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Bandon offers fantastic seaside golf in the Pacific Northwest

By S. Adam Cardais,
Pacific Dunes/Bandon
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Bandon Dunes Golf Resort's Pacific Dunes course is rated the second best public track in America by Golf Digest. (Courtesy Bandon Dunes Golf Resort)

Bandon has staked out a spot among the premiere U.S. destinations for golf vacations. There's exceptional golf to be found in this small Oregon seacoast city, including two of the nation's premier public golf courses: Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes, ranked second and seventh, respectively, in Golf Digest's list of the top 100 public golf courses in America.

Start a conversation about America's great golf destinations and you'll hear the usual names: Phoenix-Scottsdale, Myrtle Beach, Palm Springs, Bandon, Ore. ...


Yes, for those not in the know, Bandon, Ore. There's exceptional golf to be found in this seacoast town of about 2,900 some 90 miles north of the California border, including one of the nation's premier public courses, Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

There are also several fine nine-hole courses for those duffers looking to leave time for exploring Bandon's off-course attractions, including the 19th-century Coquille River Lighthouse.

Here's a quick guide to hitting the links in Bandon.

Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: One of three tracks at Bandon Dunes, this 6,633-yard Tom Doak design ranks No. 2 on Golf Digest's latest list of America's top 100 public courses.

Like Pete Dye at another famed seaside track, Kiawah Island Club's Ocean course, Doak let the land determine the design at Pacific Dunes.

"The rippling fairways are mostly as we found them; so are the natural bunkers at the 2nd, 7th, 11th, 13th, 16th and 18th holes, which guided our routing," Doak writes on the resort's Web site.

The course traverses from shore pines to stunning 60-foot sand dunes. As at many waterfront tracks, wind is often a factor, making solid approaches key. Pacific Dunes is a challenge, but the modest length means you won't be beaten to a pulp.

Bandon Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Known as Pacific Dunes' big sister, this 6,732-yard links course made No. 7 on Golf Digest's list. The club bills this bluff-top David McLay Kidd creation as golf at its purest, and it isn't false advertising.

Laid out along a stunning piece of ocean-side property, the course is free of both real estate and golf carts. Wind is a factor here too, though large fairways and greens provide a bit of a cushion.

Sunset Bay Golf Course: Located about 25 miles outside Bandon in Coos Bay, Sunset Bay is another solid nine-hole option. This par-36 golf course plays to just over 3,000 yards from the yellow/blue tees. Watch out for No. 2, where a large pond cups the right side of the green.

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