Sometimes we let one get away. Maybe it’s a shot or two on the golf course. Maybe it’s just something you forget in daily life. Maybe it’s one of those things you “planned” to do but just kept putting off until you no longer can remember why it fell through the cracks in the first place. All of those things could describe Episode 153 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast with hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch, which continues our conversation with friend and golf architect Dan Hixson … from a year ago … as a followup to Episode 141 in which we talked about all things Hixson life, design, Bandon Crossings and new projects (Callahan Ridge in Roseburg, Oregon).
In this long-overdue “Part 2” of the conversation, we focus more specifically on Hixson’s creative routing at The Retreat, Links & Spa at Silvies Valley Ranch in Eastern Oregon, where he built 27 greens and a combination of shared fairways that offer golfers two completely different courses — the Hankins and the Craddock — built from the same piece of land. What goes through the mind of a designer — and how freeing it can be — to create something so out of the box (with the support of an adventurous owner) and yet so classic in its mountain architecture is an interesting conversation that can only be had with a handful of artists in the golf business.
Hixson also recounts his anticipation (and a bit of trepidation) of playing Tom Doak’s “The Loop” at Forest Dunes — a similarly themed yet completely different design approach to a “reversible” course than the duo at Silvies Valley Ranch.
All in all, Episode 153 is a fun, insightful followup to our earlier discussions with Hixson about the game, how we play it and the many elements of memorable golf courses. We hope you enjoy the (delayed) connection. And if you missed Part 1 of the conversation in Episode 141 the first time around, we hope you’ll give it a listen as well. For more about Dan’s work, including the new Callahan Ridge project, follow him on Instagram @HixsonGolfDesign.
And if you’re interested in making a trip to The Retreat, Links & Spa at Silvies Valley Ranch — which opened for the 2020 season on May 15 — visit the website for booking information. In addition to the Hankins and Craddock courses, Silvies Valley Ranch’s four different golf experiences include the Chief Egan short course and McVeigh’s Gauntlet “adventure course.” The Retreat also offers premium accommodations, tasty homestyle Old West cooking, a brand-new Spa facility and a ranch environment that is truly unlike anything offered in the world of golf travel. There’s a reason why Mitch says it’s near the top of his “bucket list” and Darin considers Silvies Valley Ranch one of his favorite getaways anywhere in the world.