You won’t believe the “NEW” Gearhart Golf Links! We have restored the 131 year old Gem to its true Links identity by removing select trees and expanding the view corridors. The putting greens are firm and fast, and the now open sight lines to the surrounding mountains are spectacular.
In 1891, before any formal golf course existed west of the Mississippi River, a clatch of homesick Scotsmen confounded the locals by burying tin cans into the dunes and then knocking balls with sticks until they dropped into the cans. For these Scots, the landscape at Gearhart was strongly reminiscent of the native, ancient courses of St. Andrews and Montrose.
Gearhart Golf Links is a public resort course with 18 holes of spectacular, links-style golf located in the town of Gearhart on the beautiful North Oregon Coast. Memberships are also available, and we are open for play 365 days a year. We are even open for “Free Golf” on Christmas Day, with a donation of canned goods for our local food bank. We welcome all golfers, of all skill levels, for a golf experience you won’t soon forget!
Welcome to Gearhart Golf LinKS
Peter Jacobsen – 7 time winner on the PGA Tour, NBC and Golf Channel Analyst
“I had a warm, welcoming feeling from the moment I stepped foot at Gearhart and plan on continuing to come back for the rest of my life. Want to share that feeling with others!”
Tron Carter – Founder of the No Laying Up Podcast and Blog.
“The great joy of Gearhart is its simplicity. See the shot, hit the shot. Don’t fret over hidden hazards, worry about strategic options, or search for cagey contours, but take nothing for granted. Accept surprises, in the spirit of true links golf. Gearhart is enigmatic, sweet and beguiling—golf’s pastoral Mona Lisa.”
John Strawn, Director, Global Golf Advisors
Kris Fay – Owner “North West Golf Adventures” and Golf Writer
David Jacobsen – Decorated Amateur Golfer and Member of the R&A
Dave Butler – Men’s Club President
1. Making me feel like I am special by the management, greens crew, and cart shed personal.
2. Being able to play most anytime that we want.
3. Affordability of fees – golf, locker, cart storage.
4. Course condition – it’s great to be a member of one of the best golf courses in the Northwest.”
Peggy Cole – Ladies’ Club President
Don Frank – Men’s Club Vice President
Jay Hart – Decorated Amateur and Member at Royal Oaks Country Club
Legend has it that Gearhart Golf Links began life in about 1888, starting out as three holes of true links-style golf amongst the seaside meadows that characterize the North Oregon coast. Golf, somewhat new to the U.S., came to Gearhart by way of visitors to the bustling resort who had experienced the game in Europe and found Gearhart’s meadows the perfect setting. By 1892, golf was a regular pastime for guests of the Hotel Gearhart on the three-hole course just across the street. With this history, Gearhart Golf Links is The Oldest Golf Course West of the Mississippi River and shares the early spotlight with such courses as Victoria Golf Club (1893), Tacoma Country and Golf Club (1894) and Del Monte Golf Club (1897). From its original three holes, Gearhart Golf Links has stayed true to its Scottish roots and offers a pleasurable round (now 18 holes) for all golfers. To this day, the course retains that classic links-style flavor, with a hint of traditional Northwest design features. A rich history, but with an eye to a glorious future. Golf itself boasts a long and mythical residency in Gearhart, appearing almost from the moment nails were being pounded into boards to build Gearharts first homes. Much of our colorful past is on display throughout the property in the form of historic photos and original paintings created by artists Olivia Behm, Kolieha Bush, Joe Cotter, Lyle Hehn, Jennifer Joyce, Isaka Sham Su Din, and Myrna Yoder. Artists have created colorful murals depicting the history of the Gearhart region, the golf course, and The Kelly House. Our stalwart historians are on the case, researching and gathering stories about the property and notable characters in the area. Have something to share? Gearhart welcomes historical information, photographs, and archives. Click here for more information on our history!
The Sittin’ Seagulls – a silly little bit of history at Gearhart Golf Links.
The Sittin’ Seagulls Tournaments (1959-68) stand as the most unorthodox golf events held at Gearhart. It wasn’t really even about golf — it was about people coming together, having fun, doing silly (even surreal) things on and around the golf course. Each year, a different theme was selected and participants dressed accordingly: Hawaiian, pirate, kilt-wearing Scots, Spanish bullfighters, etc. Parties erupted in the Sand Trap and across the street at the grand, old Hotel Gearhart. Golf was played, sometimes of a high quality, more often a laughable one, prompted by trick holes, dummy flags and a refreshment-cart-toting mule named Egad! This festival of life, food, drink and golf was a huge hit…..and has been re-Established and is now part of our full Tournament Schedule!
“Gearhart Golf Links is a wonderful golf course with a fun variety of links-style holes and small, fast greens. The layout is friendly for both carts and walkers. The beautiful rolling links property is the perfect setting for our very unique Scottish feeling
What can we expect at the first tee, Jason?
“The first hole is a welcoming start. A solid tee shot avoiding 4 fairway bunkers will leave you a short iron to an
What is the best par-5 on the course?
“Number 18 is a great finishing hole and very fun to play — crazy long at 640 yards, it’s a winding, uphill hole with the beautiful Club House as the backdrop.”
What is the best par-3 on the course?
“Number 11 can stretch back to 262 yards, with an ominous complex of bunkers guarding the green on the right; 3 is a great score.”
“Number 18 gets a lot of attention, but #5 is the toughest hole under 400 yards due to a perfectly-placed water hazard and twisting fairway. “Number 12 is the toughest par-4 over 400 yards for
Gearhart Golf Links is a 4-hour golf course. You will be asked to keep pace with the group in front of you, and allow faster groups to play through at the earliest opportunity. All alcoholic beverages must be purchased from The Sand Trap Pub, Pot Bunker (next to the Pro Shop), or Sand Bar (next to the 9th tee).
Most of all, have fun!
THE OLDEST COURSE IN THE WEST
The “Oldest Course” question is one of those that can be answered in so many ways– does that mean that some of the holes still exist, does it mean oldest “club” though the club may have switched courses, does it mean still in existence, continuous operation, etc. As part of our research, we interviewed several historians, including Jeff Wallach who pointed us to the attached article by Jim Healey (click here). It is an interesting read and certainly backs our claim that Gearhart Golf Links is indeed the Oldest Golf Course west of the Mississippi River!
MCMENAMINS SAND TRAP
AND POT BUNKER PUBS
Sure, brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin may have started out with one humble pub back in 1974, but that’s not all they do. Along with brewing beer, distilling spirits, opening hotels and vinting wine, their focus has expanded through the years to include a little bit about this, that and the other. Because why not? Set in the coastal resort town of Gearhart, just five miles north of Seaside, the Gearhart Hotel and Sand Trap pub grace the gorgeous greens of the Gearhart Golf Links, an 18-hole public course that is the oldest west of the Mississippi. The Sand Trap is a great place to while away an afternoon at the coast. Stop by for a casual meal before or after a round of golf. Check out our schedule of live, free music. Have a cocktail or two outside on the patio or next to the firepit. Or ask for a meal to go and take it across the street to enjoy on the beach (and don’t forget a bottle of Edgefield wine or a 4-pack of McMenamins ales!). Along with the pub that seats 120 (plus an additional 100 outdoor seats overlooking the greens), McMenamins offers refreshments on the golf course along with special wedding and meeting spaces — and we’re accepting bookings. The Gearhart Hotel is a unique, romantic and fun venue for your party/meeting needs. The Livingstone’s room opens onto a covered patio and lawn area beyond overlooking the golf course. It is located on the first floor of the building, can accommodate 120 guests, with another 24 on the covered patio. The room can also be divided in half for more intimate parties. Our event spaces rent based on food and beverage minimums. This means that as long as a minimum dollar amount is spent on food and beverages catered by the Gearhart Hotel, there is no charge for the event space. We provide all indoor tables and chairs, linens, dishes, silverware, set up, catering service including bartending, break down and clean up. The Gearhart Hotel has 34 rooms: 18 in the main clubhouse and 16 in the new Annex, all with bathrooms and TVs for your guests. If you have any questions please feel free to call a member of the McMenamins Team at (503) 717-8150. We look forward to assisting you in making your event a special and unique day that you and your guests will always remember! Click here to visit Mcmenamins website.
MEN’S AND LADIES’ CLUB
Members and Guests of Gearhart Golf Links have the opportunity to join the very active Men’s and Ladies’ Clubs. Each play weekly games, have their own Championships (separate from the GGL Club Championship), and enjoy some travelling events. The Men’s Club plays every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am. The Ladies’ Club leads the way on Tuesdays and Thursdays, teeing off at 8:30am. For information on how to join, please contact Men’s Club President Dave Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Ladies’ Club President Lori Scott at email@example.com.
Men’s Club By-Laws can be found by clicking here.
Men’s Club Travelling Cup FINAL Points for 2023 can be found by clicking here.
Ladies’ Club By-Laws can be found by clicking here.
Ladies’ Club Members: click here for member-only information.
What are “The Craic” tees?
In 2020 several members of the Gearhart Golf Links Men’s Club requested that their Board of Directors develop a “Combination” set of tees, with total length somewhere between the distance from the White (5741 yards) and Black (6176 yards) tees. In conjunction with PGA General Manager Jason Bangild, and Superintendent Forrest Goodling, the group developed a “Composite” tee group instead of merely a combination of White/Black. This set of tees offer the golfer a wide variety of shots and club selection not commonly experienced from the Black or White tees. The objective was to highlight some of the more unique shots available from some of the Stones, Black, White, and Green tee boxes. The Craic tees were rated in 2020 by the Oregon Golf Association, and were officially displayed for play via the GHIN system soon afterwards. The course/slope rating for the Craic is 69.8/131 and par 72, with a total length at 5893 yards. Many of the Mens Club members played from the Craic in 2020 and greatly enjoyed the variety of golfing experience. For 2021 the Craic tees stroke allocation has been updated within the GHIN system to better reflect how each hole is handicapped, per the USGA stroke index progression method. Scorecards for the Craic are available upon request at the pro-shop. Play this set of tees for the “most fun and entertaining round you can have at Gearhart Golf Links”.
You won’t believe the “new” Gearhart Golf Links!
When Gearhart Golf Links first opened, there were no trees on the course at all. It resembled the treeless, gorse and heather-lined links courses of Scotland. Recently we’ve completed a program to restore GGL’s true links character and identity by removing the majority of the interior trees. The result is incredible. The Shore Pines on the course (90% of the trees), were planted after the Depression as a work relief program. This species has a 50 to 60 year life span. In their 7th decade, Gearhart’s trees were dead or dying. With each passing storm, we would lose limbs or entire trees, so in the interest of safety, we were happy to remove the trees. What we’ve been delighted to discover is how normal and natural Gearhart GL looks in its restored state.The natural rolling dunescape is no longer disguised by trees marching in formation down the edges of the fairways. The views from the tees now take in not simply a single hole but the panorama of the golf course. Removing the trees has made the course seem larger. Without trees determining the playing corridors, players now have options off the tee, the prospect of finding different angles for approach shots, and a chance to use both ground and aerial tactics around the greens….the true essence of Links Golf. We are very excited! The fairway and collection area mow lines have been adjusted, as they are no longer bound by cart paths or trees. As is the case with other golf courses that have taken on tree removal programs, the turf grass quality will improve from greater airflow and sun exposure, as well as from the removal of larger tree root systems. Areas that will need resurfacing will be seeded with Fescue, which will provide firm, fast surfaces. Most of all, the playing experience will go from that of a pretty little Parkland Course, to a fast, unique, interesting, and really fun Links Golf Course! Special thanks the Keith Keranen Excavating for the terrific and efficient work with this extra large project! (pictured are Keith Keranan on the left, and former GGL Assistant Superintendent Jack Brock on the right)
DESIGN CONSULTANT – JOHN STRAWN
In 2013, Gearhart Golf Links asked John Strawn, at the time president of Hills & Forrest, International Golf Course Architects, to advise us on our plans for tree removal and course improvements. John is a Portland resident who’s been involved in course design since the 1980s, both as a partner in prominent golf design firms and as a leading writer about golf course architecture. As someone who was already familiar with Gearhart, John was an excellent resource for us, and continues to provide assistance as we “Polish the Gem” that is Gearhart Golf Links. John holds a certificate in golf course design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s Office of Special Programs (1988), and was a partner at Arthur Hills, Steve Forrest and Associates between 1991 and 2000, the year he joined the renowned design firm Robert Trent Jones II (RTJII). As CEO of RTJII, John was present for the creation of such celebrated courses as Sweden’s Bro Hof Slott, Denmark’s Lubker Golf Resort, and closer to home, Chambers Bay, where the 2010 Men’s US Amateur, the 2015 Men’s US Open and the 2022 US Women’s Amateur were held.
In 2012, John rejoined his former firm, Hills & Forrest, where Steve Forrest, past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, was chairman and chief designer. Forrest was a leading character in Strawn’s classic account of the design and building of Ironhorse Golf Course, Driving the Green. (HarperCollins, 1991)
“It’s been a real joy for me to see Gearhart taking its place again among the Pacific Northwest’s premier golf experiences,” Strawn said. “Working with Tim Boyle, Jason Bangild and Forrest Goodling has been rewarding, because they’re all so passionate about Gearhart and so committed to doing right by the course, its members and the larger community of golf. I know golfers are going to love what they see, especially if it’s been a while since they last played Gearhart.”
In 2019, John and the best-selling writer Curt Sampson formed Strawn & Sampson Publishing to research, write, design and print high-quality commemorative books for leading golf clubs. Their most recent club history is Preserving Greatness: Celebrating 100 Years of Tillinghast’s Texas Masterpiece, about Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, which joins Creating Calusa Pines and Tribute to a Great Design: Naming the Holes at Trinity Forest in the Strawn & Sampson portfolio. The firm is currently preparing centennial histories for Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, Pine Brook Country Club in Boston, and Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club in Philadelphia.
GEARHART GOLF LINKS & CARNE GOLF LINKS
Gearhart Golf Links on Oregon’s north Pacific coast is the oldest course in the western United States. Carne Golf Links (Click here for website) in County Mayo is the newest of the great links courses scattered along Ireland’s west coast, having opened its first nine for play in 1992, one hundred years after the first shots flew and bounced across Gearhart’s dunes. Now, these two celebrated courses—one with a rich history, the other with a robust future–have linked hands to form a unique sister course relationship, recognizing their shared affinity for golf as a conduit to friendship and community. (Click here for a short Video of Carne Golf Links) No place in the USA resembles the green charm of Ireland more than the Pacific Northwest, which moves to the center of the golf universe in 2015 when for the very first time the US Open is held on a Northwest course—Washington state’s Chambers Bay. The long axis of Pacific coast links golf stretching from Chambers Bay to Bandon Dunes goes through Gearhart, which is both a cornerstone in the founding of Northwest golf and a strong pillar in sustaining its future. Beginning in 2015, members of Gearhart Golf Links will be honorary members of Carne, and Carne members will enjoy honorary privileges at Gearhart. Gearhart’s unique sister-course relationship with Carne Golf Links will foster an enduring union between golfers in Oregon and Ireland. Built on slightly more than 100 acres and playing at just over 6550 yards, Gearhart Golf Links was established in 1892, and thus predates the USGA, which was founded in 1896. Gearhart’s current routing was laid out in the 1920s by the great early American golf champion Chandler Egan, who moved to Oregon from Chicago right before WWI. In addition to winning two US Amateurs and a team gold medal at the 1904 Olympics, Egan established himself as a leading west coast golf course designer. Egan’s design portfolio included almost twenty new courses and numerous re-designs, such as his reworking of Gearhart. Collaborating with Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter, who was also Egan’s teammate on the winning US Olympic team, he helped re-design of Pebble Beach Golf Course in advance of the 1929 US Amateur Tournament. Carne Golf Course was the last links golf course designed by the late Eddie Hackett, the long-time professional at Portmarnock whose role in Irish golf design echoes Egan’s work in the Pacific Northwest. A portrait of Hackett hangs in Carne’s clubhouse, honoring the man who was able to envision Carne’s arresting green sites and winding fairways tucked into the formidable dunes overlooking Blacksod Bay. In 2013, a third nine was opened at Carne, weaving among the original holes and facilitating a combination course, adding to the pleasure and complexity of Carne Links. Visitors to Carne are surprised to discover that a course almost unknown outside of Ireland is among the greatest links courses in the world. Gearhart has undergone a several year remodeling under the watchful eye of John Strawn, of Hills and Forrest International Golf Course Architects, to bring the course back to its original links style. Trees were removed and several of the holes were lengthened and modified to bring the course up to 6551 yards. Gearhart is meticulously maintained by Forrest Goodling’s staff of professional groundskeepers, and the entire operation is managed by Jason Banglid, PGA, professional.
We have been fortunate to have some nice articles written about the Links over the last few years. Here are a few of our favorites:
LINKS Magazine Article Top 10 Beyond Bandon 2023: Click here
Wall Street Journal Article 2023: Click here
SFGate Article 2023: Click here
GOLF Week TOP 100 You Can Play: Click here
The First Call Article September 2021: Click here
GOLF Magazine TOP 100 You Can Play: Click here
FOREMAGAZINE SCGA Article on PNW GOlf: Click here
THE GOLFER’S JOURNAL Recap from their visit MAY 2021: Click here
PNWGA Article November 2020: Click here
NO LAYING UP Video May 2020: Click here
GOLF Magazine Article 2020: Click here
OGA Spotlight on Forrest Goodling, Golf Course Superintendent: Click here
GCSAA Video Spotlight on the Gearhart Fescue featuring Forrest Goodling: Click here
Golf Week Magazine Article 2019: Click here
GOLF Magazine Article 2018: Click here
Puttering Around the World Blog: Click here
Coast Weekend Article: Click here
Golf Digest Article: Click here
LINKS Magazine Article – Top 10 Courses YOU Can Play: Click here
Oregon Lifestyle and Home Article: Click here
Great Northwest Wine Article: Click here
Bellingham Golfer Article: Click here
LINKS Magazine Article 2018 – Polishing a Gem: Click here