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The best of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: A 9-hole honor roll

Brandon TuckerBy Brandon Tucker,
Managing Editor
No. 5 at Bandon Trails
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The massive, multi-tiered green is more challenging than the delicate tee shot on the par-3 No. 5 at Bandon Trails. (Brandon Tucker/WorldGolf.com)

BANDON, Ore. - Finding the perfect links land to build a golf resort with three, soon to be four, golf courses means every player is sure to have their own favorite hole at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the west coast of southern Oregon.

After playing the three golf courses twice each, I've created a nine-hole honor roll. Some are here because of the scenery, others their design ingenuity and others are because they drove me nuts. But they make for the most memorable holes of my trip, so be sure to look out for them when you book your Bandon trip.

No. 9, Pacific Dunes: You have to play this hole on separate days to fully realize its appeal. It has one tee box but two greens: one uphill and to the right, and a second, much friendlier, that plays downhill and to the left. The fairway is enormous but uphill and partially blind from the tee. I triple bogeyed the uphill green and parred the downhill green.

No. 4, Pacific Dunes: From the tee, you have to trust the wind coming in off the coast on this long par 4, as you must start your ball out along the coastline and pray Mother Nature does its part to avoid bunkers on the left side. It's a beautiful, 460-yard stroll along the coast before reaching the green, which is especially long and firm, and you could probably putt your ball up from 100 yards out.

No. 5, Bandon Trails: Just a meager chip shot at only about 125 yards, practically half of the hole's yardage is comprised of a massive, multi-tiered green, which can add up to two clubs difference depending on the yardage. A hidden bunker right corrals shots hit left.

No. 13, Bandon Dunes: Some of the property's most undulating land is courtesy of this 525-yard par 5. With a tailwind, the green is easily reachable in two shots, But the ground gradually gets more mounded as it rolls towards the green, so even if you have about 250 yards for your second shot into the green, going for it isn't necessarily the play. You're better off finding a higher and flatter haven from about 150 yards rather than find yourself in a swale deep enough to hit a blind shot up to the green. I played this hole twice, and from 150 yards hitting three I parred. Going for the green and missing right with a hybrid resulted in a double bogey.

No. 14, Bandon Trails: One of the most maddening short par 4s I've ever played, thanks to a tricky, narrow elevated green. A shuttle van escorts you from the 13th green up a steep hill to the 14th tee box, the property's most elevated point with views of the ocean to the right and the green about 310 yards steeply downhill. While the drive is great fun, if you don't have soft hands, forget about hitting this narrow, redan-style green sloping front-to-back, guarded in front by a steep bunker and in back by a collection area.

No. 11, Pacific Dunes: This short par 3 along the coastline and into prevailing winds can play anything from a wedge to a 4-iron depending on the winds. It's only natural to miss right here, as the ocean looms left, and getting up and down from this side of the hole, above the green, requires great creativity.

No. 16, Bandon Trails: This is another par 5 where even though a good drive can put you in position to reach the green in two, it's not a very smart play. The hole plays straight uphill, and there is more room right than you think, with shrubs and trees tight left. The green is greatly elevated from the tee, and little bunkers lie left and a larger one to the right. Missing the green will put you in jail, and you're better off laying up short to the top of the hill.

No. 16, Bandon Dunes: Perhaps the entire resort's signature hole, this hole hugs rocky coastline right and is short enough to drive the small, elevated green with the right wind. There is a ton of bailout room left, so it's not too difficult to avoid the rocky coastline right. Be sure to catch your breath on the tee box here for a few minutes if there isn't another group breathing down your neck, this may be the resort's prettiest vantage point.

More photos

Pacific Dunes  - No. 4 TeeBandon Dunes  - No.16

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • 9 Holes?????????????????????????

    Jim Usich wrote on: Jan 14, 2011

    You only had 8 holes!