By: Dylan Thaemert
Though I am not as widely traveled as some, outside of “those isles,” you won’t convince me there’s a better golf destination on this planet than Bandon Dunes.
In the wake of my second visit, I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes it so special. The courses, right? Of course. Each and every course there is an incredibly enjoyable, beautiful, artfully conceived test of golf. The big name architects, the single digit course rankings, it all contributes to the Bandon mystique.
But I think what really elevates Bandon Dunes to the cult status it enjoys are a set of intangibles that guests rarely experience elsewhere in golf or in life.
One of Bandon’s defining characteristics is undoubtedly a sense of authenticity. That you’ll never hear a guest say something negative about an interaction with a staff member at the resort is remarkable in itself. But the genuine happiness that the people who live and work at Bandon Dunes greet you with in every interaction is truly remarkable. Anyone who has been to Bandon Dunes knows that Disney’s claim of “the happiest place on earth” is laughable in comparison to Bandon, at least in the minds of adult golf enthusiasts.
Just as Bandon Dunes provides a more joyful experience of humanity than most are able to experience in their daily lives, it also provides an opportunity to commune with nature in ways most of us typically don’t. Whether it’s the powerful sensory overload provided by playing golf alongside the Pacific Ocean or the subtle sounds and smells of the local flora and fauna as you wait for your shuttle to start your day, a trip to Bandon is a reminder that golf is a game that is deeply and inextricably linked to nature.
Total Golf Immersion
By their own admission, most visitors to Bandon are absolute golf sickos who would do nothing else with their time than play golf given the opportunity. Well, guess what? At Bandon Dunes, it is all golf all the time. There is nothing else to do and truthfully, there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in. You will inevitably leave wishing you could have had one more crack at “that course” or spent one more night draining bombs and throwing verbal jabs on the Punchbowl. Just soak it in. Leave your phone in your room or in your golf bag after a quick photo or two and enjoy the feeling of having nothing to do but enjoy golf.
“Golf As It Was Meant Be”
Golf in America is relatively new. I believe Bandon Dunes and the many other golf destinations its success has helped spawn will write an important chapter in the history of golf in this country. Ultimately, it’s a place that gets us Americans closer to the heart and soul of the game. While the land at Bandon is spectacular and inimitable, the concept and the intangibles I’ve discussed here aren’t. I hope spending a few days enjoying “golf as it was meant to be” continues to inspire golfers as well as developers.
What do you think makes Bandon Dunes so special? Let me know in the comments section.
And if you’re a glutton for Bandon content like me, you can find plenty more HERE.