Bristling with anticipation: Bandon Dunes

I am making my first pilgrimage to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. this Thursday.  Like most first-time visitors, I am bubbling with excitement to finally play at a place that I have heard and read so much about.

Photo: jneilson23, Flickr Creative Commons

Making the wait even more excruciating is the fact that I originally had a reservation in 2006 with five other friends for a guys’ outing to Bandon. Unexpectedly, one man bailed–for what reason we’re still not sure–creating a domino effect on the others that resulted in us canceling less than four weeks before our trip. Following that, I promptly moved to Miami, about the farthest place in the lower forty-eight from the Oregon coast.

I knew that my return to the Bay Area, and the direct flight to North Bend from SFO, would mean that I would get a chance for redemption.

And so now, almost six years later, I will finally get my chance. No, I didn’t get all six to return. There are two of us. Some might see that as disappointing; I just see it as a different experience. It’s going to be great regardless.

Here is our lineup for the week:


Any advice from those of you who have been?  Also, anyone else had a buddy trip canceled because of the one-man-bails domino effect?


12 Responses to “Bristling with anticipation: Bandon Dunes”

  1. Matt

    Those buddies must be cool guys. I have a group of buddies too, fun to be creating new memories.

  2. Jason Herber

    So how are your rounds going out there? I get to Bandon a few times during the year and absolutely love that place. Interested to see what your take is. You have had great weather the last couple of days but it sounds like you will get to experience some harsher weather the next couple of days. Have you had caddies? How have they been? I have a couple suggestions go as far as caddies for the last couple of days. Both Darren Bender and Scott Curry are great, both are very personable and know the game. Looking forward to hearing about the trip!

    • gabegarciagolf

      Trip was fantastic. Will get some posts up ASAP. We had four different days of weather: (1) Bandon Dunes – Sunny and perfect; unbelievable conditions for January. (2) Trails – Cloudy but no wind; temp dropped a bit. (3) Pacific – Started cloudy and breezy; hailed on us mid-round; winds picked up but then ended the round with good weather. (4) Old Mac – first few holes were nice but then an Alaskan jet stream carrying sleet pelted us for 14 holes until we got back inland and protected a bit. Loved every minute of it regardless of the weather. Playing with caddies was a mixed bag. They were quite competent. But I feel like they give you too much information some times. Since I typically am a feel player that goes without a looper, it was tough to block out the information overload at times. Then again, they saved my ass several times with their local knowledge, greens reading, and club suggestions. So it was both good and bad. They are very professional though and would recommend them.

  3. Arthur Little

    Just have a great time.
    We have been five times and have reservations to go back for a sixth.
    It is by far our favorite place to go for golf.
    If it is in your budget, get a caddie. They are highly worth it particularly if the wind is blowing hard and you are not used to playing links style golf.
    I think you will find Bandon & Pacific Dunes similar, but Trails and Old Macdonald are very different.
    It is easy to underestimate Trails, but it is the caddies’ favorite.
    TAKE your foul weather gear, both light and heavy. Highly likely you will need it.
    Don’t miss talking to Shoe, the official greeter and one of the resorts treasures. Tell him “hi” for me.
    Arthur Little

    • gabegarciagolf

      Arthur, your comments were spot on. Caddies love Bandon Trails. I did too. Though Old Mac was my favorite. Shoe is a great guy. Have a terrific photo of him all bundled up in a park and rain gear with walkie talkie in hand. Will post shortly.

  4. Mark

    Experiencing Bandon for the first time, the best advice I can give you is to enjoy the atmosphere and experience. The weather will be different, your game may be up and down, the ball may land in challenging places. But you have the choice to have a great attitude and enjoy the experience of being along the Oregon coast to start 2012.

  5. Bob

    I’ve been to Bandon Dunes several times (mother -in-law lives 90 miles away) and I suggest more than one round at Old Mac.

  6. Bob

    I\’ve been to Bandon Dunes several times (mother -in-law lives 90 miles away) and I suggest more than one round at Old Mac.

    • gabegarciagolf

      Bob – Great suggestion! I just finished playing Old Mac yesterday and it was my favorite of the 4 courses. Don’t get me wrong…all were spectacular, but Old MacDonald is so fun. It lets you play links shots your normally wouldn’t (or couldn’t) play. Each hole tells a story inspired by a CB MacDonald hole or a hole from the British Isles. The 18th (“Punchbowl”) was my favorite finishing hole on the entire resort…back pin location made for some fun circus shots. Couldn’t have been happy with the latest addition to Bandon. Now, if I could only have gotten on Bandon Preserve. Guess I will have to wait till next time.

  7. Bryce

    Your trip is exactly 2 weeks before ours. If you’re a golf nut, it’ll be pretty close to Heaven on earth. Pack raingear and wind stuff. That way you’ll be more likely to have good weather! We’ve got 8 guys running with an 80-person ‘Bandon Bowl’ trip, which includes a Super Bowl party. The stories will last until the next time you can get there.
    Have fun!

    • gabegarciagolf

      Bryce, we packed rain gear and ended up using it quite a bit. We had hail on Sunday and freezing rain on Monday. Still, the golf was incredible. Super Bowl in the Lodge or McKee’s Pub must be a blast. We watched the 49ers-Saints game in the Tufted Puffin bar on Saturday and it was rowdy!! As a Niners fan, I was thrilled with the outcome. My only regret was not having more friends with me to share the experiences of the trip.

  8. Dave

    I live in Portland and have been at least 10 times. I used to hate Trails (because it beat me down so much). I have come to love it. Bandon Dunes (the course) is still a very special track that I love playing. Pacific is spectacular. I haven’t caught the Old Mac bug yet, but I am sure I will.

    Was last there in September and while we mostly had great weather, we caught a howling gale on Sat afternoon. 40 to 50 mph. Caddies said it was the worst they had endured in a long time. Couldn’t even talk to your partners. 3 wood into the wind went net 15 yards (uphill lie).

    Glad you got to experience it. Oh, last thing for those of you about to go – don’t miss Alex (bartender) in the bunker room. He’s the best in the business.


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