Here's the Lowdown (and How to Save Big) on Bandon Dunes Golf Packages

As popular as Oregon's Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has become, you'd think booking a golf package there would be easy.

Nope.

You won't find packages listed anywhere on the Bandon Dunes Resort website (but they do exist).

As for packages offered by third parties, they don't exist.

Well, not in the usual sense, and usually not by anyone with a formal relationship with Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

"Wait a minute," you're saying. "What about all the Bandon Dunes golf packages that come up when I do a Google search?"

Smoke and mirrors.

Bandon Dunes Golf Packages from Third Parties

Here's the deal: most outfits offering Bandon Dunes golf packages have no formal relationship with the resort -- they're simply making reservations on your behalf, then adding on a profit for themselves.

So, unlike the typical travel agent scenario, you are the one paying a "commission" on the reservation, not the resort.

This doesn't mean the firms marketing Bandon Dunes golf packages are scammers, of course. Everyone deserves to make money if they perform a service.

What gives me pause, however, is this lack of a formal business relationship with the resort; if something goes wrong after handing one of these firms a few thousand dollars, you could be left twisting in the wind.

Keep in mind, too, that some of these unofficial firms offer Bandon Dunes golf packages with off-site accommodations. This is important because, when you stay off-site, it can limit your ability to get tee times at the best prices and times.

For example, as a Bandon Dunes Resort guests, you pay $235 for golf in high season.

As a "golf only" guest, you have to pay $280; and if you want to make tee times more than 21 days out, it'll cost you $330 and you can't play before 10 am.

Bandon Dunes Golf Packages from the Resort Itself

As I mentioned above, you won't find Bandon Dunes Golf Packages on the resort's website, and they're not offered all the time, but they do exist; you just have to ask about them.

The resort typically offers packages from November through April, it's off-peak months.

Prime weather? Usually not, but you can get some glorious stretches during these times and Bandon's courses are, after all, well suited to a windy and wet Ireland/Scotland-type experience.

This year, Bandon has two-night, three-night, and four-night packages through April 15.

To give you an idea, the three-night package ranges from $595 in January to $895 in April (per person, based on double occupancy) and includes:

-3 nights in the resort's Chrome Lake or Lily Pond rooms
-3 rounds of golf
-3 buffet breakfasts
-2 dinners

Based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations, it looks like in April there is a couple hundred dollars worth of savings in there.

Not bad, but here's...

The Real Way to Save Big on Bandon Dunes Golf Packages

You can craft your own Bandon Dunes golf packages directly with the resort -- for any time you want to visit -- and likely come away with a better deal than anything else out there.

For example, most third-party firms (official or not) offer a standard package where you play one round of golf per day.

So, if you wanted to play all four of Bandon's 18-hole courses, it would cost you about $940 ($235 per round) in high season as a resort guest.

But if you make your own reservations, you can take advantage of Bandon's fantastic, same-day replay rates: your second round is $120 and anything after that is free.

So, by my math, instead of paying $940, you could theoretically play all four of Bandon's courses for $355.

Don't laugh, given how long the days are around the summer equinox, there are people who have played all four courses in one day. But even if you "only" play 36-holes in a given day, it's still a great deal.

I guess the one remaining question is: why doesn't Bandon Dunes offer more packages, either directly or through third parties?

For one thing, it doesn't really need to. It's called "demand" folks, and Bandon Dunes has done a masterful job creating it.

Second, Bandon Dunes is set up and operates differently from other golf resorts. For example, at most other golf resorts, the focus is on selling room nights, otherwise known as "putting heads in beds."

Bandon Dunes, on the other hand, has been careful not to overbuild the lodging side of the resort and therefore it has less pressure to bundle the lodging and golf into packages.

Many in the industry would argue that the resort's room capacity is undersized given the breadth of its golf offerings. But that suits Bandon Dunes owner Mike Keiser just fine.

My sense is, he is quite content providing the premier golf experience in the United States without being overly worried about how he is going to fill his beds, particularly during the shoulder and off-seasons.

Speaking of shoulder season, here's another great tip: Bandon's director of reservation services told me the absolute best time to visit (in terms of availability, then rates) is April 1-14.

Makes sense. Everybody else is home scrambling to get their taxes done.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
28 Comments
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Commented on

I have 6 people want going to bandon at 9/11–9/14 , I need 3 rooms for 3 nights , then 6 people play at 9/12 two round two courses and 9/13 two rounds two course , please give to me price
My name is Amy email: amyzhao77@hotmail.com

Thank you

Commented on

I have 6 people want going to bandon at 9/11–9/14 , I need 3 rooms for 3 nights , then 6 people play at 9/12 two round two courses and 9/13 two rounds two course , please give to me price

Thank you

Commented on

I"m Jin Chung living Los Angeles.
I want to play 4 course (Bandon dunes, Pacific dunes, Bandon Trail, Old Mcdonald) with my friend 5 some at the Bandon Dunes Resort from 1/April to 5/April
I would appreciate it if you could provide me with best package deal.
E amil : jsc210210@gmail.com. Phone: 213-200-2656

Thank you so much.

Jin Chung

Commented on

Doug R. could you please contact me. I had a couple questions about what you posted. jerryseinfeld29@yahoo.com

Commented on

Is a caddie required to play golf or can you go off without one?

Commented on

You also have to ad $100/ round for the caddy.

Commented on

Caddies are not required. You can carry or take a pull cart.

Commented on

All of this talk about saving a few hundred dollars. You're on vacation and your playing a course or courses voted higher than Pebble. If a few hundred dollars makes a difference you probably shouldn't go.

Commented on

Sue,

Yes it's true - dogs are not allowed to stay overnight at the resort. My suggestion would be to stash your dog at Riverview Kennels, 10-15 min drive from the resort. I have boarded my two big dogs there while I stay on the resort. Before and after my golf I stay at a dog friendly place on the beach. Bandon beach is really phenomenal and hardly anyone is down there. Your dog will be in heaven. Riverview did a good job with my dogs, and really got to know their personalities, and I am pretty picky. It is also very reasonably priced - compared to boarding in Seattle at least.

Commented on

We will be traveling to Bandon in June 2014 as part of a road trip/vacation and are bringing our dog. It is my understanding that the resort does not accomodate dogs. We would love to stay at the resort primarily so that my husband has access to the early morning tee times. Any suggestions on how to book a tee time prior to 10am if we are not able to stay directly at the resort due to the pet policy?

Commented on

We had a good time at Hardelot Golf. Has anyone else travelled?

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Here's the Lowdown (and How to Save Big) on Bandon Dunes Golf Packages
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