Club HistoryDriving on highway 101 on your journey to Astoria Golf & Country Club it is apparent that you are in Lewis & Clark territory. Less than a mile from the terminus of the Fort to Sea Trail where the Pacific Ocean crashes onto nearby Sunset Beach, and ten miles south from the mouth of the Columbia River where the Columbia collides with the Pacific near the epicenter of the dangerous Columbia Bar, the golf course beckons with its spacious playing field of verdant emerald turf. Although you can't see the Pacific from the course, you will certainly hear the surf and feel the marine environment. The golf course is one of the golf gems of the Pacific Northwest; a course you could play for the rest of your life and never tire of the unique design. For 94 years club members and guests have enjoyed the Northern Oregon Coast’s most renowned field of dreams, also known as “the St. Andrews of the Pacific.”
Founded in June, 1923, Astoria Golf & Country Club was built on land purchased in part from a cranberry company. The most prominent features of the course property are the dunes that traverse parallel to the adjacent coastline. The current configuration came about when Club President, Charles Halderman, along with the board of directors, dismissed an earlier plan that routed the course east and west. This meant that golfers would play across and over the tops of the sand dunes, which the board found undesirable. Instead, Halderman and the club’s first golf course superintendent, George Junor, collaborated on the current design, with the course laid out more logically in its present north and south directions between the dunes, following the natural terrain shaped over the ages by sand, wind and sea. Junor previously collaborated with H. Chandler Egan to design Tualatin Country Club, near Portland, OR, along with eight other Oregon golf courses.
Combining elements of both links and parkland style golf, the course features a varied configuration, with four holes laid out between the bottom of the two largest dunes on the property, other holes routed in a manner that takes full advantage of the rolling terrain of the Clatsop Plains, and two holes require a water carry from the back tees. Course conditions are excellent year-round, but playing conditions vary frequently due to the marine weather patterns typical of the North Coast. Those who have golfed on the Emerald Isle may notice, while playing Astoria's "dune" holes, subtle resemblances to Ballybunion and Royal Portrush, two of Ireland’s best golf courses. Legend has it that Tom Doak, one of golf's top course architects and author of the book, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, played AGCC and remarked after his round that "if it weren't for the cart path that detracts from the hole's appearance, the third hole would be considered one of the greatest golf holes in the world." Doak designed Oregon's Pacific Dunes, ranked as top public golf course in the US. The membership is working on a plan to remove or relocate the cart path on hole #3, as the hole is one of the signature "dune" holes at AGCC.
Approaching the club’s centennial anniversary, the course has been enjoyed by some of the greatest names in golf, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Curtis Strange, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Fuzzy Zoeller and Peter Jacobsen, who all played Astoria during the 1986 Oregon Coast Pro-Am as part of the Fred Meyer Challenge.
There are several highly regarded golf clubs in Northern Oregon, but when Astoria is mentioned, people’s eyes light up and the word “magical” is frequently used to describe the course. There is something extraordinary about the setting that is hard to explain, but it is apparent that the course and the club are revered by many.
We invite prospective members and invited guests to experience the spirit of “the St. Andrews of the Pacific.” It may take several visits before your senses become attuned to what makes the setting mystical and magical, but if you look closely enough you will experience what our members discovered after they played the course, and if you are too focused on golfing your ball around the property, the magic will find you when you least expect it.
Hole #3, Par-4, 373 yards