Remembering Shorty Dow


"Often, when I meet people who’ve read Dream Golf, the first thing I hear is, I would love to meet Shorty Dow, the self-appointed “mayor, governor, and sheriff” of the wild place that became Bandon Dunes.

Shorty had the kind of personality that could steal any show. For a writer, he was an ideal source, not only did he seem to remember everything, but the stories he told had so much energy and vigor that all I had to do was write them down.

This plaque that is being dedicated acknowledges the important role that Shorty and his wife, Charlotte, played in the development of Bandon Dunes Resort. On a decisive day, Shorty made sure that Mike Keiser saw the property in all its grandeur and rugged beauty – and in a larger sense, Shorty’s legacy is that golfers from all over the world have now been able to enjoy the same experience. Shorty’s love of the place, his humor, his optimism, his sheer and irresistible joyfulness – I believe that all of those qualities helped to shape the vision of the resort, and those qualities are still alive today. And while Shorty is no longer alive, his spirit surely is, and it’s out there among the dunes he loved, maybe chasing that elusive bear that he never saw though he swore up and down that it existed."

-Stephen Goodwin

When Shorty first took Michael Keiser on a tour of the property, Shorty led him to a spectacular vantage point to view the whole property, to what is now Bandon Trails No. 14. Mike shook Shorty's hand that day, not knowing the impact that this man, and this spot, would have on avid golf fans everywhere.

When hearing of the loss of Shorty Dow, our whole community felt it. So, we wanted to take a moment to honor the man, the myth, the legend that is... Shorty Dow. Please join us in honoring his legacy next time you walk behind the 14th tee on Bandon Trails.

The plaque reads: Early January 1991, in his search for an American linksland, Mike Keiser made his first trip to Bandon. The caretakers of the property, Shorty and Charlotte Dow, arranged his visit so that he glimpsed many features of the land before arriving here at this spot high on Back Ridge, where the entire panorama spread out before him – the gorse, the shore pines, the forests of spruce and cedar, the dunes covered with beach grass, rolling for miles along the shore of the Pacific.

Here at the edge of the continent, Mike knew that his search was over: he’d found a site that matched his capacity for wonder.  

As Mike’s vision became a reality, Shorty and Charlotte Dow, the pioneers of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, guided many other visitors to this spot. Shorty never tired of extolling the beauties of the property, he made Mike promise to build him a course, preferably one where all 18 holes played downwind, and never lost his pride at having played a key role in planting the seed for one of the world’s greatest golf destinations. 

Mike joins Shorty's family for a photo, including Shorty's wife, Charlotte (in pink).

You are gone but not forgotten, dear friend.

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