and Eagles wheeling around or a Kingfisher skimming the water, each looking for a fish to turn into their next meal. There are also foxes, beavers, deer and bobcats and many other animals which make their way onto the course.


During my round at McKenzie River Golf Course I had my own unique interaction with wildlife. The ninth hole is a 462 yard par 5. I took driver off the tee and my ball drifted right, into an area of trees between the first and ninth holes. When I found my ball I was surprised to see it sitting up on what looked like an excellent lie. I had a lot of open space in front of me from where my ball was, a clear path back to an area of the fairway which would leave me with just a short iron into the green. Based on my lie and the low risk of hitting a tree, I decided to take the shot. As I made contact with the ball my club caught something fat under my ball. My lie looked so clean, I was shocked to have caught the ground that heavily. I looked down instantly to see what had caused what I thought was going to be and easy shot to go so awry. When I looked down I saw this:


a bull snake. I had played my second shot off of a snake. The snake clearly didn’t appreciate having had a shot played off of it. I saw the mark where my club had made impact. Don’t worry animal lovers, though the snake was clearly not pleased I waited for several minutes to make sure that I had done no lasting harm. The snake was fine, only a flesh-wound apparently.

McKenzie River Golf Course is dedicated to being a reasonably priced place for golfers to improve their game. The course is in very good shape. The holes are challenging, but even a less experienced player can score well with a few decent shots. I recommend McKenzie River Golf Course to players looking to improve their game, relax and see some wildlife.

Mark is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Lewis and Clark School of Law and an MBA candidate at the Marriott School of Business. His career has focused on the intersection of politics, law and business. He brings a unique insider perspective to each article he writes.

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