[Portions of this post are repeated in the other courses making up the Bandon complex: Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Old Macdonald, Sheep Ranch, Bandon Preserve, and Shorty’s]
Bandon Trails is the third of the 18-hole public courses that is part of the Bandon Dunes complex on the Southern Oregon Coast. Unlike the other three courses, Bandon Trails does not sit on a bluff over the Pacific (although you have great ocean views from several holes). Instead, after two holes in the dunes, the course turns into the forest of the Oregon Coast Range. In its own way, it is stunningly beautiful, with tall trees, many traps (seemingly put there by nature), and two water hazards (that are not the ocean). As with the other Bandon courses, Trails is very well-maintained and has a great staff. The course, particularly between holes 7 and 13, provides some protection from strong coast winds. Well-positioned multiple tee boxes allow comfortable play for all skill levels. It is the hilliest of the Bandon courses, but still a wonderful walk.
Built in 2005. Since it opened, it has been a fixture on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses in America (in 2021 it was 13th on Golf Digest’s Greatest Public Courses in the country and the 4th best course in Oregon; in 2021 it was 67th on Golf Digest’s list of America’s Greatest Golf Courses). Trails (with Bandon Dunes) hosted the 2020 U.S. Amateur.
After the success of Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser wanted to build another world class golf course that went through multi-environments — dunes, meadows, and forest. A great resource for the history of the Bandon complex is Dream Golf, The Making of Bandon Dunes, by Stephen Goodwin.
I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Played
As you take the cart from the 13th green to the 14th tee, you come out of the forest and see the difficult-to-hold, slightly-mounded green on the short par 4 on a plateau coming out from the left side of a hill. This is a “love it or hate it” hole, with Golf Digest once referring to this hole as “Crenshaw’s Folly.” As the pro told me, drive left (not into the bushes) and bail left (same). On the beautiful par-5 3rd hole, a large trap sits in front of the elevated green (with a trap back right). Note the pin placement on your second shot to get on the correct side of the trap.
Did You Know
When you are on the 14th tee, there is a path behind it to an overlook and a plaque. This is the spot where Mike Keiser decided to buy the property and start the Bandon adventure. It is well worth the short walk from the tee to see the view.
Lots. Received an award as one of the Best Green Workplaces in 2016 by Oregon Business. The resort won the 2012 Golf Digest’s Green Star Award for its efforts in conservation and environmental protection. The Director of Agronomy, Ken Nice, received an award in 2017 from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America as an environmental leader in the Resort Course Category for overall course management practices in the areas of water conservation, water-quality management, energy conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, and wildlife and habitat conservation. The complex is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Teaching host course for Southwestern Oregon Community College and Bandon High School. Evans Scholarship participant course. Historically, complementary junior clinics have been conducted by Scott Millhouse, head pro at Bandon Trails.
Why Play This Course
Trails is often seen as the “Poor Sister” of the Bandon courses because it does not embrace the ocean. But it has a magnificent beauty of its own as it wanders through the dunes, meadows, and coastal forest. Purportedly Mr. Keiser’s favorite course in Bandon (and the favorite of many of the caddies) it should not be disregarded if you are in the Bandon Dunes complex. Like all the other courses in Bandon, it is a course that should be played at least once.
- Type: 18 hole public course
- Price: $$$$$
- Phone/webpage: (541)347-4380/www.bandondunesgolf.com
- Address: 57744 Round Lake Road, Bandon, Oregon 974711
- Owner: Bandon Dunes, LP
- Designer: Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore
- Pros: Scott Millhouse (PGA, coach Bandon HS and SW Community College)
- Practice Facilities: There is a putting green off the first tee, but the complex has a very impressive practice facility: two driving ranges, sand and chipping areas, and large putting green
- Pro Shop: Good-sized with some equipment and lots of clothing (and rain gear)
- Food: Full-service restaurant, full-service bar (both looking out to the 18th green), and a snack bar off the 8th and 11th tees
- Bathrooms: Improved in clubhouse and on course
- Yardage Markers: All over in ground; pin placement on a rotating zone system
- Clothing: Proper golf attire
- Walkable: Very
- Spikes: Soft
- Shoe Cleaning: Brushes
- Rentals: Clubs and pull carts; motorized carts are discouraged but can be arranged
- Open year round
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