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Bandon Dunes: Oregon Course Review
- Wood Sabold photo courtesy Bandon Dunes Resort
- Wood Sabold photo courtesy Bandon Dunes Resort
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.

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 play 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.

It's simply one of the best holes I've ever played where pars feel great and birdies are a rare treat.

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 ocean and waste areas both tempting and providing warning not to stray at the same time.

Sound familiar?

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 everyone’s favorite, (Pacific Dunes seems to lead the informal polls) but this classic links layout didn’t just 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 us.
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