Anyone who has been paying attention to new golf course openings over the last year or two is certainly familiar with Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw’s new course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon Preserve. There haven’t been many new courses opening so the fact that a 13 hole par 3 course is one of the biggest stories in the industry is pretty telling. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the course was designed by one of the hottest teams in golf course architecture, and built at what is, in my opinion, the best golf resort in America. When you consider all those facts I guess it’s no surprise that Bandon Preserve was one of the biggest course opening stories of last year (2012).
The concept behind Bandon Preserve is another great idea from the Johnny Appleseed of links golf and owner of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Mike Keiser. He set Bandon Preserve up so that all the net proceeds from play will go to The Wild Rivers Coast Alliance which is involved with protecting the land and water of the The South Coast. Bandon Preserve also features an abundance of conservation areas on the course with Silvery Phacelia which is a native plant that has been struggling against the many non-native plants in the area. Balls hit into these areas are given free drops and the intent of the conservation areas is to provide a habitat where the Silvery Phacelia is able to thrive.
We hadn’t officially planned to play Bandon Preserve on our trip, but there had been discussion of fitting it in after one of our 36 hole days . . . after all the third round is complimentary at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. After a couple of 36 hole days some of the guys in the group were feeling that a break might not be a bad idea, so we ended up dropping our third round at Pacific Dunes in favor of a round at Bandon Preserve.
After a leisurely morning of not waking up at the crack of dawn and getting to have a relaxed breakfast we all made over to Bandon Preserve to tee off. The course operates out of the same clubhouse as Bandon Trails and the 1st teeing ground is just adjacent to the spot where the shuttle drops everyone off. Since things are very casual at Bandon Preserve we split up into two groups of six and my group decided to play 3 on 3 for $5 a hole. One of the cool things is that there are several tee options on each hole and no real “sets” of tees, so whoever wins the last hole decides where to tee off on the next hole which adds a great element of fun. So once we arrived, we dropped a couple of clubs into the quiver bags, grabbed some caddies to read the greens and away we went. The yardages below are from the back tees. See the scorecard for the yardage from the front tees.
Hole 1 – 134 Yards – Par 3
Avoid the pot bunker in front of the green.
Hole 2 – 150 Yards – Par 3
Quintessential Coore & Crenshaw bunkering on this hole.
Hole 3 – 87 Yards – Par 3
A teeny tiny little shot to this green.
Hole 4 – 118 Yards – Par 3
Straight forward wedge shot here.
Hole 5 – 142 Yards – Par 3
Do not go long here . . . DO NOT GO LONG!
Hole 6 – 131 Yards – Par 3
I loved the way this hole was tucked in at the bottom edge of the property.
Here is a look at the 6th green from the 7th tee . . . I really liked this photo. Note the players at the top right of the photo playing Bandon Dunes.
Hole 7 – 147 Yards – Par 3
Avoid the bunker to the right of the flag. It’s not a good place to be.
Hole 8 – 63 Yards – Par 3
Another tiny little shot.
Hole 9 – 134 Yards – Par 3
I don’t know if it gets much better than this.
Hole 10 – 120 Yards – Par 3
This one is a blind shot to a tricky green.
Here is a look at the green.
Hole 11 – 142 Yards – Par 3
I thought this was the toughest hole on the course. Into the wind it requires a mid to long iron and the angle just didn’t feel comfortable.
Hole 12 – 132 Yards – Par 3
Anything that hits the right side of the green is going to feed down to the left side.
Hole 13 – 109 Yards – Par 3
We thought our balls were going to feed down to the right, but none of them did. The best course of action was to fire at the pin. We even tried putting this one, but it’s a lot tougher than it looks.
If you were considering skipping Bandon Preserve I cannot stress enough how much of a mistake this would be. The short course served as a great break in the middle our four day trip of 36 hole days. It was nice to have a relaxing morning beating a golf ball around a beautiful piece of property and just having fun. The guys in our group who were big gamblers love the short course and played it quite a few times. I guess with all the holes being so short that it levels the playing field quite a bit and a course like this is a gamblers delight. These guys seemed to love it and one of them even made an ace on the 1st hole as the rest of us had breakfast on the patio across from the green. It was pretty cool to see an ace like that! Don’t underestimate this cool little course and make sure to carve out time to make at least one loop around it on your Bandon Dunes Golf Vacation. You won’t be sorry.