BANDON, Ore. -- Once you've experienced a few rounds on the challenging coastal links golf of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, you may feel there really is no place like home -- your home golf course, that is.
For those golfers looking for a quick escape back to the friendly confines of their home course, where golf makes sense again, Bandon Crossings Golf Course is your medicine. It provides a more traditional, parkland setting, and for tired legs, it has plenty of golf carts.
Located about 15 minutes south of Bandon Dunes, Bandon Crossings came to fruition rather quickly. The land was purchased by a couple from Eugene in 2005, and by July of 2007, the course was ready to play. Dan Hixon, a local pro from Portland, designed the course, and while the course was shaped by the same man who did Bandon Dunes' courses, it was seeded with a traditional Rye grass in the fairways and rough and bent grass greens. The result is a softer, greener course that will likely resemble the playing style of your home club.
"They finally get to use their lob wedge again," remarks Head Professional Mark Fiore, noting the bump-and-run or the 30-yard putt isn't a necessary shot here like at Bandon Dunes' three tracks. "There is more comfortability here for a lot of players. I think a lot of people struggle with the grass (at Bandon Dunes) on their first time."
Bandon Crossings will look more like home to most golfers, though the course does take on a couple personality changes over the course of 18 holes. While the first five and last three holes are played in more wide-open links-style, the course really shines in the middle, when it plays back into thick forests full of coastal furs, cedars and even a few old redwoods.
Bandon Crossings' par-5 fifth hole (which like Pacific Dunes' ninth hole has alternate top and bottom greens) plays from high land before heading straight downhill to the bottom green along a river bed. From here, the course plays through thick forest and features the most scenic of the holes, like the sharp, dogleg left eighth hole, where a madrone guards the dogleg and tempts you try and blast a drive over it to cut the corner. You'll find five par 3s and par 5s here, making for a few more birdie chances, This provides for a steady flow to the round.
There is still plenty of challenge at Bandon Crossings, and the par-5 18th hole makes for a stern finish with a ravine splitting the hole into two halves. The second shot requires a long carry, and if you must lay up, you're looking at a shot of about 200 yards downhill towards the green. Play your drive on the right-hand side of the fairway to give yourself the best chance of clearing the hazard.
Bandon Crossings Golf Course: The verdict
Bandon Crossings is an entirely different experience compared to the three Bandon Dunes Resort courses just minutes north. It's bent and rye grasses are greener and softer, and you're not going to be hitting any 80-foot putts or chasing knock-downs into 30 mile per hour wind out here. Your more traditional parkland lob shots around the greens can finally come out of the bag.
Golfers whose legs are tired from the walking at Bandon Dunes will appreciate golf carts and softer fairways and smaller, bent grass greens. Golfers who want to play 36 holes but don't want to walk 36 holes in a day should consider an afternoon round at Bandon Crossings.
Not only will Bandon Crossings be easy on your feet, it's also about 1/3 the cost of the three (soon to be four) Bandon Dunes courses, so it will give your wallet some relief for the day as well.