Pacific Dunes Is An Amazing Course
I had my second go at Pacific Dunes on Saturday, and found that it was every bit as enjoyable and interesting as the first.
Pacific Dunes is a Tom Doak design which currently is rated as number 18 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 best courses in the United States. Golf Digest ranks Pacific Dunes one step behind Oakland Hills South, which I also have played. Pacific Dunes lacks the pedigree, but is still, I think, better. It is ranked #14 by Golf magazine.
A true linksland course, Pacific Dunes is routed along cliffs and high dunes above the Pacific Ocean. The fairways run hard and fast. Every shot must take the wind into the equation. Gorse, which should be banned by the UN as an enemy of humanity, is seen on many holes. A friend who has played several times in Scotland compared Pacific Dunes favorably with those in the home of golf, saying only that the fairways were not quite as hard.
As far as I am concerned, Tom Doak is a golf course design genius. Bandon Dunes golf resort is lucky to have two courses designed by Doak: Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald, a tribute to Charles Blair MacDonald. What the two have in common are wide fairways and large greens which are easy to hit but difficult to hit precisely. Shots aimed at the premium landing zones will often kick and spin off into unwanted directions under the hard and fast conditions. Fortunately, every ball location — even the poor ones — seem to offer multiple opportunities for recovery — and redemption. I think it would be a very long time, indeed, before I tired of trying to decipher the puzzle.
I liked Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald so much that I played each twice.
Pacific Dunes is truly bucket list golf