Just finishing up the trip (in the Delta lounge at SFO) and wanted to give some quick thoughts and highlights.
First of all, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The rates are half price now from the busy season rates and we had 4.5 days of full sun and .5 days of rain. Highs were in the mid 50s and lows were in the high 30s or low 40s. If you had the right layering, it was no problem at all.
We all flew from SFO to North Bend, which I highly recommend. New airport that is 20 min. from Bandon. We landed on Thursday afternoon and our shuttle van was waiting for us with a cooler full of beer. They drop us off at Bandon and our clubs are all sitting outside waiting for us from ShipSticks. Before even checking in, we grab our clubs, drop off our suitcases, and head straight to the Preserve.
The Preserve is the par 3 course that Coore Crenshaw designed. It’s 13 holes and distances range from about 65 yards to 150 yards, but if you’re hitting into the wind, 6 iron is not out of the question. Just a really fun course and a great way to start the trip. From there, we took the shuttle over to the Punchbowl at the Pacific Dunes clubhouse. They have a bar on the massive putting green now, so it’s easy to have some drinks and work around the full 18 on the putting course. Lots of hollering on the Punchbowl.
Friday morning we played our first 18 at Old Mac, which is the newest full course on property and designed by Doak / Urbina. I love golf course architecture, and we’re all glad we played the course, but I think it was 4th for everyone on our trip. The greens are massive, which means it’s easy to 3 or 4 putt. It’s worth playing, but on a multi-day trip, no one was itching to play it again.
Friday afternoon we played Doak’s Pacific Dunes. The wind was howling and it was easily a 2-3 club wind on the holes directly on the ocean. It’s a beautiful course and we wish we would have played it in the morning when the winds are generally less (we’ll get to that in a moment). We started at 1:40 and were in a rush to finish before dark, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been had it been calmer and we weren’t rushing daylight. Because of this, our group ranked this 3rd, although it seems to often be ranked 1st. I want to try this course again soon.
Saturday morning we played Coore Crenshaw’s Bandon Trails, which was the surprise home run for our group. We knew this was the “inland” course and I love Coore Crenshaw courses, but it exceeded everyone’s expectations. Two of the four in our group (both of whom are scratch golfers btw) ranked Trails first overall. Can’t say enough good things. If you have your choice of reservation times, I’d play Bandon or Pacific in the morning and then go to Trails every afternoon when the wind picks up. Of note, we had 2 caddies (separately) over the week and both said Trails was their favorite course.
Saturday afternoon we played DMK’s Bandon Dunes. Blown. Away. Just an amazing course. Wind was up again but it seemed way more manageable on Bandon than Pacific. I was getting pretty tired by this point, so I didn’t play well, but the back 9 on Bandon is the best 9 on property in my eyes. I could play that 9 for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. We finished 17 when the sun set over the horizon and rushed in on 18 before it got pitch black outside.
Sunday morning it was cold and raining. We had Pacific scheduled but we were all tired from 13-36-36 and decided that we only wanted to play one round on Sunday and we might as well play it in the sun. It was the right call. By noon, it was perfectly clear and sunny. We tee’d off on Bandon at 1pm and easily made it around before dark. Both times we played Bandon, we’d finish the par 3 15th and turn the corner and just have our breath taken away by 16. Drivable par 4 that plays 280-300. We had a big North to South wind helping and 3 of us were able to drive the green. Just an amazing hole. 16-18 is such a good finish. The other 2 of 4 said Bandon was our favorite, me being in that group.
This morning we played Preserve again and packed up and got to the airport in North Bend.
My personal ranking is Bandon, Trails, Pacific, Old Mac, although this was based on only seeing Pacific once.
Some quick thoughts:
-Love February golf at Bandon. It’s half price and the weather can still be really nice, as it was for us.
-Use ShipSticks. They have it figured out at Bandon and it’s so easy to use.
-We had dinner 3 of 4 nights in McKee’s pub and it was great. Super reasonable prices. The food across the resort was very good and very reasonable. They could charge ski resort prices but don’t.
-The shuttles on property are so convenient. Without fail, if we called for a shuttle to pick us up, it would be there in under 5 minutes.
-Fly into North Bend from SFO or Denver (summer only). So easy and quick.
-If you want a caddie, request Nick Galbreath. Great caddie and super nice guy. @lifeofalooper on Instagram.
-Replays are half price, so take advantage of them.
-Make sure you play Preserve at least once and go to Punchbowl at least once.
I’ll work on getting some photos up soon, but wanted to type this out while it was still fresh in my mind.