I will be posting reviews of all the courses at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort over the next weeks. I decided to start with Bandon Preserve. Bandon Preserve is a 13-hole par-3 course. The Preserve is so fun I could play it all the time. There are so many creative ways to play the holes, most of which are less than 130 yards.
The Preserve was designed by famed golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. This terrain is perfect for the Coore/Crenshaw style, which beautifully uses the existing terrain to produce a scenic, fun, and challenging layout.
All net profits from green fees at Bandon Preserve go directly to Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA). WRCA is an organization that supports conservation, community, and economy on the southern Oregon Coast. The Preserve also helps to protect the plant species Silvery Phacelia. Silvery Phacelia is an endangered species which is threatened by non-native plants. The open area reclaimed by the Preserve help Silvery Phacelia flourish.
When I played the Preserve the longest tee-to-pin yardage was less than 150 yards. Most of the tee shots were under 130 yards. One could easily carry 3-4 clubs, a couple of balls, and leave the golf bag in the room, barring any windy conditions. My round was very windy, and required me to hit a lot of extra club on a few of the holes that play to the north. I hit 7-iron a few times, which at Bandon is probably about a 175 yard club. Mind you, the length of the holes I was playing was more like 125 yards, but with several clubs’ worth of wind.
The course is extremely fun and challenging. Golfers can be creative with their shots, choosing multiple lines of attack to landing areas that funnel the shot to the desired location. Flying shots to the pin is possible if the golfer can generate a lot of spin. Like most links style greens, Preserve’s greens are hard and only shots with a lot of spin will stick.
The vibe at the Preserve is quick, fun, casual golf. Emphasis on fun.
13th Hole – Putter off the Tee
The final 13th hole is about 100 yards and the tradition is to play the hole entirely with a putter. Our group did it, and 3 of the 4 hit the green in regulation!
I shot my lowest score of the year on the Preserve! It helped that the course was only 13 holes of par-3’s.
Par-3 courses are becoming more and more popular. They take less time to play, cost the golfer less money, and take up less valuable land. The Preserve’s dunes/links style makes it so distinct and original. The course is visually stunning. The Preserve is right up there at the top of my par-3 courses list, along with Michigan’s Three Tops. Do not miss playing Bandon Preserve when you are on your Bandon Dunes golf trip.
On day four our group made the decision to rest in the morning, rather than pushing ourselves for another day of 36 holes. We have been pushing it hard, as guests at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort often do. Rather than a morning 18, we opted for a casual breakfast and enjoying some of Bandon Dunes’s other offerings.
The courses at Bandon are hilly, and the ground can be pretty hard. I needed to recuperate so I scheduled a massage at the on-site massage center.
The massage was fantastic and rejuvenated my very sore and stiff back, and shins which were sore from climbing all the hills.
Surprisingly I felt so refreshed after the massage that I decided to check out some of the hiking trails. There are miles of trails that wind through the dunes, the forest, and the beach areas at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Below is a panorama of the main lodge area I captured from one of the trails.
Bandon Dunes Lodge
The hiking trails are quite different than my trails at home in Utah. The vegetation is much more dense and green due to the high amount of precipitation and humidity. Check out this trail below, with an amazing log covered with moss.
And nearby is the “Labyrinth” as seen below. The Labyrinth is a neat feature for guests to enjoy and find their zen happy place. I spent some time there contemplating my short game.
Bandon Dunes Labyrinth
Following the morning massage and hiking, I was physically and mentally prepared to take on the afternoon 18 holes on the tremendous Pacific Dunes course, a Tom Doak design.
Day four at Bandon Dunes was a day I will not forget.
Hurting now. It’s a good kind of pain. After playing 76 holes of golf in very windy conditions, on hard ground with tons of elevation changes… I’m hammered.
Today was another spectacular day, as it seems all days are at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. The 7am tee time was our first round on Pacific Dunes. Pacific Dunes is a Tom Doak design. Doak is one of my favorites.
Following the round at Pacific Dunes, we had a great lunch in the Pacific Dunes clubhouse.
The afternoon round was a repeat of Old MacDonald Golf Links. “Old Mac” played a little less crazy today, vs the non-stop 30-40mph winds we had a couple of days ago. An enjoyable and challenging walk with a ton of elevation changes.
Old MacDonald – 18th Hole
It was hard to keep concentration up and hit good golf shots as the day progressed. It is easy to push it hard here at Bandon Dunes.
This evening hit “The Punchbowl” for a friendly putting competition. The Punchbowl is a huge putting area with severe sloping, and 18 actual holes to play. Think the Himalayas at the Old Course in St Andrews.
Tomorrow our group decided to take some time to rest in the morning and not play a full 36 holes. We will play Pacific Dunes in the afternoon after recuperating in the morning. I’ve decided to do some “research” on the spa here, and get a massage to work out a lot of my stiff back and leg muscles.
It’s late and I’m super tired but here’s a quick recap of day two for the HOG World Tour stop in Bandon Dunes, part of the #GolfBlogWorldTour. Search for the #GolfBlogWorldTour hashtag on social networks!
This morning at 7am we teed off on Bandon Trails. “Trails” is a fantastic, scenic course with tons of elevation change. The course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Above is the first hole of Bandon Trails, first out.
Below is a highlight shot from the afternoon round at the original Bandon Dunes course, a David McKlay Kidd design.
This week is a week of quick recap posts with a photo or two. Playing 36/day and trying to find time to do anything else other than sleep and eat is challenging. Stay tuned each day this week for more updates, and later down the road for some more detailed reviews and articles.
Too tired and too late to post much today, and likely the rest of this week. As part of the #GolfBlogWorldTour, the HOG World Tour visited Bandon Dunes for the first time today. I played Old MacDonald and the par-3 13-hole Bandon Preserve.
I will try to do a few social posts per day and more blog posts following the trip. With 36 walking holes each day, time is short and when I’m not playing I need to either be sleeping or eating.