Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Bandon Dunes was the first course built at the resort and quite simply, it has it all. It has amazing holes along the ocean. It has great inland holes going up and down swales. Most importantly, it is fun to play and may end up being your favorite course at the resort.
The course starts off with perhaps the friendliest hole at the resort, a par 4 that is a dogleg right to accommodate the slicing golfer but also puts you on notice early that you will have to work for your par with an uphill green surrounded by gorse.
The course then gives you a par 3 and par 5 in quick succession as you start to get glimpses of the Pacific.
This stretch should have you sufficiently warmed up for my favorite hole in the entire resort, the par 4 4th hole. I am not alone in singing the praises of this hole as this plaque can attest.
You then get to the 4th tee box which presents you with a tee shot where you can't see the hole but you know it is out there somewhere in a slight dogleg right. You hit the shots come around the dunes and then see this beauty.
An infinity green complex which socks you in a mouth and then the course just keeps going with the 5th hole having the ocean on your left leading to a green surrounding by dunes.
The course then heads inland as you play toward the spires on the roofs of the Bandon lodges in what has to be a similar feel to Scotland.
The 10th hole and I get along famously. 2 rounds and 2 putts for birdie of under 5 feet.
Perhaps it was due to making a sacrifice to the golf gods in the secret stash box on this hole (where golfers have been taking and leaving golf knicknacks for some time).
The course makes it way out to the ocean again in the great par 3 12th hole
but then ducks inland again for a couple of "valley holes" (at least that is what I call them) which offer a lot of rolling hills and choices on how to attack the greens.
That is one of the biggest compliments I can give to BD is that it gives you plenty of different ways to play each hole and I could play this course over and over again to find new ways to score.
The hole most emblematic of this is the 16th, the hole most people talk about when they talk about BD.
The hole runs along the cliffside and as a short 4 entices you to try and drive the green. Or to layup left. Or to hit it up the gut short. There are plenty of options but surely your eyes will be glued on the Pacific instead of where you ball is flying.
The 17th offers its own fascinating challenge by playing downhill with a significant gulley looming and cutting in on the right.
Apparently Mike Keiser will sometimes play this hole as a par 3 as there are secret tee boxes sprinkled throughout the resort but it was more than sufficient for me as a par 4.
The 18th hole does what every good 18th hole should, take you home and the spires of the Bandon Resort village start to pop back into frame.
Our group had a rule that every time we played this hole, we had to take driver off the deck for our second shots. I went 1 for 2 in how well that worked out for me but it still a fun hole to come in on and you can walk right off the 18th green and have a beer or some food which is a great way to end the day.
Overall, this course has it all. If I had a choice to play one course only at the resort over and over again it would be this one. It is in my personal top 5 of courses ever played and hopefully you will get to play it too one day.
For more information on Bandon Dunes check out this link: https://www.bandondunesgolf.com/golf/golf-courses/bandon-dunes