An Overview of Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Tom Doak’s Pacific Dunes golf course was our group’s consensus favorite at Bandon Dunes golf resort (although Bandon Trails was a close second). Every course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a must-play, but if you have time to play some twice, Pacific Dunes probably will be on your short list. I played Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald twice.
The word that come to mind when I reflect upon Pacific Dunes is rugged. The terrain is rugged; the edges of the fairways are rugged; the bunkers are rugged. Every hole on the course looks like a natural outgrowth of the rugged terrain through which it is routed.
In comparison, Bandon Trails is a peaceful woodlands course; Bandon Dunes, while routed through the same terrain as Pacific has a more resort feel (which of course it is); Old MacDonald is open and spare (in a good way). Each shares the same links golf DNA, but Pacific Dunes is somehow more wild.
The best holes at Pacific Dunes are the par threes. The fifth is the only one on the front nine. The four on the back, include the eleventh, which has two very different sets of tee boxes for use on different days. The upper box turns the fourteenth into a dizzying downhill shot with the entire green exposed; the lower is more akin to a shot through a canyon of dunes. There are five threes at here, but with the two very different tees here, Doak effectively created six.
The part three eleventh (at top) just might be the Pacific Dune’s signature hole. With a very strong wind in my face, I actually hit driver to this hole, to good effect.
From the back tees, Pacific Dunes measures 6, 633 yards and plays to a 73.0/143. One tee up, the course measures 6, 142 and plays to a 70.7/133. The course also has gold tees at 5, 775 and blue tees at 3, 920. To Bandon Dunes’ credit, women’s course ratings are offered for all but the back tees. The 6, 142 yard green tees, for example are a 76.3/143 for the ladies.
Pacific Dunes is a Tom Doak masterpiece. It currently is ranked #18 on the Golf Digest list of top courses in the United States. It is #2 on the list of Top Public Courses. High praise, and I cannot really add anything to it.