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Gearhart Golf Links: The Gem to host the 2021 U.S. Hickory Open

Gearhart (Ore.) Golf Links is thrilled to be hosting the 2021 U.S. Hickory Open. The world’s best hickory players, utilizing historic golf equipment, will compete from September 12-14, 2021 to place their name on the Champions Trophy.

Gearhart Golf Links, founded in 1892, is the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi River, and was chosen as the site of the 2021 U.S. Hickory Open because of its age, true links design, coastal breezes, and welcoming environment.

If you have been to the Northern Oregon Coast in the last few years, be you a golfer or not, you will have noticed quite a change in the center of the sleepy, tiny town of Gearhart. The 129-year-old Gearhart Golf Links has undergone an extensive restoration, once again placing the course among the best in the state.

Improvements of note include massive tree removal, multiple new tees added for variety and length, fairway reshaping, and improved drainage resulting in faster, firmer greens. And that is just the golf course.

The property has a resort identity now, with McMenamins operating the 34 hotel rooms on property, including 16 new rooms in the recently-opened Annex building. Open for business on June 29, 2018, the Annex also houses a fitness center and virtual golf training room playfully called the “Swingers Lounge.” A 9-hole putting course called the “Clam Bed” is tucked between the first green and ninth tee, complete with its own signature small pub, “The Sand Bar.”

The town of Gearhart appeals to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. The golf links are similar, in that beginners will find more fun than frustration chasing their ball over the gentle dunes, where accomplished players will agree that the small fast greens are tough to hit, and a ball off line can result in all sorts of challenges. Forrest Goodling, head golf course superintendent, and his crew of greenkeepers consistently keep the greens running above 11 feet on the Stimpmeter!

The staff at Gearhart GL has been tasked to “Polish the Gem,” and that can be felt in the attention to customer service, as well as the tournament offerings throughout the season. Jason Bangild, general manager and director of golf, and his team always seem to have something around the corner on the event calendar at the course.

McMenamins Scrambles occur four times a year, all with different themes and fun, quirky formats. Tasting stations around the course allow golfers to try new and unique spirits, ales, and wines. For more serious competitions, the Gross and Net Better-Ball events in February have been dubbed “The First Majors” of the year and attract players from all around the Pacific Northwest. Interclub events like the Border Battle and the Clatsop Cup pit qualifying teams against neighbor clubs in friendly yet serious competition. All are professionally run tournaments, with prizes more than reflective of the entry fees.

Perhaps the crown jewel, or signature event, at Gearhart Golf Links is “Whiskey Road to the Final Four.” Their version of a Member-Member, or Member-Guest, this is a one-day, 27-hole, Team Match Play event. Win or lose, it is a lot of great food and drink, plenty of golf but not too much, and most of all, a ton of fun.

Whatever the reason, you need to get to Gearhart Golf Links! Spectators are welcome at the U.S. Hickory Open. We hope to see you at the beach!