Although there are poems written about Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, the pilgrimage to get there is anything but poetry. That being said, I go on a moment's notice. And over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have several moments in which I dropped everything to make the tremendous trek. And the reason why I keep going back is not that complicated. In fact, it's the simplicity with which Mike Keiser and his team presents the golf, lodging, amenities and service that is the simple answer as to why Bandon is so special.
"Golf as it was meant to be," is their slogan. But what they deliver is so much more. By doing so much less.
Confusing, I know, but Bandon allows you and your group -- whatever size that might be, and whatever weather you might endure -- the breathing room to discover what it is that you love about the place and the people you're with, without forcing you into corporate traps or commercial slaps to the wallet.
From the snappy shuttle service and the comfy confines of the Bunker Bar, to multiple fire pits and the subtlety of the spiritual hike to the labyrinth, these ancillary options and outposts for buddies-trip camaraderie, most of which are free (see Punchbowl and Shorty's) is why Bandon has emerged as the greatest pure golf destination in America.
Keiser gets a lot of credit, and deservedly so, but he has had, and continues to get, invaluable support. Howard McKee was one of his original partners on the project, and it was McKee who worked diligently on helping acquire the land and then put together a plan with an emphasis on soft visuals and high efficiency.
Buy-in from management, staff and caddies, especially in such a remote destination, was and continues to be paramount to success. Kemper Sports and president Josh Lesnik has been with Keiser and Bandon from the beginning, and along with Hank Hickox (GM), Jeff Simonds (Director of Golf) Ken Nice (agronomy), Bob "Shoe" Gaspar (Director of Outdoor Happiness) and veteran caddies, there is thoughtful leadership around every corner. Oh by the way, the golf, all of it, is very good.
And at the top of every hump or bump that those minimalist architects made sure to maximize, there's an opportunity for a picture. Especially early in the morning or late in the day. Which brings me to my latest blog on Bandon. Going back through the collection of memorable moments roaming Oregon's linksland and tree-lined trails, I've put together a slideshow of my 20 favorite photogenic holes, as well as some of the people and places throughout the property that pluck the heartstrings of your soul.