Why Bandon Dunes is a must visit golfing mecca in Oregon

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort Southern Oregon.

Oregon has an excellent selection of golf courses both public and private, but no single venue in the state comes close to the offering of Bandon Dunes.

Its five links courses are each top 20 courses in the state in their own right while the venue arguably boasts the best four courses in all of Oregon and all on the same grounds.

Easing you into it

While Bandon Dunes doesn’t have a long history having opened its first course as recently as 1999, the resort has established itself as a destination for golfers with a reputation for excellence.

That original course is popular among a broad section of golfers while some find that it isn’t as challenging as the other offerings on the property.

The original course shares the Bandon Dunes name and was designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd.

Since its inception, the original golf course on the land has undergone substantial changes while maintaining its identity. Bandon Dunes is a great holiday round at the seaside.

Best in state, best in country?

The resort’s second course, Pacific Dunes, opened on July 1, 2001. Tom Doak, a Michigan architect, developed Pacific Dunes and delivered a masterpiece.

Pacific Dunes likewise received rave reviews and rapidly eclipsed Bandon Dunes as the top-rated course on the resort. In 2005, Golfweek magazine ranked Pacific Dunes as the best resort golf course in the country, narrowly beating out Pebble Beach.

“The 13th at Pacific Dunes is one of the most beautiful holes we’ve ever built. It was almost exactly like it is today when we found it; we just had to cap the fairway with sand so we could grow grass there,” Doak said.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that a hole with 440 yards of Pacific Ocean frontage – not to mention a 40-foot dune on the other side of the green – was going to be famous someday. Now that I think about it, there are only three other par-4s in America that have that much Pacific frontage – the 9th and 10th at Pebble Beach, and the 4th at Pacific Dunes. What a coincidence that they all turned out so well! Or maybe the setting has something to do with how much people like them.”

Variety is the spice of life

It is a stunning feature of Bandon Dunes that diverse creative forces have been brought together in the Pacific Northwest.

The team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were responsible for both the Bandon Trails and Bandon Preserve courses.

Bandon Trails, which debuted in June 2005, varies from its siblings in that no holes run along the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the course winds its way through dunes, meadows, and forest terrain.

Coore and Crenshaw were also behind the 13-hole par 3 course known as Bandon Preserve.

The fourth course Old Macdonald, named in honour of Charles Blair Macdonald, was designed by a team led by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina.

Doak and Urbina also came together to work on the sixth and newest course at Bandon Dunes, Sheep Ranch, which opened on June 1, 2020.