RIVER’S EDGE GOLF COURSE
The vision for River’s Edge Golf Course came from Clyde Purcell, a prominent Bend developer, who saw the potential in the beautiful landscape along the Deschutes River. Wanting to create a world-class golfing experience, Purcell hired Robert Muir Graves to embrace the natural features of the area while providing an enjoyable and challenging course.
Graves’ design focused on creating a golf course that blended naturally with the surrounding environment. River’s Edge golf course is nestled against the stunning Deschutes River Canyon, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, rocks, and river flowing through the green fairways. The course features a diverse layout, with holes meandering through the rolling terrain and incorporating strategic and exciting water hazards and bunkers – all in harmony with the natural features of the land.
Throughout his career, Robert Muir Graves designed and renovated over 80 golf courses in the United States, including notable layouts such as the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain in Washington and Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club in California. Two of his masterpieces are the Championship 18 Course at Buffalo Hill Golf Club in Kalispell, Montana, and Big Meadow at Black Butte Ranch just outside Bend. His work gained widespread praise for its beauty, creativity, and respect for the land.
Simultaneously with the golf course’s development, Purcell created the adjoining River House Hotel and Convention Center. Originally conceived as a nine-hole course, it opened in 1987 and was expanded to 18 holes with the acquisition of the upper half of the property in 1992.
Owned and operated by the Purcell family, River’s Edge Golf Course earned numerous accolades and recognition and was consistently ranked among the top golf courses in Oregon. Unfortunately, the course fell into a period of decline, and in 2022, Wayne Purcell announced the golf course was slated to be closed and developed for homes.
The development was averted with the purchase of the course by the homeowners who surround the golf course. Established as a non-profit corporation, River’s Edge is chartered to remain an affordable, public 18-hole facility in perpetuity.
Operated by the River’s Edge Community Master Association board of directors, the new ownership has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore the golf course to Robert Muir Grave’s vision. The facility also offers additional amenities such as a Toptracer driving range, putting, and chipping greens, a pro shop, and a restaurant and bar. The clubhouse and its outdoor patio offer a great place to relax, enjoy a meal, and take in the panoramic views of the course.
The River’s Edge owners share Robert Graves’ commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship in golf course design. The course is registered with Audubon International, and River’s Edge has implemented various measures to minimize the impact on the ecosystem, including preserving natural habitats, using water-conservation techniques, and employing native and drought-tolerant plantings.