Reggie Marshall tests out the new putting course at Quail Point Golf Course in Medford recently. The first nine is in and the second nine is expected to be ready in July. - Jamie Lusch

Perfect Place to Putt-er

It's neither the longest nor most challenging track John Fought has designed.

But the new putting course at Quail Point Golf Course must be among his cutest.

That one of America's top golf architects drew up the 18-hole, natural-turf layout should be indication enough that it isn't your run-of-the-mill putt-putt course.

"We were looking for a real putting experience," says Vince Domenzain, general manager and director of golf at Centennial Golf Club and Quail Point. "We wanted something where people could walk 18 holes, and we really wanted that natural look."

The first nine holes of the course opened late last month. The second nine is expected to be ready in mid-July.

The course fits nicely between the pro shop and the pond that separates Quail Point's eighth green from the driving range.

"We just had that area and we were looking for something different to do with it," says Domenzain. "It's something else to enhance the campus."

The first three holes — which will actually be the final three when the other nine is in because of their aesthetic value — run along a pond that skirts Quail Point's ninth hole.

Pond? Next to this course, ponds become lakes.

The course then turns north, does a wrap-around with a double green for the fifth and sixth holes and heads for the clubhouse.

Fought, who designed Centennial and has done several other putting courses, came to Medford last winter and etched the layout.

From there, greens superintendent Matt Grove took over.

"He did a lot of stuff as it was growing in," says Domenzain. "A lot of things you have to do on the fly with the ground condition and the slopes and the terrain. Matt was phenomenal on that. He really took ownership of it and its condition."

The course is slower than it will be after a lower cut and as summer weather arrives. But it's competitive for better players and enjoyable for novices and children, says Domenzain.

The current nine plays to 808 feet and a somewhat inflated par of 30 that could realistically be reduced at least three strokes.

"We're still working on par," says Domenzain. "It might be a little high, but we want the junior players to be able to make par."

The shortest hole is the 61-foot fourth, which is downhill and would probably be handicapped as the easiest.

It comes directly after the longest hole, No. 3, which stretches 130 undulating feet.

Two other holes — one and nine — measure at least 100 feet.

Nos. 6 and 7 could be rated the hardest because they're the only two that can't be "reached" off the tee. They bend so dramatically there's no line from the tee box to the cup.

Every hole has ridges and slopes that test the ability of players to read greens.

The course record has dropped steadily. First, head pro Peggy Atwood had it, then Domenzain. Now the standard belongs to golf shop assistant Steven Celayeta.

Celayeta first lowered the record to 20, then two weeks ago took it down a notch to 19.

"Every night when we close, we have to go pull up the flags," says Celayeta. "I usually take my putter with me and play it. There probably aren't too many people who have played it more than me."

The putting course will be open the same hours as Quail Point.

Nine-hole fees are $5 for adults and $3 for kids 17 and under. There are discounts for Quail and Centennial card-holders and for Rogue Valley Manor residents.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail

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