Bandon Dunes, Oregon

My friend Sam Fried and I played the three courses at Bandon Dunes in Oregon during the week of September 29.  First up:  Bandon Trails, the newest course.  87 off the greens.  Great course, several holes reminded me of Pine Valley:

Next up, Bandon Dunes, the first one, which opened in 1999.  Back then, Golf Digest rated the top new upscale public courses in the U.S.:  Bandon Dunes was ranked #1 and Whistling Straights in Wisconsin was ranked #2.  Here is my take on this:  I’ve played Whistling Straights about 8 times in weather both good and bad and have never shot better than a 92.  In very decent weather, I shot an 82 at Bandon Dunes, three shots within my all-time career low score on any golf course (I’m a 13 handicap).  Look, my caddie Harry was terrific and clearly helped me with that score.  But Bandon Dunes is much, much easier than Whistling Straights.  There are usually huge landing areas, not nearly as much sand to deal with, and fewer shifts in elevation to deal with.  Looking out over the Pacific Ocean while playing golf is an amazing experience.

Next day:  Pacific Dunes; like Bandon Dunes, on the ocean.  The course is terrific, and very challenging.  The weather was classic ‘links’ rainy/windy (sustained 30 mph), and my score reflected it:  102 from the greens!

I’m having trouble putting another set of photos in this post without screwing things up so check my next post for pics of Bandon Dunes and Pacific Trails.