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“Amazing place. Needs some tweaks...”

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Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Bandon
Certificate of Excellence
Virginia, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Amazing place. Needs some tweaks...”
Reviewed August 1, 2013

Wow! What an amazing place! I just returned from an 8-buddy trip to Bandon. We stayed at the Grove Cottages, played all 6 course at least once (read on), and dined in all the restaurants. The place is a golf mecca -- truly a mecca because it feels like your traveling around the world to get there. We all flew into Coos Bay from San Francisco. The afternoon flight to Bandon was sold out; so I had to fly out to SFO the night before and take the earlier flight. It gave me a chance to start adjusting to the time change.

We have all seen the pictures, read the reviews, and know of Bandon reputation -- so I was pumped! I have played the high-end courses in Northern Ireland and Scotland; I LOVE true links golf. My first impression of Bandon was "Wow, it's brown." They must take all their publicity pictures in the winter, because there was nothing lush and green. Again, I love true links golf, so I wasn't nervous. Here are my thoughts on the golf. I am a 10 handicap who just doesn't play enough golf and never practices. I love great courses. In 2013, here is the complete list of courses I've played (in order): Spyglass, Spanish Bay, Bayonet, Pebble Beach, The Old Course @ The Homestead, TPC Sawgrass, Sabot Course @ Hermitage CC (Richmond, VA), Twin Lakes GC (Fairfax, VA), Spotswood CC (Harrisonburg, VA), Cape Cod National, Triggs Memorial (great old Ross course in Providence, RI).

- Caddies: We had the same four caddies for every round. We had 8 players, so they double bagged and we rotated. Three of the four caddies were great! I was lucky enough to have the same caddy all four days. He won the Irish Closed Amateur in the late '90s. He just oozed "great player." I let him down by not executing lots of shots, but he learned my game and really helped me. I will certainly return to Bandon and I'll certainly request Ciaran. You'll also be very happy if you get Shane or Brandon. All three are great guys and really added to our experience. My mom always said "If you can't say something nice…", so I am only mentioning those three.

- Pacific Dunes: We played it first and then a couple days later. Our first round was cool (almost cold) and very windy (even by Bandon standards in July). We had the typical summer wind for the first round and the prevailing winter wind for the latter round. It was amazing how different the course played. Pacific has some GREAT holes. The oceanfront holes are fantastic. I think there is something magical about a "stretch" of ocean holes -- like #7-#10 at Pebble or #9-#11 at Turnberry. Pacific (or Bandon) never really have that stretch. No the problem: the green were poor. Not bad. Not good. Poor. I was shocked. The combination of fescue and poa annua makes them bumpy and inconsistent. There were sandy spots with very little grass. If these greens were at your local muni, people would be up in arms.

- Pacific Trails: We only played it once immediate after Pacific. The greens were slightly better. I really liked the layout. The combination of short par 4s, a monster par 3, and great par 5s is fantastic. Many of our guys said this was their favorite course. It does have a Spyglass feel (without the great holes by the water). A couple of horrible shots ruined what could have been a great round for me. I was tired. Walking that much in that wind took it out of me.

- Bandon Dunes: I have a hard time deciding if I like Bandon or Pacific better. We played it twice, early on our second day and our final round. Again, we had summer winds for the first round and winter winds for the second. To get a sense of the difference, I played #13 with a solid drive, solid hybrid, gap wedge with the summer wind and solid drive, 7 iron to 3 feet with winter wind (I missed the eagle putt). Again, GREAT holes and lousy greens.

- Bandon Preserve: We played the 13-hole short course in the afternoon -- no caddies, we pulled our bags in the carts they provide. THE GREENS WERE PERFECT!!!! They are by far the best greens at Bandon. The were fast, smooth, true, and beautiful. If the rest of the courses had these greens, I would have enjoyed the golf MUCH more. Preserve is awesome. An interesting mix of awesome par 3s. We were confused by which tees to play on some holes, but that made it more interesting. BTW, they let you play with large groups, so we played as an eight-some with a blind draw two-man better ball. It was a fantastic afternoon.

- Old Macdonald: Old Mac was my biggest surprise. I was not expecting to like it after reading some of the reviews. But I loved it! There greens were much better than the other courses (not as good as the Preserve). The greens are as big as you've read. I shot 80 with 9 three putts. I am not counting when I used putter off the green. I think I had putter in my hand for 45 shots. Crazy. But I loved it. Lots of the holes reminded me of other great holes I've played; but these aren't copies, they just draw inspiration from other great holes. Lots of the bunkering has problems. I don't know if they plan to just let the winds form organic bunkers or if they are going to fix them, but lots of sand has blown out and you can get some bad lies that you wouldn't expect on a world class course. For example, my ball was sitting on gravel in a fairway bunker on #17. There was literally no sand left in the bunker. But it is a great golf course and I wish we'd played it twice.

- Okay, I said 6 courses. They have a nine-hole par 3 laid out in the driving range. When the range is open, they are target pins. A couple of nights per week, they close that side of the range and open the par 3. It is much more akin to Pebble's Peter Hay course than the Preserve, which is much more like a "real course." The wind was howling when we played this unnamed course. There are some great holes on it! We played it in an eight-some as a four-man scramble. I would have loved to go back and played my own ball. Next time.

- Okay, maybe there are 7 courses… There is a natural looking, lightly maintained, 12-hole (?) course called the Sheep Ranch just north of Old Macdonald. It isn't part of the resort, but owned by Keiser. I wanted to make the trek over there, but couldn't convince my buddies. Dang.


By the way, practice long putts and tight lies before getting there. Short game killed me! Literally, get comfortable chipping and pitching off hardpan at home. You won't be on hardpan, but it is practically identical.

Here are pros and cons of the resort itself:


Pros:

- The Grove Cabins are great for buddy trips. Four bedrooms and bathrooms are great.

- The beds were comfortable. I was worried about waking up sore or stiff, but even with all that golf, I was always rested in the morning.

- The food was VERY good and moderately priced. I left every meal satisfied and felt like I got more than my money's worth. The black cod at Pacific was AMAZING.

- Drinks were almost very moderately priced. With a captive audience, I expected the prices to be higher.

- The shuttle service means you really don't want a car. Service was a little slow sometimes, but mostly perfect.

- I got a massage when I arrived. It was very good and really loosened me up after all that travel.

Cons:

- The Grove Cabins feel like they were furnished as college dorm rooms. The modern furniture and sparse feel wasn't what I was expecting. The gas burning fireplace felt awkward in the big living room. The Lodge at Pebble has gorgeous wood-burning fireplaces, Bandon should consider them. For $1600/night, I really expected more.

- For a place that caters to buddy trips, they do a really bad job splitting checks. We decided to just evenly splits bills between the eight of us, but the wait staff often seemed "put out" to have to do the math to split the check between our individual accounts. My bill was almost $500 more than my buddies at checkout. When I looked at my bill, I realized that I had a $250 charge that should have been split and another time where I was charged for two "shares" of a dinner bill. Seems like they need a better system and to train the employees to be happy we have eight buddies there.

- It was an expensive trip and to be honest, I am not sure it is worth the price. We were there for 6 night, but only played golf on 4 days. That extra $800 in the cabins seems like a waste (in hindsight). Next time, I think I'll fly in, play a course that afternoon, two-days of 36 holes, and depart. I'll get all the golf courses for about half the price.

- I am not a "spa guy." But when I get a massage, I kinda want the "spa experience." They don't have a spa, it is a barebones massage. No sauna. No whirlpool. No shower. You put your clothes back on all greasy. Not what I was expecting for that price.

Okay, that's long… Sorry for the typos; I am too tired to edit this ;-)

Room Tip: I would avoid Grove Cabins. For the money, I think I'd stay in the lodge.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
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3 Thank Mike F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Rye Brook, NY
Level Contributor
18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2013

4-day buddies trip to Bandon last week, quite an experience. Everything here is about the golf... while the accomodations and food are very good, and the prices certainly no bargain, the golf operation is the centerpiece.

We played all the courses, with Old Macdonald and Bandon Trails probably our favorites. No bad courses here, but if you're from the east coast as we are, and not accustomed to playing into 25-40mph winds for 4 days straight, the golf is really a tough test. My advice... spend some time on the range at home before you get here working on knocking down 4-iron shots along the ground... that's the way the game is played there.

All in all, a great experience, glad we went, but doubtful that i would make it an annual trip vs going somewhere else, mainly due to the travel time from the east coast, and the different game you have to play there to be successful.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank bradfordRyeBrook_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013 via mobile

From start to finish first class all the way. The golf courses, the staff the food and the accommodation all exceeded expectation, the only thing that could be proved upon was my golf score! Can't wait to return.

  • Stayed July 2013
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1 Thank cchatten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level Contributor
270 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2013

Hard to get to but well worth the effort. The place is about golf and nothing else - heaven on earth for the golf nut. Lodgings nice & comfortable but not perfect. Could use refrig & ice rather than the wine cooler. Bed comfortable. Shuttle service between venues works perfectly. Restaurants quite good. Now the golf.....the courses are amazing, especially Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and the Par 3. Old McDonald didn't do much for me. Be prepared for any type of weather. Played one morning in 56 degree temp, 1 1/2 rain during the round and 30-40 mph winds. That afternoon played is short sleeves and shorts. Caddies are a true value added. Some blind shots but not many. Greens and green surrounds quite firm. If I were to practice anything prior to a trip to Bandon it would be long range putting as it is often the shot of choice from around the greens. Do not miss the Par 3. Could play it everyday day of my life and never tire of it. Old McDonald worth playing but only once - too funky for my taste. Or as one of our companions said - it's liking seeing a tribute band. Cool but not the original.

Never leftmost the resort. Coffee, etc. available at clubhouses. Lunch excellent. And meals surprising good, especially considering that they have a captive audience.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Doubleeagle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, WV
Level Contributor
128 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2013

What a great golf resort! If you're idea of a golf trip is to play a lot of golf, this is the place. If you idea of a golf trip is go for the nightlife and play a little golf, this is not the place. The golf courses are great! The food is real good also. I hope to make this an every other year trip.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank hinesda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amarillo, Texas
Level Contributor
106 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2013

Excellent experience all the way around. The courses were magnificent and DAMN hard. I too lucked out on the weather. Really nice and dry. Lots of wind but...really nice. (bring rain gear cause it's gonna rain on you. I just got lucky.) Caddy's Paul and Tim were outstanding and fun. (the line is $80 to $100 for your caddy per round and I think it's a mistake if you don't get a caddy unless you have played there a lot, even then, I'd still get one). The room was "o.k." but expensive. ($400.00 a night when I was there). The rounds were $285.00 unless you were staying on property and then $225.00 per round. Do not come to Bandon Dunes for a "deal". You won't find that. What you will find is a very well run operation that focuses on golf. There are NO CARTS so do not come out unless you really like golf. Drinking, smoking cigars, carrying a bunch of stuff with you, etc. like you normally do in a golf cart round is NOT gonna really happen. I would urge you to FLY TO COOS BAY and get a ride to the course. That's 30 minutes away. It's a 4.5 hour hard drive from Portland. If you want to see the state, fine but do NOT think it's a good idea to fly in and drive there right off. That is a chore. Once you are on property, they have shuttles to take you where you need to go. Tons of shuttles. You don't need a car. The town of Bandon...MEH. I'd leave that off the trip list. However, if you want a break from Bandon Dunes, there is a nice course Bandon Crossing that is a few miles outside of Bandon. I played it and really enjoyed it. LUSH is a good word for that course. Get a group of friends together and get out to Bandon Dunes when the weather is good! Even if you play poorly, soak up the experience. The views are extraordinary.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank strongarmlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 13, 2013

Visited Bandon Dunes for the second time (first was 5 yrs ago) 5/31/13-6/2/13. We lucked out on the weather again, no rain. The place continues to be a first class golfing experience, not for the faint at heart. Golf: We golfed 36 on Friday, 18 on Saturday plus 26 holes on the 13-hole Preserve, and a final 36 on Sunday. All of the courses are great*. The addition of Bandon Preserve is truly a gem. Best par 3 course in the nation! Old Mac is fun, eventhough its a wind tunnel but so different than Bandon Dunes or Pacific Dunes (my favorite course). *Bandon Trails: its a good course, but I can play this type of course back home in MN. If I go back a 3rd time, I really don't need to play the Trails. They made some cosmetic changes to about 4 holes but #1 is not a good starting hole and 18 is an underwhelming finishing hole. Overall and aside from my Trails opinion, the golf is awesome. We were on a buddies trip with four guys. We had Bro and Nate as our caddies for 3 rounds. They were good local Coos Bay guys and did an acceptable job for us.

Lodging: We had two Lily Pond rooms. They are great places to stay. Very roomy, large with great big showers (big heads!). The Red Roof in Coos Bay had better beds and pillows but after a night at McKee's Pub, who cares. You aren't in your room a lot, at least you shouldn't be, so The Lily Pond rooms are very adequate for what we needed.

Dining: Ate a McKee's Pub twice. We love that place. Pizza is good, burgers look good and I remember the Meatloaf is outstanding. Good beer selection (can't go wrong with Mirror Pond from Bend's Deschutes Brewing). They should add an Irish beer like Finnegan's or even Carlsburg. Great service. The upstairs seemed the place to be for larger groups. *Also, ate breakfast one morning in the Lodge and feasted on the buffet. It was very good but I don't recommend it just prior to teeing off...Awesome fresh fruit and outstanding granola. Lunches: on the course, Trails clubhouse (quite good), and Pacific clubhouse (both breakfast & lunches are fine).

Future changes: bulldoze Bandon Trails or bring someone in to perform a major micale, construct another 13 hole or so short course on the property called the Sheep Ranch (its the best piece land left at the resort and is north of the Pacific course and is a rough course right now). Somewhere a person referred this property as "the Area 51 of the resort", Mr. Kiser could really have fun with that property!

Bandon Dunes, you had me at hello.

Room Tip: Lily Pond rooms are good enough, this is a golf resort and you need to cram as much golf in as your...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SDboy4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Property: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Address: 57744 Round Lake Rd, Bandon, OR 97411-6360
Location: United States > Oregon > Oregon Coast > Bandon
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Bandon
#6 Family Hotel in Bandon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 21
Also Known As:
Bandon Dunes Golf Hotel Bandon
Bandon Dunes Resort
Bandon Dunes Hotel

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