Bandon Trails was the third course to open at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and was created by the design team of Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw. After the incredible success of Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes the expectations for their effort at the resort were very high. Unfortunately, they did not have the advantage of working with a property located along the sea, so the deck was slightly stacked against them as the comparisons to the seaside holes were sure to come. Fortunately Coore & Crenshaw rose to the occasion and delivered a course that received the same type of accolades as the previous two courses at the resort and quicky found its way onto all the Top 100 lists.Read more →
The second round of the Bandon Dunes golf trip for our group was on Old Macdonald. My last trip to Bandon Dunes was the week Old Macdonald opened back in June of 2010 and at that time the course was too new to be rated in Golf Digest’s Top 100. When the new list came out in early 2013 Old Mac debuted at number 49 which was really not much of a surprise to anyone.
As I mentioned in my Old Macdonald write up from 2010 the course is a nod to Charles Blair Macdonald who is widely considered the father of American golf. Tom Doak and Jim Urbina pulled a page from Macdonald’s playbook in that they laid out the course using their interpretations of many of the classic golf holes from Scotland. In the instances where Doak & Urbina did not use template holes they worked in their own original creations which, in my opinion, meld perfectly with the classic hole designs.Read more →
After spending the night right outside of Eugene, OR I woke up early the next morning and started making my way towards the Coos Bay airport. I was going to drop off my rental car there and meet up with the contingent of Texas guys I was joining for the Bandon Dunes portion of my Pacific Northwest trip. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Eugene to Coos Bay so I had plenty of time before their flight from San Francisco arrived in the early afternoon and I could make a leisurely morning out of it. My GPS gave me a number of options for getting from Eugene to Coos Bay and on my buddy Barry’s recommendation I decided to take the coastal route that heads directly west towards Florence and then south along the coast from there. While there are not a ton of ocean views, the coastal route is very pleasant and winds through some beautiful forests with the occasional ocean vista through the trees or at a roadside scenic overlook. As far as I’m concerned it beats the heck out of highway driving.Read more →
After a rather soggy day at Sahalee Country Club I pointed my rental car south and headed for the Tacoma area where I was scheduled to play a round at Chambers Bay the next day. Chambers Bay is located in a town by the name of University Place, which, interestingly enough, is NOT the home of a university. The town was named in the 1800s after the University of Puget Sound purchased a tract of land with the intent of building a new campus there. Even though the new campus was never built and the university sold the land back to the city, the name University Place stuck and it has been used ever since.Read more →
We’ve all heard the expression “it’s a small world” and many of us have had those small world moments, but it never ceases to amaze me when it actually happens to me. Back in 2010 I was visiting Sand Hills with a large group, one of whom was a golfer from San Francisco named Jeff. As we played our round together I told Jeff about my Top 100 quest and said he would give my website a look when he got back home. Once Jeff checked out the website he forwarded a link to one of his co-workers in North Carolina who is a die hard golfer that he thought would enjoy the site. Turns out his co-worker is someone that I have known and gone on a couple of golf trips with dating back to before I ever started my Top 100 quest. So, I go to the middle of nowhere Nebraska to meet a guy from San Francisco who knows someone that I’ve been on golf trips with in North Carolina . . . I love that kind of stuff.Read more →
As would be expected, the years when the list changes are always tense times for me. For the last six years Golf Digest’s Top 100 list and the courses on it have completely controlled my vacation and travel schedule, so whenever an update to the list comes out it’s a bit of a cross between Christmas morning excitement and final exam anxiety for me. Luckily, the change at the beginning of 2013 was the least damaging of the three changes that I have gone through since I began this quest, so I was pretty happy about that.Read more →
The Sandhills area of North Carolina is well known for Pinehurst Resort and Donald Ross’s famed Pinehurst #2 course, but let’s not forget that there are numerous other opportunities to see great Donald Ross designs in the area . . . and at a fraction of the price of #2.
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club officially opened for business in 1928 and the golf course here is widely considered to be one of Donald Ross’s most celebrated designs in his portfolio of over 400 courses. The U.S.G.A. must be in agreement with the general consensus as they have selected Pine Needles three times to host the premiere women’s golf event in America, the U.S. Women’s Open (1996, 2002 and 2007). That’s quite an endorsement from the U.S.G.A., especially considering they returned to the site that many time in just a spRead more →
Location: Pinehurst, NC Architect: Gary Player Year: 1989 March 16, 2013 The second day of our Pinehurst trip started out with a round at Pinewild Country Club’s Holly Course. We were the first tee time off so we were there bright and early to check in with the proshop. We had planned to walk the course which didn’t go over very well with the staff member working the pro shop. After questioning our ability to walk in less than 4 hours and 15 minutes no less than three times we got out of there and headed to the practiceRead more →
Location: Whispering Pines, NC Architect: Ellis Maples Year: 1962-1969 March 15, 2013 After our morning round on the River Course at CC of Whispering Pines we had a little lunch in the grill room before heading to the 1st tee of the Pines course for our afternoon round. Before I get to the course I want to point out that the experience we had here was great. This club is semi-private which means that they although they have members, visitors are welcome as well. I’ve been very fortunate to have visited a lot of private clubs throughout my TopRead more →
My annual visit to Pinehurst kicked off with what has become a typical dramatic flare. In previous years we’ve had late and missed flights as well as a faulty condo key that forced us to drive all over Pinehurst at midnight trying to find a hotel room. This year I somehow managed to lock the keys in my car in the parking lot of UNC’s Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill.Read more →