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Bandon Dunes: Review and a question


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#1 FourUnder

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 05:58 PM

I know, I know, another Bandon thread.  There are a lot on them on the forum so I've never written about my previous trips to Bandon.  However, this last one got me thinking a lot about the courses so I wanted to do a quick write up to see other people's thoughts.

I've made 5 quick trips to Bandon Dunes.  3 in the last 12 months and 2 last decade.  I've played:

Pacific Dunes 4 times
Bandon Dunes 3 times
Bandon Trails 3 times
Old Macdonald 2 times
Bandon Preserve 1 time

A couple of random additional thoughts about Bandon before I get to the main purpose of my post:
- If Punchbowl is mostly empty, make your own course of ridiculously long/difficult shots.  The actual course is fun, but not as much fun as hitting a 90 foot putt through three ridges.
- Had the meatloaf at McKee's and I didn't understand the hype.  It was fine, but not legendary like I've been told by numerous people.  The chicken sandwhich is very good and the $9 half pound burger with fries was the best I've had in a long time.  Get the burger sauce on the side so you can use it on the fries as well.  Trails End changed their lunch menu this year which was a bummer since that's always been my favorite spot for lunch.  Club wrap, meatball sub, and fish tacos are all gone.  I don't know why, but the caesar salad for lunch at Pacific Grill was awesome and better than the salad anywhere else on the property.
- Played Bandon Preserve for the first time recently.  Unbelievably fun.  BP is a great way to spend some time without putting another 6-7 miles on your feet.  My buddy and I had a blast.  Took our time and played in 1:40.

On my two trips last year there weren't any tee times at BD so until last week it had been over 6 years since my last round on the original.  I have golf balls from every course I've ever played mounted in my office.  The other racks aren't organized but the first rack is in order of my favorite courses.  For a long time it's been Pacific Dunes as the clear cut #1 by a significant margin, then Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, Rock Creek Cattle Company, Chambers Bay, Bandon Trails, Spyglass Hill, Old Macdonald, Kapalua Plantation, and Crosswater with Reflection Bay just missing the top 10.  Whenever I'm asked about my favorite course I've always answered with Pacific Dunes.  The natural architecture, unusual routing, the ocean, the lack of any bad holes, ect.  After playing Bandon Dunes again, I'm not sure about that answer.

I really loved the look and feel of the pot bunkers at BD.  I know the architectural trend has been towards natural waste bunkers especially at Doak or C&C courses around the country, but someting about having more pot bunkers appealed to me.

I think #4 at BD is an absolutely phenomenal hole and the routing to get there is genius.  #1 and #2 keep you inland but on the third tee you get a teasing glimpse of the ocean, you know it's coming.  But then it disappears and it's hidden on the fourth tee as well.  After your tee shot on #4 you turn the corner and bam, a downhill play that allows a strategic low rolling shot to a green that looks like it's sitting on the edge of the cliff.  #4 at PD is a great hole as well, but I prefer #4 at BD.

#16 at BD is the best short par I've ever played.  So many options off the tee with an incredible view and a very interesting ridge cutting across the hole at an angle.  Again, I love #13 at PD, but I'd take #16 at BD over it.  So in my opinion, the two signature par 4s at BD outmatch the two signature par 4s at PD.

I also love how #5 and #14 at BD are nestled into the dunes.

I realize there are lots of other holes, but I'm not going to compare them one by one.  I realize it seems silly to say this, but I was so entrenched in my love for PD that it surprised me as I was playing BD how I kept thinking "this might be more fun that PD."

I am curious to hear which of the courses is your favorite and why.  Keep it real simple, maybe 20 words or less.  
Bandon Dunes - Best introduction to the ocean.  Best two par 4s on the property.  Pot bunkers.

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#2 dpb5031

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 06:23 PM

Trails! Love the elevation changes, definition of the holes, and the risk/reward options...all in a beautifully raw and natural setting.

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#3 dan360

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 06:55 PM

Yes. Trails.  Maybe spoiled because I can see the ocean any day of the week but Trails anywhere other than down there is a major attraction unto itself.

*edit

Pacific Dunes is my second favorite.

Edited by dan360, 26 November 2015 - 06:56 PM.

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#4 QMany

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 07:05 PM

BD is my favorite.

That's what makes it such a great property, everyone has a different favorite and everyone is "right."
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#5 DrSchteeve

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 07:53 PM

Trails. The way the holes are framed is phenomenal - I just went once recently but the holes that stick in my mind are the Trails holes.

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#6 WiscoGolfAddict

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 08:57 PM

 FourUnder, on 26 November 2015 - 05:58 PM, said:

I know, I know, another Bandon thread.  There are a lot on them on the forum so I've never written about my previous trips to Bandon.  However, this last one got me thinking a lot about the courses so I wanted to do a quick write up to see other people's thoughts.

I've made 5 quick trips to Bandon Dunes.  3 in the last 12 months and 2 last decade.  I've played:

Pacific Dunes 4 times
Bandon Dunes 3 times
Bandon Trails 3 times
Old Macdonald 2 times
Bandon Preserve 1 time

A couple of random additional thoughts about Bandon before I get to the main purpose of my post:
- If Punchbowl is mostly empty, make your own course of ridiculously long/difficult shots.  The actual course is fun, but not as much fun as hitting a 90 foot putt through three ridges.
- Had the meatloaf at McKee's and I didn't understand the hype.  It was fine, but not legendary like I've been told by numerous people.  The chicken sandwhich is very good and the $9 half pound burger with fries was the best I've had in a long time.  Get the burger sauce on the side so you can use it on the fries as well.  Trails End changed their lunch menu this year which was a bummer since that's always been my favorite spot for lunch.  Club wrap, meatball sub, and fish tacos are all gone.  I don't know why, but the caesar salad for lunch at Pacific Grill was awesome and better than the salad anywhere else on the property.
- Played Bandon Preserve for the first time recently.  Unbelievably fun.  BP is a great way to spend some time without putting another 6-7 miles on your feet.  My buddy and I had a blast.  Took our time and played in 1:40.

On my two trips last year there weren't any tee times at BD so until last week it had been over 6 years since my last round on the original.  I have golf balls from every course I've ever played mounted in my office.  The other racks aren't organized but the first rack is in order of my favorite courses.  For a long time it's been Pacific Dunes as the clear cut #1 by a significant margin, then Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, Rock Creek Cattle Company, Chambers Bay, Bandon Trails, Spyglass Hill, Old Macdonald, Kapalua Plantation, and Crosswater with Reflection Bay just missing the top 10.  Whenever I'm asked about my favorite course I've always answered with Pacific Dunes.  The natural architecture, unusual routing, the ocean, the lack of any bad holes, ect.  After playing Bandon Dunes again, I'm not sure about that answer.

I really loved the look and feel of the pot bunkers at BD.  I know the architectural trend has been towards natural waste bunkers especially at Doak or C&C courses around the country, but someting about having more pot bunkers appealed to me.

I think #4 at BD is an absolutely phenomenal hole and the routing to get there is genius.  #1 and #2 keep you inland but on the third tee you get a teasing glimpse of the ocean, you know it's coming.  But then it disappears and it's hidden on the fourth tee as well.  After your tee shot on #4 you turn the corner and bam, a downhill play that allows a strategic low rolling shot to a green that looks like it's sitting on the edge of the cliff.  #4 at PD is a great hole as well, but I prefer #4 at BD.

#16 at BD is the best short par I've ever played.  So many options off the tee with an incredible view and a very interesting ridge cutting across the hole at an angle.  Again, I love #13 at PD, but I'd take #16 at BD over it.  So in my opinion, the two signature par 4s at BD outmatch the two signature par 4s at PD.

I also love how #5 and #14 at BD are nestled into the dunes.

I realize there are lots of other holes, but I'm not going to compare them one by one.  I realize it seems silly to say this, but I was so entrenched in my love for PD that it surprised me as I was playing BD how I kept thinking "this might be more fun that PD."

I am curious to hear which of the courses is your favorite and why.  Keep it real simple, maybe 20 words or less.  
Bandon Dunes - Best introduction to the ocean.  Best two par 4s on the property.  Pot bunkers.



Pacific Dunes - it's so beautiful. Old Macdonald and Bandon Dunes are the two I am most excited to play again, though!

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#7 WiscoGolfAddict

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 08:58 PM

 WiscoGolfAddict, on 26 November 2015 - 08:57 PM, said:

 FourUnder, on 26 November 2015 - 05:58 PM, said:

I know, I know, another Bandon thread.  There are a lot on them on the forum so I've never written about my previous trips to Bandon.  However, this last one got me thinking a lot about the courses so I wanted to do a quick write up to see other people's thoughts.

I've made 5 quick trips to Bandon Dunes.  3 in the last 12 months and 2 last decade.  I've played:

Pacific Dunes 4 times
Bandon Dunes 3 times
Bandon Trails 3 times
Old Macdonald 2 times
Bandon Preserve 1 time

A couple of random additional thoughts about Bandon before I get to the main purpose of my post:
- If Punchbowl is mostly empty, make your own course of ridiculously long/difficult shots.  The actual course is fun, but not as much fun as hitting a 90 foot putt through three ridges.
- Had the meatloaf at McKee's and I didn't understand the hype.  It was fine, but not legendary like I've been told by numerous people.  The chicken sandwhich is very good and the $9 half pound burger with fries was the best I've had in a long time.  Get the burger sauce on the side so you can use it on the fries as well.  Trails End changed their lunch menu this year which was a bummer since that's always been my favorite spot for lunch.  Club wrap, meatball sub, and fish tacos are all gone.  I don't know why, but the caesar salad for lunch at Pacific Grill was awesome and better than the salad anywhere else on the property.
- Played Bandon Preserve for the first time recently.  Unbelievably fun.  BP is a great way to spend some time without putting another 6-7 miles on your feet.  My buddy and I had a blast.  Took our time and played in 1:40.

On my two trips last year there weren't any tee times at BD so until last week it had been over 6 years since my last round on the original.  I have golf balls from every course I've ever played mounted in my office.  The other racks aren't organized but the first rack is in order of my favorite courses.  For a long time it's been Pacific Dunes as the clear cut #1 by a significant margin, then Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, Rock Creek Cattle Company, Chambers Bay, Bandon Trails, Spyglass Hill, Old Macdonald, Kapalua Plantation, and Crosswater with Reflection Bay just missing the top 10.  Whenever I'm asked about my favorite course I've always answered with Pacific Dunes.  The natural architecture, unusual routing, the ocean, the lack of any bad holes, ect.  After playing Bandon Dunes again, I'm not sure about that answer.

I really loved the look and feel of the pot bunkers at BD.  I know the architectural trend has been towards natural waste bunkers especially at Doak or C&C courses around the country, but someting about having more pot bunkers appealed to me.

I think #4 at BD is an absolutely phenomenal hole and the routing to get there is genius.  #1 and #2 keep you inland but on the third tee you get a teasing glimpse of the ocean, you know it's coming.  But then it disappears and it's hidden on the fourth tee as well.  After your tee shot on #4 you turn the corner and bam, a downhill play that allows a strategic low rolling shot to a green that looks like it's sitting on the edge of the cliff.  #4 at PD is a great hole as well, but I prefer #4 at BD.

#16 at BD is the best short par I've ever played.  So many options off the tee with an incredible view and a very interesting ridge cutting across the hole at an angle.  Again, I love #13 at PD, but I'd take #16 at BD over it.  So in my opinion, the two signature par 4s at BD outmatch the two signature par 4s at PD.

I also love how #5 and #14 at BD are nestled into the dunes.

I realize there are lots of other holes, but I'm not going to compare them one by one.  I realize it seems silly to say this, but I was so entrenched in my love for PD that it surprised me as I was playing BD how I kept thinking "this might be more fun that PD."

I am curious to hear which of the courses is your favorite and why.  Keep it real simple, maybe 20 words or less.  
Bandon Dunes - Best introduction to the ocean.  Best two par 4s on the property.  Pot bunkers.



Pacific Dunes - it's so beautiful. Old Macdonald and Bandon Dunes are the two I am most excited to play again, though!


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#8 QMany

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 09:10 PM

I have a 49-ball display that's now full. I asked for a 100-ball for Christmas.
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#9 Chris_NH

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 09:28 PM

I've been three times.  After trip #1, my favorite was Old Mac.  After trip #2, it was BD and PD tied, slight nod to BD if forced to choose. After trip #3, it's: Trails, BD, PD, OM.  

But I reserve the right to change my mind again ;-)

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#10 Edaw68

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 09:30 PM

For me Pacific is my favorite, just so visually stunning, and I like the unconventional mix of holes.  Although I like Wisco's idea of which one I'm most excited to play next.  That pretty much rotates to whichever one has been the longest since my last round.


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#11 jeremyblre21

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 10:10 PM

FourUnder... I agree with a lot of your assessment. I'm making my 4th trip (Christmas) in 28 months. My explanation is not simple :)

First and foremost I love the food but like yourself I wasn't too excited about the new menu at Trails End and miss the meatball sub, sliders and fish tacos. I can't remember if I like the meatloaf at Tufted Puffin or Mckees Pub better? The mac and cheese w/ chicken is a must at Puffin. Pancakes for breakfast, chicken for dinner at Pacific Grille are a staple for me.

Pacific Dunes is a superior course design than Bandon but it doesn't mean its my favorite. If I had one more course to play at the resort it would be Bandon. Its just a fun course with the large rippling fairways, expansive closely mown areas around the greens and I feel like you can two putt almost any green at Bandon. ( I do believe Old Mac has the best green complexes on property). Bandon appears tighter off the tee than it really is and is more about preferred lines into the greens. I can't even compare hole #4,#5, #16 at Bandon to #4 and #13 at Pacific. I believe #4 and #5 at Bandon are as good as a combo anywhere. #4 pacific is very challenging hole and maybe the toughest on property and #13 is one most naturally beautiful surrounding golf holes with the ocean on one side and a blow out bunker on the other but the hole itself isn't that unique. #16 at Bandon is not only scenic but challenging for its short length and the options off the tee or into the green are endless. To be fair #6 Bandon doesn't compare to #11 Pacific. Overall Pacific has more variety in its par 3's. Regardless, Bandon is just fun!

Edited by jeremyblre21, 27 November 2015 - 12:38 AM.

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#12 mallrat

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 10:27 PM

Trails is my favorite but it took me 3 trips to get there.

That said view from #3 on Old Mac going over the hill still gives me chills every time. Coolest thing I've seen on a course (well except my buddy throwing his club in a tree and it getting stuck then him climbing after it and getting stuck, we left him after letting 2 groups pass).

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#13 buzlin

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 02:16 AM

Bandon Dunes is my favorite because it's the perfect balance of fun, aesthetics, strategy, and difficulty.
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#14 spud3

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 03:32 AM

Bandon Dunes.  That view of the green coming around the corner on #4 is my favorite place in the world. I could stand there and hit that shot over and over, all day long.
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#15 Chris_NH

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 07:59 AM

 mallrat, on 26 November 2015 - 10:27 PM, said:

Trails is my favorite but it took me 3 trips to get there.

That said view from #3 on Old Mac going over the hill still gives me chills every time. Coolest thing I've seen on a course (well except my buddy throwing his club in a tree and it getting stuck then him climbing after it and getting stuck, we left him after letting 2 groups pass).

I agree - I refer to the cresting of that dune as a near-religious experience.


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#16 ws6

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 11:13 AM

Pacific Dunes is my favorite.  Standing on the tee box on 2, reminds my of why I like to play golf.

Posted Image

Edited by ws6, 27 November 2015 - 11:15 AM.


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#17 Tremaine

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 01:30 PM

Trails - all the above reasons...a little bit of everything. But BD an PD trail closely behind and I could easily be swayed. Old Mac is fantastic too, but just have never felt a connection to that one..

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#18 buzlin

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 06:10 PM

The closing holes on Trails may be the best, 14, 15, and 16 are fantastic tests.  And the feeling on 18 as you return to the ocean and club house really gives you a sense of an adventure coming to a close.
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#19 az2au

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 07:12 PM

Old Macdonald is my favorite by a wide margin. I find the design decisions there the most interesting of the courses. Like them all though and don't think Trails sucks like a of my friends.

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#20 Ktrain

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 08:29 PM

Bandon dunes # 1 for me. Love the views and the playability and everything about it.. Trails 2, Pacific 3, and Old Mac 4.  loved the Preserve also. We had a group of 8 and drew teams and played 2 man sscramble as an 8-some.. Super fun!!!


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#21 cbbaron

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 08:42 PM

 ws6, on 27 November 2015 - 11:13 AM, said:

Pacific Dunes is my favorite.  Standing on the tee box on 2, reminds my of why I like to play golf.

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#22 sabram

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 09:03 PM

I'd play any of them any day!

1. Old Mac

2. Pacific Dunes

3. Bandon Trails

4. Bandon Dunes

https://www.flickr.c...57631879646821/  Link to Bandon photo tours


Posted Image
Old Mac #7 - Ocean - fsteep uphill approach w. Pacific Ocean over the crest

Posted Image
Old Mac #14 - Maiden - view back to fairwy - tough putts if above hole

Posted Image
Pacific Dunes #11par 3

Posted ImagePacific Dunes #13 from upper tee zoomed

Posted Image
Bandon Trails #10-  approach from left

Posted Image
Bandon Trails #14   from tee - tough green- tough hole

Posted Image
Bandon Dunes #4 green

Posted Image
Bandon Dunes #16 from tee

Edited by sabram, 27 November 2015 - 09:04 PM.


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#23 FourUnder

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 07:57 PM

 spud3, on 27 November 2015 - 03:32 AM, said:

Bandon Dunes.  That view of the green coming around the corner on #4 is my favorite place in the world. I could stand there and hit that shot over and over, all day long.

So true. Easily one of my favorite shots I've ever played.

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#24 ws6

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 08:32 PM

4 at Bandon Dunes generally owns me.  The view takes most of the bogey sting away though.

Edited by ws6, 28 November 2015 - 08:33 PM.


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#25 av1084

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:42 PM

Trails for the layout and shotmaking potential.

That view of PD 2 above though, wow, just wow.


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#26 njlam

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 05:32 PM

I have been to Bandon at least once a year since it opened and I while I have sometimes been wet, I have never been disappointed.

While me and most of my friends will never agree which of the 18 hole courses is the best, we all agree that the most fun we have on our annual pilgrimage is at The Preserve.

That being said, Bandon Dunes is my favorite course for its beauty and simplicity. Even if you are not playing well, it is easy to enjoy Bandon Dunes.

At the same time Pacific Dunes may be my least favorite course despite its beauty, because I have rarely played well there. I find that PD can be very penal and a consequence can be difficult to enjoy. In my 10+ times playing PD, I have only played well once, so that may have something to do with my unpopular feelings about this course.

I often describe Old Mac as sexy and voluptuous, and once a year, I always look forward to playing there. However I think as in life, sexy and voluptuous everyday might lose its charm and become a grind. For that reason Old Mac is third on my list.

Surprisingly, Trails is currently my number two favorite despite being left off our annual rotation for five years (reinstated in 2014). BT is a course you could play everyday and never get tired of. While it may not seem as glamorous as its by-the-ocean cousins, if this course was private and near your house it would cost at least $250K to become a member.
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#27 Chris_NH

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 10:45 PM

 njlam, on 05 December 2015 - 05:32 PM, said:

I have been to Bandon at least once a year since it opened and I while I have sometimes been wet, I have never been disappointed.

While me and most of my friends will never agree which of the 18 hole courses is the best, we all agree that the most fun we have on our annual pilgrimage is at The Preserve.

That being said, Bandon Dunes is my favorite course for its beauty and simplicity. Even if you are not playing well, it is easy to enjoy Bandon Dunes.

At the same time Pacific Dunes may be my least favorite course despite its beauty, because I have rarely played well there. I find that PD can be very penal and a consequence can be difficult to enjoy. In my 10+ times playing PD, I have only played well once, so that may have something to do with my unpopular feelings about this course.

I often describe Old Mac as sexy and voluptuous, and once a year, I always look forward to playing there. However I think as in life, sexy and voluptuous everyday might lose its charm and become a grind. For that reason Old Mac is third on my list.

Surprisingly, Trails is currently my number two favorite despite being left off our annual rotation for five years (reinstated in 2014). BT is a course you could play everyday and never get tired of. While it may not seem as glamorous as its by-the-ocean cousins, if this course was private and near your house it would cost at least $250K to become a member.

You lucky dog - living that close.

Very good recap.  Your description of PD fits my feelings about BT - I seem to never play well on it.  Those green complexes just reduce me to mush.  Despite that, it's probably my favorite.

I do think PD is the most beautiful course I've ever played - when the gorse is in full bloom, it's just stunningly beautiful.

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#28 2bGood

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 11:02 PM

For me Old Mac, BD, PD, BT

Love the greens at Old Mac and each time I played it we have started in light Fog that made very magical.

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#29 glowchoy

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 01:26 AM

Trails when I'm sitting at home/work thinking about my next trip.  So many holes with great visuals that stick in my mind.

Pacific when I'm actually there playing.  I find Pacific demands the most from all parts my game to play well, which I love.

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#30 oregongolf

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 04:09 AM

For pure fun, Bandon is tops for me. #4 and #16 are all-world par 4s for me.

For raw beauty and difficulty, I love Pacific. It's significantly more technical.


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