This was my eighth trip to Bandon (first one in February) but is my first time reporting. It started out as a buddies trip but the others ended up canceling for Covid reasons so I went solo. I had low expectations for scoring since I only played seven rounds in the past year, five of which were in one holiday weekend. Fortunately, a single-occupancy room opened up for most of my time there.
Day 1 (Arrival)
My flight from home to the connecting airport went smoothly, but somehow American needed ten minutes to connect the jet bridge to the plane after parking. Of course, the arrival and departure gates were nowhere near each other. I was already double-timing it and still a quarter mile away when the lady on the intercom said “Flight 24 to Eugene will be closing its gates in four minutes.” I attempted to morph into Usain Bolt with a carry-on and backpack and stumbled to the gate simultaneously gasping and choking on my mask. Not a good start overall. But we got to Eugene without issue and I was in my rental car ten minutes after getting off the plane for the picturesque drive south. It was pouring at the resort so I didn’t get to practice in the evening. Instead, I drove to The Beverage Barn to get some booze and ended up drinking my dinner.
I slapped it around Bandon in the morning and don’t remember much other than my playing partners (two friends) were cool. 17 is a very underrated hole. Bandon was always my favorite course but Sheep Ranch has likely overtaken it. The three of us played Sheep Ranch in the afternoon and I managed to stick an 8-iron into a pretty strong wind to four feet and make birdie on 16. We had to play 18 in the dark because a couple of foursomes in front held up the course most of the round, so extra holes were not possible.
I know, I know … playing Old Mac and Trails on the same day is a rookie mistake. But I had to bite the bullet to make the itinerary work and get in 36 each day due to the presence of a 60- or 400-person group or whatever having most of the pace-setting tee times.
Old Mac gets some hate relative to the other four courses but it’s always a nice change of pace for me. The walk from 16 green to 17 tee is one of the most underrated spots on the property. At one point, a lurking crow swiped my snack within seconds of me placing it on the green but met swift justice at the hands of one of my playing partners. In the afternoon, I teed off on Trails 20 minutes early with another single for the most peaceful round of golf in my life. The conditions were near perfect (just a light mist on 12) and the only people we ever saw on the course were the twosome I played with in the morning in 13 fairway when we approached 11 green. We had so much fun that we did the 1-5 and 17-18 short loop after the round. There was enough daylight for additional holes but, as many of you know, Trails is the least conducive of the courses for short loops. Maybe someday I’ll see how long the walk is back to the clubhouse from 11 green; it’s one of my favorite holes and I wish I could play it more than once per trip.
It was a fun morning round at Pacific playing with the same twosome from Old Mac the day before, highlighted by some laser iron shots and a string of pars from 8 to 13. The three of us then headed to Bandon and the weather turned to crap. Believe it or not, this was the first time it rained on me on one of my trips, but at least I got to use my ProQuip rain gear for the first time. The greens became unputtable and I threw in the towel after 14.
The weather at Sheep Ranch was ideal but my play was forgettable, save for curling in a 70-footer for birdie on 18 after three subpar shots (pun intended). As one of the earliest groups out, our foursome finished in a brisk 3:40. Since I was unable to move up my tee time at Pacific in two hours, I headed over to Bandon for another crack since they had an opening in one hour. This turned out to be a mixed bag because while few things beat an afternoon round at Bandon, our twosome was sandwiched between nothing but foursomes and we took an excruciating 4:30 to finish. Despite that, there was still an hour and change of daylight left so I returned to Pacific for extra holes, playing 1-2, 9-11 and 5-7 in the best setting I’ve ever seen on the course (see the pictures below). Other than the obvious groups walking off 18, I didn’t see a single person except for a group walking up 16 fairway as I made my way from 2 green to 9 tee. After putting out on 7, I took one last look back at the course—which was the most depressing part of the trip if there is such a thing—knowing that that was it and I wouldn’t be playing again tomorrow.
Day 6 (Departure)
My flight got moved up from 3 to 11 so I had to hit the road first thing and canceled my round at Preserve.
At various times, I’ve stayed in Lily Pond, both Inn Doubles and both Lodge Singles. I booked the new Round Doubles for my next group trip but still want to try a Chrome Double at some point. I’m also curious if the peace and quiet and extra space of an Inn King offsets the convenience of a Lodge Single (please opine if you’ve stayed in both). I’ll probably never stay in a Grove Cottage or Lodge Suite unless I’m making eff-you money.
If I were scheduling a trip with 10 rounds, I would play three at Sheep Ranch and Bandon, two at Pacific and one at Trails and Old Mac.
My favorite 18 holes:
16 at Bandon (Par 4)
9 at Sheep Ranch (4)
6 at Sheep Ranch (4)
11 at Trails (4)
13 at Pacific (4)
4 at Bandon (4)
1 at Sheep Ranch (5)
3 at Trails (5)
7 at Sheep Ranch (3)
16 at Sheep Ranch (3)
11 at Pacific (3)
10 at Pacific (3)
16 at Old Mac (4)
17 at Old Mac (5)
5 at Bandon (4)
17 at Sheep Ranch (4)
4 at Pacific (4)
3 at Bandon (5)
I’m already counting down the days until my next trip later this year!
Thanks for reading and stay safe.