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 there…
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.
Play Note: The Preserve Can Play Long
Bring longer clubs than you think you’ll need. My buddy and I went with only four or five clubs for the “short” course. Turns out that some of the holes get close to that 200 yard mark, and if you are hitting into the wind, that 7i you packed as the longest club may need a couple of swings to get home.
That gets us to another point about trip two, score is not the point. I was a bit bummed about not reaching greens with that 7i on the Preserve, but I (finally) just went with it and had fun. Sure, we all like to score low, but if all you do is grind over numbers, you’ll likely miss the beauty, and the fun of playing the Bandon Dunes courses. Once I got to just focusing on the next shot, and not caring if it was the 6th on a par 3, I had way more fun.
To be fair, we were a little gassed on the Preserve as well as it was holes 37-49 for the day. Oh, be sure to tee off with the putter on the 13th!
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 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.
Play Note: Plan for the Punchbowl
The Punchbowl is one of my favorite things at Bandon Dunes. It’s a HUGE putting green, with two 18-hole tracks. It was my favorite thing to do at the end of the day. Each hole has cup holders, and there are amazing servers who will sprint up and down the hill to the course to keep you with drink in hand.
The big courses at Bandon Dunes are totally amazing, but some of the best trip memories came from relaxing with a cigar and beer while playing for quarters at the Punchbowl.
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.
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.