I have my inaugural trip to Bandon Dunes planned in a few months. In anticipation of that trip, a good friend of
mine is e-mailing me a photo from one of the courses out there every day. Great photos, for sure. But it is kind of
making the wait a long and difficult one!!! (FYI...I have returned from this trip. See below for the update).
Here are a few great ones from last week of the Bandon Trails course.
A few from Pac Dunes...
How about some Bandon Dunes shots?
And a few from Old Mac...
Thanks to Mike Hogan for these pics. I'm there next week!!!!
To say that Bandon Dunes lives up to the hype would be an under-statement. If you love golf, real golf, you'll love
this place. In summary, I'd say the following about each course:
This was the inaugural course at the resort and to be the course that put the resort on the map, Bandon Dunes has
to be good. And it is. It is my second favorite at the resort and I'd say it is brilliant in its simplicity. Nothing is
over-done, but everything is great. It is true links golf. It has great greens, interesting approach shots, functional
and strategic bunkering. The beginning of the course (first two holes) is/are incredible and the finishing stretch is
perfect. 16 is currently the best hole I've ever played. 17 is all-world. And 18 winds the round down with the
perfect finish after the course's climax. Great stuff and you can see why the course drew so many golfers to flock
to the middle of nowhere to play golf.
This is currently the most highly acclaimed course at the resort. It is epically beautiful and wonderfully strategic. To
me the back nine was one of the best stretches of golf I've ever played. The par 3 11th is beautiful. The par 4
13th is currently one of my favorite holes. And the par 3 17th is simply a wonderfully naturally appearing redan
hole. That is not to say the rest of the back nine isn't incredible, those are just my favorite holes on the sublime
closing stretch. The odd thing about the course is the beginning and middle stretch felt tight, confined, and
awkward to me. 1 and 2 have blind/semi-blind shots to wildly undulating greens. I think if you have blind shots, you
need to have somewhat predictable landing zones otherwise long ball searches and frustration can mount on
apparently good shots. 7 and 8 also have this tight, cramped, awkward feel to them. The course is still amazing to
me, but these are the reasons it isn't near the tipity-top of my rankings.
This course starts off like a ball of fire. Beautiful, challenging, varied, simply put...wonderful. Great par 3's, epic
par 5's, killer par 4's and then you put the ball in the cup on 13 and head to 14. Due to a very unfortunate event,
all players must be driven from the 13th green up a very steep slope to the 14th tee box. Given the walking only
nature of the course, this ride is weird. Also, the severity of the walk/ride from 13 to 14 is weird. As is the distance
from green to tee. For those keeping track, that is three weird things all wrapped into one transition. And then the
character of the 14th tee shot is out of place with the rest of the course...as is the entire hole. 15 takes you back to
good ol' fashioned Bandon Trails golf. But 16 (a very severe uphill par 5) again is out of character with the majority
of the previous holes. 17 gets the round back on track with a truly wonderful par 3, but frankly my mind was so
blown by the back and forth character swings of previous few holes I couldn't totally get into the hole. And then 18
is, again, weird and out of character with all the holes on the course except 14 and 16. 15 of the holes have a
similar amazing vibe and 14, 16, and 18 are of a completely different style. This course is so close to being out of
this world amazing, but, to me, it settles in at being simply very good.
This is it!!! Thus far in America this is the best course I've played. This course gets it. It understands what golf is
all about. The routing takes you on an amazing journey. The holes are incredibly interesting and varied. The
setting is extremely natural and the golf holes blend into the environment seemlessly. It is golfing perfection!!!
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