Thirty-seven years is a long time by most any measure. By Central Oregon golf tournament standards, it is nearly an eternity.
The Fall Tour Invitational, a season-ending pro-am with deep Black Butte Ranch roots, has been played in every year since 1980. It is back this year, slated from Sept. 26-29, again marking the unofficial end to the golf season … at least the end of the season for Oregon golf professionals and their playing partners.
For Black Butte Ranch and its staff of golf professionals, the Fall Tour is a labor of love. The four-day event, which includes the traditional third and fourth rounds at Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow, respectively, will draw more than 170 golfers, including more than 40 club professionals from around Oregon.
The tournament is invite only, but it is also a reunion of sorts. Each year it gives the area’s professionals and their friends and members a chance to reconnect at season’s.
“The Fall Tour offers a perfect chance for the pros to spend time with one another, which seems like it is harder and harder to do,” said Jeff Fought, the director of golf at Black Butte Ranch, who played in his first Fall Tour nearly 30 years ago. “And it is a treat to see theses guys when you only get a chance to see them once or twice a year.”
Black Butte Ranch’s involvement in the Fall Tour dates back to the beginning
At the beginning, Black Butte Ranch pros organized the tournament. Terry Anderson, J.D. Mowlds and, of course, the legendary Gene “Bunny” Mason have all been crucial to the tournament’s history.
The Oregon Chapter of the PGA of America ran the Fall Tour for a time. Then Fought, who has played in the Fall Tour since he was a young pro based in the Portland area, volunteered in 2011 to return the Fall Tour to its Black Butte Ranch roots.
With the Fall Tour back home, the tournament has continued to flourish.
“This was one of the highlights for the whole year,” said Fought, who remembers struggling to get into the annually full field when he was a 23-year-old golf pro. “The fact that golf pros come to the event year after year says a lot about Central Oregon.”
The tournament features a unique format. The tournament rotates to a different Central Oregon course each day, ending each year at Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow courses. Cash prizes are awarded for each day’s round as well as for the combined total for the first and second day, and the total for the third and fourth rounds. Amateurs will also play against each other, and each day features a team game. All those games help the money pile up fast for a professional with a hot hand.
“It is an incredibly fun format that just about every golfer enjoys,” Fought said. “There is a reason that the Fall Tour remains successful year after year.”
Plan your own tradition at Black Butte Ranch.
To make a tee time at Glaze Meadow Golf Shop call 877-273-7216 or book a tee time online. To make a tee time at Big Meadow, call 541-595-1500 or book online. For more information on how to create a custom group golf vacation at Black Butte Ranch, call Ryan Dunning at 541-595-1292 or email him at .