Karen and Keith Kaiser, the owners of Kohl Creek Golf Course just outside of Wilsonville and Sandelie Golf Course in West Linn, have seen the game of golf and the way people interact with it evolve over the years.
Whereas Karen's dad and his friends routinely would spend half a Saturday navigating an 18-hole course, Karen says younger generations typically prefer a more truncated round.
With that in mind, the couple decided to shorten Kohl Creek.
While the 18-hole Sandelie Golf Course remains largely unchanged, the Kaisers renovated Kohl Creek, which is located at 3030 S.W. Advance Road and formerly a nine hole course, into a six-hole course. The course opened recently and will continue to be tweaked for the next year or so.
To Karen, the course is something of a middle ground between Top Golf, an entertainment facility that mirrors a driving range, and a full-fledged 18-hole course.
"I think that what we're doing is filling a niche. My kids are at Wilsonville High. Every birthday party is at Top Golf. And so (if) you go to Top Golf and it piques your interest, where do you go from there? If you go out to a traditional 18-hole course you're going to get yelled at by the marshal to speed up," Karen said. "We want to give them a place to get comfortable with golf, to learn the concept of it. It's super family-friendly."
The Kaiser family has owned the Sandelie course since 1969 and also has run the smaller course on Advance Road since 1996. Keith said a revenue slowdown around 2016 prompted the renovation.
Along with the number of holes, the length of the holes are shorter than they were before.
Now, the course features three par-three holes and four three-par holes that range in length from 85 to 400 yards. They also renovated the greens, tee boxes and enlarged the pond. It's designed for both beginner and intermediate players.
Also, they are using two former golf holes for soccer golf, where you kick a soccer ball toward a large cup.
"It's (soccer golf) growing in popularity and it's something that's nice because it doesn't require expensive equipment; it doesn't require any skill. It seems like lots of kids play soccer, so it's a great family activity," Karen said.
And they discarded the traditional pro shop look in favor of a shop that looks more like a barn.
"We wanted a rustic, barn-type feel. It's where our roots are. This (property) was homesteaded in the 1890s. It's a rural setting, and that's what we wanted," Karen said.
The Kaisers said the course will look better once the grass grows and they do more landscaping in the coming year. For now, they hope golfers in the area will give Kohl Creek a shot.
"I hope to have the support of the community. I hope we are successful like any new business launch. We hope people love the product," Karen said.
For more information on the course, visit https://kohlcreek.com/.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.