Bandon Dunes Course Strategy

Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭
I know this may depend on what type of player you are, especially in your ability off the tee, but generally what type of strategy do you find yourself using? In today's bomb and gouge golf you always hear them say that strokes gained tells us that the further you hit the ball and the closer you get it off the tee the better off you score. When I look at the courses at Bandon Dunes, especially with their generous fairways, I wonder what they best way to attack them is. The yardage, especially after looking through my books, course flyover, and google earth seems to suggest that driver is just not the prudent play on a large majority of the holes (from the green tees). So my question is in general do you find yourself playing more shots in the 220-250 range trying to avoid bunkers and set up angles? Or are you being more aggressive and taking on more risk hoping to shorten the holes as much as possible. I know weather plays a big factor, but assuming things are generally normal.
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Comments

  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members Posts: 499 ✭✭
    I think it can be distilled down to the idea that you should try to hit the ball as far as possible without losing it.  If the hazard is OB or water, challenging with driver is probably not the play if you are not confident.  If the hazard is a waste area or some trees you can recover from, I think it pays to get the shorter club in.  As you said, this obviously depends on what type of player you in, but I think the general rule holds.  Bomb and gouge only works on tour when you are reasonably accurate.  DJ and company are not trading fairways for water balls, they are trading fairways for a wedge in the rough. 

    To directly answer your question, I would hit driver everywhere you can without out losing a ball.  I've never found the rough to be all that penal at BD.  In the long run, you'll do better hitting PWs out of the rough than 8 irons from the fairway.
  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭
    Do you consider fairway bunkers penal? I mean I sometimes think bandon dunes is the exception. Lets examine the first hole at Bandon Dunes. 350 yards from the green tees. 230 is probably a hybrid if there is little wind, that leaves you with something in the 120-140 range depending on pin placement. For me that's a wedge depending on the wind and uphill or not. So do I gain a lot of advantage by taking on the bunkers that come into play by taking 3 wood or driver? I mean I would rather have 140 from the fairway or rough than 100 yards from one of those bunkers. For me I consider fairway bunkers to be a half shot penalty.
  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members Posts: 499 ✭✭
    Depends on the bunker I suppose. If it's one where you can still approach the green, I think it pays to be more aggressive.  If it's more of a pot bunker (which you can find at Bandon) then I agree it should definitely be avoided.  If you're hitting 230 hybrids, you're an extremely long player so the averages may be different for you.  Being that long, you could be exceptionally wild and could lose 1-2 balls per round or at the very least hit a few that are off the map (if you're not a low single digit).  If this is true, then I totally agree with dialing it back.
  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,663 ✭✭
    It's all about the wind.  Most links courses you avoid the fairway bunkers at all costs.  At BD they're probably 70/30 no way to reach/maybe with a good shot.  The sand is from the beach and it is extremely deep in many of them.  There has been some talk of increased work on them as many have been neglected.

    If you're serious about scoring the best thing you can do is hire a caddie.  Lots of shots that look good from the tee roll into bunkers and a half a shot is conservative.
  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭
    Well I've used a caddie before on my rounds there and a good one is worth a few shots for sure. This trip will not be played with a caddie, but I feel like I am pretty familiar with the courses having played them already. I mapped out my game plan in my yardage books, and in general it calls for less risk off the tee and trying to play short of hazards. I just anticipate a lot of hybrids, 3 woods and 2 irons off the tee instead of driver every hole.
  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭
    I didn't feel that Bandon was a bomb and gauge course as much as it was a plan your way around it type of course. I know the fairways are pretty ample and forgiving, but there are still places to avoid. It's not a very long course, and for me a lot of the trouble came into play at driver distance, so plenty of 4woods and driving irons off tees for me.

  • 155 Funson155 Funson Members Posts: 30 ✭✭

    Dsevans8, I just got back from my first Bandon trip this past weekend and I was like you with the pre-trip yardage book and course flyover research. I too made notes of expected less than driver holes and once I got to Bandon and got on the courses that went out the window. I felt that there were many more opportunities to pull out driver as the width of the courses truly cannot be felt until you are on the holes. You mentioned a 230 hybrid with wind and that's exactly what I would use in that same scenario, so I am by no means a short hitter and I still felt like I used driver a good amount from the green tees. I was even fortunate enough to hit good drives and drive the green on OM #14, Trails #8, and Pac #16 the second time around by cutting the corner. Blew every eagle putt however :'(

  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭

    Also to add, since I cannot edit my post or quote myself, my comments refer to Bandon Dunes than the other courses. Trails was a mainly driver course for me, Pacific the same with a couple exceptions like 1, didn't play Old Mac. On Bandon I pulled driver on only 4 non par 5 holes, 7, 10, 16 and 17. There were other holes where it was debatable but I wanted to stay out of the trouble spots and leave more full swing approaches rather than partial wedges. You can certainly give it a go and cut some corners if you'd like, but being my first time and an early morning round I didn't feel quite up to it.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    155 Funson... Did you end up scoring well? I felt like my first time around I was uber conservative with my lines and just like you said, would walk to the ball and realize that there was a lot more space available to maybe more aggressive. Idk, just not sure what my strategy is this trip.

  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭
    edited Mar 22, 2019 6:19pm #11
    If you hit a 230 hy, I'm assuming that's a 275 driver - in that case driver all day long and twice on Sunday - depending on wind of course, there might be a few holes like 5, 16, 17 where it's too much, there is always a line that will work.
    It's a forgiving resort course - stuff strategy - just booooooooomb it. You could reach all the 5s in two and a couple 4s in one. Although in fairness B&G is a strategy, lol.
    @VNutz - I was going to quote you, but ya that's currently broken on this ____ site ;)
    Edit: apparently using a word that starts with 'c' and ends with 'p' and has an 'ra' in the middle is too much for the censor filter.
  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭

    @duffer987 Yeah 275 is about an average poke, more on a good day, maybe more there as I felt like their fairways ran out a bit. Bandon was my last round of an overall poor driver weekend, so I changed it up and actually had my best round of the trip by far. 4w was more than enough off many tees to leave a wedge or short iron in and I felt better with those than 3/4 wedges. If you want to be aggressive out there you can certainly do it to your advantage if you know the course enough; I did come close on 10. In the end, it is still a resort course, and Bandon is likely the most "resort" of all their courses, but with plenty of scenery around to make you feel like it's not.

  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭
    edited Mar 22, 2019 7:06pm #13

    ^Oh I should explain I was originally replying to the OP and then figure the observation may apply to you as well, so I really should have @ him as well and really I um... if we had a functioning website it totally would have been self-evident :/ but ya
    Oh - so that's a new one, apparently putting a smiley inline leads to line breaks either side of it, fantastic.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @duffer987 I like how you are thinking. I do think that all of the courses are fairly forgiving, and yes there are a few holes where driver is just not the right stick. I think I am going to go back through my yardage books and google earth maps and look at some of those aggressive lines and see where I need to be aimed to take advantage of driver.

  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭
    edited Mar 22, 2019 7:46pm #15

    @Dsevans8 On Bandon if you want you can pretty much pull driver on them all, with maybe the exception of 5, 14 and 17 depending on the wind. 5 could be difficult as it gets so tight and IIRC it's all fescue around it, and 14 driver can be too much depending on the wind. The other holes certainly can be done if you avoid the collection areas and fairway bunkers.

    Trails and Pacific were pretty much driver everywhere if you want, save a few.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @VNutz Yeah thats what I see the more I look at it. I mean the rough is just not really that penal, the fairways are very generous. The wind will probably play a big factor on some of the holes, but I just think if I can find the right lines on every hole then being aggressive will pay off in the long run.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @VNutz you hitting driver off of 1 at Bandon? What's your line?

  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭

    @Dsevans8
    Not likely, not a fan of starting a round that way if I don't need to. I think I took a hybrid off the tee and still had a short iron in. But if you want to do it, depending on how well you hit the ball you're probably taking it over the edge of the rough on the right side of the fairway, maybe even more depending on how aggressive you want to be. If you're ok coming from the rough the green opens up from that right side so as long as you're in play and don't end up in the collection bunkers you should have a decent look.

  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭

    @Dsevans8 said:
    @duffer987 I like how you are thinking. I do think that all of the courses are fairly forgiving, and yes there are a few holes where driver is just not the right stick. I think I am going to go back through my yardage books and google earth maps and look at some of those aggressive lines and see where I need to be aimed to take advantage of driver.

    Ya, I mean I'm not a big hitter, consider myself a 240 something driver and playing firm courses and with wind I hit plenty of 275+ drives, so reckon a regular 275 guy who be doing that but with 300. 1 - go up the boundary line and draw it back to the pocket 60yds short of the green. 4 - cut it off the bunker or literally take a direct line to the green. 11 - right over the bunkers (easier now due to 1 being removed) 14 - direct line/right side draw in, but the new bunker on 14 may impact that. IMHO those are the decision holes all things being equal 5, 16, 17 you get the wind making the decision. Think the rest regardless of someone's length it's a driver ATBE.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @VNutz yeah that was kind of my thinking going around Bandon, I could take a driver and be aggressive and challenge more holes, but laying back leaves a wedge or short iron at most. I mean 1,4,8,11,14,&17 don't need anything more than 230-250 off the tee to set up wedge to short iron.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @duffer987 Where is the new bunker on 14? I must have missed it because I am not seeing anything different on the flyovers from my yardage book, and I don't remember anything announced like on 11 and 17.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    @duffer987 On 1 I just don't think I want to challenge that right side OB, I mean no need to bring it in play if I push it a little, might take it in the gap between the left fwy bunker and the bunkers near the green hit a cutter. 4 depending on the wind cutter off the bunker, or like you said let it ride at the green. The miss is not going to kill me to the right or left. 11 has to be over the bunkers, enough room right and left on that line to feel safe. 14 google maps is showing like 250ish to challenge those bunkers near the green. Think that could be a good line to be aggressive on.

  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭

    ^DMK's twitter feed:


    With a bit of a helping breeze I've driven 14 a couple times now, once I copped on you take it on some kind of line between the left & right side of the dune behind the green, depending on your ball flight. That new bunker looks to impact the right 1/2. And as I've had a whinge about it in another thread, all it does is mean you end up in a greenside bunker in 1 and need and up/down for bird, instead of the extra bonus of having a putt for eagle... stupid bunker.

  • 155 Funson155 Funson Members Posts: 30 ✭✭

    @Dsevans8 said:
    155 Funson... Did you end up scoring well? I felt like my first time around I was uber conservative with my lines and just like you said, would walk to the ball and realize that there was a lot more space available to maybe more aggressive. Idk, just not sure what my strategy is this trip.

    I definitely punched above my weight class at Pac twice and Trails with some good scores, played to my normal handicap (9) on Bandon and Old Mac. Most times when I had the option of driver, I was pulling it. I also assumed it would be my only time at Bandon originally so I was going to be a bit more aggressive. I think I'll have another crack at it in the future though :D

  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,663 ✭✭
    edited Mar 25, 2019 3:52am #25

    Let us know how it goes. I can't imagine sitting at home deciding how to play golf holes that typically have 2 clubs of wind in one direction or another. Sounds like you want us to say pound driver, which most folks do. I giggle to hear you guys repeatedly say it's simply a resort course. Sure. Other than all the contours on the greens and the weather. Just another resort round. I've played to my handicap at BD but it's not easy to do. I've watched a friend put up a 73 on it, but once again it didn't look easy. I'd love to hear about a bomb and gauge 65, but I find it unlikely.

    Post edited by Matt J on
  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭

    Gimme a break - no one said it's "just another resort round" FFS. I've said in multiple threads Bandon is my favorite course in North America and VNutz has been effusive in his praise after his trip. Shouldn't stop anyone from pointing out the courses there are not exactly Carnoustie or Portrush off the tee.
    Save the trite condescension for a crowd that doesn't know better.

  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,041 ✭✭

    @Matt J said:
    Let us know how it goes. I can't imagine sitting at home deciding how to play golf holes that typically have 2 clubs of wind in one direction or another. Sounds like you want us to say pound driver, which most folks do. I giggle to hear you guys repeatedly say it's simply a resort course. Sure. Other than all the contours on the greens and the weather. Just another resort round. I've played to my handicap at BD but it's not easy to do. I've watched a friend put up a 73 on it, but once again it didn't look easy. I'd love to hear about a bomb and gauge 65, but I find it unlikely.

    Please don't take my words as trying to belittle the course in any way. I played it on a very calm day when the wind was down, about 1 club. It's uncommon but it does happen out there, and if it's your strategy to bomb and gouge so be it. I thought I was pretty clear that's not the way I would do it, nor the way I did it. FWIW the play it safe approach worked out great for me that day. I too played to less than my cap that day and I stood on 18 tee with a chance to break par. Where it went from there I won't get into, but I will say I want my revenge on 18 when I return this November.

    But as to a resort course, in the simplest sense of the term, it is. I'm sure you've read the book, in it they say that's exactly what Keiser after, a course that's playable for many types of players, not too easy, not too hard and memorable. I think they nailed it and it was my favorite course on the property. I haven't played Old Mac but IMO BD has less teeth (maybe just the day I played it in the wind) than the other courses, but it's by far the one course of the 3 I played that I'd love to play over and over.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    In no way am I saying that I'm going to bomb and gouge my way to some low #. I'm a 7 cap so obviously there are some issues with my game, and many times it can be on the tee box (doesn't matter what club usually). But that doesn't mean that being aggressive can't pay off, especially with the proper lines an knowing where you can and can't miss. Also the wind is a huge factor at Bandon, and will probably be the deciding factor on when and where it takes to be aggressive. As far as deciding before I play what course strategy and clubs off the tee I am considering using, this is GOLFWRX and I thought that's what you do here. :)
    Additionally I'm bringing my buddy on this trip for his first experience and he is a +2 cap who obviously hits that ball very well. I think there could be some low scores from at least one person in our group. haha

  • Matt JMatt J Members Posts: 8,663 ✭✭

    Again, I'd recommend a caddie. I get that sometimes it's not in the budget, but after travel, food, and alcohol, if you took a caddie for the first time you played each course assuming you played all 4, that's just $400. Well worth it, especially for a plus 2.

    I guess I pushed duff's buttons. Sorry buddy.

    There's been a huge propensity for guys to obsess over pre-planning for Bandon. I don't want to stop coming into the Bandon threads, but I'm getting pretty close.

    My point is really that you could pre-order the yardage books for $32 - see where the fairway trouble is on each hole, calculate wind on the tee box, and get pretty close to figuring out if you can carry the trouble or not, without ever going on Google Earth.

    For all the worry about fairway trouble, a guy who plays off a 7 and hits his hybrid 240 could hit 3 iron off of every tee and save more shots practicing chipping with a hybrid than trying to place perfect drives. My $.02. Have a nice trip.

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    Just got back this weekend... got a lot of stuff to consider and make some notes for next trip. I will update this thread a little later on today, and also prepare a trip review. Bandon was nothing like I remembered from 2 years ago, that being said there are some definite takeaways in regards to course strategy that I found very important. UPDATE COMING SOON!

  • Dsevans8Dsevans8 Members Posts: 217 ✭✭

    Ok let me start with a little preface to how things wen't for me... short game was just awful. I mean I wish I could have just thrown it into the Ocean and left it there but in the end I had to make do with what I had. The weather was very nice, just a little rain and a nice steady wind picking up around noon and probably blowing 20-25mph. Now this thread was all about course strategy, and maybe more specifically about strategy and how aggressive to play off the tee. I came in well prepared with my yardage books and notes about distance to hazards, carry lines, and in general trying to play to the safest landing areas. My first thought is that just looking at the books and google earth images does not provide enough insight into truly being able to gauge what shot and where to play that shot. Second is that the wind will be the deciding factor in all club selections. All of my notes were based off of no wind. Obviously that is not a real assumption when you are playing on the coast, but it can be a good reference for you to start at and then decide to add club or take away based on wind direction. Last nothing really matters if you can't hit the ball where you are aiming!! Like I said, short game was just really bad, but in the 7 rounds that I played I scored anywhere between 79-86. I think a caddie would have been good for 3 strokes a round on the greens for sure. One of the biggest things is that you need to avoid the fairway bunkers, those are easily going to cost you a stroke and should be avoided at all cost. On Trails especially, I found myself in more bunkers in the fairway then I even knew where there. I felt like the holes seemed to all slope and funnel your ball to the bunkers on a few of those holes where you can't see the bunkers from the tee box. Also being in some of those massive blow out bunkers on Pacific like the one on #3 and #13 cost me heavily. I don't want to give you a play by play of each hole and my decision, but I would love to discuss course strategy and what I though strategically about each hole. Ask some questions and I will respond and we can get this ball moving. I will post more details and pics in my trip review.

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