TETHEROW REACHES NO. 57 ON GOLFDIGEST’S NEWEST LIST OF ‘AMERICA’S 100 GREATEST PUBLIC COURSES’
The David McLay Kidd Heathland-style masterpiece in beautiful Bend, Ore., which turned 15 in 2023, jumps 25 spots on the prestigious biannual list
Golf Digest recently ranked David McLay Kidd’s Heathland-style gem No. 57 on its 2023-24 list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” — Tetherow’s highest ranking since it peaked at No. 54 on Golf Digest’s 2015-16 list and the second-best showing in the course’s 15-year history. Proof that Tetherow Golf Club is only getting better with age.
Tetherow made the largest jump of any course in the biannual rankings, jumping 25 spots from No. 82 on the 2021-22 list. The surge up the rankings is largely a product of its maturing Scottish Healthland-inspired design. But it has also evolved over the years, at times calling on Kidd, who has lived in Bend since 2006, to make adjustments to the original design. Those tweaks have helped make the challenge of Tetherow more welcoming to more golfers. But Tetherow’s Scottish Highlands inspiration — the faded fescue fairways, thin lies, firm-and-fast conditions, striking bunkers, and pronounced elevation changes — remain unchanged.
“Like the great Scottish Heathland designs that inspired it, Tetherow gets better with time,” said Chris van der Velde, Tetherow’s managing partner. “It is an honor for Tetherow to receive such high praise from Golf Digest, which produces the most respected rankings in the industry. Tetherow was built to stand the test of time. And this list shows we are still on the right track.”
Golf Digest has biannually published its list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses since 2003. For this year’s rankings, Golf Digest used hundreds of panelists who submitted thousands of evaluations over 10 years. Golf Digest’s experts play and evaluate candidate courses on six criteria, each on a scale of 1 to 10, including: shot options, challenge, layout variety, aesthetics, conditioning, and character.
Tetherow debuted on Golf Digest’s list in 2011, ranking No. 67. The course climbed to as high as No. 54 on the 2015-16 list. Golf Digest also recently ranked Tetherow No. 10 on its 2023-24 rankings of the best private and public courses in Oregon, moving up from No. 14.
Golf Course Superintendent Ryan Barker, who has overseen Tetherow’s course since 2020, credits Tetherow’s rise to a compounding of multiple small, yet meaningful, agronomy practices that produce big impacts over time.
Tetherow has also earned several other lofty rankings since its opening in July 2008. Golf Magazine named Tetherow the Best New Course You Can Play in the Country and named Kidd the Architect of the Year in 2008.
“Tetherow is a golf course that, like wine, needed time to mature,” said Kidd, who designed three courses on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. “We needed the rough edges of construction to mellow, we needed nature to adopt what we created, we needed the players to accept the ground game this course demands, and most of all we needed Heathland golf to be understood the way links golf has post-Bandon Dunes. As my home club, I love the challenge it presents day in and day out, it’s certainly a course where local knowledge helps greatly!”