Bandon Dunes: Oregon Course Review
More than a dozen years after the Lodge
opened, it’s still the Scottish voice of golf
architect David McLay Kidd that you hear if
you’ve requested a wake-up call when staying
anywhere at Bandon Dunes Resort.
- Wood Sabold photo courtesy Bandon Dunes Resort
It's a nice way to start the day.
The course gets off to a solid start.
The firm fairways and pot bunkers (and some
kind of breeze or weather on most days) of links
golf are a big part of the opening, as you
play several solid holes as the course winds it’s
way to the Pacific.
But after hopefully
driving into the fourth
fairway (and hopefully you’re in the optimal
position out by the pot
bunker) an astounding view of the huge green
below and big blue ocean behind makes the
heart start pumping a bit faster.
It’s a quick one-two punch of
greatness as you
head for the 5th tee, where what seems like a
moonscape of grassy mounds sit right in the
middle of the fairway and the ocean rides the
left. This is where conflicting thoughts of “don’t
go left – but wait, don’t go right!” and "Just
what are those mounds in the fairway?" can
havoc with a good swing. The reality is a solid
shot up the right side leaves plenty of room for
error and a nice angle into the deep green
framed by mounds on either side.
simply one of the best holes I've ever played
where pars feel great and birdies are a rare
The back nine also has a stunning combination
of holes; the back-to-back genius here are the
15th and 16th, and par-3 and par-4. No. 15 has
an exposed sliver of a green with winds
generally blowing into your face or across,
pushing balls into perhaps the deepest bunker
on the course, a pot sitting 20-30 feet below the
green’s surface. The left side is no bargain, so
you better take dead aim with a shot the can
play over 200 yards in order to avoid having to
show off your short game prowess.
Then it’s on
to No. 16 (the signature hole, if a course of this
stature can have one) a reachable par-4 with
waste areas both tempting and providing
warning not to stray at the
Finishing with a
solid par-5 and the Lodge behind give a sense
of closure to Bandon Dunes like none of it’s
sister layouts can.
It may not be
favorite, (Pacific Dunes seems to lead the
informal polls) but this classic links layout didn’t
put McLay Kidd on the map, it made Bandon
Dunes owner Mike Keiser the guy to watch in
the golf resort business. He didn’t disappoint