Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon has appointed Whitman, Axland and Cutten (WAC Golf) to design a new short course on sand dunes immediately south of the resort’s Bandon Preserve layout.
The new course will join the resort’s six others – Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old Macdonald, Bandon Preserve and Sheep Ranch – and WAC Golf will be the first new design team to work at the resort since Coore and Crenshaw designed Bandon Trails in 2005.
“The site for the new course is all sand dunes, but more undulating than elsewhere on the Bandon property,” Keith Cutten told GCA. “It would have been almost impossible to build longer golf on this site, but it is ideal for a short course. Our goal is to make the best short course in golf. I think we have a great chance to pull it off.”
View: An interactive map of the Bandon Dunes golf courses
“We spent several weeks trying to get the routing just right,” continued Cutten. “Our initial walk with Mike and Chris Keiser proved very successful as our sequence of holes received one of the highest total scores ever given by Mike – he ranks every hole out of 10. I believe we did so well because the golf is right there in front of you. Our routing makes the most of 19 incredible and natural green sites.”
The design process for Cutten and design partners Rod Whitman and Dave Axland began with a 12-hole routing before expanding it to 15, 18 and finally 19 holes. “The land was just too good to stop at 12 holes!” said Cutten.
Another short course – the resort’s existing Bandon Preserve layout is a 13-hole par-three layout – was a priority for the resort, to give more options for those who don’t want, or have time for, a full round. Cutten explains: “While more options for families is a priority, a second short course will also allow guests to add more great golf in between other rounds at the resort or even before, or after, late arrivals/departures, maximising everyone’s time golfing.”
Clearing work began in early March, and will be followed by a six-month window for construction. Grassing is then expected to take place towards the end of 2023.
“This will not be a simple pitch-and-putt,” said Cutten. “All 19 par-three holes will be of a quality to match the rest of the superlative offerings at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. However, multiple teeing areas will ensure that golfers of all abilities will have fun. There are more than 16 acres of connected turf – highlighting incredible natural and shaped ground contours – which will add to the interest of this design.”
The opening six holes will traverse undulating ground with WAC Golf using dune ridges to link teeing areas through to the green sites. Cutten said: “This southern end of the site is truly captivating and will allow the golf course to start with a real bang!
“Holes seven to eighteen were routed first. These are incredibly walkable holes playing along and around some remarkable dune ridges. Holes seven, eleven and fourteen will likely be favourites for their dramatic settings.”
The nineteenth hole was added in late February during a visit between the design team and the Keisers. “The clubhouse site is located on the highest dune on the property, further south than what we had initially anticipated. As such, we had additional room for a spectacular finish at the top of the site.
We think we are done with 19 holes, but the site is so good that we could easily keep going!”
Whitman, Axland and Cutten will be shaping the key golf features and Tony Russell, a local contractor who has contributed to every golf course at the resort, will be assisting with construction. Irrigation design is being handled by Greg Baer, with Bandon’s head of agronomy Ken Nice and team assisting with irrigation and managing the course’s grow-in.
Preview play is expected to be available in early 2024.