BANDON, OREGON | The challenge of Bandon Dunes goes beyond the collection of golf courses and the scenery and the remote charm of a golf life along coastal cliffs that frame the Pacific Ocean.
It goes beyond the pancakes at breakfast, the meatloaf and mashed potatoes at dinner and the taste of a chilled pint when you finally settle into a big chair outside after your long walk.
It goes beyond the imagination that created one of the best par-3 courses in the world and the laughter that erupts during late-afternoon putting contests at the massive Punchbowl green and the shared sense of why everyone has come to this outpost that’s not near anything but perfect.
Bandon Dunes is the kind of place that after spending several wind-whipped days there last June, days when the staff apologized because even in the windy summer season they’d rarely seen four days of such unrelenting gusts, the thought of leaving is softened by the idea of coming back.
Our group arrived the week before the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, in the early part of Bandon’s high season that runs from May through October. Our visit coincided with past U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy’s visit and he could be seen, bag on his shoulder, getting his fill of a place that checked all the boxes for him.
“It’s everything that the direction of golf needs to go,” Ogilvy says. “Stay on site. Simple hotels, simple but classy and nice. Everybody walks. The price comes down for your second round. Your third round is free. If you play four in a day, they give you 100 dollars.
“There’s a par-3 course. I run out of superlatives. The place is just amazing.”
If you’ve been to Bandon Dunes, you understand. If you haven’t been, it’s more than a bucket list destination. It may be.