The Pilgrimage: Oregon Golf Trip, Day Five (Bandon Trails / Pacific Dunes)

Our last day at Bandon Dunes. I think I’m going to cry. I don’t want to leave this place.

Playing 54 holes yesterday was great, but the only downside with that plan is getting up to play 36 the next day. We played Bandon Trails in the morning and there were three tired pups on that first tee. Unfortunately, my swing was in a serious funk on the front nine -- I just couldn’t get full use of my facilities and kept duck hooking it off the tee. The result was an extremely lackluster 43 on the front. The back nine got a little better as I managed to par the first 5 holes on the back, but again the beastly last 4 holes into an increasing wind got me again. I played the last four +4 to finish with a 43-39 82.

I did manage to get up and down three times out of the sand, which must be a personal best. Also, I parred the last hole from the clubhouse. My approach shot got caught up in the wind and bounced off the brick path and bonked the deck overlooking the green. Fortunately, I got a free drop from the path and managed to get up and down.

One downside with Trails was the greens. When we played them the first time, the greens were smooth and fast. This morning, they had been sanded over, which made them extremely slow (and sometimes not quite as was hard to judge what it was going to do). Jimbo, who’s generally a very good putter, had seven three putts in a round where he finally started to hit the ball a little better. I believe he had a 45-48 93. Ken struggled a little bit, but still managed to break 100...49-50 99.

All of us agreed that Bandon Trails was the hardest of the three courses...until we played Pacific Dunes that afternoon. The wind was howling and we all moved up a set of tees. Smart move, but it was still a beast. When the wind picks up there, you’re in big trouble. And Ken’s caddie Lisa said on the front nine that the wind was ‘just about average’ out there, a 4.5 or so on a 10-point scale. That’s crazy, because it was absolutely whipping out there, a 4 to 4 1/2 club wind. And it kept getting worse as the round went on (Lisa finally relented and said it was more like ‘a 6 or a 7’ by the time we reached the 14th tee). For example, No. 10 was playing about 178 yards and I absolutely scorched a 3-iron just over the flag. I can normally hit my 3-iron 230-240 yards! My best bet was to add 45 to the yardage and hit to that number.

This video shows how windy it was out there. This is the 11th hole, a short par three on the ocean. It was playing about 145 yards to the back pin, and I hit 5-iron. As you can probably tell from the video, I start the ball way out over the cliffs left. And the ball still ended up about 50 yards right of the flag. Unbelievable. On the 13th, my six foot putt was heading for the hole when the wind stopped it dead cold and actually blew it backwards!

Here's Jimbo on the same hole. He probably hit his best shot of the week, firing a 5-wood straight at the flag, but it ran just long off the back of the green.

I played pretty well on the front nine given the conditions. I had 39 on the front, including a birdie on the sixth hole. But the holes into the wind bit me again, doubling three holes in a row: 11, 12, 13. I couldn’t take advantage of the downwind holes and ended up with a disappointing double on 18. 39-45 84. Brutally tough conditions, but it was fun to play (or try to play) the course in that wind.

By the numbers:

Birdie Count - Jim 19, Jimbo 5, Ken 1
2 - Times Jim hit driver on a par 3 on this trip, hitting it again on the 12th at Bandon Trails.


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