Although unaffiliated with the beloved Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon Crossings–an inland public course nearby– expresses a strong vision: In this case, belonging to rookie architect Dan Hixson. The former club pro from Portland’s Columbia Edgewater proves himself an insightful, clever, artistic and wholly entertaining craftsman in this solo debut. Hixson subtly displays his encyclopedic knowledge of classic course architecture in such features as a “half redan” par 3. The parkland course plays 6,855 yards through a virtual arboretum (including lovely madrones), routes across ravines and over wetlands and swales, and drops steeply into a wide bottomland for several holes. And as in a good movie thriller, surprises reveal themselves around every corner. Bandon visitors will appreciate the affordable greens fees and the availability of carts, making Crossings the perfect second round of the day—but by no means second best. Beware the unique “corral bunker” on No. 5B—in play if you decide to only venture out for nine.
For further info: 888-465-3218, www.bandoncrossings.com)