Southern Oregon

Bandon's four courses fit naturally into the terrain

NO. 1 COURSE: BANDON DUNES

LOCATION: Bandon, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM EUGENE, OR.: Take I-5 south to exit 162 Roseburg and head west on Hwy 99. Continue around 50 miles to US-101 south. Take 101 south for 23 miles through Coos Bay to 7 Devils Rd. Take a right then continue to Round Lake Rd. and into the Bandon complex.

PHONE: 888-345-6008 (web site: bandondunesgolf.com)

OPENED: 1999 (Architect: David McLay Kidd)

GREEN FEES: As low as $75 to more than $250 depending on the time of year and whether you are part of a package deal.

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,732 (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: This four-course complex – with a par-3 course added in 2012 – is a golf mecca for the world, not just the Northwest. All the courses are full of signature holes, many running alongside the high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Bandon Dunes was the first to open, in 1999, and it’s a rough, raw test of golf. Ranked fifth best public course in the nation by Golf Digest, the winds, mighty at times, can be a friend or mostly a foe. It’s a walking, links-style course that will make you select clubs you might not otherwise use, including a putter from the fairway.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. par-3, 163 yards. This relatively short par-3 is lengthened by a stiff wind, generally left to right. And you need to give it enough power – yet be careful because there is a dropoff behind the green that sends you down an embankment. In front of the green is a deep, deep bunker with a blind shot over a tall bank to the green. It’s otherwise known as the Devil’s Asshole. Don’t go there.

Windswept Bandon

NO. 2 COURSE: PACIFIC TRAILS

LOCATION: Bandon, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM EUGENE, OR.: Take I-5 south to exit 162 Roseburg and head west on Hwy 99. Continue around 50 miles to US-101 south. Take 101 south for 23 miles through Coos Bay to 7 Devils Rd. Take a right then continue to Round Lake Rd. and into the Bandon complex.

PHONE: 888-345-6008 (web site: bandondunesgolf.com)

OPENED: 2001 (Architect: Tom Doaks)

GREEN FEES: As low as $75 to more than $250 depending on the time of year and whether you are part of a package deal.

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,633 yards (four tee positions).

LOWDOWN: This course varies a little from the site anchor, Bandon Dunes, in that there is more elevation changes and more trouble such as abundant gorse and scotch broom.

The layout starts out in a meadow-like setting, through trees, dunes and bluffs but also takes you to the ocean edge. A poll among locals would rank this course as the best.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 4, par-4, 463 yards. This is among the most scenic of all the Bandon holes. It stretches all along the Pacific bluff. The winds coming over the edge can be brutal at times. Anything right is gone and if you venture too far left you can be in gorse. Club up near the green – on most days – because the wind can knock you back.

Gorse is a big part of the look and the trouble on the Bandon courses

NO. 3 COURSE: BANDON TRAILS

LOCATION: Bandon, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM EUGENE, OR.: Take I-5 south to exit 162 Roseburg and head west on Hwy 99. Continue around 50 miles to US-101 south. Take 101 south for 23 miles through Coos Bay to 7 Devils Rd. Take a right then continue to Round Lake Rd. and into the Bandon complex.

PHONE: 888-345-6008 (web site: bandondunesgolf.com)

OPENED: 2005 (Architects: Ben Crenshaw, Bill Coore)

GREEN FEES: As low as $75 to more than $250 depending on the time of year and whether you are part of a package deal.

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,765 yards (four tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Even though this is a links-style complex, Bandon Trails gives you a touch of the meadows at times. There is more variety than the other three courses here and perhaps more beauty.

The layout takes you through forests early, with water hazards (not the ocean), along with significant elevation changes. Then it also brings you back to the ocean edge.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 5, par-3, 133 yards. The drive is not particularly difficult, a short iron between trees on either side, but the green is a minefield. It is a severe multilevel green with deep swales, so deep in fact that from a distance the golfer may look like he’s putting from his knees.

Rainbow over the gorse at Bandon Dunes

NO. 4 COURSE: OLD MACDONALD

LOCATION: Bandon, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM EUGENE, OR.: Take I-5 south to exit 162 Roseburg and head west on Hwy 99. Continue around 50 miles to US-101 south. Take 101 south for 23 miles through Coos Bay to 7 Devils Rd. Take a right then continue to Round Lake Rd. and into the Bandon complex.

PHONE: 888-345-6008 (web site: bandondunesgolf.com)

OPENED: 2010 (Architects: Tom Doaks, Jim Urbina)

GREEN FEES: As low as $75 to more than $250 depending on the time of year and whether you are part of a package deal.

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,978 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: This is the last of the four-course complex to be completed, in 2010. Most of the course is in a bowl, somewhat shielded from the edge of the ocean bluff. It’s definitely a links-style layoff as there are few trees and plenty of tall fescue and dunes.

The course is perhaps closest to the Scottish links tradition. The greens can be treacherous at times, with some hidden elephants and not-so-subtle breaks. Great test of golf.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 3, par-4, 375 yards. Your tee shot is completely blind. You need to aim toward a sad tree on top of a bluff. Then your approach shot in over and down a hill to a green that slopes toward the ocean. If you hit the front, it can roll the complete length of the green.

Bandon's long fescue rough is sheer trouble

NO. 5 COURSE: BANDON CROSSINGS

LOCATION: Bandon, Or.

DIRECTIONS FROM EUGENE, OR.: Take I-5 south to exit 162 Roseburg and head west on Hwy 99. Continue around 50 miles to US-101 south. Take 101 south for 33 miles through Coos Bay about five miles south of the city of Bandon, just off 101.

PHONE: 541-347-3232 (web site: bandoncrossings.com)

OPENED: 2007 (Architect: Dan Hixson)

GREEN FEES: Summer, $64 to $90

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,855 yards (three tee positions)

LOWDOWN: When it opened in 2007, it was selected one of the top 10 best new course by Golf Magazine. The layout – which is not related to the Bandon Dunes golfing complex up the road – still holds its own as a wonderful golf experience.

This region has some outstanding natural terrain, particularly sand dunes, that tend itself to perfect golf tract. There is great drainage. You weave your way through meadows, over creeks, through forests and traversing slopes. Part of the course runs through former grassland for farms and part is through firs. It’s a splendid unspoiled walk.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 12, par-5, 500 yards. The fairway is wide to accept a tee shot but then it narrows to just 27 yards as you approach the green. Just about every second shot in blind, over a ridge to the green, which is protected by three bunkers. Direct you approach toward a transformer tower on the far ridge.

- Bob Sherwin