Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bandon Dunes 2010 Trip

After months of anticipation the end of July finally arrived. In the past four years I have visited BDGR twice before in 2006 and 2008, around the first of August. The weather and conditions had always been perfect at that time of year, 60-70 degrees, sunny, with winds up to 40 mph. This year we experienced what the caddies called a Marine Layer for about half the trip. That was like the locals in Florida calling cock roaches, palmetto bugs. To me it was FOG. It produced cooler temps, less wind, and photos that looked like there was a forest fire nearby.

The trip began on a beautiful day with an afternoon round at the Portland GC, which hosted the 1947 Ryder Cup. Next day was Eugene CC, home of some of the tallest trees you will ever play next to. There is no chance of trying to go over these monsters. That afternoon we headed south for the airport in North Bend to pick up the two other golfers who would round out our foursome at BDGR. Four wonderful days of 144 holes didn't tire us down a bit. We all wanted more but had to head back to the Midwest. Before the trip there was concern among some that we would not be able to withstand 10 hours a day walking. Amazingly as the week progressed everyone felt better and better. Was it the fresh salt air rejuvenating our systems, the exercise that kicked in the release of endorphins, the great visuals and golf at BDGR? Probably all of the above, but for sure none of us wanted to return to the real world. Two of us had one more course to play on our way back to Portland for our return flight, Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge. The weather again was picture perfect, sunny, and around 80.

After 20 rounds of golf in the summer at BDGR my next trip will be in the off season to experience how the courses play in the winter winds. So what is my favorite course at BDGR? Pacific Dunes is still the champ, but with a few more rounds on Old Macdonald it may be ready for a title shot. Every hole on Pacific Dunes is strong. Bandon Trails has a nice tranquil feel to the course with many fine holes, but it has the absolutely worst designed green complex at #14 which is a round wrecker. Bandon Dunes to me is a distant 4th to the other three courses and I am amazed how it continually is rated above Bandon Trails by the "experts". Must be the ocean views or it is still living off of its laurels when it was the only course at BDGR. Bottom line is that there is no other place I would rather spend playing golf. If you have never been, put it on the top of your Bucket List because you will not find four better courses at one site in the world.

TRIP TIPS- 1. GOLF-When setting up your courses at BDGR try to schedule the same courses on different days and in the AM and PM. This will give you different pin placements and wind conditions. The wind builds as the day progresses. If you want to take a break from walking one day, head south of town, play Bandon Crossings golf club and take a cart. I have always played 36 holes a day, but you may want to take a half day off just to kick back and explore what all the resort has to offer. Second round of day at BDGR is 1/2 price.
2. LODGING-I would stay off site the night before in Bandon and then spend the the remaining nights at the Resort. I have stayed twice at Lily Pond which are very large rooms with a fireplace and room enough to put a roll away in for a 3rd person which will cut down your lodging costs by a 1/3 at BDGR. This year we stayed at The Inn which overlooks the 18th green, but it is a smaller room which I did not feel was worth the extra expense for a view. The resort has 24 hour shuttle service and I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a ride anywhere.
3.FOOD- Great choices at the resort with huge, affordable, breakfasts to start your day off. Some nice places in Bandon proper if you have a car.
4.FLIGHTS- You can fly into North Bend and you will not need a car, but the connections are not that good from the Midwest and more expensive. Two of us flew into Portland and were able to play a round the day we arrived, played the next morning in Eugene and made it to North Bend to pick up the other two guys at the airport in the PM. It is a beautiful 4 1/2 hour drive down from Portland and if you have never seen Oregon I would suggest that route. After our last round we drove back to Portland and could have flown out the next morning. By spending only one more day than the other guys, we played two extra rounds of golf, got to see some beautiful country, and had a car for about what it cost to fly direct.
5.TIME- 3 days- play 36 a day in this order Pacific,Old Mac, BDunes, Trails, Old Mac, Pacific.
4 days- same order + play Bandon Crossings on day 3 with rest of day to play the short course.
5 days- same as 4 day except on day 4 play Pacific in the AM and BDunes in the PM unless the wind is up then switch to Trails. Trails is the least played and most protected from the wind.
6. Caddies- I suggest taking a caddie for at least the first round on each course. At around $80 per round it can add a few hundred $$ to your expenses if you are playing 36 a day. I have either carried or pulled a cart one round every time I have been there.
7. Cost- Figure almost $700 per day if you are playing 36 with caddies, which also includes room and food at the lodge. It is worth every penny to make this trip at least once in your life. $3500 for 4 days of golf, flight, and souvenirs should be enough.

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