In southwest Oregon to the north of the city of Bandon overlooking the Pacific is Bandon Dunes, a relatively new golf resort comprising no fewer than six courses. However, despite only being established in 1999, its original course is widely regarded as one of the best public courses in the US, and has achieved global recognition.
That first course – Bandon Dunes - came courtesy of designer David McLay Kidd, who had been handpicked for the job by the land owner, Mike Keiser. The Scotsman spent up to 18 hours a day studying the terrain to produce the finest links course possible. Keiser himself had been inspired to create a course with the feel of Scotland having visited Dornoch, and the result didn't disappoint, with comparisons to Carnoustie soon forthcoming. The are fescue fairways, huge sand dunes and awe-inspiring views of the Pacific at an almost every turn on a mesmerising course that is indeed evocative of Scotland.
Keiser wasn’t done there, though, and just two years later opened the resort’s second course, Pacific Dunes, to even greater acclaim. This time, the design was left to Tom Doak, and he crafted a course with undulating fairways and holes traversing its many dunes. The 13th, in particular, is incredible, while spectacular ocean views to the left and an ominous dune sitting to the right of the green. Despite four more courses coming since Pacific Dunes opened, it remains the highest-rated on the resort.
The third course, Bandon Trails, opened in 2005 and is the resort’s outlier as as it isn’t built beside the ocean, but is more inland. The Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore-designed course begins on top of a sizeable dune before your round takes you through meadows and forest before finishing on yet more imposing and spectacular dunes.
The fourth course, Old MacDonald, opened in 2010 and is named after legendary designer Charles Blair MacDonald. The design of the course - again left in the hands of Doak - takes inspiration from MacDonald's work. The result is a course with huge greens and challenging bunkers.
Two more courses followed, each designed once again by Doak and Coore. Brandon Preserve came only two years after Old MacDonald and is a 13-hole par-3 while the Sheep Ranch is the latest course at the resort. It opened in 2020, and features challenging shots over water and cliffs.
All six courses are open to the public, and green fees range between $105 and $345 depending on the time of year you visit and whether you're a resort guest or day guest. If you decide to play a second round on the same day, it's half price, while anyone wishing to play a third round on any of the courses can do so for free. If you're a resident of Oregon, those green fees are even lower, ranging between $105 and $275.
You can stay as a guest at the resort, too, and enjoy some of the lower green fees, with accommodation including single and double rooms, two-bedroom suites and four-bedroom suites.
How Many Courses Are At Bandon Dunes?
There are six courses at Bandon Dunes - Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old MacDonald, Bandon Preserve and Sheep Ranch. The oldest, Bandon Dunes, opened in 1999, with Sheep Ranch the newest, which opened in 2020.
Are Push Carts Allowed At Bandon Dunes?
Push/pull carts are available to hire at Bandon Dunes for $5 a day. Alternatively, you can bring your own. However, it can be difficult using motorised carts because of the prominence of sand and dunes.
Does Bandon Dunes Require A Caddie?
While hiring a caddie is not compulsory at Bandon Dunes, it is encouraged. All caddie fees are paid directly to them, and the cost if $100 per bag a round plus gratuity fees.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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