Bandon Dunes Golf Trip November 2016

Article by: Billy Satterfield

Bandon Dunes is the ultimate public golf retreat in America; yes, even better than Pebble Beach. With four courses ranked among the top 15 public tracks in the country by Golf magazine and Golf Digest, there simply isn't a better place to tee it up for a few days. Bandon Dunes' slogan is "Golf as it was meant to be." After you visit you will know exactly why. All of the courses are walking only and located on Oregon's stunning coast which delivers America's best links golf experience. If you have never heard of Bandon Dunes then report to your Bishop immediately, repent, and spend a few hours online learning about this golf mecca.

The 6th hole at Bandon Dunes helps show why the original course at the resort has the best one-shotters
The 6th hole at Bandon Dunes helps show why the original course at the resort has the best one-shotters

One of my favorite things about Bandon Dunes is that there are no distractions. There is literally nothing to do other than golf during the daylight and eat when its dark. Those that know me best know that I can't think of a better way to spend the day. There are no homes on the courses, gorgeous ocean views, and a bunch of golf nuts that are willing to travel to the most remote parts of the country to experience the best golf available. If you never plan on going across the pond to Ireland or Scotland, then this is your best chance to experience golf in its purest form.

One of my all time favorite photos is this one of the 13th hole at Pacific Dunes
One of my all time favorite photos is this one of the 13th hole at Pacific Dunes

During the summer it costs about $700 a day for golf, lodging, and food. Starting the week of Thanksgiving, the price drops to 1/3 of the regular cost. What is great though is that the average high is only 10-12 degrees cooler in November than in the summer. Bandon is known for high winds and frequent rain, yet in the 15-16 rounds I've played there (always in November) I've only been rained on during two of the rounds and had high winds for less than a half of a round. You never know what the weather will be like, but I've had good luck so far. Around Thanksgiving there is a limited amount of daylight so getting in 36 holes each day is doable only for the first 4-5 groups that tee off each day.

The short par three 5th at Bandon Trails is a favorite among patrons and easy to three-putt
The short par three 5th at Bandon Trails is a favorite among patrons and easy to three-putt

RESERVATIONS: I called Bandon Dunes today (over a year in advanace) and made reservations which cost nearly $1,200 for an initial deposit. Since there are tee times already reserved for those mornings, the earliest tee times I could get start at 7:40 AM and the soonest they will let you re-round is 5 hours later. So, I scheduled the 7:40, 7:50, and 8:00 tee times for Monday and Tuesday with corresponding 12:40, 12:50, and 1:00 tee times for the afternoon. Since 1:00 is the last tee time they offer, 12 is the maximum number of golfers I can include in this trip so that we have guaranteed tee times in the morning and afternoon and thus don't have to be on stand-by in the afternoon. To reserve your spot on this trip you will need to bring me a deposit of $250. The remainder of the money required (total amount to be determined early next year) for lodging and golf will be due 90 days before departure so that I have it in hand well in advance and can pay for those items prior to or upon our arrival. If you decide you can't come after making your deposit, your deposit will be refunded once I find a replacement for you or cancel you from the reservation. I can cancel reservations up to 30 days in advance, so bailing on the trip less than 30 days in advance will result in a forfeiture of deposit if I can't find someone to fill your spot.

The iconic dead tree on the 3rd hole at Old Macdonald has quickly become the iconic feature of the course
The iconic dead tree on the 3rd hole at Old Macdonald has quickly become the iconic feature of the course

WALKING: Bandon is a walking only facility with no exceptions. That being said, push carts are allowed. However, I would strongly encourage people to rent the Riksha carts ($5/day) available at each course rather than bringing their own push cart or carrying their clubs. The Riksha carts have 20" wheels with a 3" wide base that navigate the sand and terrain far superior to any other push cart. The wheels are such that you are also allowed to push the carts over the very large greens since they put such little wear (far less than your feet) on the grass.

The favorite hole of many patrons to the resort is the coastal 16th at Bandon Dunes
The favorite hole of many patrons to the resort is the coastal 16th at Bandon Dunes

SHOES: I made the mistake of playing in newer golf shoes the first time I went to Bandon and my blisters were so bad by day three that I could hardly finish my rounds. I recommend bringing good running/walking shoes to wear for at least one, if not both, of your rounds each day. The fairways and greens are fescue which is the preferred grass strain for true links golf. Fescue is a thin, rounded blade versus bent and bluegrass which is a sticky, flat blade. As such, your spikes aren't going to work near as well on fescue as they would at courses you are used to because the spikes simply won't grab the blades. The fescue sits on a sand base and will produce tight lies with little traction which helps the ball run and utilize the contours of the ground in a most enjoyable way. Due to the sand base combined with frequent rain and wind, Bandon has a very firm base and will wear your feet out if you don't have a good cushion in your shoe. I will be bringing a pair of golf shoes to utilize if rain is in the forecast since they handle the weather better, and then will play in running/walking shoes any round where rain doesn't seem to be a major threat. Wearing two pairs of socks is a good idea too.

Very few holes rival the drama or beauty of the coastal par four 4th hole at Pacific Dunes
Very few holes rival the drama or beauty of the coastal par four 4th hole at Pacific Dunes

ATTIRE: Don't wear jeans or denim, in fact, this is a rule of thumb anytime you are invited to play anywhere. If you want to wear jeans due to the insulation factor against wind, then you can put a pair of rain pants over the top of them and play that way. Speaking of which, bring rain pants and a rain jacket. Also, dress in layers. It is very common to add or remove clothing multiple times during a round at Bandon. I will often wear a long sleeve shirt as my base, put a collared shirt on over the top of it, and then have a jacket in my bag. When it is warm I take off my collared shirt and play in just my long sleeve shirt (doesn't have to be collared). When the rain comes or it gets cold then I put my jacket on over my long sleeve shirt and my collared shirt. I don't necessarily recommend bringing an umbrella. When the wind is strong enough it will fold your umbrella in half and can be more of a pain than a help. Water proof clothes are the best idea. Lastly, bring a beanie. I've never worn one while at Bandon, but a good beanie or earmuffs can be nice in certain conditions. Some people bring weather proof golf gloves as well though I doubt I will (I'll probably throw a couple of hand warmers in my pockets if needs be).

Bandon Trails makes the arguement of having the best par fives at the resort and the 16th is a big reason why
Bandon Trails makes the arguement of having the best par fives at the resort and the 16th is a big reason why

TRANSPORTATION: We will have three vehicles on site since we are driving to Bandon, however, it is worth noting that within the resort there are shuttle buses constantly going around the property. As such, it is really easy to get from your room to a restaurant or from one course to the next. There is also a hot tub and sauna on site so the shuttle system will be handy in case some people want to utilize those facilities while others don't.

The 15th at Old Macdonald is known as Westward-Ho as it plays directly towards the Pacific Ocean
The 15th at Old Macdonald is known as Westward-Ho as it plays directly towards the Pacific Ocean

SCHEDULE:

  • Sunday November 20th: Leave Pocatello between 8:00 - 9:00 AM and stay the night in a hotel in Coos Bay approximately 20 miles north of Bandon Dunes Resort.
  • Monday November 21st: Leave Coos Bay at 6:00 AM arriving at Bandon Dunes at 6:30 AM. Eat breakfast at Pacific Grill restaurant above the golf shop at Pacific Dunes. Tee off at 7:40, 7:50, and 8:00 at Pacific Dunes. Grab homemade chili and a hot dog from the Old Macdonald turnstand before teeing off at Old Macdonald for the 12:40, 12:50, and 1:00 tee times. Upon completion of golf, we will check-in to our Chrome Lake rooms and go to McKee's Pub for dinner where we will talk golf and catch some Monday Night Football.
  • Tuesday November 22nd: 6:30 AM eat the breakfast buffet at The Gallery restaurant located in the main lodge. Tee off at Bandon Trails with the 7:40, 7:50, and 8:00 tee times. Upon completion, eat the fish tacos or a burger at Trails End restaurant near the 18th green. After lunch, tee off with the 12:40, 12:50, and 1:00 tee times at Bandon Dunes. Upon completion, eat dinner at The Gallery near Bandon Dunes' 18th green or over at Pacific Grill.
  • Wednesday November 23rd: 7:00 AM eat the breakfast buffet at The Gallery restaurant located in the main lodge. Tee off at The Preserve (13 hole par 3 course) at 8:00, 8:15, and 8:30 tee times. Upon completion, play Punchbowl (18 hole putting course located on a 100,000 square foot green) as the final Bandon experience before hitting the road around noon and arriving in Pocatello around midnight. If Punchbowl is closed, we could go play Bandon Crossings instead which is a great track in its own right.
Your first exposure to the ocean is with this inspiring approach shot on the 4th hole at Bandon Dunes
Your first exposure to the ocean is with this inspiring approach shot on the 4th hole at Bandon Dunes