Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Oregon, USA
When the USofA attempt to replicate a distinctly British creation, the final result is often calamitous – see the US Inbetweeners or Irish bars Stateside.
However, there are times when they grasp the intangibles and birth something extraordinary, taking what has come before and seasoning it with a quintessential American flair – see the US Office…or Bandon Dunes.
Plonked on the southwest coastline in Oregon, the small seaside town of Bandon houses a remarkable people. The game is at the heart of a charismatic community, akin to any of the best seaside golfing towns we boast in Old Blighty. To match the inhabitants, there needs to be a club of extreme quality and charm – thankfully this is so.
“Untamed shores for miles…rugged coast…grassy dunes…in harmony with the natural environment…”. These are phrases attributed to the 72 holes that hug the Pacific coastline, but could easily describe any of our fabled links in the UK.
And there’s a reason for that. The club is orchestrated to emulate the spirit of Scotland’s ancient links and was designed by a young architect reigning from the Home of Golf, David McLay Kidd. It was a roll of the dice to employ the young, relatively unknown and untested designer, but they came out with a flush.
You know from the outset this is not your average ‘holiday-golf’ American layout, where drop-and-stop golf reigns, out of bounds is across the border, and lakes are turquoise thanks to artificial colouring.
Should you amble up and ask for a buggy, you’ll get a quizzical look. Carts are banned at Bandon, forcing golfers to hump it rather than cruise. Rightly so – this allows players to take in every undulation, and you won’t want to miss anything.
At Bandon Dunes the wind is often up. Lies are tight. Conditions are supreme. Greens are windswept. Golfers are smiling all the while. But your shot arsenal best be replete or you’ll be leaving with a blunted scoring pencil.
All four routes frequently rank in the top 100 in the world. Pick any and you’ve made a wise choice. Together, they offer up a variety of tests among the best available.
There is a valid reason Bandon Dunes is so revered in the golfing community, particularly by those that know their stuff.
It’s not quite the brother of Scottish links courses, more a cousin. The roots and soul of golf are the cogs that turn this machine, but it undeniably possesses something different. An essence of Oregon, perhaps. Whatever the secret sauce is, we hope there is more to spread around.
Head to the Bandon Dunes website for more.
(Images courtesy of Bandon Dunes)