Crafting Your Perfect Trip
When is the best time to play Bandon Dunes if you want to see the sunset? What’s the best rotation for a newcomer? What months are the calmest? Bandon Dunes’ Director of Resort Operations, Jeff Simonds, has been asked all the questions by newcomers and veterans alike. Planning the perfect Bandon Dunes itinerary is really dependent on what your goals are, Simonds explains. “The best time to come is when it fits in your schedule,” he says. With that in mind, the 14-year veteran of the resort offers his Bandon insights gleaned from his time at the resort interacting with tens of thousands of guests.
As seen in Bandon Dunes Magazine.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BECOME ACCLIMATIZED TO BANDON DUNES?
If you’ve never been here before, one of the more enjoyable ways to understand Bandon is to start on the 13-hole Bandon Preserve. You get the firm turf, the tight lies, the big greens, and the great ocean views. You’re going to be excited to finally play Bandon, and you’ll have the opportunity to be creative with your putts and pitches. We also allow up to an eight-some on the Preserve so it is a great start to catch up with your buddies who don’t live near you.
WHAT’S THE BEST COURSE TO PLAY IN THE MORNING?
Old Macdonald is the course that is most exposed to the elements. So, if you’re trying to avoid the wind as much as you can, then you’d play it in the morning and then Bandon Trails in the afternoon.
WHAT’S THE BEST COURSE TO PLAY IN THE EVENING?
For an epic day, you’ll want to finish on Bandon Dunes or Pacific Dunes so the round ends in the evening—the sunsets are truly incredible. But they are great to play in the morning when you are waking up with the golf course and you can smell the ocean and hear the waves as they are crashing— that’s pretty good as well. However, it is also great to play Pacific in a morning and then another day in the afternoon because the courses will play very differently. You want to see how they change from the morning to the afternoon and you’ll see how links golf changes throughout the day. A 440-yard par four can be driver and a 3-wood in the morning, but only a driver and mid-iron in the evening. It is about understanding the conditions.
WHAT MONTHS OF THE YEAR ARE THE CALMEST?
Mid-July through the end of September is the calmest and predictable days out here. But you can get 70 degrees and calm any day of the year. If you’re playing the odds, that 90-day stretch through September is probably your best option. Our predominant wind changes in April and May, then back in October and November—you’ll see stronger links conditions and a lot of people love that.
IS THERE A PERFECT FOUR-DAY BANDON TRIP?
There are many ways to craft the perfect four-day Bandon trip. It all depends on where you are in your life and how you define the perfect experience. The perfect trip for me is to play 18 on the first day at Bandon Dunes so you can see the sunset. You’re also going to want to have a caddie for the first course when you play it the first time—it’ll help immensely. Then on the full days, I’d be sure to play multiple rounds to take advantage of our replay rates and find time in my itinerary to enjoy the Preserve and Punchbowl. Finish with 18 or an early Preserve round on the departure day. You’ll be pleasantly worn out. And often you’ve messed up a hole and you want to go back and test it again. This way you have that opportunity to play two courses twice, and you spend four days absorbing everything at Bandon.
SHOULD I BOOK A CADDIE?
Caddies are really an essential part of the experience. Your GPS might say you have 220 yards into a green, but depending on how it is playing, it could be 275, or 150. Our caddies really know the course and the conditions and they can tell you so much about how each course is playing depending on the weather. They really are key. Out here you’re playing chess—not checkers.
DO I HAVE TO BOOK REPLAYS?
Mike Keiser has set it up so that if we’re sold out from a lodging perspective, there’s always golf inventory. He likes to play quickly and he made sure that it doesn’t feel too busy when we’re full. With that in mind, on most days we try to get everyone out by 11 am, which allows players to replay in the afternoon. There’s no penalty if you book 36 and are too tired to play that afternoon. We recommend people just book it and we’ll roll with the changes.
WHO SHOULD I CALL WITH FURTHER QUESTIONS?
Our reservations team are experts on the best way to experience Bandon. Give them a call at the number below or drop us a note on our Reservations page!