Dan Hixson Designs Another Great Layout at Sylvies Ranch
Dan Hixson has done it again – a fabulous golf layout designed to fit the beauty of land he was presented. In the center of Oregon at the Links at Sylvies Ranch he took on an unusual challenge:
The ranch has taken names from the early pioneer history of the valley, naming the courses Craddock and Hankins after early settlers and the golf shop is the Hideout, with lovely views out to the valley. But Hixson didn’t quit there: he created a fun 9 hole par 3 short course called the Egan, after the Native American Paiute chief. Then, probably with a glint in his eye, Hixson starting planning a short but seemingly impossible course called McVey’s Gauntlet. It’s still in design and shaping, but anyone with an accurate shot and lots of balls should start practicing and getting in shape to walk up and down as they run the gauntlet.
It took Hixson 8 years to go from design start to the soft opening summer of 2017, partly because of the short growing season and partly because he did most of the shaping by himself. When the golf courses mature a little more the rye/fescue turf will play firmer and faster than it does now, and they will be even more fun. Carts are allowed to run on the fairways on the 18 hole courses even, now, but the courses are walkable if you’re in good shape.
Sylvies Valley is also a “Retreat”, and not just for golfers. In fact, the accommodations may look like rustic log cabins, but they are actually very luxurious and beautifully furnished in western ranch style but with all the modern conveniences. The lodge has an excellent chef and a well-stocked bar, and even a stage coach overlooking the dining room. The Ranch is continuing to add various activities, such as fishing, shooting range, paddle boards and kayaks, mountain bikes, hiking, horseback riding and wagon rides, and relaxing in the pristine environment.
You can get some more information on the Silvies Ranch website.
Some practical tips: excellent guest wi-fi near the buildings, and I was able to make and receive phone calls when I set my Verizon phone to call over Wi-Fi. Other than that, I had no phone signal, and our phone golf app wouldn’t work. However the yardage book has excellent information. Private cars aren’t allowed in the complex, so guests are issued a personal golf cart with lights to get around the area, and use on the golf course, as well as two way radios for each person, to communicate with each other, the restaurant, golf course, etc. Staff is friendly and helpful.
This is a real working ranch as well, growing hay, cattle and goats they have bred themselves. It is all is owned by Dr. Scott Campbell and his wife Sandy and their children, who are friendly and pleasant and obviously hard working. One of the goals of the Campbell’s was to employ local people and buoy up the local economy, and they have added their personal touches throughout the ranch.