My Ultimate Composite Course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: A Golfer's Paradise

My Ultimate Composite Course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: A Golfer's Paradise

The resort boasts five incredible courses - Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old Mac, and Sheep Ranch - each offering a unique golfing experience. In this post, I am showcasing my "Bandon Dunes Composite Course" at the resort, giving you my favorite holes 1-18, in hopes that you tell me why I am so wrong and what holes you love instead. Or I hope you find your motivation to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort for yourself! It is like no other place you will go. Maybe at the end I will rank the courses as well... Just because that is what you have to do once you have gone... And fair warning you may reorder them after every trip you make to Bandon.

1. Sheep Ranch - Hole #1 - Par 5, 549 Yards

Starting off my Bandon Dunes Golf Resort composite course is the opening hole at the newest 18 hole course on the property - Sheep Ranch. This medium-length par 5 often plays back into the wind and down towards the ocean. As you hit the gentle opening tee shot, combat the wind coming in off the ocean and keep your ball from moving too far right as the holes turns left down the hill and has Scottish gorse down the right. Arriving at the crest of the fairway, you'll be amazed by the first green that falls off into the Pacific, some 200+ yards away. A large green plays tough to a back pin as long is no good. Keep the ball short and chip it up for a nice look at an opening birdie. Enjoy the view and now you are fully aware of how good this golf is going to be!

2. Bandon Trails - Hole #2 - Par 3, 214 Yards

A downhill par 3 at Bandon Trails. This challenging hole offers a taste of the beautiful woodland design, giving a one-of-a-kind Bandon Trails experience. Managing the wind is crucial here to avoid having your ball pushed around too much. The hole features a green site nestled beneath a massive dune to the right and tucked among a pocket of evergreens on the left. Looking at all the 2nd holes as a collection was tough to pick from. They all are good but this one is the most fun in my opinion.

3. Old Mac - Hole #3 - Par 4, 375 Yards

'Sahara' at Old Mac. This medium to short par 4 requires a shot selection based on wind direction. Therefore, depending on the wind, you will be hitting left, right, or center of the famous Old MacDonald "Ghost Tree." You'll want to snap a photo from both sides of this hole! The blind tee shot over the Sahara Dune leads you to a very undulating and slanted fairway, which forces your ball to the right. If the wind is playing out of the east or north you can let the driver ride. A big hit here may trundle all the way to the front edge. A big green with lots of undulation awaits. It's truly one of the most memorable holes at the resort.

4. Bandon Dunes - Hole #4 - Par 4, 410 Yards

The par 4, 4th hole at Bandon Dunes was were I fell in love with the resort. It was on this hole standing in the fairway for the first time I felt a new appreciation for the game of golf and the roots of links golf in Scotland. A tee shot that forces some carry and can be blind to the fairway depending on your tee box, asks most to hit less than driver. The fairway is out there and plenty generous but standing on the tee it doesn't look all that friendly. Get your drive out past the corner of the dog leg right and walk up to an approach shot that will not disappoint no matter how many times you play at the resort! Trust me. A downhill approach from 130 to 170 yards that asks you to play the ball right to left into an infinity green that moves south along the cliff. A ball landing short in the summer can run up nicely to a mid or back pin. Two bunkers short left and left make it a no, no to miss the green to the left. I hope you enjoy one of my favorite holes in all of golf.

5. Bandon Dunes - Hole #5 - Par 4, 428 Yards

If I fell in love on #4 at Bandon, #5 made it so I will keep coming back for years and years to come. This longish par 4 (Playing into the prevailing summer wind) plays directly north up the cliff line. Dune mounds in the middle of the fairway split it in two but can be cleared by most and don't play as much of a penalty. They do however mess with your eye from the tee. the fairway narrows down to just 15 or so yards wide at around 120 yards in. The green site is set perfectly in between dunes with a long green side bunker on the right. A long green can make club selection into this hole vary from 120 yards to 160 yards from the same spot in the fairway. As you are leaving number 5 run up the dune to the right of the 6th tee and take a picture of this one of a kind hole looking back down the fairway. I know I always enjoy this one!

6. Sheep Ranch - Hole #6 - Par 4, 460 Yards

The 6th hole at Sheep Ranch might be the most fun tee shot at the resort. Looking directly over the cliff line out over a small bunch of gorse coming up over the cliff and onto the fairway. Its all carry. Depending on your tees and the wind will determine how much you can bite off here. This long par 4 playing up the hill to an elevated green site is a beast in the winter wind. Play conservatively into the wind or let one fly down the cliff line if you got some sea breeze behind you. A large green awaits you at the top of the hill but from down in the fairway it will look like you are trying to hit it on the top of a Volkswagen Beatle. Go ahead and be aggressive. Lots of room up there. Make a 3 here and you will be talking about it for the rest of the trip!

7. Old MacDonald - Hole #7 - Par 4, 363 Yards

Ride the Ocean Wave that is the 7th at Old Mac. A wide open tee shot asks you the question what angle do you want to approach this elevated cliffside green. I tend to like playing as close as I can down the left side of this hole not only makes it shorter but gives me an angle that makes the green as deep as it can play and most pins are accessible up the hill from that angle. Don't hit it left of the fairway though. Gorse will grab the ball and force a penalty. Also a Bunker up the left guards from going to far. A ball in the fairway bunker there makes it nearly impossible to get the approach up the green site. Play the yardage longer than the number as the approach plays significantly up hill. Once you get up the the green site turn around and look back out at the glory of Old Mac as it lays out before you. One of the best views on property and a hole that you will not soon forget.

8. Bandon Trails - Hole #8 - Par 4, 321 Yards

This drivable par 4. A short downhill hole with trouble right and a fairway and green site that slopes to the left. bunkers heavily guard the green and chipping from down below on the left is as tough as you want. Missing right when it is firm and fast is no given either. A great tee shot bounding in front of the green should run up and onto the green and give you a putt for Eagle. Look for birdie but don't lose your concentration as a bigger number is possible as well.

9. Pacific Dunes - Hole #9 - Par 4 , 406 Yards

I know, it took 9 holes to get Pacific (the highest rated course at Bandon) on my composite course. Not because it doesn't have great holes. I love 3, 4, and 6 on the front 9 at Pacific, maybe even more than I like the 9th, but when you are comparing all the great holes at the resort I could not slot those over the holes I picked. The medium length par 4 has a blind tee shot to a huge fairway but the hole can play to two different green sites. Both are fantastic. If you are playing to the top green hit it further right than you think. It will leave you the most level shot into the green that is possible. If you are playing to the lower green hit the drive as hard as you can to the middle or left center of the fairway and catch the slope. It can send your ball a long way down and leave you with just a little pitch onto the green. It is such a good tee ball and unique hole it makes my list as the best front 9 finisher at the resort.


Making the turn -

We have 2 from Bandon Dunes, 1 from Pacific Dunes, 2 from Bandon Trails, 2 from Old MacDonald, and 2 from Sheep Ranch. We will have to see which course boasts the most holes on my composite course. Looks like it could be very close.


10. Pacific Dunes - Hole #10 - Par 3, 206 Yards

Lets bring back Pacific to start the back 9. Number 10 is an awesome par 3 with a huge dune to the right of the of the green.  It sits underneath a smaller dune to the left.  It can play downhill from the upper tee box or pretty level from the lower box. Be careful with the wind here as from below you might not get a good read on it. It can play a lot longer or shorter than the number depending on what it is doing up above the coverage of the dunes. A beautiful view back out the the coast line here. Make a par 3 and you will be off to a great start on your back 9.

11. Bandon Trails - Hole #11 - Par 4, 445 Yards

For those that decide an inland course is not the course for them when traveling to the resort, I strongly encourage you to reconsider. It is so good. The 11th is one of the best. A long dog leg right par 4 that drops down the hill to an incredibly beautiful green site that sits against the only water that comes into play in the entire resort. (Yes, there are red stake hazards, but I don't think there is another area where your ball will end up in the water). Hit a shot out at the tree thats top points east and let your ball run down the hill to the right. A mid iron approach to this green site and just enjoy the walk down the hill. After a day in the wind at Pacific. Trails is what you need to gain some perspective and enjoy a walk in the woods.

12. Bandon Dunes - Hole #12 - Par 3, 199 Yards

The first hole ever built at Bandon Dunes makes the list. This par 3 going back to the cliffs at Bandon offers an amazing view of yet another green site perched on top of the cliffs. A deep pot bunker front and center of this green and a small dune on the right side with a runoff in back protect this shorter par 3. Any par here is a good score.

13. Pacific Dunes - Hole #13 - Par 4, 444 Yards

Maybe one of the most famous holes on the resort. The par 4 runs north again along the cliffs at Pacific Dunes. A wide generous fairway gives you many options off the tee. And looking up at the green site you know why people come from all over to play at this resort in all kinds of weather. With a dune taken directly from the rugged coast line of western Ireland, standing over a beautiful green that is as deep and wide as you could want. Many ways to play an approach shot to this green. I like trying to keep it low and skipping something into a middle or back pin. Take some wide angle pictures if you or one of your buddies happen to find the dune bunker. It doesn't get much more wild than this in golf. Oh, and don't forget to tell your buddies to push their carts up the steps as you walk around to 14 tee. It may leave you with a good chuckle when they finally make it to the top.

14. Bandon Trails - Hole #14 - Par 4, 325 Yards

Yeah this is where I might lose some, but hear my why. Probably the most controversial hole at the resort. I personally love it. A short drivable downhill par 4 with a narrow green that makes shots left or right of it on a summers day nearly impossible to stop. Try not to get down in the collection area underneath the green that most people find themselves in. Play short and pitch up to the length of the green. Make your 4 and move on. But before you bypass this hole... enjoy the view from behind the tee box.

Each year I make a trip out to the resort it becomes a little less about how great the golf is and more about how lucky and grateful I feel to be able to make this pilgrimage. When I get up to the tee at 14 on Trails and walk over to the plaque to look out over the property and the Pacific, no matter how good or bad the golf is, no matter how the weather might be that day, I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the life and love I have around me. For my wife, my family, my friends, for my work, for the experiences I get to have. I feel that all right here and am able to clearly reflect on how special this time is. Most of the time while experiencing things I don't truly reflect until after, but right here on the top of 14 I am completely in this moment. The fact that I get to come to this place with some of my closest friends and share this time together, laughing, debating, having a beverage or two, maybe a cigar at the bunker bar, or a steak at the Ghost Tree Grill, and hitting 1 or 2 good golf shots, well it just makes me smile ear to ear. Although the whole property makes me have these feelings, I always feel it the most right here. The hole will have its naysayers but for me personally one of the best experiences of Bandon Dunes sits atop the Tee Box at 14.

15. Bandon Dunes - Hole #15 - Par 3, 163 Yards

Another great Par 3 on Bandon Dunes. I think Bandon has the best collection of par 3's of the golf courses. I am sure someone will tell me why I am wrong. This one is a short but tough hole hitting into the prevailing summer wind with another amazing green site that sits perched above the cliffs. Short and right everything will funnel well beneath the green height and possibly into a bunker that collects even some good shots. If you happen to get it up and in you just had the best par of your life. The short left of the green gives you a spot to aim at but if you hit it too far your ball collects beneath the green level as well on tightly mown grass behind and left of the pin.

16. Bandon Dunes/Old MacDonald - Hole #16 - Par 4/4, 363/455 Yards

I could not decide. Sorry but these might be two of my favorite holes on property.

The Par 4, 16th at Bandon Dunes is one like no other. As DMK said, to any developer this would be where you put the hotel, spa, or restaurant but not Mike. This was the crescendo of the design and of the golf course that is Bandon Dunes. Spoiler Alert... Bandon Dunes, the original course, is my favorite and year after year it stays in that spot atop the list of these amazing golf course. A short and gettable Par 4 that has you drive over the natural landscape of the pacific ocean cliffs in Bandon. You can get the ball up to the green site from the tee if the wind is down or calm. Into the wind, best of luck clearing the dunes scape that sits just 200 yards in front of you. It will take all you got. The green sits atop the cliff and is everything that you want in an oceanside golf hole. You will never see another like it. The 16th is truly unique.

"Alps" at Old Mac. What an awesome par 4 that has you driving down the hill onto a generous fairway but anything center or left will have you completely blind over the giant grass cover mound in the middle of the fairway. A long drive down the right may flirt with some bunkers but if positioned just right gives you a great look at a green site sitting between two dunes covered in gorse. Hit it at the aiming pole on top of the hill have your hear the bell chime signifying the green is clear and hope that you have a good distance from your caddy. A two putt par will do you good on this large and tricky green.

17. Sheep Ranch - Hole #17 - Par 4, 326 Yards

A short but daunting par 4. The 17th sits along the cliff line at Sheep Ranch. From the tournament tee on the 16th green you hit yet again over the steep cliffs that make up the coast line. Ghost trees sit along the cliff side to provide some extra framing of the magnificent Oregon Coast. The green marks the final time of 9 greens that sit along the cliff line at Sheep Ranch. Truly amazing and unforgettable. Take a picture out by the green tree as you contemplate your golf life and why you have not made this trip sooner.

18. Bandon Dunes - Hole #18 - Par 5, 543 Yards

Lets bring it home how we started. The resort boasts some awesome Par 5's and the two on this list may not even be my favorite, but the others had some stiff competition. The Par 5, 18th at Bandon brings you all the way back down the ravine to the clubhouse. Its medium in length and a good tee ball that avoids the right and centerline bunker will give you an opportunity to get home in 2. Hit your tee ball further left than you think and stay clear of any trouble. Then swing away. Bring a shot in from short and left to run it up on the front of the green. A two putt Birdie and Guinness at McKees may await. As a friend of mine says... "If you like golf..." you may have just had the golf experience of your life! I know it was for me.


So where does that leave my composite Bandon Dunes Golf course. Well I have a par 70 at 6632 yards. I put 6 holes from Bandon Dunes on it, 3 from Pacific, 4 from Trails, 3 from Old Mac, and 3 from Sheep Ranch.


Here are a list of notable mentions that didnt get on the list but are just amazing holes in their own right:

Bandon Dunes' 17th is another one of my favorites but was a very close 2nd to Sheep 17th.

Pacific Dunes' Par 5 3rd and Short Par 4, 6th all made me decide between great and great. And the Par 4 4th hole maybe one of the best holes period on property. But for me it was slightly edged out by Bandon's 4th.

Trails' 3rd, 9th, and 16th are 3 of my favorite par 5's on the resort but could not overcome their great competition as well as Trails 13th as another great par 4 with an amazing green.

Old Mac's Par 3 8th a biarritz, and the par 3 12th a redan template. I greatly enjoy playing both of them. As well as the entire finishing stretch at Old Mac. Holes 14-18 all have really fun and engaging design.

Sheep Ranch's 11th is an awesome inland Par 5 and the 15th and 16th also deserve a mention as fun holes that play to and along the ocean.

Go ahead and tell me why I am wrong or what you love about the holes I love. I look forward to hearing it.

Here is my ranking of golf courses at Bandon. Would love to hear your order.

1. Bandon Dunes

2. Bandon Trails

3. Sheep Ranch

4. Old MacDonald

5. Pacific Dunes

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out for your golf bag and accessory needs. I am just getting started here at BGSC and would love your support.


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