An Overview of Old MacDonald at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Old MacDonald at Bandon Dunes is unlike any course I have ever played. Designed by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina the course is their response to the question of what kind of a course would classic architect C.B. MacDonald (thus the name) have designed if given the Oregon Coast to work with. MacDonald is the architect of — among others — National Golf Links, Shinnecock and The Old White at The Greenbriar.
The MacDonald tribute course created by Doak and Urbina is on a largely treeless, sandy plain, with a few holes on towering dunes on either side. The fairways are enormous, undulating and strewn with bunkers. Each seemingly has hundreds of paths to the hole. Old MacDonald’s greens are larger than any I have ever seen, and in fact have more square footage than those at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The entire layout is made to seem even larger by the fact that the fairways and greens are cut to a largely uniform height (incredibly short). If not for mounding, it would be hard to tell sometimes where the fairways ended and greens began.
Old MacDonald’s expanse, combined with steady winds, hard-and-fast ground and unpredictable bounces demanded all the imagination and creativity I could muster. All of the old calculations on club selection had to be thrown out the window. In Michigan, a 150 yard shot for me starts with a 7 iron as a base. I might go a club or two up or down depending upon the circumstances. At Bandon, that 150 yard shot might be a 7 iron. Or a 2 hybrid. Or a wedge. Or even a putter. On each shot I had to imagine what I wanted the ball to do, and then pick the club — however unlikely — that seemed most likely to follow through. On several occasions, I hit a choked-down driver on short par threes (and got the ball close).
Golf at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort — and Old MacDonald in particular — is an experience not to be missed.
I’ll have a full and more detailed review of Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort soon.