Preparing for Your Big Trip
Few things are more exciting to a golfer than the prospect of a big golf trip. And few, if any, golf trips are more exciting than one to Bandon Dunes. But with that excitement comes a twinge of apprehension – a lot of things can go wrong, from injuries to losing your game. With a return to Bandon Dunes on the horizon for Plugged In Golf, we thought we would share some tips on how to maximize your chances of a memorable, successful voyage.
I also wrote a piece for the Bandon Dunes Blog HERE. That has a mix of practical tips and some advice on maintaining your excitement level while you wait for departure day to come.
Tip #1: Start Walking
This cannot be overemphasized. There are no carts at Bandon Dunes (except in the case of medical necessity), so you’re going to be walking at least five miles a day, in the wind, on ground that is anything but flat. For at least a couple months before your trip, make a point of walking as much as possible. If you’re able, find some hills you can incorporate into your walk. Not only will this be good for your health, it can improve your game and keep you from missing rounds with soreness or injuries.
Tip #2: Slim Down Your Bag
Whether you’re carrying your bag, pushing it, or handing it off to a caddie, get your kit down to a fighting weight. Empty all the pockets and only put back the essentials. Dump the years of receipts and coins that you’ve been storing. The courses at Bandon Dunes are wide open, so you won’t need a dozen balls to get through your round.
Even more importantly, carry fewer clubs. You don’t have to go full minimalist, but everyone has at least two or three clubs that they can afford to leave at home. Whether it’s a 3W you never take the cover off of, the lob wedge you always skull, or the unusable 3I, make the walk easier by getting rid of them.
Tip #3: Break In Your Shoes
Your first 18 at Bandon is not the time for new shoes. Make sure that you have tested the shoes and socks that you’re going to wear before you leave. Wearing them while you walk a round at home is ideal. If you can’t do that, put them on and take a long walk around the neighborhood.
Do this several weeks before your trip in case you find out that the shoes you wanted to wear give you blisters. This will give you time to get new shoes and test them thoroughly before you go.
Tip #4: Check the Weather, Gear Up Accordingly
My trips to Bandon have always been in the summer when temperatures are ideal and rain is rare. That is not always the case. Make sure to check the forecast for the month you’re going to be in Oregon and plan appropriately.
Regardless of when you’re traveling, waterproof shoes are a good place to start. Shoe manufacturers have found ways to make shoes that breathe while keeping water out, so there’s no reason to compromise.
When it comes to jackets, pants, and layers, the biggest thing is knowing yourself. Some players go with the philosophy, “If it’s raining, I’m going to get wet.” Others do everything they can to stay dry. Neither is wrong, but refer to Tip #2 and don’t bring anything you’re not actually going to use.
Tip #5: Shape Up Your Game
Golf at Bandon Dunes is unlike golf almost anywhere else in the US. Get comfortable hitting shots off tight lies. You can’t simulate the wind you’ll face on the coast, but you can learn to control your trajectory and take extra club. And most importantly, work on your lag putting.
For more tips to get your game in shape, check out our feature with Bandon Dunes’ Director of Instruction, Grant Rogers HERE. The man has earned his nickname, The Wizard, and his tips will work magic on your links golf.