This quiet and attractive 18-hole private course is near the center of McMinnville, about forty miles southwest of Portland. Although relatively young (1964) and in a housing development, it has a classic feel, with a variety of large trees and rough being the primary defenders. There are also plenty of traps, a nice amount of water (in the form of both creeks and ponds), and several doglegs (some severe). Fairways are mixed, but nicely mowed and run out well. Greens hold very well and are true and consistent. Houses (all without protective netting) can come into play. Staff and members are friendly and accommodating. Forward tees provide shorter distances and improved angles. Although there can be distances between holes, the course is flat and a nice walk.
The first 9 opened in 1964 on an old dairy farm owned by Captain Francis Michelbook, as well as neighboring property, as part of an overall development called Michelbook Estates. The members wanted an additional 9 holes, so with funding from the sale of housing lots, the additional 9 was opened in 1984. There was a remodel of all 18 holes (adding traps, water, and trees) in 1985. The course hosted the 1989 Oregon Amateur.
Local golfers were searching for a country club after the Yamhill Golf and Country Club closed during the Great Depression. In the 1960s, Kelton Peery, Chuck Colvin, Willard Cushing, Dr. Weldon Ross, and Philip Bladine, among others, came together to form the club and purchase the Michelbook property. It now has a steady membership.
I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Played
Take and study the yardage book (it’s free). Because of the trees and turns, placement, rather than distance, is the key to several holes. For example, on the short but very narrow and tree-lined par-4 3rd hole, traps pinch both sides of the fairway at 150. Short of the traps is not a bad place to be considering the trees you have to avoid to get there. On the par-4 4th hole, the fairway turns right around trees at about 175. There is a creek that starts at the base of those trees and runs all the way up the right side of the fairway. Unless you are confident that you can clear the trees right, center or center left toward the 150 mark is a good place. On the par-5 7th hole, a dogleg left around trees, there is a pond straight away from the tee. To have a view of the green on your second shot, you need to play your tee shot to the front of the pond (noting that the rough starts coming in on the right at 225). And the very short par-4 15th hole is very narrow with trees pinching even more at 150. The fairway ends at 90 with a pond coming in from the left. You can try to power over the trees right, but placing the tee shot between the 150- and 90- yard marks is a nice alternative.
Did You Know
Country singer Willie Nelson was playing in a nearby venue. Mr. Nelson is an avid golfer and played the course before one performance. He liked it so much he came back after finishing his remaining performances.
Good For Them
In the summer, the course holds weekly junior programs, open to members and non-members, that involve a clinic and a chance to play the course. They provide summer junior memberships at a very reduced rate. Host for McMinville High School and Linfield College. Rainwater and runoff is collected in ponds and used for irrigation, which is delivered through a sprinkler system that has individually controlled heads. They have an integrated pest management plan to reduce the use of chemicals and have no chemical buffer zones around water. They also host multiple charity events including those for Susan G. Komen, See Ya Later Foundation (supporting youth in the area), Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation, and local Veterans.
An attractive and well-maintained course that is quiet (probably because of the limited number of members) and relaxing (even when you are playing poorly). The holes are varied and interesting and the facilities solid. With nice staff and members, the course provides an overall pleasant golf experience.
- Type: 18-hole private course
- Price: Private
- Phone/webpage: (503)472-2129/www.michelbook.com
- Address: 1301 NW Michelbook Lane, McMinnville, Oregon 97128
- Owner: Michelbook Estates, Inc., dba Michelbook Country Club
- Designer: Shirley Stone
- Pros: Luc Miller
- Practice Facilities: Driving range on grass and mats, pitching area with sand trap, putting green
- Pro Shop: A fair amount of clothing and some equipment
- Food: Full-service restaurant and bar in the clubhouse, with a great view of the course, open to the public for lunch
- Bathrooms: Improved in clubhouse and on course
- Yardage Markers: 150-yard markers (using tee markers) in a color that informs you of pin position (on 3-pars, markers are on the tees); 200, 150, and 100 in-ground markers; yardage on sprinklers
- Clothing: Proper golf attire, but jeans allowed
- Walkable: A nice walk
- Spikes: Soft only
- Shoe Cleaning: Air hose, brushes, and wash
- Rentals: All
- Open all year and plays well in winter
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