Old Macdonald

[Portions of this post are repeated in the other courses making up the Bandon complex: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Sheep Ranch, Bandon Preserve, and Charlotte’s]

General Course DescriptionOld Macdonald Golf

Old Macdonald is the fourth of the 18-hole public courses that are part of the Bandon Dunes complex in the central Oregon Coast. Old Macdonald is an open links course subject to oceanside weather, but does not embrace the ocean (although you can often see the ocean). A wide-open course that allows the twists, turns, sand, and grass that nature provided. It is hauntingly beautiful and very well maintained. The course has large greens that can be courses in themselves with significant ridges and turns. Multiple tee boxes and the openness of the course allows an enjoyable experience for many skill levels. There are two significant hills, but overall a wonderful walk.

Course History

Built in 2010. Lots of awards since then as one of the best places to play in the country (in 2023 it was 13th on Golf Digest’s Greatest Public Courses in the country and the 3rd best course in Oregon; in 2023 it was 72nd on Golf Digest’s list of America’s Greatest Golf Courses).  The course hosted the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships, and the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships.

Why It Is There

Mike Keiser wanted to build a world class golf resort, and he got such a great response to Bandon Dunes, he kept going. Originally, Mr. Keiser wanted to build a replica of the (now gone) Lido Golf Club, designed by Charles Blair Macdonald, on the property. Tom Doak suggested that the course be designed to play homage to the designs of Mr. Macdonald, and that is how it was designed.  Mr. Macdonald is often referred to as the “Father of American Golf” or the “Father of American Golf Architecture.” Mr. Macdonald was the designer of the first 18-hole course in America, the Chicago Golf Club (of which Mr. Keiser was a member), a founder of the USGA, and the winner of USGA’s first national tournament. A great resource for the history of the Bandon complex is  Dream Golf, The Making of Bandon Dunes by Stephen Goodwin. A good reference for Mr. Macdonald is his book Scotland’s Gift, Golf or the (expensive but very detailed) book by George Bahto, The Evangelist of Golf: The Story of Charles Blair Macdonald.

I Wish I Would Have Known Before I PlayedOld Macdonald golf

Although the course is wide open, there are seemingly more hidden dangers and access slots than any other course in the Bandon complex (e.g.,  Where do you drive on 3?; What’s best way to get up to the 7th green?; Where do you drive on 10?; Should I go left of the marker on 16?) and the greens can be very difficult to navigate. If you can only take a caddie for one of your Bandon outings, take one on this course (although Sheep Ranch is a close second).

Did You Know

Portions of some of the greens, for example the front of the Biarritz green on 8 and the upper left on 18, are never used for pin placement. In 2017, the OGA named the 15th hole as one of the most interesting holes in Oregon.

Good For Them

These folks do a lot of good things. Received an award as one of the Best Green Workplaces 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 CourseOld Macdonald golf

Links magazine recently described the Bandon Dunes complex as one of the “no-brainer” golf resorts in the world that you have to travel to and play regardless of the cost (along with Pinehurst, Pebble, Kiawah, and St. Andrews). I agree. It can be very expensive (try winter), and the weather can seriously alter your approach (but not necessarily ruin your day), but the amazing location, the design and upkeep of the wonderful courses, and the positive outlook and attitude of everyone who works there makes Old Mac and the resort something you have to experience at least once. Although Old Mac at first look is not as visually stunning as Bandon Dunes or Pacific Dunes (because it does not embrace the ocean), it has its own beauty that you appreciate more as you play it.


    • Type: 18-hole public course
    • Price: $$$$$
    • Phone/webpage: (541)347-4380/www.bandondunesgolf.com
    • Address:  57744 Round Lake Road, Bandon, Oregon 97471
    • Owner: Bandon Dunes, LP
    • Designer: Tom Doak and Jim Urbina
    • Pros: Evan Speck (PGA)
    • Practice Facilities: There is a large putting green off the first tee; the complex has a very impressive practice facility: two driving ranges, sand and chipping area, and large putting green
    • Pro Shop: Medium-sized, with some equipment and lots of clothing (and rain gear)
    • Food: A good-sized snack bar in the clubhouse and a snack bar on the course (between holes 7 and 8)
    • Bathrooms: Improved in clubhouse and improved on course at the snack bar
    • Yardage Markers: All over in ground; pin placement on a rotating zone system
    • Clothing: Proper golf attire
    • Walkable: Other than two significant hills, very walkable
    • Spikes: Soft
    • Shoe Cleaning: Brushes
    • Rentals: Clubs and pull carts; motorized carts are discouraged but can be arranged
    • Open year-round
Yards Par Rating Slope
Black 6944 71 74,4 134
Green 6320 71 71.4/77.6 127/138
Gold 5658 71 67.8//74.1 117/127
Orange 4985 71 65.1/70 112/119
Royal Blue 4040 71 65.8 107
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