A Little Older, a Little Wiser
Before our maiden voyage to Bandon Dunes we wrote a two-part feature on what to pack (Gear HERE and Clothes HERE). We got a lot of things right, but experience has made us wiser. With one trip under our belt and another on the horizon, we bring you a revised edition of What to Pack for Bandon Dunes.
Light Golf Bag, Fewer Clubs
One thing we got right: you need a light bag, and you ought to drop some clubs. Whether you go full-on minimalist with a Sunday Bag (we rate the best ones HERE) or something with legs, there is no need to pack it with 14 clubs. Drop at least two or three of the clubs you don’t regularly use so you or your caddie can make it through all 36.
Apparel & Rain Gear
Nothing will test the quality of your apparel like walking 36 holes a day. You need something that will keep you warm in the morning and evening, cool at noon, and move with you all day. My suggestion is a shirt that combines a bit of weight with stretch and breathability like the polos from Rhoback (review HERE). Packing a 1/4 zip to keep the chill out is a smart move, too.
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For your bottoms, know yourself. Would you rather be a little too cold or a little too warm? For me, breathable, lightweight pants are the way to go, but some prefer to be cooler in shorts.
When it comes to rain gear, check the weather before you pack. Bandon averages one day of rain per month in July, so is it worth bringing? Probably not. If you’re rolling the dice with a trip in November or December, you’ll definitely want to prepare for a battle with the elements.
Between the sun and the wind, your skin will be under assault for hours each day. I’m a major advocate of solar sleeves as they reduce the need for sun screen. Whether you sheathe your guns or not, you’ll need sun screen for your face and hands. PIG recommends SKIN Sunscreen because it’s not greasy, it’s odorless, and it works.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget chapstick. Cracked lips are no fun.
Walking 36 holes a day, in the wind, up and down serious elevation is not a joke. Invest in high quality shoes – we’ll be sporting TRUE Linkswear’s latest – and Kentwool socks and break them in before you go. Even though the best modern shoes, like TRUE, don’t feel like they need a break in period, it’s a good idea to walk in them and let your feet get used to the new shoes.
If you’re planning on 36 holes per day, you may want to consider bringing two pairs of shoes and two pairs of socks per day. This allows you to switch shoes and socks between rounds to give your feet a fresh feel.
Step one is making it through 36 holes. Step two is bouncing back for 36 more the next day. Make sure you bring whatever you need to get through the entire trip. My preferences are a golf ball for foot massaging, a small muscle roller, and a stretching band. You might also consider a re-freezable ice pack, ibuprofen, or muscle ointment.
This is something we learned from experience: you don’t need a lot of golf balls at Bandon Dunes. Yes, there are spots where you can lose a ball, but between the massive fairways and the skilled caddies, you won’t go through too many. Golf balls are heavy. Bring the smallest amount you’re comfortable with.
That said, bring the best ball for your game. We’re trusting the Bridgestone Tour B on this trip.
I’m anti-umbrella in most cases, but especially at Bandon Dunes. The case against umbrellas: 1) It’s added weight. 2) It’s a burden on your caddie. 3) If the wind decides to blow, your umbrella will be useless and will likely get turned inside out. Get good rain gear and make your peace with getting a little wet if it rains.
I’m not trying to kill your vibe. Do you. But for me, the natural soundtrack of Bandon – the ocean, the wind, a little trash talk between friends – is all you need. Plus a speaker is added weight.
Portable Phone Charger
There was internal disagreement about this one. I brought one last time and didn’t need it. Mike didn’t bring one but accidentally recorded a two hours video of the inside of his pocket thus killing his battery and his chance to take photos.
If you want to live stream your entire round, or if you make heavy use of a GPS or shot tracking app, you’ll probably need a charger. I found that I could take a bunch of pictures, a few videos, and still have battery life to call home before dinner. Chargers like the myCharge Adventure (review HERE) aren’t overly heavy or big, so it’s up to you whether or not it’s worth bringing.
The food at Bandon Dunes is awesome, but if you’re particular about your on-course eating, it might be worth squirreling away a couple snacks in your bag. Food is added weight, but it disappears as you eat it.
How to Pack
Packing Your Clothes
Do not check your bags. Get an awesome carry on like the Ultimate Garment Bag from Stitch (check it out HERE) that can carry enough clothes to last the trip. Bringing one bag is the perfect way to limit yourself to bringing only the essentials. You’re going to be playing world class golf all day, you don’t need to bring much.
Pro Tip: Bandon Dunes has a great laundry service, so you don’t need to pack fresh outfits for each day. Especially if you’re going to be there for a long stretch, pack less and have your clothes cleaned there.
To Ship or Not to Ship?
Ship Sticks is not cheap, but if you’re going to Bandon Dunes, it’s worth it. First, the staff at Bandon is aces when it comes to handling Ship Sticks. They take all the stress out of the process. Your clubs are ready to go when you arrive, and they handle getting them back to Ship Sticks after you’re done playing.
The alternative is sitting in the Denver or San Francisco airport stressing about whether your clubs made the transition from your first flight to the plane that goes to Bend. Even if you fly into Portland and drive down, you have to wait for your clubs at baggage claim and rent a car big enough to transport your travel bag.
I have no dog in this fight, I’ve done things both ways, but for me the slightly higher cost of Ship Sticks vs. checked baggage fees is well worth it. Also, if you ship your clubs, you can pack in a few extras like shoes and golf balls to lighten your load.