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Bandon Dunes 25th anniversary: A step back in time to the first Bandon story by Golfweek

By admin May12,2024

Golfweek got its first look at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in 1998, when several writers visited before the first of what has become five courses even officially opened. Dave Seanor, Golfweek’s editor at the time, wrote the first national story on the new course.

The next year, Golfweek put Bandon Dunes on the magazine cover in March, two months before the grand opening, and described the layout as among the top 10 courses in the U.S. The accolades have been coming ever since.

For more details on the development of Bandon Dunes, check out developer Mike Keiser’s most recent book, “The Nature of the Game.” And keep scrolling for Seanor’s story that served as an introduction for so many to Bandon Dunes.

With the resort celebrating its 25th anniversary, Golfweek Travel Editor Jason Lusk put together a comprehensive package for the occasion, complete with Q&As of pivotal people in and around the operation. To see the entire package of stories, click here.

Picture a cross between Pebble Beach and Carnoustie – with a pinch of Pine Valley for good measure – and you have Bandon Dunes. Tentatively set to open next May, the new resort in Bandon, Oregon, already has previewers rating it as a “must-play” destination for the golf purist.

Owner Mike Keiser, a Chicagoan with a passion for golf in the Scottish tradition, imported architect David McLay Kidd of Gleneagles, Scotland, and gave him the run of 2,500 virgin acres to design only his second golf course. Not since the golden age of course construction in the 1920s has a Scottish designer left such a striking impact on American soil. Architecturally precocious at 30, Kidd created a masterpiece that’s evocative of the great links courses of his native land.

Bandon Dunes sits atop a bluff that commands a seemingly endless stretch of pristine Pacific Ocean beach. The routing meshes naturally with the existing duneland terrain; Keiser insisted that a minimum of earth be moved during construction. There is no water on the links of Bandon, although six holes abut the Pacific.

Sod-faced bunkers bring to mind Carnoustie. Wind can wreak havoc, especially on the par 3s – three of which have arresting ocean backdrops. Greens and chipping areas are configured to reward the creative ground game. Fairways are magnanimous for the resort player, but with strategically placed bunkers that provoke indecision on the tee. Stray from the short stuff, and the golfer must grapple with Scottish-like gorse and whins.

More memorable that the risks are the rewards. Stand over a putt, and the only sound is the crashing of waves. A 36-hole walk is paradise, not purgatory. And walk you must. At Bandon Dunes, which eventually will have 54 holes, caddies are the rule, not the exception.

Accommodations will include 20 suites in the clubhouse complex and between 30 and 40 cottages out of sight of the golf course.

For more details, call Bandon Dunes at 541/347-4380.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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