If you’ve traveled through the airports in Portland or Eugene, or even San Francisco, you’ve probably seen it. If you’ve ever had reason to fly into or out of Southwest Region Oregon Airport near the small town of North Bend, you will have definitely been exposed: Men, almost always men, sitting on the concourse wearing far-away expressions of loss and bewilderment.
In their golf shirts and wind jackets, they wait in palpable states of sorrow and stoicism. Something has been left behind, their faces say, and the immediate future is unclear. Some may bear grins but the cheer behind it seems dubious and ironic, a mask for an aching heart. They all look like their minds are still someplace else.
They suffer from a malady known as PBDD, or Post Bandon Depression Disorder. It’s a condition that afflicts those who have just departed Bandon Dunes Resort to embark on journeys back to whence they came, journeys back to normalcy and sadly, unremarkable golf.
For most, PBDD lasts a few days to a few weeks, sometimes longer. In its fullest form it turns golfers despondent, making the thought of returning to their home courses an unbearably cruel twist of fate. In their minds they have seen the elephant, the game at its most unique and concentrated and magical, and golf as they know it will never be the same.
Early diagnosis of PBDD offers the best chance for full recovery. As a public service, The A Position would like to call attention to this disorder, provide tips on how to spot its symptoms (Print and Clip!), and offer treatments that have been know to correct or at least soften the worst of cases.
Why PBDD is serious:
If untreated, PBDD threatens to permanently alter your view on golf. Ordinary courses may no longer have any appeal for you. Simply hitting golf shots and making a score seems an empty exercise without Bandon Dunes’ ocean views, caddies, links conditions and sublime golf environment. PBDD may cause you to refuse to play any course outside Golf Week’s Top 20 Modern, or any course not designed by Tom Doak, David Kidd or Coore and Crenshaw. Those who suffer from PBDD may become snobby and insufferable in front of those who claim their favorite course is something in Indiana or Florida. PBDD may cause you to speak of Mike Keiser, or Mike Keiser’s thoughts, products or habits, as if you know Mike Keiser. PBDD may cause your family to despise you, and/or think you’re mentally unstable.
If you suffer from one or more of these conditions, you may have PBDD. Consult The A Position “Remedies” list at once.
–Every winding road rising toward the horizon looks like the par-5 third at Pacific Dunes, every road sign and mileage marker a flagstick cutting a distant silhouette against the gray sky. [Or Bandon Trail’s 16th. Or Old Macdonald’s 7th. Or Bandon’s 16th. Or…]
–You develop an almost elemental affection for sea lions and tufted puffins.
–You try to putt everything inside 100 yards.
–You subconsciously reach into your pocket for a tee every time you pass the large fountain down in the plaza, thinking you’re looking at Round Lake from the 7th hole at Bandon Trails.
–It feels like cheating each time you get a flat lie.
–You demand the cook in your family to decode the recipe for Grandma Thayer’s meatloaf and make it at least once a week. The haystack fries, too.
–The word “fescue” instantly increases your heart rate. The word “bermuda” instantly decreases it.
–Instead of edging your lawn, you’ve taken a hoe and shovel to it to create a chunkier, blowout look.
–You rename your pets Hogback, Road and Double Plateau.
–When you see a manhole, you imagine it has revetted interior walls the way, say, the 12th hole bunker at Bandon Dunes does.
–Golf courses are de-valued for not having blind shots.
–You buy the “Architect’s Tours” videos of Doak and Kidd and run them in a continuous loop in your home.
–Random patches of scrub, weeds, long grass and dirt you come across ignite a desire to try to get up and down.
–You begin referring to every town and city as “____-by-the-Sea,” regardless of location.
–You cancel your home security system and instead plant gorse around your perimeter.
–Seeing wind and sideways rain actually ignites your desire to play golf.
Note: Different remedies will have different effects on individuals; keep trying until something works.
–Play 54 holes or more on your home course to the point of exhaustion. Sleep, and repeat until you enter a state of delirium, at which point you may not realize you were ever at Bandon.
–Retire for the season and trust the hope springs eternal of golf erase your memory come next April.
–Write a song or ode to Bandon, or better yet an entire book of verse about the possible permutations of sand, fog, shore pines and golf hole symbiosis.
–Buy small cottage somewhere on the Scottish shore; move there.
–Walk. Just get out and walk.
–Convince Mike Keiser to build something closer to your home.
–In all actuality, there’s only one real remedy: begin planning your next trip to Bandon.