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Playing Bandon Trails and Old Macdonald on the same day is the toughest walk. Book Bandon Trails, which is more inland and protected, for the afternoon, when the wind is up on the other three, more coastal courses. Plan a cocktail hour at the Punchbowl, the diabolical putting-green course next to the first hole at Pacific Dunes. Be sure to try the hole Punchbowl putting course at Pacific Dunes. Ditch the cart and walk several rounds in the leadup to your Bandon trip, while also increasing your fitness regime in general, and it will pay dividends.


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Take A Caddie : What did you expect? Relax and embrace the on-course partnership; there is no need to be nervous or self-conscious—your caddie has witnessed golf games that are much worse and much better than yours. Inquire about the caddies with the best reps; you can request them when you make your tee times. Most days range between 45 and 65 degrees, but as the day progresses the wind picks up and the shell comes out of the bag. Instead, bring two pair of comfortable, walking golf shoes, and change your shoes and socks between rounds.

The firm ground is nice for long drives, but tough on the feet. The 4th at Pacific Dunes. Forget the Score: Set your bar at a reasonable level. Only about 10 percent of golfers will play to their handicap. Tight lies, no two bunkers alike, heavy air and swirling winds will add to the challenges. Play a best-ball game in your foursome and focus on that, rather than on your gross score. Old Macdonald is the course that is most exposed to the elements. However, it is also great to play Pacific in a morning and then another day in the afternoon because the courses will play very differently.

A yard par four can be driver and a 3-wood in the morning, but only a driver and mid-iron in the evening. It is about understanding the conditions. Mid-July through the end of September is the calmest and predictable days out here.

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But you can get 70 degrees and calm any day of the year. There are many ways to craft the perfect four-day Bandon trip. It all depends on where you are in your life and how you define the perfect experience.


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The perfect trip for me is to play 18 on the first day at Bandon Dunes so you can see the sunset. Finish with 18 or an early Preserve round on the departure day. This way you have that opportunity to play two courses twice, and you spend four days absorbing everything at Bandon. Caddies are really an essential part of the experience. Your GPS might say you have yards into a green, but depending on how it is playing, it could be , or Our caddies really know the course and the conditions and they can tell you so much about how each course is playing depending on the weather.

They really are key. I guess you need to embrace it a little but as a first timer you are so mesmerized by the scenery you forget about how hard it is raining. We played the green tees which I think are most common. I posted 93, 88, 86, 88, 86 and felt good about it. There are plenty of holes to par and we had about birdies per round between the 8 of us. The problem is that there are also lots of doubles out there between the wind, rain, greens and just bad shots. First off I think that the actual design of each course, i.

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Each course has a distinct character and is like a puzzle piece in that when put them together creates a picture of golf lore. We are splitting hairs on this one. There are more ocean views at Pacific Dunes but Bandon is probably more fun. It really does not matter because anyone who goes to Bandon will play both of these. For us, it felt more like golf we are used to in terms of layout.

The difference is the huge evergreen trees and monstrous feel. God, I loved everything about this course.

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DO NOT pass on playing it. This course is set more inland and can be described as a series of rolling mounds. HINT: this course is nearly impossible to play without a caddie. Without one you will likely get lost and end up on the wrong tee box. Depending on how long you are at Bandon Dunes, this would be the course to skip. I am told it is a great course for match play but the reality is there is limited time and the other 3 courses are just much better. Initially we were not going to get caddies because none of us are high rollers.

Fortunately we were convinced to get a forecaddie at Old Mac. As I mentioned we would have never been able to figure out where to hit the ball or where the next tee box was without the help of a caddie. Price wise it ended up a bargain.

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The next day a few of us got our own caddies because the weather was going to be rough. Again, the smartest move we could have made.

Even though the pull carts are awesome, a caddie blows them away. Forget about lines and reads, being able to keep your hands in your pocket is pure joy. Look, get a forecaddie at a minimum just do it! If you can almost afford it then get your own caddie and get your cheap buddies to chip in since he will end up helping them too. Captain Obvious says bring your rain gear and not the cheap stuff. I suggest testing your gear with a hose and for a long time.

Playing in rain is not bad when you are dry but it sucks otherwise.

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In addition to rain gear, bring two pairs of good golf shoes, rain gloves and a hat. Aside from the proper clothing I would also suggest stopping by the liquor store on your way in. Given that most people will play only one round of golf per day, you are gonna have time to kill. Despite the very reasonable drink prices and Bandon, we saved a ton of money by drinking our own booze during the day. Even better, no one cares. We got to Bandon at about which gave us just enough time to play the short course 13 holes.

After gearing up we headed out to 35 mph winds and blowing hail. Again, weather just never ruins Bandon. Our first dinner was at Pacific Grill which is one of the fancier venues. The restaurant is fairly small and was filled by about 60 dudes and one table of women. Food — off the chart. Halfway through the meal, we had been drinking since noon , I realized our waitress had been calling me by name the entire night.

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I lean over to my buddy and tell him how special I am. Turns out, everyone was special that night as Bethany had quickly learned all of our names. The next afternoon we ended up finishing our round and stopped into the Grill for a quick drink. Dazed and confused, it took us a moment to realize where we were.

Fortunately, Bethany quickly recognized us and one lucky son of a gun even got a hug and a hot cup of water to warm his hands. Top notch, top notch. After one round Steve relayed a story from the day. It was my first experience using a caddie and really enjoyed learning from my caddie Kurt over the course of 4 days.

Lots of talk of golf of course, with interesting discussions on many other topics — including a multiple day discussion of our all-time baseball all-star teams. Kurt also facilitated my most memorable experience of the trip. Kurt removed the first grate to reveal another grate which when removed uncovered an ancient bottle of Scotch and a rustic leather guestbook — which we proceeded to sign.

Just a really cool moment that sums up how visiting Bandon Dunes is unlike any other golf trip you will ever have. From my own perspective, on the morning of our final round I showed up at Bandon Trails to meet my Caddie, Todd, who had caddied for me the last two rounds. I thanked him for lugging me around the prior day in the rain.