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driving and Drinking

McMenamins Pub Course offers tees, greens and pints for thirsty swingers

If smacking a ball down a long expanse of trim green fairway is your idea of golf, keep looking.

But with a laid-back attitude that's more putt-putt golf than Pumpkin Ridge, the 18-hole Pub Course at McMenamins Edgefield is a popular spot for avid players and duffers alike.

The course is little more than a series of tees and greens scattered throughout the natural terrain at the back of the Edgefield grounds. No fairways, no sand traps, no scary water hazards. In fact, the longest hole at the Pub Course is just 77 yards long; the shortest is a mere 42 yards.

But before you get too confident, know that short holes don't necessarily mean easy golf.

Much of the course is built on a hillside with holes bearing names such as 'Flash Flood,' 'Smoker' and 'Ruins' that challenge even the most experienced golfer.

Miss the green and you'll be playing your next shot from the edge of a cattail marsh or from behind one of the many blackberry thickets that dot the course. Hit too far to the right at 'Prison,' the course's third hole, and you could lose your ball behind the double row of chain-link fences topped with razor wire that surround the neighboring Multnomah County jail facility.

Finesse players with strong, short games definitely will have an advantage on the rolling terrain of this pitch-and-putt paradise.

The Pub Course solves the problem of choosing which club to use for your next shot, according to Rick Stuart, bartender at the Little Red Shed. This tiny pub is tucked inside a former incinerator at the fourth hole.

'Out here, it's two clubs and a beer, and you're ready to go,' Stuart says. Most golfers take his advice, girding for battle with nothing more than a pitching wedge and putter in one hand and a nice pint of beer in the other.

The Pub Course is easy on the wallet, too. For under $20, golfers can rent clubs, play 18 holes and still have enough left over for a cold one. At fancier joints you might be able to rent a golf cart for that.

Since the course can get crowded on the weekends, the clubhouse staff recommends calling in advance to reserve a tee time. Golf shoes must have alternative spikes, and you must wear a shirt. Knickers, loud plaids and golf hats are optional.

Contact Dane Bevan at

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