A few members thought it would be great if I wrote a little article about my recent trip to North America’s #1 Golf Resort – Bandon Dunes. So here is my attempt to create a bit of a visual to those that have never been, but words and pictures just doesn’t do this place justice as the only way to experience is to be there in the flesh.
Bandon, Oregon – Approximately a 12 hour drive from Kelowna. It could be done in a day, but my Dad Al and myself decided to make a stop in Seattle on the Sunday and catch the Seahawks game. 40 yard line seats from NFL Ticket Exchange is the way to go! Some others in the group played a round at Fircrest in Tacoma, either way, it’s a good idea to break up the drive. Alternatively, flights are available from Seattle to Eugene which is about 1 1/2 hour drive from Bandon. Take Highway 38 through Drain, Oregon to the coastal town of Reedsport. Beautiful drive in the Fall. Note: Click the pictures to enlarge to full resolution.
After staying the night in South Tacoma, we got on the road early Monday and trekked the I5 south and the gorgeous drive of Hwy 38. About a 6 hour drive, but the heavy traffic through Portland turned it into 7 hours. We arrived at the resort around 2pm and checked into our great little cottage on Chrome Lake. There are variety of accommodation options, too much to discuss here as lets keep our mind on Golf. Side Note: If bringing a non-golfing spouse, there is a full amenity spa available.
After check in, we suited up and went straight to the practice facility via a shuttle that can be called at any time and take you to any destination at the resort. The Practice Facility is the best you’ll ever see, 2 ranges, North and South, complete with an enclosed glass building where complementary coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available. After warming up for 45 mins, the group of 12 played the adjacent Shorty’s course; a 9 hole pitch and putt course on the range to perfect your wedge game. Awesome.
Each of the 5 courses at Bandon have their own dedicated clubhouse complete with Pro Shop and restaurant. Similar to an all inclusive resort where there are specialty restaurants that have a specific culinary theme. Night one was dinner at the Pacific Grille; the finest dining of the food options. The double stuffed pork chop and clam chowder was to die for.
Bandon Dunes #4
Our big day, 18 holes at Bandon Dunes, 18 holes at Bandon Trails. After a fast omelette in the lodge, we were the second, third and forth groups to tee off for the day. Dunes is the original course on the property built in 1999 and is nothing like you’ve ever seen. The crash of the huge surf on the beach can be heard from every hole. One of the guys in our group had a caddy, Gary, for the whole day. While not cheap ($100 per round cash) Gary was useful and freely offered directional advice to others in the group. In Peak Season, Bandon has a staff of 375 caddies! Adds to the experience if you want to splurge.
After easing into Holes 1, 2 and 3, the fourth, a shorter par 4 opens towards the Pacific Ocean. This is the first taste of why you come here. The remainder of the course bounces from inland holes to ocean side holes through out the round. The crown jewel is the Par 4 16th (pictured), one of the most dazzling holes you’ll ever play (until you play #4 and #11 on Pacific Dunes). When I go, spread my ashes on the 16th. I don’t think I’ll play anything as stunning.
Bandon Dunes #16
We played Dunes in 4 hours flat and only had 10 mins to spare to make our afternoon time at Trails. The first week of November immediately after Daylight Savings is the only opportunity to play 36 holes in a day at this time of year. Bandon Trails was the 3rd course built and designed by Ben Crenshaw. Probably the most difficult of the 5 courses (and quirkiest) it is the inland, tree lined course with more elevation change than the others. On it’s own, Trails is a great golf course and is fun to play, but doesn’t have the ocean views that the others have. You don’t come to Bandon to play Trails, but is something you still need to fit in if you can. I might add the weather held out and was warm considering it was November.
After a grueling dawn to dusk 36, we had dinner at McKee’s Pub. Traditional pub style fair and drink with a bit of an Irish twist. Here I ordered Grandma’s Meatloaf, which I was told beforehand I had to try. It didn’t disappoint! Coupled with a pint of Guinness, it was the perfect end to a long day.
Up early and to the Range to warm up and then to Old MacDonald. The newest 18 built and is it BIG! We had a foggy day to start but it wasn’t long until it burned off and we had spots of sun through out the round! I wasn’t a fan of the first few holes, especially the 3rd as the blind tee shot to a roller coaster fairway didn’t impress me. But the further we got into the round, the more and more I liked the course. It is a big links course. Open and wide with natural rolling hills and massive greens. Depending on the pin, your club selection could vary by 4 or more! I also found my retirement job here, the snack shack on #7 tee, perched on the top of the cliff. The lady there looks out over the rolling surf of the Pacific for her entire shift! I love Old MacDonald.
Our afternoon round is the newly built Preserve – a 13 hole Par 3 course that is a ton of fun to play! Grab a Ping Moon bag at the starters hut with a few clubs (the longest hole is about 160 yds) and a few beverages and be prepared to have some fun. So much, that after a 2 hour round, we played a 12 man horse race until dark. All deuces paid! Dinner was at the Trails restaurant; an Asian fusion theme. The ahi tuna was delicious!
Our last day on the top ranked course of the 5 – Pacific Dunes. We thought we might get away with out the rain gear on this trip, but sadly a 35 mph wind and heavy rain brought the Gore-Tex suit and rain gloves out. Don’t bother with an umbrella, they are completely useless from the Pacific Ocean wind. Do ask for a waterproof scorecard, an amazing feat of engineering! The wind and rain didn’t dampen our spirits as this course is the most scenic and spectacular of them all. Perched along the cliffs of the famous Oregon coastline, Pacific Dunes is something to behold and can’t be explained only experienced. The Par 4 fourth, and Hole’s #10 and #11, both Par 3′s are some of the greatest holes in all of Golf. The 13th ain’t too shabby either. I could of stood there for hours and listened to the crashing surf, but the 9 iron and a birdie was calling my name.
Pacific Dunes #4
Al Scott @ Pacific Dunes
After the round the group of 12 had a quick lunch, grabbed some quick souvenirs and said our goodbyes. Some of us on to warmer climates, some on our way home. 6 rounds in 3 days produces a lot of stories and discussion for the ride home. One of the greatest father – son trips possibly available. I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest Bandon Dunes to anyone and already planning the next trip in 2014.
If you need any further details or advice for your own trip to Bandon, please contact me at any time.
The Harvest Golf Club