Playing Bandon Preserve in 40mph Gale Force Winds
When people ask you what the most fun round of your life was, your response might be the time you hit a hole in one. Maybe it was the time you played Pebble Beach or Pacific Dunes. Or perhaps it was just a beautiful sunny day with your best friends.
Chances are your response wouldn’t have been that time you played a par 3 course in a driving rain with 40 mph gale force winds.
Well, those were the conditions I experienced when I played Bandon Preserve for the first time last weekend.
While I don’t know if I’d for sure say it was the most fun round of my life, it was easily top ten.
We’d just finished up playing, what I now consider my favorite course I’ve ever played, Bandon Trails (yes, Trails), and we wanted to hit the Preserve before heading in for an evening of good food and good whiskey.
The weather on the trip was, let’s just say, not favorable.
Our round the previous day at Pacific Dunes was without a doubt, hands down, the wettest, coldest, most miserable round of my life.
I’d heard Bandon Preserve was a fun course (after all, Golf Digest rates it as the #3 most fun course in the country), but so often people that come here skip it simply due to lack of time.
I have one word of advice for those people:
We stepped up the the first tee and were seriously impressed by the look of the hole – even if our tee shots both soared about 50 yards offline due to the wind.
Then each hole continued to get better, and better, and better.
Culminating with the 134 yard ninth hole with blowout bunkers to the right and behind the green, and the Pacific Ocean off in the distance.
Note: Forgive the quality of the photos. I was doing everything I could to not let my bag get blown over, play golf, and keep my cameras from getting drenched 🙂
This would be a signature hole on any other course, and is actually one of my favorite par 3s at all of Bandon – and that’s what is so cool about the Preserve, just about any of the holes would make great par 3s on a full length course.
When playing a course like this in 40 mph wind and rain you’ve gotta get creative. Our creativity reached it’s climax on #5 as we stood about 120 yards away and pulled out…..our putters.
I knocked the ball down to one tee box, then it went away and rolled down another, and another, before finally rolling up to the right hand side of the green.
I hit 4 irons on 95 yard holes. Approach wedges aimed 100 yards to the right of the hole, that were blown all the way back to the green.
A great example of this was #10. A blind tee shot, you can barely see the top of the flag over the mound, the wind was at it’s worst about now. I pulled out my approach wedge aimed, quite literally, 100 yards to the right, and the ball blew all the way back to the left hand side of the green – where I two putted for par.
Under normal conditions, I’d imagine Bandon Preserve is the ultimate drinking course. Grab three friends, some beers, and come up with some wild bets, and I guarantee you’ll have one of the most memorable rounds of your trip to Bandon.
We stood on the 13th tee (the final hole) from about 134 yards away with wind that was only getting worse. I turned to my friend Nick and said “KP” for who has to buy the first round of beers.
And once again, guess which club I pulled?
Turned to my trusty putter.
It bounded down the hill from one tee box to another, between two bunkers before finally landing 5 feet from the pin.
*I can’t tell you how badly I wanted my first hole in one to be with my putter.
All Nick could say was “you suck”.
That pretty much summed up the whole day. From one hole to the next we alternating pulling off unbelievable shots.
I can’t wait to go back and play the Preserve under different weather conditions. I imagine every single shot I hit will be totally different, and that’s what’s cool about both this course and all of the others at Bandon: You won’t play the same round twice.
So do yourself a favor, carve out an extra 90 minutes of your time and play the Preserve with some friends. It just might be one of the best memories of your trip.