Full disclosure, my golf game is not so much a game, but more of a dumspter fire – though not even as remotely interesting to watch. So, it’s safe to say that my review is unlikely to resemble other more enlightened or sophisticated reviewers who can actually golf.
But let’s go with that. I’m always looking for a unique point of departure!
Bandon came to me through a dear friend who was planning to celebrate his 40th birthday. As is our custom among a core group of friends, we often plan our own birthday trips, and a small group flies to a destination and parties like rock stars. My friend, who happens to be an excellent golfer, decided that he wanted to visit Bandon Dunes. And that was that.
Bandon Dunes consists of six golf courses – four traditional 18-hole courses:
Bandon Dunes / Pacific Dunes / Bandon Trails / Old MacDonald
and two non traditional courses:
Bandon Preserve – a 13-hole par-3 course / Punchbowl – an 18-hole putting course
and also a practice range.
For more detail on these courses, click here.
Our group of eight dudes spent four days at Bandon. Each day we played in mixed groups of four. Some of us played five times, some played four times. We all played Bandon Preserve, and probably my favorite part of the trip golfing was when we all eight played Punchbowl at the same time.
The courses each have a distinct character and feel. It’s hard to choose a favorite. Here are some pictures of the courses:
As you can see, these are some of the most beautiful golf courses around. Now because I’m such a pathetic golfer, there is an infinite amount of detail that I’m leaving out in terms of play, characteristics, terrain, wind, etc. So, if you’re looking for specifics or tips about golfing these courses, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Instead, the purpose of this post is to inform my readers of one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Here, golf is simply the context and the backdrop for me – the milieu. It provided a location and atmosphere for some very good friends to gather, laugh, talk trash, smoke cigars, have some great food and drink, and put our high pressure lives on hold for a few days – to just be ourselves.
Men are simple non-verbally communicative creatures. We bond through experiences, friendships, giving our friends crap about how much they suck, making crass jokes, and we need these moments to recharge and to feel like we’re part of a tribe, a brotherhood. We look for reasons and excuses to take these trips. We need these types of trips.
This doesn’t mean that Bandon Dunes is not perfectly suited to Father-Son, Mother-Daughter, Family Members in General Trips. I’m sure it would be perfect for those trips. But that’s not my perspective. Our group lived like a tribe of proud men who only needed to be in each other’s company for a few days – free of the ties that bind.
And in this sense, Bandon Dunes (even for a non-golfer like me) was one of the most astounding, rejuvenating, and satisfying trips I’ve ever taken. Without these trips, we’d lose a little bit of what makes us tick, and we’d lose some of our ability to be a great father, son, husband, or friend.
Here are some pictures that show what Bandon Dunes means to me:
I’m sure you can find many many people to tell you that the golf at Bandon Dunes is amongst the best in the world, and we did have an incredible time with astounding staff, caddies, and stellar facilities – but if you ask me, Bandon Dunes is also a place where good friends and families can come together to make the fulfilling and rich memories that mark a life well-lived.
If you ever have the chance to visit Bandon Dunes, say yes, and don’t look back – at least until you’ve made those memories that will change and shape you.
Bandon Dunes: Bandon, Oregon