Pacific Dunes Course
Located a little further north than Bandon Dunes, the Pacific Dunes Course is regarded as many as the best on the resort. With views to rival any course in the world, Tom Doak's creation is surely a must play for any keen golfer.
Doak is a master of his craft and while in a setting as special as that of Bandon Dunes, course design can often be overshadowed by aesthetics, Pacific Dunes is undoubtedly a modern masterpiece which having only opened in 2001 is mature beyond it's years.
Of his Pacific Dunes cration, course designer Tom Doak said:“Every architect dreams of building among the sand dunes in the same terrain where golf was conceived in the British Isles…Pacific Dunes is that dream come true.”
As is the case with many of the classic links courses of the UK & Ireland, Doak put Mother Nature to work and made clever use of the natural lay of the land in creating Pacific Dunes and the result is a course that feels like it was discovered rather than manufactured. The course has a tangible sense of character and is a real joy to play.
A great example of how Doak has bucked convention and used the lay of the land to create the very best holes possible comes just after the turn in the form of back to back par 3s. The 10th measures more than 200 yards from the Black tees and offers amazing views thanks over the Pacific Ocean long of the green, with imposing sand dunes lurking right of the putting surface, while the 11th is well protected with the ocean left of the putting surface and one of the smallest greens on the course.
Measuring 6,633 yards from the tips, Pacific Dunes isn’t exactly a modern monster of a course, but its design, intricacies and exposure to the elements makes it testing enough and enjoyable for any golfing aficionado.
Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes is ranked as one of the best courses in America
Signature Hole – No13: Par 4, 444 yards (Black Tees)
While it almost seems futile to try and pick a signature hole at Bandon Dunes, such is the overall quality of the course, if one was pressed to do so, the par 4 13th would be a strong candidate.
This hole can be a bit of a brute, weighing in at 444 yards in length from the tips, but it is the embodiment of the entire Pacific Dunes experience. The rippling fairway, full of the humps and bumps that are so synonymous with classic links golf, runs between the ocean cliffs on the left and towering sand dunes on the right.
The 13th commonly plays into the prevailing wind which increases its length further still, yet mercifully, there is more room for error with your tee shot than you might think from the tee itself. The green is massive in depth so be sure to double check the yardage for your approach, which must be struck straight and true in order to avoid running into one of the cleverly placed run-off areas. With amazing views of the Pacific Ocean all up the left hand side of this amazing par 4, concentrating on the task in hand can be equally as tough as the hole itself here at 13!
|Opened for play
|Other Tom Doak courses
||Barnbougle Dunes in Australia, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand
and The Renaissance Club in East Lothian
Bandon Dunes Course
The rugged ocean coastline of South West Oregon obviously inspired the resort's owners to look for British influence, and as such they turned to unheralded Scottish course designer David MacLay Kidd for the design of the resort’s 1st course, Bandon Dunes.
“From the moment I stepped out on these wild, wind-shaped sand dunes, I knew this would be the opportunity of a lifetime,” said McLay Kidd. Bandon Dunes was in fact his first notable design project and the course, one third of which runs along the Pacific shoreline, has become a big hit with golfers from all four corners of the globe.
Opened for public consumption in 1999, Kidd's creation which is perched on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean, combines the charms of links golf with a relaxing resort atmosphere, as well as of course, seemingly infinite spectacular views.
Huge greens and pristine conditioning are the most notable features of the course and with holes routed in all directions, rather than the traditional 9 out and 9 back that we see on so many links classic in the UK and Ireland, Bandon Dunes is playable in most wind conditions. Having said that, the ever changing direction of the wind requires the golfer to stay alert from start to finish.
Bandon Dunes is a shot maker’s delight and will tick all the boxes for even the most ardent of golf traditionalists.
Designed by: David Mclay Kidd
Opened for play: 2001
Other David Mclay Kidd Courses: St Andrews Links Castle Course & Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland, as well as Fancourt in South Africa and Queenwood in Surrey
Blue: 6,732 Rating 76 / Slope 141
Green: 6,221 yards, Rating 71.4 / Slope 133
Gold: 5,716 yards, Rating 69.5 / Slope 133
Royal Blue: 3,945 yards, Rating 61.5 / Slope 101
Signature Hole – No 16: Par 4, 363 yards (Black tees)
This relatively short par 4 features a split fairway of sorts, with a barranca ledge running through the heart of the hole and with the prevailing wind at your back; it’s much easier to reach the top tier of the fairway than it may appear from the tee. From this tier, you’ll have a shorter, more manageable approach into the green which sits perched on the edge of the shoreline, with the waves rolling into shore in the background. As beautiful as it is treacherous, the 16th is a classic short par 4.
Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, Bandon Trails was the third course to open at the Bandon Dunes Resort, and with its much celebrated predecessors in mind, it had plenty to live up to.
Since opening in 2005 though, the Bandon Trails Course has quickly garnered a fine reputation and with a routing that starts in the dunes near the coast before turning inland, it offers a very different experience than the other courses at the resort.
Bandon Trails has been compared to other top courses including the likes of Spyglass Hill on the famed Monterey Peninsula, as well as Formby in the North West of England, and with the intriguing mixture of links-like holes, as well as those that scythe their way through the pine forests just inland, it is easy to see why.
There are three holes inspired by traditional links golf, eight which twist and turn through picturesque meadowland, and seven which wind their way through the trees, with each set of holes offering a completely different look and feel.
As they say, variety is the spice of life, and Bandon Trails offers is in spades.
Designed by: Ben Crenshaw & Bill Coore
Opened for play: 2005
Other Crenshaw / Coore Courses: Pinehurst No. 2 (restoration), Kapalua in Hawaii and Lost Farm at Barnbougle Dunes in Australia
Blue: 6,759 Rating 73.6 / Slope 130
Green: 6,247 yards, Rating 71.1 / Slope 129
Gold: 5,751 yards, Rating 68.7 / Slope 122
Royal Blue: 3,827 yards, Rating 61.2 / Slope 105
Signature Hole – No 14: Par 4, 325 yards (Black tees)
With an elevated tee, the 14th on Bandon Trails is one of the most picturesque holes on the course and despite its relatively short length (325 yards from the tips), it can be a tough nut to crack, offering plenty of potential strategic approaches.
Take a driver from the tee to leave yourself with a shorter second shot to this small and well protected green, or lay back into the left side of the fairway. Shorter tee shots that leak to the right won’t necessarily land you in trouble, but will leave you with a blind approach and a shallow angle of attack into what is the smallest green on the course, guarded in front by a steep bunker and in back by a collection area.
Like all great short par 4s, the 14th on Bandon Trails can offer up birdies and disastrous double bogies in equal measure.
Old Macdonald Course
Already considered to be among the best new golf resorts in the world, Bandon Dunes added yet more sparkle to its golfing crown when it opened the Old Macdonald Course in 2010. Tom Doak was chosen alongside Jim Urbina to design the course, which was intended to pay homage to Charles Blair Macdonald who many see as the father of American golf course design.
In order to bring the “highest calibre” of golf to the shores of the USA, Macdonald made the trip across the Atlantic to sample the classic links courses of the UK, and he was inspired by the types of holes he found. Macdonald often used these classic “hole templates” to recreate the feel of traditional links golf on his American courses so Golf Digest’s assertion that the Old Macdonald Course "looks like it was lifted, cleaned and placed from the West of Scotland" is testament to the quality of Doak and Urbina’s tribute.
Starting further inland, Old Macdonald moves towards the shore over the 1st handful of holes and once the third has been and gone, the majority of the remaining holes are played with the Pacific Ocean acting as the perfect backdrop, before the course turns back inland over the closing two holes and towards the clubhouse.
Everything seems pretty big on the Old Macdonald Course. Fairways are generous most of the way around the course, allowing some margin for error from the tee, and the greens are enormous, with a combined surface area in excess of 6 acres!
Like the classic links courses of the UK & Ireland, Old Macdonald is open and utterly exposed to the elements, and it encourages the golfer to be creative and use the lay of the land to their advantage.
Designed by: Tom Doak & Jim Urbina
Opened for play: 2010
Did you know? Tom Doak also designed the Bandon Dunes Resort’s Pacific Dunes Course
Blue: 6,944 Rating 74.4 / Slope 131
Green: 6,320 yards, Rating 71.6 / Slope 125
Gold: 5,658 yards, Rating 68 / Slope 116
Royal Blue: 4,258 yards, Rating 62.5 / Slope 104
Signature Hole – No 7: Par 4, 363 yards (Black tees)
Interestingly the Signature Hole at Old Macdonald isn’t one of the holes on the course designed to be a replica of sorts of one of Macdonald’s more famous original holes, but rather an original Doak / Urbina design.
After a relatively easy tee shot where players can bail out to the right to ensure avoiding the rather large hazard in the form of the Pacific Ocean, players then play their approaches to a raised green and getting the correct club is essential. Once safely on the putting surfaces, panoramic ocean views can be enjoyed before getting down to the business of avoiding a pesky three-putt!
When you consider the undoubted quality of the golf on offer at Bandon Dunes, it comes as no surprise to see one of the best practice facilities going at the resort. A 50 acre practice centre boasts two full driving ranges, one facing north and the other south, a huge practice putting green and two excellent short game practice areas where you have the opportunity to practice all the short game shots you’ll need while out on the course.
All that practice will no doubt work up a thirst so be sure to make use of the clubhouse’s complimentary tea and coffee service.
The resort is also home to the Shorty’s Par 3 Course. This little nine-holer is open four afternoon’s per week and is a great place to sharpen up your iron play and short game before taking the one of the main golf courses.
PGA Professionals are always on hand for a wide range of instruction should you feel the need to give your game a facelift.
Adjacent to the 1st tee at Pacific Dunes, the Punchbowl, a 100,000 sq foot putting course is also open for use by resort guests. There is no cost involved here...simply pitch up with your putter and golf ball to get a feel for the greens at the resort. “You will find every kind of putt you can imagine out there, and probably a few you’ve never dreamed of.” ~ Tom Doak
There is yet another par 3 course at the resort too. Bandon Reserve offers 13 breahtaking one-shotters, each of which benefitting from boasting the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. There is an additional cost associated with playing this course but rest assured that it’s all for good cause as all net proceeds go directly to the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, which supports conservation, community and economy on the southern Oregon Coast.
At The Clubhouse
After working up an appetite on one of the resort’s amazing golf courses, guests can recharge the batteries and enjoy dining and drinks in the 4,500 sq-foot clubhouse which features a golf shop on the lower level, and a unique dining experience upstairs, where guests can enjoy panoramic views of Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, The Punchbowl and out over the Pacific Ocean.
For dining and drinks, guests can choose from one of several excellent eateries. Whether it’s in The Gallery, Tufted Puffin, Pacific Grill, McKee’s Pub, Bunker Bar or at Trail’s End, you’re sure to find something to suit any occasion or taste.
South Oregon boasts quite a comfortable year-round climate. During the summer temperatures regularly climb upwards of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and combined with generally low humidity, this makes comfortable climate in which to play golf. Spring and Autumn generally offer the best balance of sunny and mild weather but bear in mind that with a coastal location such as that of the Bandon Dunes Resort, inclement weather conditions can occur. Packing accordingly with layers and waterproofs is unlikely to be necessary but it’s better to be safe than sorry while playing golf in such an amazing place.