Bandon Dunes to Build Fifth Course
Premier Destination Adds to its Bucket List Allure
By Chris Duthie
Aficionados of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort may be under the impression that, like heaven, there is no conceivable way to improve on this play-before-you-die destination on Oregon’s windswept southwestern coastline.
What, with four courses named to Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the U.S. — including No. 14 Pacific Dunes (crafted by Tom Doak), No. 35 Bandon Dunes (David McLay Kidd), No. 48 Old Macdonald (Doak/Jim Urbina) and No. 50 Bandon Trails (Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw) — Bandon Dunes’ celebrity already outpaces every other golf resort in North America, at least in terms of head-shaking challenges and eye-candy scenics.
Certainly that was the verdict well before a recent announcement that Bandon Dunes’ visionary owner Mike Keiser intends to move forward on a fifth championship-caliber links design called Sheep Ranch, a cliff-hugging but mostly overlooked parcel that 16 years ago was shaped with 13 “nontraditional” Doak-designed greens that are purposely kept minimalistic and intended to be played from a variety of ever-changing directions and yardages.
Located on 300 acres adjacent to Old Macdonald, the Sheep Ranch design likely will be spearheaded by Gil Hanse, whose formidable architectural résumé includes Rustic Canyon in California and the Olympic Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hanse, a University of Denver grad, also did a remodel of Denver Country Club and will be undertaking a similar makeover to Lakewood Country Club this fall.
The Bandon site offers numerous breath-stealing vistas, among them an astonishing piece of land called Five-Mile Point that’s reminiscent of the 16th holes at Cypress Point and Cabot Cliffs.
“It should happen in the next two years,” Kaiser told Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella. “The site is spectacular, [and] we’re not in any rush.”
Bandon Dunes’ dunescapes also include the Coore/Crenshaw-crafted Bandon Preserve par-3 course, the Doak-designed 100,000-square-foot Punchbowl putting course, a 50-acre learning center captained by Director of Instruction Grant Rogers, and — because the golf there is walking-only — a 300-count stable of professional caddies.
The resort also features one- to four-bedroom luxury lodging with sauna, whilpool, fitness center, massage center and complimentary on-property shuttles. Its six dining and drinking options include McKee’s Pub — try a hearty plateful of Grandma’s Meatloaf — and the more upscale Gallery, where fresh fish and an extensive wine list carry the day.
When you decide to go, remember that United Airlines offers direct flights from Denver International Airport to Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend, Oregon, a mere 35-minute drive to Bandon. Tickets are available at united.com or by calling (800) 864-8331.
What are your favorite memories of Bandon Dunes? Share your comments below.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer.
Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.