Like much of Bend, at one time the golf course was a farm and farm house. Purchased by the Purcell Family in the 1960’s, Clyde Purcell’s vision was to create a hotel, convention center and a 9-hole golf course on the property.
In 1987, the highly reputed Robert Muir Graves was recruited for the golf course architectural design. Graves was a University of California at Berkeley graduate with a degree in landscape architecture. He was a man of many interests from flying airplanes to skiing, horseback riding and a wide range of sports. Beginning his career in 1955, he soon focused his talents on golf course design and construction. Robert Graves and his team had a dream portfolio before exacting their sights on River’s Edge. The first-class beauty and engineering of The Carmel Country Club in Carmel by the Sea, Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, La Quinta Country Club, Rio Bravo and Palo Alto Hills were some of his California treasures.
Setting his sights on The Northwest and his love for carving courses out of the dense forests of firs, pines and cedars, some of Muir Graves most interesting designs are reflected here. Black Butte Ranch in Sisters, OR, Portland Golf Club, Santiam Golf Club in Aumsville, Oregon, Overlake Country Club and Meadow Springs in Washington are prime illustrations of his expertise.
The sparkling Deschutes River, gorgeous views of Mt. Jefferson and Mt Hood and the natural lava rock terrain were plenty to tempt this talented architect to create the first 9 holes at River’s Edge. Although the terrain presented a multitude of challenges, the result was 9 holes with captivating features. Muir Graves envisioned a course where each hole had a unique distinction. River’s Edge Golf Course became a proud addition to his resume of distinguished golf courses, earning its own reputation as one of the best in Bend. In 1992 and with the acquisition of additional property, the course was expanded to a full 18-holes and listed as one of Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play.
On March 21, 2022, The River’s Edge community finalized a purchase of the golf course from Wayne Purcell. Recognizing a window of opportunity, this community of over 500 homes united in a bold vision of proprietorship to run the golf course and preserve it as a golf course in perpetuity. A new ownership created The Rivers Edge Community Master Association (RECMA) to oversee operations. Operating the course as a full non-profit, RECMA’s goals are dedicated to the collective and public benefit. Reinvesting every dollar earned is the mantra, with an immediate and primary goal of restoring the 141-acre course to its potential fitness and splendor, utilizing John Muir Graves as their spiritual guide.
Now a year later, RECMA has delivered on their declaration for renovation. Much of this renovation is evidenced with the shape of the greens and fairways, and the clearing and flooding of the various ponds. Following RECMA’s commitment to being good stewards of the property, our new golf carts are lithium powered. Our noxious weed program and support of Audubon guidelines are showing dramatic improvement to the fairway edges. We are using more native plants and following a stringent water conservation program.
The Toptracer range is the #1 range in the Bend area, and many other amenities improved. It was a good start and we look forward to continued improvements throughout 2023!