Bandon Dunes is one of golf’s premier destinations…It’s primary problem, if one can be picky because it really doesn’t have one, is its location on the Southern Oregon Coast. For those of us on the Atlantic Coast, it’s easier to hop on a plane to Ireland or ascot land. But there we were on the Oregon Coast already. So…
We took the scenic coastal route south from Astoria. There were numerous beaches, cliffs, beautiful bridges over rivers emptying into the sea, and rocks for roosting birds off the coast. So driving to Bandon was a reward all its own.
A little history about Bandon Dunes. Mike Keiser, a man with too much money and passion for golf, spent years traveling around the world playing the best courses. He decided to build some of his own, and settled on an undeveloped, sand dunes strip of land on the remote Oregon Coast. His first of four courses was opened in 1999. Today Bandon Dunes rivals anywhere as the best true golf destination in the world. Two of the courses are directly above the ocean, while the other two are slightly inland with a hole or two that sneak out to an ocean loft. The photo above shows Pacific Dunes, typically ranked in the top 10 American courses. The photos below show typical beauty that one must put aside to hit a good shot.
I got to play two of the four courses while Mrs Bear hung out in the lodge. Typically, she would have been out walking the beaches or dunes trails, but I appreciate her support of my passion.
The second course I played was called Old MacDonald, named after a famous Scottish course architect. This course borrowed his Scottish design features and built them into a course that seemed endless at the top of the world. The photo above is the Ghost Tree, the unofficial logo for the course.
I don’t think I mentioned that Bandon Dunes is golf the way it was meant to be played. All the players walk…no electric carts unless you provide a Doctor’s note confirming a handicapped condition. I didn’t see a single rider the whole time. Most players hire caddies to carry their bag, read their putts, tell them how to avoid the endless number of sand bunkers and dunes, and make them look like and feel like the pros we see on TV. It’s addictively pure…the way golf was meant to be played.
Too soon it was time to leave and get back on the road. But my dreams for the next few days will be playbacks of my best shots, with the sounds of the surf in my ears, the ghost tree applauding, and the feeling of inclusion in the history of the greatest sport ever invented.