10 things you need to know for the perfect Bandon Dunes golf trip

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort Sheep Ranch

A golf trip to Bandon Dunes is one of the great adventures in our game: truly a bucket list moment.

Six distinctive links courses await you, on a piece of South Oregon coastline it seems Mother Nature had set aside for golf. Each Bandon golf course has been brought to life in harmony with the natural wonder which surrounds it. Each has been created with a clear vision and purpose in mind and together, they combine to give the golfer a new and enriching experience every single time you play.

How then do you make the most of the Bandon Dunes experience, how do you prepare for this bucket list golf trip so that you don’t miss out on your chance to make the very most of it? Well, we have created a list of 10 things you need to know for a golf trip to Bandon. Enjoy.

Bandon Dunes Golf


1. Plan your travel to Bandon Dunes

Once you have booked your Bandon Dunes golf trip, how to get there will be the first major hurdle you will need to clear. The resort sits some 10 minutes from the Oregon coastal town of the same name but unless you live there or somewhere else in Oregon you are going to need to know where to fly in to. The closest airport to Bandon Dunes is Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (OTH) in North Bend. North Bend is about a 35-minute drive from Bandon. After that you are looking at Eugene, which is a 2.5 hour drive away, while you can also fly to Medford (MFR) (around 3 hours from Bandon) and Portland (around a 4.5 hours awar). Our first top tip would be do all you can to fly into Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (OTH) – the closest airport to Bandon. Between May and the end of September there are lots of flights in from San Francisco and from Denver too. Make it happen.


Bandon Dunes Map

2. Pack properly for a Bandon golf trip

This isn’t southern California so show up ready to take on the elements – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Bring at least two pairs of golf shoes, bring sunscreen, bring wet weather gear, bring sun huts and stuff to keep you cool, keep you warm and keep you dry. You get our drift? A week at Bandon Dunes is demanding on the body, so if you’re not used to walking the course, don’t show up cold. If you drive around in a golf cart 90% of the time, you should prepare for your trip to Bandon by walking a lot more in the months before you visit. You will thank us.

Bandon Dunes

3. Play Bandon Preserve on arrival

If you’ve never visited Bandon before, the perfect way to find your feet – in golfing terms – is to is play the wonderful par-3 course, Bandon Preserve. It will give you a glimpse of the tight lies, the vast greens, incredible ocean views and that firm links turf you will grow accustomed to over the course of your golf trip. And it will also give you the chance to get creative around the greens. But above all else, there is no pressure. This is Bandon’s answer to The Cradle at Pinehurst – a place to have fun, relax, and remind yourself how lucky you are to be at Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Preserve Scorecard
The scorecard for Bandon Preserve

4. Take a links golf lesson at Bandon dunes

Most visitors to Bandon have very little experience of the links of Scotland or Ireland. So, what better way to give yourself a head start than by booking one of Bandon’s specialist links lessons, which will arm you with every tool you need to play your best links golf. You’ll learn how to play bump and run shots, get out of those bunkers, how to keep the ball under the wind with a punch shot and you will even get some specialist help with your putting on links greens. We all know that the golf trips you remember most fondly are the ones where you play well – so swallow your pride and accept some short term pain for long term gain.


Bandon Dunes Course Map

5. Book a Bandon Dunes caddie

Bandon Dunes is a walk-only golf destination (except in exceptional circumstances), so don’t expect to be driving around in a GPS powered golf buggy. The experience at Bandon is much more about preserving the origins of the game – golf as it was meant to be. And with that in mind, caddies really are an essential part of the Bandon experience. No one knows the conditions or the course better and they can not only tell you your real yardage, not just the one on your GPS, but they will enhance your whole experience with stories, insights, and memories that you will take with you for the rest of your life. By booking a Bandon Dunes caddie, you’re not only giving someone the opportunity to perform a wonderful trade, but you’re also preserving a historic tradition within our game.
Bandon Trails

6. Remember the replays at Bandon

Bandon Dunes is not a golf destination which has been engineered to fill every tee sheet on every single golf course. In fact, even if every single room at Bandon is fully booked, it’s unlikely the golf course will be full. In fact Mike Keiser, the man who created Bandon, has been desperate to avoid the feeling that this place is ever busy. On most days, all golfers are on the Bandon Dunes courses by 11am which means there is plenty of opportunity to go back out and play again in the afternoons. Bandon’s replay rate means your second round of the day is half-price, the third is free and if you can manage four, they’ll pay you $100. Good luck with that.


Bandon Dunes golf resort map

7. Old MacDonald: Halfway to heaven

There will never been universal agreement in the debate about golf’s greatest halfway house. Sunningdale Golf Club will always be in the conversation, there are plenty of others too, but the halfway house at Old MacDonald, Bandon Dunes is definitely right up there. Why? Well, for a start, it’s one of the most spectacularly scenic spots at Bandon. It’s tucked away, hidden from the golf course itself and it’s just a brilliant place to take a moment to stop, have a drink and something to eat and be grateful for the life you have and your good fortunate to end up at Bandon Dunes. Golfers have been known to order a double whisky after a challenging front 9, while another hit bad weather not long after getting back underway and huddled under a gorse bush with a stiff drink, until the wind and rain had passed.


Old MacDonald Course Map

8. Drink from Bandon’s Punchbowl

The Punchbowl is Bandon Dunes’ homage to the historic Himalayas Putting Course at St Andrews. This 100,000-square-foot putting green, which opened in 2014 and was designed by Tom Doak, is not just another warm up before a round. No, The Punchbowl is a destination in its own right. Rather like Thistle Dhu at Pinehurst, this is a putting green where you will find every putt you can possibly imagine and plenty you can’t too. It’s fantastic fun, a brilliant gathering place and the kind of place golfers can gather to settle bets, relax over a casual game and enjoy themselves with a drink in hand. It’s also free to use. Incidentally, the 18-hole putting course at The Punchbowl is altered on a daily basis to keep you on your toes.

The Punchbowl Bandon Dunes
The Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes. Credit: Doak Golf

9. The best sunset spot at Bandon Dunes

There are no shortage of scenic spots to watch the sun drop into the seemingly endless Pacific at Bandon Dunes. But if you’re looking for the very best place to watch the sunset, then arrange to play the original Bandon Dunes course one afternoon. If you can time it just right, then aim to reach the terrific par-4 16th hole just as the sun is going down. If you can manage it, you’re in for a real treat – it might even be the best place to watch the sunset on any golf course in America.

Bandon Dunes Scorecard

10. Don’t try to do too much at Bandon

If you’re new to Bandon Dunes, the temptation – understandably – is to squeeze too much into your very first Bandon Dunes golf trip. If you’re not used to playing 36 holes in a day, trying to play 36 holes three days on the spin at Bandon Dunes is going to leave you in a bad way. So, our final tip for the perfect Bandon Dunes golf trip, is not to try and do too much – quality not quantity. Yes, of course, play lots of golf, enjoy as many of the stunning golf courses as you can, but don’t put yourself under too much pressure to do everything on your first trip. Golf trips, by definition, are – of course – about the golf but they are actually about so much more. So hang out with your friends or partners, breathe in the place, enjoy the views. Life is short, yes but don’t put trying to do everything ahead of your enjoyment of the Bandon Dunes experience.


57744 Round Lake Road,
Oregon 97411,
Bandon Dunes golf resort phone number:+1 888-345-6008

Claire's career as a journalist has seen her regularly write about some of the best restaurants, hotels and destinations in the world. She has also interviewed the past three Prime Ministers and has been a Digital Editor overseeing a number of newspaper titles. She is the founder of the content marketing company Smiths & Sons.

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