Bandon Dunes. Almost from the day it opened, the passion project on the Oregon coast by developers Michael Keiser and Howard McKee has been one of the most sought-after golf destinations in the world. Fast forward, and the resort now boasts 5 courses, three of which are rated in the top 10 public courses in America. It started with Bandon Dunes, arguably the first true links course in the United States. Designed by Scottish wunderkind David McLay Kidd. It is the embodiment of pure golf, a revolution and a revival at the same time. If you woke up on the first tee and didn’t know where you were, you would swear that you were on one of the great courses of the Emerald Isle or bonny Scotland.
After Bandon Dunes came Pacific Dunes, the Tom Doak masterpiece that debuted in 2001 with more ocean views than the QE2 and now ranks only behind Pebble Beach among public courses in the United States. Pacific Dunes is as stunningly beautiful as a Hollywood starlet and, when the prevailing North wind is blowing, about as difficult to approach.
Then came Old Macdonald, another links gem that ranks number 10 in the country but may have the most passionate following of all of the courses. Even though it’s only been around for about a decade, it has an old soul. Old Macdonald is a course completely without pretense; walking it is in so many ways like a walk through life, full of beauty and fraught with danger, moments of glory and of potential four-putt despair. Like all great links layouts, Old Macdonald can be successfully navigated by players of all abilities and styles.
And there is the classic parkland beauty of Bandon Trails by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the partnership that is dropping a trail of golf magic from coast to coast. The cherry on top is Bandon Preserve, the 13-hole short course that is a condensed version of the original and now ranks as the No. 1 short course in the U.S., just ahead of a 9-hole course in Augusta, Georgia that is reasonably difficult to book a tee time for.
Most people rightly compare the Bandon experience to Ireland or Scotland; the golf is stellar no matter which course you play, it is surprisingly affordable, and the off-course amenities are as memorable as the courses themselves. Truth of the matter is that from the East Coast it’s easier to get to Dublin than it is to get to Bandon. But once you get to Ireland you’d have to spend days moving from hotel to hotel on roads the size of cart paths in order to get the level of golf that is available within a five minute shuttle ride of your hotel room at Bandon Dunes. With the golf, the food, and the camaraderie, you are almost guaranteed to have a memorable golf experience at Bandon Dunes. But there are a few ways that you can 100 percent guarantee that it will be extra special…for your consideration, I present some tips to assure a perfect Bandon Experience.
1) Be prepared to walk
With only the rare exception (two or three rounds a day), all of the courses at Bandon Dunes are walking courses and they are not an easy walk . One round takes you on a 5+ mile walk up and down the dunes, and if you plan to play 36 holes on at least one day (see below), it will take a toll on your body. Walk some rounds or get on a treadmill to prepare before you get to Oregon and bring plenty of your preferred pain medication.
2) Book during May or December
The weather on the Oregon coast can be unpredictable to say the least, even in the summer months when tee times are the most expensive and difficult to secure. Booking in the shoulder season means not only greater availability; it’s also about 30% cheaper. And Bandon veterans know that there are days in December when warm Southerly winds bring weather when you can play in shirtsleeves.
3) Bring the proper gear
As mentioned above, the weather at Bandon is predictable and unpredictable at the same time in that you know it’s going to rain but you just don’t know exactly when or how much. Bring quality rain gear and plenty of changes of shirts and socks.
4) Fly into Eugene and drive to Bandon
Coming from the East Coast you can fly into Portland (4-hour drive) or North Bend (30-minute drive), but the best option is Eugene, about a 2-hour drive to Bandon. It is a gorgeous drive that will have you stopping often to snap pictures of some of America’s most beautiful scenery.
5) Stop at the Sugar Shack in Reedsport and SharkBite’s Seafood Cafe in Coos Bay
Ok, it’s going to take more than 2 hours from Eugene because you will have to make a couple of stops. The Sugar Shack in Reedsport is an old-school bakery that has warm service, hot coffee and some of the best donuts you have ever tasted. If you are feeling lucky try the Bigfoot, a donut that is roughly the size of an Air Jordan. And just outside Bandon in the town of Coos Bay is the SharkBite’s Seafood Cafe, a relaxed little joint that offers hand-crafted cocktails and quesadillas the size of a boogie board.
6) Stay for at least 4 days and play every course at least once
This is especially true if you are from the East Coast. It is a long trip, maybe once in a lifetime, and there are multiple courses to play. There are some hardy souls that plan 2-3 day trips with 36 holes or more per day. That’s ambitious at best and potentially self-destructive. Plan for at least three days of 18 holes and at least one day of 36.
7) Play The Punchbowl
The Punchbowl is an 18-hole putting course that has become an end of day ritual for Bandon regulars. It’s a great place to have a drink (brought to you on the course from the clubhouse), smoke a stogie and make a friendly wager or two. I find watching a group of good friends play the Punchbowl, with the laughter and shouts of friendship as a soundtrack to the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, almost relaxing as playing.
8) Have the Lamb Stew at McKee’s Pub
Howard McKee, along with Mike Keiser, was the visionary developer who brought Bandon into being. A gifted architect and an exceptional human being, McKee passed away in 2007 at the age of 68. He is remembered by all who knew him and his spirit lives at McKees Pub. Located near the clubhouse for Bandon Dunes, McKees feels like stepping into a pub in Edinburgh, and tastes like it too. Everything on the menu is good but try the Lamb Stew, a big bowl of slow cooked goodness. You will gain the wonder and admiration of your friends of you finish it.
9) Play At Least One Solo Round
Bandon is all about spending time with old friends and making new ones. That said, I find the solitary round at either the beginning or end of the day to be like going to church. If you have time, book a late afternoon round at Old Macdonald. Walking alone with only your clubs and your thoughts will give you time to truly appreciate how wonderful our game truly is…and how lucky you are to be able to experience it.
10) Book a Massage
On some golf trips, many guys think of massage as something that the significant other goes for while they are out on the course. But after several days of navigating the ups and downs at Bandon the muscles will be screaming for relief. Book a massage at the on- property spa and you’ll get welcome relief.
11) Budget for the Pro Shops
Five courses, five logos and thousands of great gift options await at Bandon. If you are a collector of shirts you might want to bring an extra suitcase for the gear you are going to bring back. Like Vegas, set a limit before you go in the door and walk away when that number is spent.
12) Collect Cheap Souvenirs
Like I said souvenirs can be a costly business, especially if you are buying for friends as well as yourself. Scorecards, ball markers and even empty water bottles are frugal ways to score some memorabilia for your buddies back home.
13) Have a Cigar in The Bunker Bar
As the name suggests, The Bunker Bar is located on the lower floor of the Bandon Dunes clubhouse. There isn’t a lot of signage for it and on the stairs down it seems like you are going to end up in a storage room. But what you find is a cozy retreat that features poker tables, pool tables and a bar with a skilled bartender and a first-class collection of spirits. And since you can smoke indoors there, feel free to channel your inner Don Draper and try one of the fine choices offered at the bar or bring one of your own.
14) Bring a Phone Battery Charger or a Camera on the Course
The courses at Bandon are one big photo op, and you don’t have to be a pro to take snapshots that are magazine worthy. Taking all those snaps will drain your phone battery faster than a pony keg at a frat party so bring a battery pack or a dedicated camera so that you won’t be cameraless when you find yourself standing in front of the perfect sunset.
15) Hit The Boat for Fish and Chips
On the drive home, stop at The Boat Restaurant in Coos Bay. This little gem is packed with locals munching on the some of the best fish and chips in the area. While you wait for your grub you can take a quick stroll through the train museum next door.
Bubba Watson ends 15-year relationship with caddie Ted Scott
Just hours after Justin Thomas announced his split with long-time caddie Jimmy Johnson, Bubba Watson also took to Twitter to state that he would be ending his 15 year relationship with caddie Ted Scott.
After 15 incredible years together @jtedscott and I have decided to end our on-course partnership. Don’t worry! We’re still friends. Read the rest in my photos… #LoveYouTeddy pic.twitter.com/tb6JTuMplR
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) October 1, 2021
Watson shared a few photos in the sentimental social media post, including one of an embrace between him and Scott just moments after he had won the Masters. Bubba also wrote a note that revealed that the two had “deep talks” before deciding to split.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner has not yet announced who would be replacing Scott. Watson is coming off a disappointing season, where he recorded only three top-10s in 19 starts. He has not yet officially committed to any tournaments during the fall swing.
Challenge Tour pro makes history by shooting 58
Alejandro Del Rey fired an incredible round of 58 during the second round of the Challenge Tour’s Swiss Challenge to become just the fifth man to fire a 58 on a professional tour.
Del Rey’s 58 is also a very special feat as he is the only one of those five to shoot the score on a par 72 course, in a round that included an incredible start (back 9) where he went birdie-eagle-eagle.
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) October 1, 2021
Check out the moment Del Rey finished off his historic round below.
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) October 1, 2021
Jim Furyk (PGA Tour), Stephan Jaeger (Korn Ferry Tour), Ryo Ishikawa (Japan Tour), and Jason Bohn (Canadian Tour) are the other four men to fire a 58 on a professional tour.
How to watch Bryson in Friday’s Long Drive Finals: Full Viewer’s Guide
Bryson DeChambeau has made his way to the final day of the World Long Drive Championship in Nevada, doing so in extremely windy conditions.
The 28-year-old impressed on Day 2 of the event, reaching a ball speed of 214mph to book his place in the last 16 and final day.
Bryson will be competing against his good friend and monster-hitting Kyle Berkshire on Friday, and for those of you interested in watching the final day’s action, here is how the format works.
How The Format Works
The final 16 players are divided into two groups of 8, with the top 4 in each group advancing.
Points are awarded for longest drive, second-longest drive, third-longest drive etc.
Each player will hit 30 balls over five sessions, with the total scores of each then added up and the top 4 in both groups advancing.
Last 8 & Final 4
Players are divided into two groups of 4, and each player will hit a total of 6 balls each, and the top two drives of every player will count towards their total score.
The top 2 finishers from both groups advance to the final 4, where the same format will apply, and the top 2 players will then advance to the final.
Both players will hit six balls inside 2 and a half minutes, with the longest drive of the two players deciding who is the champion.
How to Watch
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