We head outdoors to discover the wonderful world of Country Golf on this week's "Grant's Getaway."
Whether a beginner or an established player, discover three distinct courses across the Willamette Valley that are family-owned, affordable, close to the rural side of Oregon and put you in touch with a great game of golf.
Golf isn't just a game - it's an adventure for many, a passion for some and can become a life-long friendship for folks who get to know the tress, the sand traps and the water hazards all too well.
Our first stop takes us to the Oregon countryside, not far from Canby, to a small golf course called "Frontier."
It's small and unique, easy to play and surrounded by farmland.
Co-owner and club manager, Laurie Mickelsen, told me, "You're definitely out in the country when you play here. We've got farms everywhere...and each of our 9-holes has a different name, like 'Geronimo' and 'The Alamo.' It's a frontier-like theme that we like to share with visitors."
The Mickelsen family has owned and operated "Frontier" the past eight years - it's a place where rustic cedar rounds mark the distance and an ancient register takes in the cash.
The course has been around since the 60's and it hasn't changed much over the years.
Laurie noted that most folks like it that way - "especially the course size: just over a thousand yards on ten acres and the longest hole is 174 yards."
Frontier Golf Course has a following for sure and most players agree that the price to play is hard to beat: only $6 for a round of golf!
Local golfer, Mary Jane Zuern, noted, "It's close, it's convenient and it doesn't take a long time to play - so, if you're having a bad game - don't worry! It's not going to last forever."
Trust is a byword at "Frontier" because the honor system is in place.
On the clubhouse door, (yes, there is a small clubhouse that sells soda and snacks and even rents clubs to the beginner,) look for an envelope to place your green fee and simply pull off an attached ticket. You carry the ticket with you as you play the game.
Laurie added with a chuckle, "You don't need the drivers here that's for sure...a lot of people just take two or three clubs - and it just takes a little over an hour to play the entire course."
Across the valley, just west of Hillsboro, you'll roll along the countryside and roll into a small golf course that's no blarney - it really is called "Kilarney."
There's more than a bit of Irish luck at this course where it's easy to save a buck or two.
According to Kilarney Golf Course manager, Tom Sager, the price to play hasn't moved in 12 years.
"It's just 8 dollars for a round of golf and we're probably the most inexpensive nine hole course in Washington County - if not in the Portland- Metro area."
It's a regulation course too - over 2800 yards across 50 acres - and the country is easy to find: just across the fence.
"Oh yes, there's farmland all the way around us," noted Sager.
The trees are tall, the fairways are wide and the golfing challenges are easy to find at Kilarney Gold Course.
"I think people really feel they are out in the nature when they come to play golf - I think they get that feeling because of the rural area and we're not crammed in. The course is very flat - not a lot of hills - so that makes it very walk-able. It's fun to play here."
You'll find more fun when you head down the Willamette Valley - mid way between Corvallis and Eugene - and head into the hills for a slice of a different sort - a slice of golf heaven at Diamond Woods Golf Course.
Diamond Wood's Marketing Manager, Liz Doyle, offered: "We provide peace and privacy and a beautiful remote setting, yet you're only 25 minutes from a city's hustle-bustle. It's hard to find that anywhere else."
It's a diamond in the rough at Diamond Woods Golf Course, located in the Coast Range foothills of Lane County.
The course opened in 1997 and it is the realization of the boyhood dreams of brothers, Jeff and Greg Doyle. They built the course so players would be "close to nature."
"Oh yes, it's really nice to have big trees," said Greg Doyle. He designed the course and has watched it evolve into a premier playing experience.
"The beauty was here in the forest and we've been challenged to preserve that feeling. I think people come here to find that and it's tremendous how the big trees contribute to that feeling."
Jeff Doyle quickly added, "It's so quiet and it's so peaceful and there's not a lot out here to get in the way of that feeling."
But there is a lot to the course!
More than 7,000 yards of play across nearly two hundred acres of broad shouldered fairways and forested hillsides.
There's also something new to entice the visitor to consider a longer stay!
The new Inn at Diamond Woods is a stunning lodge-like affair with bedrooms galore and gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley at every turn.
It offers a Golf Lane County "Stay and Play" experience at a premier country golf course that's easy to reach.
LIZ Doyle added, "On a clear day you can see Mt Jefferson and it was very important to our family that we provide guests a place where you could capture that view and that special feeling. The best part is you don't have to drive three hours to get the experience - it's just right here - right here in the Willamette Valley."
You might consider making the "Country Golf" adventure a part of your entry in a unique travel contest. It's called the Oregon 150 Challenge and it offers a unique dream vacation somewhere in Oregon as the grand prize. It's worth checking out!