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Thursday, July 07, 2005

bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes - Chip shots and travel tips

Bandon Dunes is a golf resort to end all arguments, one of those life experiences that defy description by mere words. It is as poetic and blessed a plot as our golf nation has ever seen – the closest thing to a terra incognita golf adventure as can be found on Earth. The courses at Bandon Dunes have not only been regarded as modern classics, but have skyrocketed to the top of every major magazine’s top 10 list, (in the case of Pacific Dunes, ranked either number one or number two). They are already immortal. Travelers the world over already revere them as the equal of Pebble Beach, Ballybunion or the great courses of the British Open Rota. Sadly, the facility cannot accommodate spectators and thus cannot host a major championship, even though it richly deserves one.

Moreover, the après golf is unparalleled. The native Oregonians and the staff are as warm and inviting as anywhere in the country and the cognoscenti who have gathered to bask in the essence of these marvelous courses are always in an inspired mood. The days seem to pass with a soothing timelessness and the sweet gorse-perfumed nights are filled with a cherished comradery found only at the rarest and most fabled golf venues. No matter how droll, monotonous, empty, meaningless or trivial life can be at its worst, if any golf destination can refill the elixir of the soul – be a restorative - it is Bandon Dunes. It is truly timeless. If you love golf, it may be the best four hours of your life. Everyone should experience the resort once in their lifetime to truly appreciate what the spirit of golf is all about. Spend more than a day here or you will barely touch the essence. Leaving this once-in-a-lifetime moment is a bittersweet nostalgia; a parting of sweet sorrow.

Spectacular, serene and seductive, soon Bandon Dunes will take its rightful place as the heart of our national golf identity. Because of the still affordable price, the remoteness of the locale and the primal, natural designs, we are privileged to live in the heady halcyon days of a nascent golf scene. It is as unspoiled an experience as can be found in the game. Come now, before commercialism, capitalism and corporations corrupt this last bastion of the old ways. Standing there on the edge of the world, contemplating how far architecture has come since the iron grip of certain designers who promote tricks and gentrification instead of architecture, with the right kind of eyes you can look at the cliffs below the grassy castle of turrets, battlements and ramparts of fairway and actually see the high water mark; that point where the great golf architecture and design wave we are riding has crested. Bandon Dunes provides the inspiration to carry that wave as far inland as we can let it sweep.

********************AUTHOR'S TRAVEL TIPS******************************

Bandon’s remoteness assures that only serious golfers are patrons. Over 100 miles from the California border, the course is also five hours from Portland, eight from Seattle, and over seven from San Francisco. Fishing, hiking trails, kayaking, horseback riding, bird watching, whale watching, wind surfing, rock formations and the quaint town of Bandon-by the Sea all round out the incredible après golf that can be enjoyed almost year-round. If there is any drawback to the facility, the rooms in the lodge are somewhat Spartan. Best of all, in low season, the course is a wonderfully inexpensive $70 with $35 replays. The caddies are well worth the investment as their course knowledge will shave many strokes off your round. They also keep the pace of play at four hours or better.


Blogger JW said...

Any time and effort put into describing this OR locale, filled with a 'heaven on earth' mystique, is time well spent. I recently returned from a 36 hole adventure played the week before Pacific Trails had opened. Ben Crenshaw had passed our loop on the course and the other two golfers in our foursome had played with David McLay Kidd and Tom Doak the day before. Teeing off with these guys felt like we were at the Master’s. Caddies are filled with great stories and can read the greens from 150 yards out. Official countdown to Bandon 2006, started before I had returned.


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