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I'm Going Back to Bandon, Bandon, Bandon Yep, you read that right, in about a month from now I will be making a return visit to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. No, that's not a humble brag. It's a 100% non-humble big huge brag. It's a I'm a lucky bastard brag. My prior trip to Bandon Dunes is one of my most memorable golf experiences to date. Thinking about getting to go back there gives me untypeable hands, as they are preoccupied clapping together with joy. I'm only half kidding thereâ€¦ For those of you not in the know about Bandon Dunes, follow this LINK to the resort site, browse around, and then come back with just a bit more seething envy. Bandon looks impressive on the web site, and once you get there, you quickly realize that what you saw on the computer didn't even come close to preparing you for the actual resort and golf experience. The last time I made the trip, I put together a kit of gear that I thought I would need for the adventure. You can read that article from the MGS blog here: Bandon Dunes Kit. As I get ready for trip two, I thought it would be fun to share my trip two must haves and discuss how trip two will differ this time around. The Original Kit Went 4/5 As I look back at the items from that original kit, I'd load four of the five of them into the car for trip two. The one thing that I'd leave home is the Jones bag, and it's not the bag's fault at all. I packed the Jones bag to have something light to use on The Preserve, the 13 hole par 3 course. As it turns out, Bandon Dunes has the exact same Jones bag there for you to borrow, transfering needed clubs from your big bag to the Jones for the shorter course. Attitude makes a difference though. Instead of being upset that I hit into a ridiculously deep bunker, I thought about how cool it was to have a bunker like that to play out of. Slight change in perspective made all of the difference for me. The Bandon Dunes Kit Version 2.0 So what will I be bringing this time around? The bones of the original kit will all be there, with some updates and modifications. Rain Gear Rain gear will be part of the package. Hopefully the rain gear stays dry again this trip, but I sort of want it to rain a bit since that's really a part of the Bandon experience. Who am I kidding, I hate rain, and it would be totally fine to be dry and warm again this time. Flasks and Booze Booze and the accompanying Seamus flask will be there for sure. I think that having the flask and the associated birdie-pull ritual definitely added to the experience. I did considering switching that to a par-pull ritual after the first 18, and then to a still-alive ritual after 27 holes, but making the flask a reward was definitely fun. The flask from Seamus is just flat out badass. Plus, it's an Oregon company, so there is good juju there to boost the Bandon Experience. Maybe we can grab Akbar, Seamus's owner and Bandon resident, for a beer and putting at the Punchbowl. Not that you necessarily care, but I think that I'll be switching the flask contents to Basil Hayden's bourbon this time. If you dig bourbon, and haven't tried this stuff, you are welcome.. There is a reason why I couldn't find a single photo with a full bottle in it. Gorse Food (aka lots of golf balls) There will definitely be more than one box of balls making the trip with me again. Let's just say that the gorse is no joke. You lose a ball in there and it's lost. Don't look for it, just drop and move on. If you start to poke into the gorse, trying to find your ball, you will lose that contest. Let the gorse keep its offering, and then you can then keep your blood and skin. New Trip Two Takes There are a couple of other things that are my new must takes for the second trip. Feel free to add to this list if there is something that you would consider a must have. Extra Socks: Swapping the socks between the morning and afternoon rounds, and slipping into pair three after 36 holes before recreating at the Punchbowl was quasi orgasmic. It's like strapping on new feet. I'll probably snag a couple of fresh pairs of Kentwools before I go. KT Tape: Though I am actively training for the amount of walking that we will do during the trip, it's nice to have a bit of extra support. I found that running a piece of tape up the back of the foot, and around the arch was a great way to prevent any heel rub or plantar issues. Advil: Sometimes old bodies feel old. Smash that pain with drugs and alcohol and keep playing. Since it's Oregon, herbal remedies are also not out of the equation. Cigars: The course actually has some quality cigars available to purchase, but I have a few favorites that I'll be packing in this time. Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduros and New World by AJ Fernandez will be in my bag. Clicgear: This may be more important than anything. We aren't getting caddies, so it's either carry or push the bag. Playing this much golf with a bag on my back could lead to serious soreness. All of the courses are definitely pushable, and remember, they want you to roll the cart right across the green. They are hard, you'll not hurt them. Snacks: Cliff Bars and jerky were pure ambrosia last time. You burn massive amounts of calories during the rounds. Eat stuff and play better. Eat in the Pub: There are great restaurants on site, but I think that we will go with McKee's Pub for most meals. I may just order Grandma's Meatloaf for every meal. It's that good. The take out breakfast burritos at the lodge are killer as well. I'll get a burrito and a coffee and then go to the range to warm up rather than a sit down for breakfast. Lingering Gear Questions While I think that I've got most of the plan set, there are still a couple of questions that I need to address before the trip. Putter: This one is impossible. I'll probably pick one at the last minute, and by one I mean a few. I took two putters last time, my Carbon Holliday for the rounds and then my favorite old friend White Hot Sabertooth for the Punchbowl. Fairway/Driving Iron: I've got a hole at the top of my bag. I have a serviceable 3W (Srixon F45) and my trusty PING i25 3H, but I am thinking that a driving iron could be fun to have at Bandon. May do a little shopping for a PING Crossover, or maybe a G400 fairway to match my favorite ever G400 driver. Hitting something long, yet low, would be helpful if that wind creeps up. I could also just work on knockdowns with the i25 3H. G400 stretch 3W could be a nice low launch option as well... Cart or Carry Bag: I love my MGS cart bag, but I am wondering if it would be better to go with a smaller bag, specifically a carry bag that I can take with less effort to the practice facility. Maybe this too will be a gametime decision. If the weather looks rough, then the big bag could be critical for swapping out rain gear and such. Feedback? So what do you all think? Have I missed something that you think is mission critical for Bandon? You can look forward to a full trip report once I'm back, and if you watch my social media accounts May 27th-30th, you will see lots of amazing stuff from the course. Should you happen to be in the Bandon area around that time, I've got your first round at the Punchbowl covered.
I played each day in OR from TU april 2nd - SU April Apr 8th and managed to avoid rain. If you've ever been to the PNW you know that this is quite the accomplishment! The weather was iffy for the week at Bandon so we skipped it (if I'm paying THAT much there's no way I'm going in questionable weather..) I did a lot of searches and asked on the forum for some suggestions and got some great ideas. I wish it could have been 2 weeks, but alas... It was just me and my buddy. We were best friends in high school and hadn't seen each other in almost 30 years so it was a reunion of sorts. He has a bad back so he has to ride in a cart but that was okay because we played 6 days in a row and I'm not sure if even I could have walked all 6 days. So my challenge was to find the best courses in OR that aren't in Bandon and time the weather right so that we aren't playing in a soaking rain .... add to that finding the best price with a cart and it was quite a challenge, but with a lot of driving we pulled it off. Here's what we did. MO - landed at Portland around 1; played a little 9 holer to get loose. TU - played Pumpkin Ridge ghost creek...got a good deal on GolfNow for 2 w/cart at 50.00 each....anyone who tells you Pumpkin Ridge is in Portland is lying. It's "near" Portland; out in farmland. There are two 18 hole courses/1 private and 1 public; the course we played was fantastic...I couldn't get over how green and lush everything was and the trees were awesome. really fun course with some great holes and there was nobody behind us or in front so we could take our time and have fun. Awesome flags on the pins! (BTW - they had fake coyotes on the fwy to scare the geese away; they look awfully real until you're right up on them!) drove from Portland to Bend OR (162 mi) WE - played at Sunriver Meadows in Bend...got a great deal on GolfNow for 2 w/cart at 45 each. It started off cold...there were still little spots of snow on the ground and the wind was strong. we each had to go into the clubhouse and get pullovers to wear; my buddy is bald so he grabbed a beanie. A local member ended up joining us and it was a fun and different course. The grass in the rough was really coarse so your ball ended up sitting up on it...that was cool. We played another 18 by ourselves and the guy in the clubhouse said to just go ahead..no charge. My buddy ended up at 79/74 - his best 2 rounds. TH - played at Pronghorn in Bend (Nicklaus design)...got a super deal on teeoff.com for 2 w/cart at 33 each. Outside of Bandon this is usually the highest rated course in OR (or maybe Pumpkin) and I could see why. This place was amazing and the layout was awesome. You could tell that Jack has a specific way that he wants you to play certain holes but there are always options to go for it. We played by ourselves again - nobody in front or behind - and had a great day. The fairways were like carpets...I wanted to lay down and take a nap. One of the best courses I've ever played and I had a chance for my first sub-80 round ever but missed a slippery downhill 10 footer for an 80. I was over the moon with that score on that course. An awesome day. drove to Eugene from Bend (130 mi) and then from Eugene to Medford (167 mi) FR - Met a friend from high school that we used to hang out with and played a fun 18 hole course with some great elevation changes and beautiful vistas. he isn't very good - shoots 100+ - so we weren't being too serious and just having fun hanging out...again - nobody around us and the weather was fine. There were some pretty aggressive turkeys on one of the holes! He treated us as "clients" so the golf was free. drove from Medford to Klamath Falls (75 mi) SA - played at Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls (Palmer design)...found a good deal on Groupon that ended up being 36 each with cart. We were the only group out and soon found out why. There were some serious squalls that blow through but they last about 5-10 minutes. This course was designed by A. Palmer and was so beautiful. It wasn't as narrow as Jack's design but he made sure you were accurate on your approach shots. The weather cleared out after a few holes and it was amazing. The scenery is incredible. drove back to Eugene from K Falls (175 mi) and to Florence from Eugene the next day (60 mi) SU - planned to play at one of my buddies fav courses - Sandpines - but it was walking only due to the recent rain so we headed over to a neat little course called Ocean Dunes. Couldn't find a deal online for this one but it was only 40 each with a cart. We were all alone again and this place had some awfully narrow fairways. You really had to be accurate or you could easily end up in big trouble. My buddy lost more than a couple of his Volviks! This place had one of the coolest benches I'd seen - some recycled trees. A lot of fun and some neat tee boxes with some cool "chutes" that you hit out of...kinda like on tour (haha!) drove back to Eugene from Florence (60 mi) That was it! 800+ miles, 6 days and 6 great courses and, for the most part, weather wasn't an issue. We never had to wait on a single tee box, we didn't have anyone pushing us from behind and we only played one round with another person (who was really friendly so it was no big deal). I can't recall a more enjoyable time! There were definitely some courses I missed - Tetherow, Sunriver crosswater, Sandpines, Tokatee, etc. - but we played some awesome courses and got phenomenal deals on them. I would definitely love to do Pronghorn again...my buddy moved from AZ/NM and he said it reminded him of some of the courses out there. Oh yeah - I also played pretty well for it being my first rounds of the year! My scores were 87/84/80/84/83/81...(I've never shot in the 70's but I keep getting close!) We're already planning to meet up in AZ next year !! Sorry for the long post and all the pics...thanks for hanging in there if you made it this far.
I have been on this forum for quite some time and posted on the introduction forum a while back but took a long break. I am now looking to get more involved and learn more about the game of golf. I just pasted my bio from my page as an intro below. I take some decent golf and sports photos on my Instagram if you would like to follow (posted a link to one below) username: cragghianti "I am a new member of the game of golf, just started playing a little over a year ago but have progressed really nicely. When I started, I couldn't hit a ball to save my life but I am proud to say I am an 18 handicap today and working hard to improve each week. I am currently using the Nike Vapor Fly Pro irons, the Nike Vapor Flex 440 Driver (getting used to this one) and the Nike Origin Putter. I work for adidas in Oregon so I have been on the lookout for a different set but its hard to beat these for the tech and price! I am fortunate enough to be able to play the beautiful Oregon Golf Club and the prestigious Waverley Country Club here in Oregon pretty often and let me tell you, those two courses really challenge you. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or are in this area!" Thanks for taking a look! http://imgur.com/a/oF54L