49th Best Course in the US
Old MacDonald Course Review
Old MacDonald opened for play in 2007 and was designed by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina it pays homage to the classic courses of the great architect CB MacDonald. Out of all the courses at Bandon Dunes this would closely resemble what you would find on the classic links courses of the UK. You’ll find a good amount of holes that are similar to some of the great links holes of Scotland. If you’ve played in the UK you might recognize Eden and Redan holes in two of the par 3’s. The good majority of play is off the green tees giving players a good mix of short, medium and long holes. I’d recommend a caddy here as they will be able to guide you around the course giving you the safest or best lines depending on you comfort level. Old MacDonald has the largest green surfaces area in North America at a little over 260,000 sq feet of greens, imagine how long that would take to cut.
Hole Descriptions and Pictures
1st Hole 341 yds par 4
The opening hole at Old MacDonald is a short a hole that let’s the players acclimatize to links golf. The fairway here is very generous and depending on the pin location you go either between the two fairway bunkers (for pins in the middle or right0 or left of the green side bunker for pins on the left green plateau . Your second shot into the green will be a with a short iron to a green that has three distinct putting surfaces front left, middle and back right. Be careful not to go over the green here as your ball may roll down a fairly steep hill and have a tricky shot back onto the green.
2nd Hole 200 yds Par 3
If you’ve ever played St Andrews you’ll recognize the similarities of the par 3 11th hole with an additional bunker added the left side of the green. The longer hitter will be able to fly their ball onto the green and the shorter player always has the option of running their ball onto the green. The green complex here is very wide and long here with run offs over the green at the back and to the right. A good shot not finding the green here is between the bunkers giving the player a good chance to get up and down.
3rd Hole 375 yds Par 4
Your tee shot on this hole is a blind uphill tee shot over a sand dune, the fairway slopes steeply from left to right and your aiming point is just to the right of the tree affectionately know around Bandon Dunes as the ghost tree. Your second shot will bound hard to the right over the giant hummocks in various parts of the fairway, the majority of balls end up on the right side of the fairway right of the green. The longer players should be aware of the bunkers at the bottom of the hill located 80yds from the center of the green. Your second shot to the green here can be played in various ways depending on pin locations. If the pin is located left or center you can play it left of the green as there is a steep slope that will kick you ball towards the center of the green. For pins right the play is usually 3-5 yds left of the pin.
4th Hole 504 yds par 4
This is a long par 4 that plays predominantly down wind in the summer. A good drive here is up the left center of the fairway, any shot down the right side of the fairway will have a blind second shot to the green. The aim point here is at the tallest gorse dune in the distance. Your second into the green is guarded by large bunkers left and right, the play here is to run your ball up onto the green. The green has a fair but of undulation to it on the left side and has a few plateau’s on the right side.
5th Hole 175 yds Par 3
This holes difficulty is determined on where the pin is placed on the green. The green is incredibly large and has several severe slopes that can kick you ball in any direction. For the most part the left side of the green has two bowls front and mid back green that can collect balls into. The right side of the green has a bowl located just over the bunker in the front and a plateau in the mid back that you may see a pin on once in awhile.
6th Hole 555 yds Par 5
This par 5 can play very long if the wind is in you face, your drive here is straight away and anywhere center or right won’t hurt you. Your aim point here is at the grass that makes the large bunker with wooden slats look like two bunkers. Your second shot depending on which way the wind is blowing will be left of the bunker that blocks the right half of the fairway or over it. The green is parallel to the players and has three plateaus that a pin can be placed on with the middle plateau being the smallest and hardest to get your ball to.
7th Hole 363 yds par 4
This hole is set up by the drive, you can play short of the bunkers on the left of the fairway or the safer line down the middle or right fairway. In general your aim point should be at the gorse located above the bunkers in the middle of the fairway. The second shot is 30 ft uphill to a large green with lots of undulation. If your ball doesn’t find the green the ball will role 30 to 50 yds back down the steep incline that fronts the green. The green surface is very wide and long and runs parallel to the fairway, it has a plateau in the front that runs up to the mid right and several other small plateaus in various other parts of the green.
8th Hole Par 181 yds Par 3
The 8th hole at Old Mac is downhill 30 ft to the largest green on the golf course. The green has one large bunker to the right of the green that catches any wayward shots. The green surface itself is separated by a swale in the mid-front of the green. There are numerous pin placements here that are very accessible if you get your yardage correct. The majority of pins on this hole are usually located on back tier giving players the best chance at getting it close to the hole.
9th Hole 416 yds Par 4
Your drive on the 9th hole at Old MacDonald is guarded by a series of bunkers to the left and right. If you can navigate between them your will have a good look at the green. The second shot into the green should come in from the left side of the pin as the green tilts to the right. If you miss the green here there is ample room to recovery with well executed chip shot or put to the pin.
10th Hole 465 yds Par 4
The hardest drive on the course there are four bunkers in the landing zone that can catch balls. The aiming point is over the second bunker on the left and between the bunkers further up the fairway to the left and right. Your second shot if you successfully navigated the bunkers will be to a green elevated 10ft above the fairway. The green sits parallel to the fairway and has a large amount of undulation to it. Make sure you account for the elevated green as the chip shot from the bottom of the hill requires a deft touch. There is a backboard on the left side at the back of the green that can bring your ball back to the center of the green.
11th Hole 445 yds Par 4
This hole is patterned after the road hole at St Andrews. The hole doglegs to the left over a series of bunkers at the corner of the dogleg. The aim point here is to the left of the bunkers or carry 210 yds over the corner of the bunkers from the black tees. The second shot is where you see the similarities with the road hole. The green is elevated above the fairway and there is a bunker guarding a run up shot to the back of the green. The green complex here is long and narrow here running from front right to back left and requires a shot coming in the the right . If the pin is located back left instead of trying to get the ball on the green another option is to go long left of the pin there is ample room to get up and down.
12th Hole 237 yds Par 3
This hole is patterned after the Redan hole at North Berwick. You tee shot should come from left to right in order to have a good shot at getting close to the pin. As with the original a shot going long still has a relatively good shot at making par as you will be chipping directly back up the green. The green surface itself slopes from right to left and a good miss if not long is short of the bunker on the left side of the green.
13th Hole 346 yds Par 4
The drive on the 13th is straight away, there is one small bunker to the right that only comes into play with a very stray shot. Your aim point here is directly at the green. Your second shot into the green here is guarded by a series of 3 bunkers fronting the right side of the green. The green complex is where the hole par is protected. The green has two distinct levels that bisect the green, the left level is higher than the right side and the right plateau has a lot of elevation and undulation to it. There can be a multitude of placements on the right plateau that makes putting very challenging.
14th Hole 370 yds Par 4
This hole is completely uphill. The fairway here is very wide and you can pretty much hit it anywhere with the left bunkers being the one spot you don’t want to hit it. The given line off the tee will be at the right fairway bunker near the green. Your second shot with a good tee shot will be with a short iron and depending on the pin placement it can be either a fairly straight forward shot to a shot requiring a deft touch. For a pin placed on the left side of the green the play is to play it long on the hillside behind the green the ball will role back down onto the green and usually will stop pin high. For any pin on the right you’ll have to play the yardage given. The green complex itself very wide and narrow in other sections, the putting surface itself as minimal undualtion.
15th Hole 535 yds Par 5
This is a reachable par 5 from the green tees. The fairway is very generous here with a bunker located on the left side of the fairway for shorter hitters that seems to attract balls. The aim point here is at the small gorse bush up near the green on the left side of the fairway near the green. Your second shot to the green will be a lay up or for the longer hitters a go at the green. If your laying up the play is to be short of the bunker or go between the bunker and the small bush. The longer hitter will have to avoid the bunker just short of the green on the right side and if the pin is in the back a bunker back middle. The third shot into the green can be tricky depending on where the pin is located as it can be hard to judge the distance as a result of the 5 tiers on this green. The green surface itself is very large and there from front to back and side to side.
16th Hole 455 yds Par 4 – There are two ways to play this hole, the shorter way is to go over the large sand dune that blocks the view of the green or go around the sand dune which is a longer sometimes more difficult route. The second shot into green is patterned after Lachinch’s par 5 Klondike Hole. Your caddy will aim you at the small black and white pole on top on the hill and the majority of play is usually over the hill rather than around it. The second shot into the green can be played with one less iron and should be hit 10 yds to the left of the black and white pole. With a well placed second shot you ball will bound down the fairway and onto the green. The green surface itself is large and and is fairly flat on the left side the majority of where balls come in from, the right side of the green has more undulation and can be more difficult to get to depending on where your second shot comes in from.
17th Hole 546 yds Par 5
This par 5 is probably the most difficult of the par 5’s at Old MacDonald. The drive here should be taken up the left side of the fairway usually between the last of the tees down the fairway. A ball down the left side of the fairway will bounce right toward the middle of the fairway. Your second shot to advance your ball and give you the best angle of attack on your third shot will be at the bushes on the right side of the fairway up near the green. There are a series of bunkers down the right side that must be avoided but they are all located to the right of the bushes so don’t be afraid to hit it to the right. The third shot depending on where your second shot lands will be wide open coming in between the bunker and hill right or semi blind over the bunker. The green here is 70 yds long and 40 yds wide and has a good amount of undulation to it.
18th Hole 469 yds Par 4
The last hole at Old Mac can be a challenge, your drive must thread between the left and right bunkers. There are three bunkers on the right side of the driving area two are visible and one is not visible. The play here is to aim the last bunker on the left which is over 320 yds from the tee. The second shot is where the real fun begins. The green here is very large and slopes hard from left to right. The general play here is to aim left of the dune that blocks the middle of the green as any ball rolling onto the green left of the dune will generally end up to the right of the dune. If the pin is located all the way left you can either aim at the pin or use the slope to swing your ball towards the pin, a good tip is to use the back of the green as your yardage and let gravity do the rest. Its a fun hole to end your round on, good luck!!