Golf, as it goes, is a gentleman's game. Players are held to honesty only by their own sense of fair play.
For the last 10 years, Salmon Run golf course has held golfers to a slightly higher standard andndash;honestyandndash; regarding personal ability.
A high-risk/high-reward golf course stretching 6,200 yards over 18 holes, Salmon Run challenges all golfers in some of the most beautiful land found in Oregon.
"It makes you an honest golfer," said course co-owner Lorraine Berkowitz. "It tempts you to make a shot and then punishes you if you think you're better than you are."
Berkowitz and six others make up the Claveran Group, LLC, which owns the course.
Salmon Run plays host to over 20,000 rounds of golf every year; 16,000 of those are played by local golfers, the remainder by tourists.
According to Manager Ed Murdock, "(Salmon Run) has added over 17,000 names to our player database over the last 10 years."
Salmon Run currently offers three levels of membership with the lowest beginning at just $175 per month after a one-time initiation of only $650 for an individual.
Boasting a current membership of just under 100 golfers, Salmon Run is inexpensive when compared to other courses of its caliber.
For those golfers who wish to pay as they play, the course offers extremely reasonable rates: $64 will allow a person to play 18 holes with the use of a cart.
"Our course is a unique course in that it is difficult," Murdock said. "If you learn to play golf at Salmon Run, you can play anywhere. There are no houses, it is beautiful and the climate is amazing."
According to Murdock, weather at Salmon Run benefits from the "Chetco Effect." Temperatures tend to hover right at 75 degrees year-round and "when there is fog in town it is likely to be clear up here."
Due to the wild nature of the area, golfers may share the course with nature's little (and not so little) friends.
Frequent visitors to the course include deer, ducks, migratory geese, racoons and other woodland creatures. Salmon swim the streams each fall en route to their spawning grounds, and once in a while a bear, cougar or elk may be spotted.
"Our course is unique in that way," said Berkowitz. "It is peaceful with the creeks, animals and fish. You wish sometimes that you were picnicking, it's so scenic."
Salmon Run began as an idea: a golf course at the Azalea State Park with community members presenting the idea after more than three years of research.
In November 1986 Ron Fallert of South Coast Lumber offered the city of Brookings a sizeable land donation in the Jack Creek watershed on which to build the course.
After a number of setbacks and challenges the city finally approved the Claveran Group as the official developers of the course and the work began anew.
Groundbreaking for Salmon Run was finally held in March 1998 and construction was completed in time for the opening day of golf on Jan. 1, 2000.
Since then the course has seen over 12 holes-in-one and two albatross.
An albatross is when a golfer holes his ball in one shot on a par four or in two shots on a par five. The two albatross that took place at Salmon Run were on holes 10 and 17, both par fours.
The course was designed by Troy Claveran, one of the current owners, and has been acclaimed "for its success as a masterful blend of golf within a sensitive environmental area."
Claveran is also serving as the West Coast architect for The Bates Golf Design Group.
As Salmon Run prepares to celebrate its 10 year anniversary it is looked at as a driving force in supporting the community.
The course holds frequent fund-raising tournaments as well as make donations to other organizations trying to raise money.
It holds the annual Claveran Classic golf tournament which raises funds to support the Brookings Harbor High School baseball and golf teams.
Murdock and course employees also donate their time to make sure that the fields on which BHHS athletes play are planted and cared for properly to provide safe surfaces.
The course is home to the BHHS golf team, which won the OSAA State Championships in 2009 and took third in this year's championship event.
Salmon Run offers free golfing to the team during the season and also offers a junior membership to youth ages 11-17.
10-year anniversary celebration
Salmon Run is set to celebrate its 10 year anniversary by offering a week-long tournament with a multitude of prizes as well as an excellent price.
The tournament will begin at 5 p.m. Monday, May 31, Memorial Day with hors d'oeuvres preceding the shotgun start and continue through Friday, June 4.
The format will be match play over nine holes with golfers matched up to compete against players of similar skill levels. v
There are two ways to win prizes during this week. First: win a match. Match-win prizes are cumulative, building to a better prize each time a golfer wins.
Second: golf during the month of June. Each time a round is played, the golfer will receive a ticket to put toward winning prizes.
The tournament will continue all week with each night's entry fee of $10 covering all of the course costs, including the cart.
Looking to the future
Salmon Run currently has a plan in place to widen its fairways, lengthen them where possible, improve its tee boxes and add more bunkers. In addition they will increase the size of current sand traps and add more sand.
"Our goal," Murdock said, "is to attract more and better players. With the improvements we have planned we could begin to host mini-tours and other events."
Mini-tours are where most professional golfers get their feet wet before moving on to the big leagues of the PGA Tour.
"Hosting a mini-tour would really help out the community and the golf course," Murdock concluded.
Salmon Run golf course is open year-round with some restrictions based on weather. Tee times can be reserved online at http://www.salmonrun.net or by calling 541-469-4888.