5 Reasons to Love Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Twenty-five years later, the resort that sparked the trend of modern destination golf continues to grow and evolve

You’ve surely read the accolades by now, so even if you haven’t yet made the trek to Oregon’s southern coast, the appeal of Mike Keiser’s flagship golf resort is understandable. Twenty-five years in, Bandon Dunes is still expanding and evolving. Last fall, the property unveiled a new steakhouse, and this spring 19 captivating holes opened for play at Shorty’s, the resort’s second short course. Need still more reasons to get there for the first time—or go back?

bandon resort

1. Short and Sweet

Named in honor of the land’s previous caretaker, Shorty’s abuts two of Bandon’s six other courses—Bandon Preserve and Bandon Trails—but offers a landscape all its own. “As you play down or across these dune ridges and then into the bowls that they create, the overall setting is much different than Bandon Preserve,” says Keith Cutten of WAC Golf, the firm responsible for the design, in which the longest hole peaks at 161 yards and the shortest requires a mere flip of a wedge. “You really feel the contrast and scale of these dunes.”

2. Raising the Steaks

Set just beyond the 18th green of the Tom Doak-designed Old Macdonald, the resort’s latest dining venue, Ghost Tree Grill, features floor-to-ceiling windows that deliver striking views of both the course and the Port Orford cedar for which the restaurant is named. The grill’s upscale cuisine is equally attention-worthy, with cuts of beef sourced from esteemed Pacific Northwest ranches and crudos of Hokkaido scallops, which are native to the Pacific and prized for their sweet flavor and exceptional tenderness. The Pacific Northwest is also well represented on the almost 300-bottle wine menu, with more than two dozen Oregonian Pinot Noirs to choose from.

Ghost Tree Grill
Ghost Tree Grill

3. Animal Attractions

Golfers may chase birdies on Bandon’s courses, but thanks to 65 bird boxes installed around the property—not to mention the resort’s status as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary—guests may see as many as 120 different avian species, including Arctic terns, Burrowing owls, and Bald eagles.

On the ground, wildlife sightings are just as prominent, since more than half of the resort’s 2,525 acres are unmanaged (there’s even a 250-acre conservation area). You’re all but assured to see mule deer during your rounds but keep an eye out for long-tailed weasels and porcupines. Rarer sightings can include Roosevelt elk, black bears, cougars, and bobcats.

4. Having a Ball

The resort’s Protein & Energy Balls are a secret weapon when you need a boost out on the course. Made from oats, flax, coconut, peanut butter, and other superfoods, these bites are molded into the approximate size of a golf ball, cheekily packaged in cardboard sleeves just like Titleist Pro V1s, and sold seemingly everywhere on property.

Protein and Energy Balls

5. Drives for Show

In terms of convenience, you can’t beat flying into North Bend’s Southwest Oregon Regional Airport with United Airlines. But flying in and out of Eugene—about three hours northeast—provides an opportunity for a scenic drive down I-5, across OR-38, and down US-101 where the idyllic scenes are worth their own landscape paintings. Tip: Stop at the Sugar Shack Bakery in Reedsport for their selection of glazed and frosted pastries.