Review: Bandon Dunes

The fourth instalment of my Bandon Dunes Golf Resort resort series features the original that started it all — Bandon Dunes. Built in 1999, Bandon Dunes was the first golf course to be in play at the resort. It has become a popular re-round course as it is the easiest to walk, and boasts some great views of the Pacific Ocean coming down the stretch at sunset. However, it would be no slouch at sunrise either, and you may just sneak your round in before the blustery afternoon winds pick up.

Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, Bandon Dunes has an elegant combination of pure links golf, with hints of modern design features. Like every course on the property, it feels mature beyond its years. Perched up along a bluff amongst natural sand dunes, Bandon Dunes does not offer any reprieve from the elements. Even in a stiff breeze, its rugged elegance lulls you into a sense of calm. Kidd did a magnificent job of fitting each hole into the natural landscape. Nothing at Bandon Dunes feels forced. Every fairway, every bunker, every wispy blade of grass is sitting right where it was always meant to be.

The approach to the par-4 4th hole:

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The view from the par-3 6th green:

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Approach to the par-4 11th hole:

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The par-3 15th hole:

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The reachable par-4 16th hole:

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The approach into the par-5 18th hole, with The Lodge in the background:

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Placing second in my Bandon rankings, Bandon Dunes offers up some of the most visually forgiving tee shots on the property, but don’t be fooled. The complexity of Bandon Dunes runs deeper than you first expect, particularly when the wind picks up. You’ll find yourself staring down innocent looking approach shots yet scratching your head as to how you can possibly get it close. It reminds you the value of being patient and picking your spots. It reminds you the value of playing for a par.

After walking off Bandon Dunes for the first time, my body was exhausted from carrying for 36 holes, but my golf game felt rejuvenated. I had just punched a low running 8-iron from 100 yards that landed in front of the green and rolled out to about 10 feet from the pin for birdie. It was a fitting way to finish a round at Bandon Dunes, and summed up the rewarding experience it can provide.

Bandon Dunes reminded me that golf is supposed to be a fun, creative game, with endless ways to find the bottom of the hole.

Bandon Dunes reminded me why I love this game.

Happy golfing!

Josh

9 thoughts on “Review: Bandon Dunes

  1. I read this and along with your other Bandon reviews want to book a trip there. A great read and your pics are terrific. Thanks.

    Mike

  2. Aloha Josh,
    I enjoyed the post – great pictures. But looking at the pictures it occurred to me that without a distance measuring device the lack of reference items around the greens would make choosing a club a bear.
    A Hui Hou,
    Wayne

    1. Aloha Wayne,

      Thanks! I did have my hand held GPS with me which made things pretty easy. Without one, it’s pacing off sprinkler heads, using a yardage book or listening to your caddie (if you hire one)

      Cheers!
      Josh

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