There is something so simple and sensible about the laws of supply and demand, especially those that suggest the best ways for a business to act when demand increases while supply stays the same: Either raise prices or increase supply in an effort to accommodate a growing number of customers.
For the past decade, Mike Keiser has had something of a supply-and-demand problem with his 13-hole short course at Bandon Dunes called the Preserve. The problem? The course has been jammed since it opened in 2012. Now, the man who founded the resort in the late 1990s is addressing the matter by increasing supply and adding a second short course to his acclaimed portfolio of layouts on the southern Oregon coast.
“We began thinking about another one right after opening the Preserve,” Keiser said. “Golfers really responded to the options it gave them during a visit.”
The new and as-yet-to-be-named layout will be a 19-holer that abuts the Preserve (to the north) and Bandon Trails (to the east). Designed by the recently formed firm of Whitman, Axland & Cutten (for Rod Whitman, Dave Axland and Keith Cutten), it is routed among the chop dunes of a site that is some 60 acres in size, with roughly a quarter of that eventually being covered by turf. Construction has begun, and good growing weather willing, preview play should start in the fall, with a formal opening in 2024.
“Holes will run from 60 to 160 yards, though we may have the odd back tee to extend one or two to 170 to 180 yards,” said Cutten, a 38-year-old Canadian who helped Whitman and Axland design and then construct the 10-hole, par-3 course known as the Nest that opened at Cabot Cape Breton in the summer of 2021. “Each hole will have three sets of tees, with the back markers measuring about 2,100 yards, the middle ones just under 1,700 and the forward tees a bit over 1,300. We expect there to be a lot of fluidity in set-up from day to day to ensure that the tees stay in good shape, because this course will no doubt receive a lot of play.
“The directive we received from Mr. Keiser was to make it short, fun and walkable. And by walkable, he meant not having too much up and down, because the dunes are some of the more aggressive ones on Bandon property.
“This site would not work for par-4s and -5s, largely because of how close together many of the undulations are, but it is perfect for a short course. Mr. Keiser did not give us a specific number of holes to design and build. He said, ‘Find good golf,’ and that’s what we believe we’ve done. The first routing had 12 holes. Then we expanded to 18 holes and eventually 19, with that final hole bringing golfers back to the clubhouse. You can see the Pacific Ocean to the west from maybe 80 to 90 percent of the course, and when you can’t, it’s because you are in one of the hollows. Visually, there are lots of ‘Wow!’ moments. The holes are sitting right there.”
Says Cutten, “Visually, there are lots of ‘wow’ moments. The holes are sitting right there.”
Keiser says he had more than a few of those during a recent site visit.
“With new courses, I have a habit of walking them at different times during construction and rating each hole from 1 to 10,” he said. “We are still very early in the process, but I really liked what I saw. I thought a couple of the holes were average, but I gave the rest of them my highest ratings.”
As is the case with the Preserve, all net proceeds from the new short course will directly fund the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, the grant-making department of the resort that supports conservation, community and the economy on Oregon’s South Coast.
“To date, we have given away more than $7 million through that organization for things like affordable housing and childcare in town and also removal of gorse in certain areas,” Keiser said. “We described the Preserve as a course with a mission as a result, and the new course will be the same way.
“And when it opens, we will have a total of 53 par-3s on the seven courses at Bandon Dunes.”
That demonstrates just how much the resort has grown in size and popularity over the past couple of decades. And there is no reason to think that is stopping any time soon.
“One thing I have learned through all this is that dunes plus ocean equals va-va-voom,” Keiser said.
It also means demand likely will keep outstripping supply – and that more courses at Bandon are sure to follow.
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