Ranked 62nd in the world
Ranked 49th in the US
Bandon Dunes Course Review
Bandon Dunes was the first of four courses that opened up at the Bandon Dunes Resort. It opened for play in 1999 and was designed by David McLay Kidd. The course measures 6700 from the tips and 6200 from the green tees which is where the majority of games are played from. Bandon Dunes is a walking only course so you won’t find any cart paths or carts other than the ones marshals use. Taking a caddy ($80 plus tip)is encouraged, they will help you navigate around the course and help you enjoy your game that much more. The course has a definite links feel to it, as soon as you step out onto the first tee it’s as though you have been transported over to the great links courses in the UK, the fairways are wide and generous and there are lots of humps and bumps to send your ball careening off in any given direction. You’ll find a good mix of short and long holes and no hole will play the same two days in a row as a result of the wind blowing from south, north east and all directions in between. The ocean holes are especially scenic at Bandon Dunes and there isn’t a bad picture to be had on any of these holes.
1st Hole 386 yds Par 4 – The first hole and Bandon Dunes eases the players into their round the fairway is very wide and the hole doglegs to the right. From the tee you can’t see the pin so if its your first time playing the course you’ll wonder where your going, this is where a caddy is huge benefit. The aim point is at the steeple/bunker in the distance. The further right of the bunker the better angle and shorter distance you’ll have for you second shot into the green. The shot into the green is elevated so an extra club is usually needed to get in onto the putting surface. There are four bunkers that guard the front of the green and can be a challenge to get out of. The green has some undulation in the front portion, the back slopes towards the front of the green.
2nd Hole 189 yds Par 3 – This medium length par 3 looks fairly straight forward from the tee but around the green is where the difficulty lies. The entire front and right side of the green are false fronts any ball landing short of the green will roll back into collection areas or the front bunker. If your ball doesn’t find the green you still have a relatively good chance at making your par if you can pull off nice recovery chip or putt. The green itself as some undulation but nothing major. There is a small backboard at the back of the green if you happen to go long.
3rd Hole 543 yds Par 5 – The first par 5 at Bandon Dunes is a medium length par 5 from the tee the ocean is visible and you can see by the direction of the tree that the wind predominately blows from the north here. Your tee shot is hit from and elevated tee down into a wide fairway guarded by 3 bunkers left and right in the main landing area. Your line off the tee here is at the tall tree in the distance on the left side. Your second shot into the green or fairway is guarded by two bunker left and right about 60 yards from the green, the fairway is very generous here so avoiding them shouldn’t be a problem. Your shot into the green here is guarded by three bunkers, two left and one large one on the right. The is a good size with a fair bit of undulation and there is enough space for various pin placements, in general the green slopes from back to front.
4th Hole 410 yds Par 4 – This is the first hole where you get the full effect of the wind. The hole winds its way downhill to the right and the green is set on the edge of the ocean bluff. The line off the tee here is at the distant bunker on the left side of the fairway, you’ll want to avoid the right side as there sand dunes running to 75 yds short of the green. Your second shot into the green is guarded by two bunkers left of the green and hazard stakes over the green. Your ball will be affected here if you play a high shot into the green, there is nothing to block the wind once you get near the green. The green complex is fairly flat and there is a nice mound front right that will kick your ball back onto the green if you happen to hit it in that direction.
5th Hole 428 yds Par 4 – This hole is the longest par 4 on the course and ranks as the most difficult hole at Bandon Dunes. Its also the hole in which you might see a good number of photos on the internet taken from (behind the green looking back up the fairway – look familiar?). Both the tee shot and the second shot require accurate placed shots. The line off the tee here is down the right side of the fairway avoiding the grassy knolls in the middle of the fairway. If you hit it left of the knolls you run the chance of going into the hazard. Your second shot into the green here requires accuracy as there are sand dunes surrounding the green surface and any shot not finding green or fairway will have difficulty. The green complex here is narrow and long with the back portion of the green having its own tier.
6th Hole 161 yds Par 3 – This shorter par 3 runs parallel with the ocean bluff the wind can blow from the ocean, north/south or anywhere in between. The left side of the hole slopes towards the hazard and chances are you ball wont stop until its in the hazard red staked or sand. The safe shot here is the middle of the green or right and short of the green. If you go short right you’ll have decent angle at any pin on the green. The green complex has three distinct tiers front/back right, back left and generally slopes from back left to front right.
7th Hole 383 yds Par 4 – The seventh hole is interesting in that the second shot is steeply uphill to a green that sits on a plateau, it not your typical links shot but it kind of marries links golf with the modern game. The fairway here is expansive and hard to miss, there aren’t any bunkers on this hole making it of the few holes at Bandon Dunes without a bunker. Depending on the pin location you want to either keep your ball right (left hole location) or left for all other pin placements. Your second shot is uphill to a green that if you leave your ball short of the green you’re ball will role 30 yds back down the hill, take an extra club and make sure you get past the front of the green. The green complex is in the shape of a heart but squarer, it has 3 tiers with the front tier lower that the left and right tier. If the pin is on the right tier take dead aim as there is a nice backstop behind the green that will bring your ball back onto the green.
8th Hole 359 yds Par 4 – The difficulty of this hole is dependent on the wind, if it plays downwind the 7 bunkers scattered across the fairway aren’t likely to come into play, but if the hole plays into the wind you will have a some difficulty navigating over or around them. There is lots of room between the left side of the fairway and the far left bunker if you don’t think you can carry the bunkers. Your tee shot is hit from an elevated tee down to the fairway so a high shot into the wind will be hit extra. The bunkers start and 190 to reach the two large center ones and 210 to carry over. Your second shot depending on where you are favors a shot from the right side of the fairway, there are two pot bunkers left of the green that you have to carry over to reach the back portion of the green. The green complex itself is wide and long so finding the green here shouldn’t be a problem, it has two distinct tiers on in the front left portion and a large one just over the bunkers.
9th Hole 558 yds Par 5 – This long par 5 can easily be reached if the hole plays downwind. If the hole plays into the wind you’ll have to work harder for your birdie. From the tee downwind the bunkers in the middle of the fairway are reachable, the best line is to go left of them setting up a clear view of the green. If your into the wind the bunkers for the most part are not be reachable except for the longest of hitters. Your second shot must stay between the fairway bunkers on the left and the mounds down the right, shots find the right mounds will kick back onto the fairway. Your shot into the green here can be tricky depending on where the pin is there are no bunkers here just a series of mounds that can direct your ball in various directions . The green has three tiers two left front/back and one right, there is a bowl back right that will bring your ball back onto the green and a drop off back left and front that repel balls
10th Hole 362 yds Par 4 – This hole has a nice risk reward feel to it, for the longer hitter you can take it over the bunkers in the middle of the fairway leaving you with a clear pitch into the green. The biggest bunker is 200 yds to carry and the left bunker is 230yds to carry. For the not so brave take it left of the bunkers, there’s lots of space over there for every golfer to have a shot into the green. The downside to going left of the bunkers is that you can only see the back portion of the green, there is a large mound and bunker blocking out your view of the green meaning you’ll need to carry you ball at least past the bunker. The green complex has some undulation but nothing major.
11th Hole 384 yds Par 4 – This hole has a series of bunkers down the left side that progressively ease their way into the fairway create a cross bunker look. Your drive should be at the right bunker its over 300 yds away so unless the hole is playing downwind you won’t reach it. For those who are brave you can hit it left of the bunkers but its more difficult shot. Those attempting the left route, you just have to stay left of the third bunker and carry the other two. You’ll have a better angle for your second shot from the left side but you still may not be able to see the green. Your second shot is uphill to a green guarded by one pot bunker front right and a steep slope that runs the length of the right side of the green. The green here is long and narrow and has a small tier in the front portion and is fairly flat the rest of the green.
12th Hole 199 yds Par 3 – This downhill par 3 is probably the toughest at Bandon Dunes. Your tee shot is hit directly at the ocean here and wind plays a huge part of what club to play. There is lots of space to the right of the bunker to hit the green here and you can use the wind to help you shape your shot. The green complex is very tiny to the left and large and long down the right side. If you miss the green long your ball will most likely end up behind the red hazard stakes.
13th Hole 553 yds Par 5 – This par 5 is loads of fun, there are no bunkers on this hole just a series of giant mounds that can kick your ball in any given direction. Your aim point of the tee here is at the distant building near the Preserve par 3 course, the ball usually will collect to the right or left of the giant mounds in a flat area. Your second shot is blind but the green is in line with the two large trees you see in the distance. The line for the second shot is to stay left of the left tree as all shots will kick to the right down to the bottom of a hill. Your third shot will be from above the green giving your a clear look at the green or well below it depending on where you ball finishes. The green is long and fairly wide and for the most part flat, there are two bowls mid green that collect balls left and right
14th Hole 359 yds Par 4 – This short hole can be very tricky, there are 5 bunkers in the landing area that can catch your ball. Your aim point here is at the bunker in the middle of the fairway 230 yds away. The bunker short and to the left is 190 carry from the tee, if you can navigate around those bunkers you’ll have a short pitch into the green. The second shot into the green is guarded by a small bunker to the right of the green. The green surface is angled 30 degrees from the fairway and the green surface has minimal undulation.
15th Hole 163 yds Par 3 – This tee shot requires a very well placed tee shot to find the green, its for the most part an island green that is elevated above 10 ft above the fairway. The only bail out area here is mid green left where you’ll have a fairly easy chip, if you go right or long you’ll have a very steep chip back up onto the green. The green itself is fairly flat with minimal undulation.
16th Hole 363 yds Par 4 – Perhaps the best hole at Bandon Dunes with strategy in mind. The wind was with us the day we played and the play was to hit it onto the plateau left of the green. Our aim point was at the gorse bushes in the distance or where the golfer in the red cap is hitting his shot from. If the hole plays downwind you can aim directly at the green if you so choose, from the back tee’s its a 245 yd carry to get your ball on top of the plateau in front of the green. The pin placement for us was up front, if the pin is set further towards the back of the green you’ll want to stay as close to the edge of the plateau as possible even a shot to the lower fairway will give you a better angle. Your second into the green will just be a pitch or even a long range putt and depending on the placement of the hole and your ball will dictate weather you can go right at the pin or have to navigate around the small pot bunker mid left side of the green. The putting surface on this green is fairly flat.
17th Hole 389 yds Par 4 – This medium length par 4 defense comes at the second shot and green, from the tee your aim point is at the bunker in the left portion of the fairway, any shot to left of that bunker will be in good shape and there is a good 60 yds of fairway to the right of it as well in which to hit your tee ball. The second shot into the green here must carry over bluffs that guard the front of the green and a the hazard that runs the entire length of the hole and is just off the right hand side of the green. The green complex here as some major undulation to it, there are a multitude of tiers here in which to place a pin and you have a fun time putting on this green.
18th Hole 543 yds Par 5 – The last hole at Bandon Dunes is a reachable par 5 from the green tees. The fairway here is very wide and allows you to get after your ball without worry. Your aim point here should be at the peak on the clubhouse that will give you the shortest route home or give you a good angle for your layup shot. There is a bunker in the middle of the fairway that may come into play with a shorter tee shot and its best to stay to the left of it if you find its in your range. If your going for the green aim for the left portion of the green as there are two bunkers guarding the middle and right front portions of the green. For those who need to lay up favor the left portion of the fairway its flatter and gives you a nice angle of attack to all pin placements on the green. The green itself is angle at 30 degrees from the fairway and is very large with various sized tiers throughout the green.