50 Words or Less
A 13-hole short course located next to Bandon Trails, Bandon Preserve is a brilliant addition to Bandon Dunes. At least one round here is a necessity for any trip.
When at Bandon Dunes, 36 holes per day is the gold standard. Everyone sets out believing that they can walk 15 miles and hit…some number…of golf shots before the sun goes down.
As great as 36 is, let me suggest that the perfect number is actually 31. Whether used as a warm up or as evening relaxation, 13 holes at Bandon Preserve serves as a perfect counterpoint to the full length courses.
There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the Practice Center (full description HERE), but if you’re stressing about your score at The Preserve, you have missed the point. Hit a few putts, get your body loose, then enjoy the hunt for an ace.
While we’re discussing practice, I will strongly suggest that you book a lesson (or better yet, a round) with Grant Rogers, Bandon Dune’s Director of Instruction. We were lucky enough to play Bandon Preserve with The Wizard, and he lived up to his nickname. If you want a taste of Grant’s wit and wisdom, check out my podcast with him HERE.
Customer Service & Amenities
The longest hole plays 150 yards from the back tees, so a full set of clubs is completely unnecessary. Bandon Preserve offers loaner Sunday bags, so you can tote a few clubs and leave the rest at the starter’s hut.
Even though the Preserve isn’t a long walk, there is a snack shack on the course. Having a good beer in hand certainly doesn’t hurt the vibe.
For more on the excellent customer service and amenities at Bandon Dunes, click HERE.
Beauty & Scenery
If you like ocean views, Bandon Preserve may be your favorite course at Bandon Dunes. The Pacific can be seen from just about every hole. You can also look across a ravine to watch golfers play the closing stretch at Bandon Dunes.
The natural aesthetic of Bandon Preserve fits perfectly with Bandon Trails (no surprise there – both courses were designed by Coore & Crenshaw). A round feels just like a hike to the beach – you start atop a dune, walk down toward the water, then climb back to the clubhouse.
Just like its big brothers, Bandon Preserve cannot be understood from looking at the scorecard. On paper, the Preserve appears to be your standard issue par 3 course. In reality, the wind and contours combine to push your creativity and execution to its limits.
It may seem silly to say that you need a plan of attack for a hole that’s 110 yards long, but anyone who has played the Preserve knows that it’s true. If you walk up and mindlessly hit a gap wedge, the wind can stop it short or a slope of the green can send it rolling away from the flag. Expect to hit a lot of punch shots, and try to use the ground game to your advantage.
Greens & Surrounds
The term “shot making” isn’t typically applied to putting, but it could be when the greens are like those at Bandon Preserve. The humps, ridges, and tiers will stretch your creativity. Our group hit more unusual putts – aimed 90 degrees from the hole, past the cup to let the slope bring it back, etc – on the Preserve than we had in the rest of our lives combined.
Bandon Preserve’s greens are fairly large, especially given the length of the holes, but there aren’t many good spots to miss the green. If you miss the putting surface, it’s likely that you’re in a bunker, in the native grass, or watching your ball roll down a devilish slope.
#13 – 103 yards
Any hole where you have a reasonable shot at holing out with putter from 100 yards is an instant favorite of mine. Yes, you can play this from the tees further back, and yes, you can hit a wedge, but why?
#8 – 63 yards
Playing between 40 and 65 yards, this is the shortest hole on the course. The difficulty comes in the shape of a large mound that prevents you from seeing much of the green. There are limitless ways to attack this hole, and every one of them is fun.
Whether it’s how you knock off the rust after the plane ride, a place to have a laugh in the evening, or your farewell round, make sure that Bandon Preserve is part of your next trip to Bandon Dunes. Some may argue for The Punchbowl, but in my power rankings, the Preserve is #1 at Bandon for good vibes and great memories.