Story by: Ed Stone
Photos by: Silvies Valley Ranch Resort

Full-Service Retreat, Spa and Two Reversible 18-Hole Golf Courses Designed by
Golf Architect Dan Hixson Open to Guests

Silvies Valley Ranch Resort, a unique boutique vacation destination in Oregon
is NOW open.

Silvies Valley Ranch ResortThe development and design of new golf courses and resorts in today’s market are becoming few and far between.  Silvies Valley Ranch is named for a French trapper, Antonine Sylvaille who discovered the valley in the early 1800's. The 140,000 acre working ranch is located in the central eastern section of Oregon. This new family resort will offer two 18-hole reversible golf courses, a 9-hole par-3 course, a 7-hole “gauntlet” course and authentic experiences of the Old West.  You ask, “When you have 140,000 acres, why build reversible courses?  Why not two typical 18-hole courses?”  Well, that’s why this is a good story for both the golfer and the family looking for a unique vacation experience.

We caught up with Dan Hixson recently and he answered our questions. Hixson is the golf course architect from just outside of Portland and one of only two high-powered golf course designers from that state.  He grew up in the Cottage Grove area and attended Oregon State College. Dan is the son of a club professional, raised on the golf course and a former golf professional.  He decided to form his own design business in 1999. Dan designed a couple of notable courses in the Northwest such as Bandon Crossings in Bandon, Oregon and Wine Valley in Walla Walla, Washington.  The other Oregonian star golf course architect is David McKay Kidd who designed the Bandon Dunes Course and Tetherow Golf Course in Bend.

Very few golfers have ever heard of a reversible golf course, let alone…played one. That’s what makes this story even more interesting.

There’s only one reversible golf course in the United States at this time.  It is The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf in Roscommon, Michigan.  The Loop is the brainchild of golf course designer Tom Doak. The Silvies Valley Course is now open and becomes the second one to offer this experience.

Hixson was asked by Silvies Valley Ranch owner, Dr. Scott Campbell to create and design a unique golfing experience for his planned resort.  Hixson presented the reversible golf course idea.  Dr. Campbell liked the concept and gave the green light to proceed.  Obviously, this design will save some maintenance and upkeep costs. Hixson explained the course has 27 greens, 9 of which are double greens used each day and 18 one-directional greens.  There are 6 holes that play only in one direction. Playing the same fairways yields broader landing areas and gives playing in both directions some changes in obstacles, bunkers, and carries. The course direction is reversed each day to create a different layout with a variety of pin placements and tee box options. Please note: there are no water hazards in either direction you play.  This was a design directive by the owner who has lost too many balls in the water.  However, be advised there are over one hundred bunkers incorporated into the course design. Signage and cart path routing will be critical in directing golfers to the proper tees and greens.  The fairways and roughs will be a fescue & bluegrass mix with the greens being a blended bent. There will be three sets of tees measuring from 7,000-plus to 5,300-plus yards.

The two courses are named Hankins and Craddock. These were the Pioneer families who homesteaded the site in the early years where the golf courses are being constructed.

Hixson understands the value of taking advantage of scenic and expansive views of the Ranch. His objective is to fulfill the needs of every player from novice to professionals of all ages and using the natural terrain with dramatic elevations to present the awesome beauty of the area.

An unusual 7-hole course called McVeigh’s Gauntlet is being carved into a rugged razor back portion of the Ranch. The Gauntlet is intended to be an enjoyable course for those wanting to show off their driving, pitching and putting skills.  As Hixson put it, this is a course intended to be fun, care-free and allowing players to settle bets and test their accuracy on a series of undulating par-3’s and par-4’s. The Gauntlet is an "extreme course" that will challenge the skills of any player that takes it on.

  • Chief Egan is a 9-hole, par-3 course and referred to as a mountain meadow course on Paiute Creek.  This name came from the last Paiute War Chief. It should be noted that water is encountered on 5 of the holes.
  • Together, these 53 holes of golf offer a unique golf experience in a majestic setting of the Old West and beautiful scenery. 
Silvies Valley Ranch Resort
Chief Egan is a 9-hole, par-3 course and referred to as a mountain meadow course on Paiute Creek.

This new frontier resort combines luxury and relaxation with an authentic Western ranch experience. The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch is located along historic U.S. Route 395 near Burns, Oregon.  It is designed in partnership with the Campbell family, who have roots in the area dating back to 1863.  In addition to the golfing, this will be a full-service resort complete with lodging, multiple dining options, exclusive outdoor experiences, a spa (to open in 2018) and private airstrip for guests to fly directly onto the property. Due to the location, golfing play will be seven to eight months.

Founded in 1883, Silvies Valley Ranch is a modern-day working ranch raising certified, organic cattle and American Range goats using riding and driving horses. The ranch adheres to sustainable agricultural practices and is recognized as a top producer in the world. Western adventures such as shooting, cattle roundup, goat herding, fishing, exploring, wagon rides, Indian cave tours and Western gourmet dining can be found on the property.

“Silvies Valley Ranch has been Western America’s best kept secret for more than 130 years. Our family has had the opportunity to relish in the breathtaking vistas, abundance of wildlife and natural beauty of this region for generations, and we are eager to share our experience with the rest of the world,” said Dr. Scott Campbell. “Our hope is that guests from across the globe will be drawn to the property through golf and outdoor activities, fostering a connection with the natural beauty of the landscape; a place that we have had the privilege to call home for so many years and helping to recover the local economy.” 

In 1955, a Dr. Warren J. Wegert, DVM, began a practice in Portland to provide high-quality veterinary medicine to pets and developed Banfield Hospital. In 1985 Dr. Scott Campbell joined the practice and two year later, purchased Banfield from Wegert. In 1994, Campbell initiated the Banfield veterinarian clinics in the Pet Smart chain of stores.  He recently sold that franchise which included some 750 clinics.

“It has been an honor and a huge responsibility to work on such a great piece of land, and become part of the Ranch team,” said Hixson. “Our goal was to create the most unique golf design in the world, providing dozens of golf rounds that are fun, challenging and picturesque. We were inspired by the purity of Scottish links, allowing for true personal connections as you play and I think we achieved that. I am incredibly happy with the outcome of all our hard work and truly hope everyone who plays here has an unforgettable golf experience.”

Authentic Western Retreat

It’s not every day that you get to immerse yourself in a real working cattle ranch in a way that the people who work the land do. While climbing natural ridges and walking through the open prairies, guests will find themselves face-to-face with the great American West and all of its inhabitants. Visitors will have the chance to explore the grounds that were previously inhabited by Native Americans and worked by Pioneers and will be able to learn the innovative practices of a working ranch from Silvies Valley Ranch team members. For those looking to wake up at the crack of dawn, get their hands dirty and “dine” from an authentic chuck-wagon at the end of a hard day’s work in the Wild West, Silvies is a destination that can’t-be-missed. 

The 140,000-acre ranch will add to its existing infrastructure with the opening of 34 ranch house and private log cabin rooms. Additional facilities include a small, free-standing conference center (for up to 40 people), full-service fitness center and spa (opening in 2018), clubhouse called “The Hideout,” a gazebo, a stable, a carriage house, pistol and rifle ranges, miles of hiking and biking trails, and Pioneer homesteads to explore.

Culinary options on the property include The Dining Room, The Gun Room and The Porch at the Lodge, as well as The Hideout clubhouse which is totally off the grid. In-suite dining and outside catering are also available, as well as numerous entertaining spaces for rustic, gourmet picnics and gatherings for group outings and events. Perhaps the most unique dining option will be the full-service chuck wagon, available both day and night for special occasions. All on-site restaurants will serve western-inspired fare, including Silvies Valley Ranch Certified Organic “Heritage Naked Beef” and chevon.

Restoring Ecology and the Local Economy

Enjoyed first by Native Americans, then trappers and finally ranchers for the last 120 years, Silvies Valley Ranch has produced some of the best beef in the region. The cattle are bread and raised to be smaller, yielding better, smaller cuts of meat and gentler on the natural land on which they are raised. “Heritage Naked Beef,” free of antibiotics, hormones, corn, alfalfa, grain, chemically treated or polluted water, or any artificial additives is a line of beef specific to Silvies Valley Ranch, and is considered by many to be the most exceptional and unique beef available.  The same is true of the ranch’s chevon that comes from a breed of goats actually developed in Silvies Valley.

The ranch’s chevon that comes from a breed of goats actually developed in Silvies Valley.

At Silvies Valley Ranch, caring for and preserving the land is a top priority. The clubhouse at Silvies is totally “off the grid” and relies on self-generated solar power and all courses on-site have committed to low fertilization with all plantings being native except the bent grass greens. Instead of insecticides, swallows and bats are used to manage mosquito populations and 60 percent of the property uses gravity-powered well irrigation to minimize water usage. The property is a leader in sustainable restoration and ranching practice and is committed to setting a new standard in golf for the lowest possible carbon footprint.

Silvies Valley Ranch brings a strong economic opportunity for the region. New jobs, new visitors and educating travelers about ranching, environment, and understanding the lifestyle of the Old West to the youth is just a few of the advantages. Of course, local businesses benefit as providers of special excursion services to ranch guests, including steelhead and trout fishing, mountain biking, charters, trail riding and sightseeing. The new resort is providing dozens of scholarships to local college-bound students to build the future leadership base in the region, as well as projects for masters and Ph.D. candidates.

For more information about Silvies Valley Ranch, please call 1-800-SILVIES, email or visit