A stay at Central Oregon’s Pronghorn Club

An unique and beautifully luxurious oasis in the heart of Central Oregon’s high desert, Pronghorn Club offers families the comfort and convenience of vacation homes, the fun of a family resort, and the excitement of a full-scale outdoor adventure outfit.

The primary draw of the Pronghorn Club is its signature Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and (private) Tom Fazio course. Charlie (the Pit Stops’ dad and an avid–and pretty darn good–golfer, could only say ‘wow’ following his tour; both courses were that beautiful, and that challenging. The resort offers world-class instruction; the kids and I took part in their PGA TOUR Academy program, where we spent an hour with head instructor Mike Palen, learning the basics of swing and follow through. The program includes one-on-one time with the instructor, time to hit balls on the academy range, and high tech video analysis, allowing us to see our swing (and compare it to Tiger Woods’) Not bad for the kids’ first golf experience!

If you’re not a golfer (or only part of your party wants to hit the links), there’s plenty more to do. The resort’s Trailhead building houses Camp Pronghorn, a wing dedicated to kids with games, arts and crafts, ping-pong and foos-ball tables, and a full media center with all the video game consoles a kid or tween could ask for. (Open to all overnight guests.) Down the hall is the concierge desk for Pronghorn Adventures, where a concierge is ready to book family day trips with local second-party excursion partners. We spent one afternoon rafting the thrilling Big Eddy on the Deschutes River with Sun Country Tours before returning to the Trailhead to visit the resort’s outdoor pools: one a zero-depth entry with waterslide, one free-form, and two hot tubs (one for adults only). We loved that a huge basket of pool toys beckoned, and that we could order lunch or dinner from the Trailhead Grill (located beside Camp Pronghorn) and be served our meal poolside.

Tip: Camp Pronghorn is much more than an on-site play area: the staff runs a full-day kids’ program (9:30 am-4 pm) program five days per week, three of which feature off-site excursions. Depending on the day, kids will experience the Paulina Plunge bike tour, whitewater rafting, cave spelunking, zip-lining, fishing, and more; a huge value. During our visit, we departed Pronghorn with club leader Beau Kelly, a Central Oregon native, professional educator, and expert on local attractions. We experienced a private zip line followed by a picnic lunch and area cave tour; the kids had so much fun, they fell asleep on the car ride back (transportation and lunch is included).

On-site, bike rentals are available (and complementary for the first two hours) outside the Trailhead, and in the Clubhouse (directly across the way), families will find the spacious decks, a snack bar, a full-service spa, and the Casada Restaurant, which offers both cozy indoor dining and stunning sunset views on the deck.

The accommodations at Pronghorn are five star (be sure to click on the slideshow for more interior photos). The resort is comprised of ‘Resident Club’ condo-style homes, villas, and estates; overnight guests enjoy the former. Our Resident Club home was immaculately decorated in warm earth tones, boasted two fireplaces AND and outdoor fire pit, a full luxury kitchen, dining area with table for six, a comfortable living area (great room) with home theater system, three bedrooms, three bathrooms (including a master bath with jacuzzi tub), a single-car garage, extra parking, a back deck and balcony overlooking the golf course, an outdoor BBQ, and an office media space (with WiFi throughout the house). (And I’m sure I’m forgetting something!) A Pronghorn Resident Club condo would be the perfect place for a family gathering; I’m already envisioning returning for Christmas!

Date last visited: August 14-16, 2011

Distance from the interstate: 15 minutes from Hwy 97.

Room rates: Call the reservation desk at 866-372-1003 for room and vacation home information. Because Pronghorn is an unique member-driven vacation community, resort stays for overnight guests are completely customizable. Their front desk personnel are highly trained to meet the needs of your individual family. Be sure to ask about seasonal packages, such as stay-and-ski and stay-and-golf, both of which are good values.

Dining options: The resort offers two full casual-style restaurants ideal for families: the Trailhead Grill and Casada in the Clubhouse, where entries are between $10-25 ($7-10 on the kids’ menu). A fine dining restaurant, Chanterelle, is open on a limited basis. We enjoyed both the former, and also brought along groceries to make use of our gorgeous kitchen! Many dining options also exist in nearby Bend, Oregon (15 minutes).

Camp Pronghorn rates: Daily rates for Camp Pronghorn excursions (9:30 am to 4 pm, supervised and off-site) are $75 per child, per day.

Directions: Pronghorn Club is located at 65600 Pronghorn Drive. From Bend, OR, take Hwy 97 to Hwy 20. Take Hwy. 20 East (Greenwood Avenue) approx. 5 miles -Turn Left on Powell Butte Hwy. Continue past the Bend Airport on your right, then turn left on Pronghorn Club Drive.

As I disclose whenever applicable, we were guests of the Pronghorn Club during our three-day visit, and were provided with accommodations, food and beverages, golf, and family excursions at no charge. While we appreciate their hospitality, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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