Before 1999, the small city of Bandon in the north-western US state of Oregon might not have been on many people’s bucket list of golf vacations. But all that changed at the turn of the century when Bandon Dunes Golf Resort opened to great acclaim. This slice of Scotland on the coast of Oregon is now considered one of the best golf resorts in America.
From its natural coastal beauty, excellent links-style courses and understated, comfortable amenities, Bandon Dunes could easily be mistaken for a top-level Scottish resort. As well as having four 18-hole courses and one 13-hole par 3 to choose from, the resort offers many lodging options to suit your needs, varying from single accommodation in The Lodge and Inn to the spacious four-bedroom Grove Cottages, perfect for families or trips with friends.
The bars and restaurants have a mix of options from fine dining at the Galley Restaurant serving north-western Pacific cuisine, to the Bunker Bar which is open late and offers a light menu and a game of pool. McKee’s Pub is also a favourite, serving pub food, local microbrews and classic single malt scotches. Bandon Dunes is set up as a Village-style concept. You are able to call a shuttle from your room to take you straight to the golf course, restaurant or bar. Visitors can also check in at the Bandon Practice Centre to work on your swing. But it’s the fantastic golf courses which take centre stage.
Each course has its own pro shop and, in keeping with old-world traditions, all are walking courses only – though caddies are offered depending on your preference. All four 18-hole courses and the 13-hole par 3 are excellent in quality and based around Scottish-style links courses. But each is different enough to have its own character, yet they compliment each other to form a cohesive, memorable challenge.
Pacific Dunes is ranked as the 18th best course in the world by All Square. Designed by American Tom Doak, this 6,633-yard, par-71 course opened in 2001. It is very different in character and shot making requirements to the other courses on the resort and short enough to give you hope, but rugged enough to test every facet of your game. The rippling fairways and bunkers emerge from the landscape as if they have been there for centuries. It is the highest rated course on the complex.
Paying homage to legendary golf course architect C.B. Macdonald, Tom Doak and Jim Urbina have crafted a course which requires a myriad of shots with vast greens and fierce bunkers. It also boasts some incredible ocean, cliff-top views. It is ranked as the 71st best course in the world by All Square. It’s a traditional old-style course where it get so windy they put elastic bands on the pins to keep them battened down.
Built in 1999, Bandon Dunes is the original course on the complex and ranked as the 53rd best course in the world by All Square. This 6,745-yard, par-72 course put Bandon on the golfing map. Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, the course is perched high above the Pacific Ocean and unfolds along pristine native dunes where expansive ocean views are revealed on nearly every hole. It’s a thinkers golf course.
Bandon Trails is different from the other courses as it plays inland from the Pacific. It’s 6,745 yards long and a par-71 course, and ranked as the 60th best in the US by All Square. Opened in 2005, this Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed course begins atop a massive sand dune, quickly opens into a sprawling meadow, works higher into the coastal forest, and finally returns to finish in the dunes.
Opened in 2012, The Preserve is a 13-hole, par-3 course designed by the acclaimed team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. It runs along the Pacific Ocean and delivers a level of enjoyment matched only by the spectacular views. It starts on the land adjacent to the first tee at Bandon Trails and rolls down towards the beach. One of the best par 3’s you’ll ever play.
The newest addition to the Bandon Dunes family, The Punchbowl is an 18-hole putting course designed by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina. It opened in 2014 and is adjacent to the first tee at Pacific Dunes. It has both longer and shorter holes and takes about an hour to play. The area is a collection of natural hollows and fun to play with drinks holders on every hole.
In 2020, another course, The Sheep Ranch, will be opening to compliment what is already an incredible offering. It will be a par-71, 7,000-yard championship golf course with one mile of oceanfront footage. This promises to be a fantastic addition to what is already a world-class resort.