The Rose Factor - Bandon Dunes Diary

The Rose Factor - Bandon Dunes DiaryDay 1 – We enjoy a terrific Sunday morning drive south on Interstate 5 across Route 38 (gorgeous pine forests, rivers, and elk sightings) and then down the Pacific Coast Highway with great early morning scenery. But all eight of us are very anxious for our first glimpse at Bandon Dunes. No one is disappointed as we pull up to the Bandon Dunes clubhouse (The Lodge) which is the main building at the resort along with the check-in area for the Bandon Dunes course.

Both Pacific Dunes and Bandon Trials have their own clubhouses, though Bandon Dunes is more impressive. The first tee is just steps from the drop-off area and beyond the tee we see only mounds, sea, and blue sky! Admittedly my heart is racing somewhat as I begin to soak in the atmosphere.

The view from each tee is truly postcard quality, but we are struck by the approach shot to #4. A straight drive will allow you to take comfortable walk down the fairway, until the mounds to the right no longer frame the fairway. At that point the hole turns to the right and you see nothing but the Pacific Ocean from an elevation of 150 feet. What a spectacular sight on this clear blue Sunday morning!

Some of our group had caddies, but a few simply rented “trolleys” (pull carts). These “Ricksha” pull/push carts have big rubber tires that make the cart very easy to navigate. The caddies in the group then tell us it is fine to pull the carts “on the greens” on each of the three courses at Bandon Dunes! The only rule is - DON”T STOP! Continue to walk through the green before parking the cart. This seems to be a crazy thing, but once acclimated it becomes routine. The greens are extremely firm and footprints (as well as cart prints) are non-existent!

The Rose Factor - Bandon Dunes Diary

After a beautiful round at Bandon Dunes, we head over to Bandon Trails for our afternoon round. This course is not a seaside course, although there are ocean vistas in the distance, but rather a course cut from sand dunes and forest. Our group unanimously believed this course to be the toughest of the three courses at Bandon Dunes. Bandon Trails is also more difficult to walk than the other two courses, although thankfully there was a shuttle from 13th green up to the 14th tee!On a course management note, be prepared to play the ball low to the ground on ll three courses. Many times you will find your best option inside of 50 yards may be to PUTT the ball. The greens are extremely firm, so hitting at the flag and looking for spin is not the recommended method of play. It may take a few approach shots hitting near the pin and bouncing off the back of the green before a player realizes he may need to reconsider his approach.

The finishing stretch at Bandon Trails from Holes 14-18 is demanding, so you will need to concentrate right up to the end of your round!

Day 2 – We woke early for a quick ride to Pacific Dunes. As if the first two courses have not been enough we are now fortunate enough to play the new #1 of Golf Digest’s Top 100 You Can Play for 2006-2007 (Pebble Beach is #2). To single out certain holes is difficult, but #4 is long par-4 with a drop-off to the Pacific Ocean running down the entire right side. With our early morning tee time and another postcard weather day, it is impossible not to stop as we walk down the fairway and absorb the stunning natural beauty! Beware of the par-3 10th, which plays about 200 yards into a prevailing wind (as the day goes on, the wind off the Pacific picks up and makes each course more difficult) For the most part the fairways are generous and the course is very playable and enjoyable. We are truly living in golf luxury as we complete our round at Pacific Dunes and head back to Bandon Dunes for an afternoon 18. Day 3 – Our last day at Bandon Dunes arrived just the same as the past two days; great weather and great golf. We tackled Bandon Trails in the morning and Pacific Dunes in the afternoon. We played two rounds on each course; alternating morning and afternoon on each to maximize the experience.

Our accommodations at Chrome Lake were outstanding. With two to a room, each guest had a king-size bed in an extremely clean and well- appointed room including a fireplace. After 36 holes of walking I recommend taking advantage of the whirlpool back at The Lodge to regenerate those tired muscles for the next day! Massages are also available by appointment, and may even be a necessity!While there are some activities in and around the town of Bandon such as restaurants and a casino within a 30 minute drive, our group ate all meals within the confines of the resort. Every meal we had, from breakfast to dinner each day, was truly outstanding. You will be treated to gourmet meals, especially for dinner in The Gallery Restaurant in The Lodge, and at Trails End in the Bandon Trails clubhouse. No one in our group ever had anything that was not truly wonderful. Specifically, I would recommend trying the sea scallops (enormous) and the meatloaf (popular in Oregon). I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed!

Hopefully my excitement has come through in this short review. It is striking to me how the architects have been able to take such a natural landscape and build championship golf courses that actually compliment the unspoiled environment as opposed to overwhelm it. I have been fortunate to travel to several top golf destinations in the country (Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits, Kiawah Island to name a few) and found Bandon Dunes to be at the top of list!

 

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