Pacific Dunes

Pacific Dunes – Played 2015

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #19, Golf Digest Public #3, Golf Magazine #12, Golf Magazine Public #1
  • Location: 57744 Round Lake Road, Bandon, Oregon
  • Year: 2001
  • Architect: Tom Doak
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,633 yards, Par 71, 73.0 Rating/142 Slope
  • Green: 6,142 yards, Par 71, 70.7 Rating/133 Slope
  • Gold: 5,775 yards, Par 71, 68.6 Rating/129 Slope
  • Royal Blue: 3,920 yards, Par 71, 60.4 Rating/109 Slope
  • Orange: 5,088 yards, Par 71, 65.6 Rating/122 Slope

I scheduled Pacific Dunes right after Bandon Dunes to complete my second day of golf.  This is the course at Bandon that has gotten the most acclaim.  As you can see by the rankings, it is highly regarded.  It doesn’t drop out of the Top 20 in any list and is #1 in Golf Magazine’s Public ranking.  I will share my thoughts on this at the end of the post.

Tom Doak’s other course on the property seems like it has been there for years.  It has stunning views and seaside holes.  You will get a feel of the course from the pictures.  The routing is interesting especially on the back nine where there are four par threes (two consecutive), three par fives, and only two par fours.

The course was in pristine shape having just hosted the USGA’s Women’s Four Ball.  I was supposedly paired with someone, but after I putted for a little while my caddie was the only one who had shown up.  The starter directed me to the first tee and away the two of us went!  All distances are from the green tees.

Here is a look at the clubhouse that serves the course.




Hole 1 – 304 yards – Par 4

The wind was up on this afternoon.  I was told that you try to play Pacific and Old Mac in the mornings, but I did the opposite.  Oh well!  Since wind is always a factor I will give club selections and lines based on a neutral wind.  Everything is subject to change when a four-club wind is howling.

The first hole is a short one to ease you into the round.  A little draw works well here.

PD 1-1The green is obscured a bit by some mounding as you can see below.

PD 1-2The green is pretty large and not overly sloping.

PD 1-3Hole 2 – 335 yards – Par 4

You realize you are close to the ocean on the second tee.  You can hit a straight one here and carry the bunkers from the elevated tee.

PD 2-1Yeah or not!  This is a layup if you find yourself in the left bunker as I did.

PD 2-2The green is elevated and tucked behind more bunkers.

PD 2-3You definitely want to miss short and left.  The up and down is relatively easy from that location.

PD 2-4This green is very undulating as you can see below.  Putts can have some serious break.

PD 2-5Hole 3 – 476 yards – Par 5

This is a pretty hole with the raised tee box.  I found the comfortable line to be right of the two bunkers in the middle of the fairway.  There is quite a bit of room on the right side.

PD 3-1The second shot will need to carry bunkers near the green if you choose to go for it.  The gorse can also be a concern if you block one.

PD 3-2From a wedge distance the green is quite inviting and flatter compared to the last hole.

PD 3-3Hole 4 – 449 yards – Par 4

The view off the side of the fourth tee is quite spectacular!

PD 4-1The fourth is one of the all world views at Pacific.  The trouble is obviously right.  If you can hit a power fade here you will be set up perfectly.

PD 4-2This is a little closer view from one of the shorter tee boxes.

PD 4-3Here is a look back to the green tees walking up the fairway.

PD 4-4We had the wind with us which allowed for a shorter second shot.  The green is perched close to the edge of the cliff and begs for you to play safely to the left.  It will accept a run up shot.

PD 4-5You can see in this photo why you would want to favor the left side of the green.

PD 4-6I wanted to give you a look back at the entire hole from the green.

PD 4-7Hole 5 – 181 yards – Par 3 

As a single I was moving pretty quickly.  Luckily, these guys would let me play through on the next hole.  This tee shot demands a mid to long iron and is encroached upon by the heather and bunkers.

PD 5-1The green is quite narrow so make sure your direction is on target.

PD 5-2Hole 6 – 288 yards – Par 4

This is a quirky little hole.  The green is tiny and you need to be careful if you are hitting driver.  If you don’t keep in on the green or just short and right you could be in trouble.  To me the best strategy is hitting something to leave you with a comfortable wedge shot.  An errant drive to the left would be a near impossible up and down from the deep bunkers you see in the distance.

PD 6-1As you can see the putting surface is a small target.  I think a wedge shot from this angle is the best play.

PD 6-2Hole 7 – 436 yards – Par 4

The trees on this hole offer a respite from the wind.  The strategy is simple off this tee.  Rip one down the middle.

PD 7-1The green is surrounded by sand.  A left or right miss is not recommended.

PD 7-2Below is the green from the center to the back right.

PD 7-3And from the back right to the front left.

PD 7-4Hole 8 – 369 yards – Par 4 

The tee shot here doesn’t require much as there is a large fairway.  Just take it at the two guys in the middle.

PD 8-1I didn’t capture the approach, but here is a section of the green.  You can note the similarity between the fairway grass and the green.

PD 8-2Hole 9 – 379 yards – Par 4 

After two straightforward tee shots, I appreciated this blind one.  Listen to your caddie on the line and swing confidently.  It is not overly long so you may be able to get away with less than driver.

PD 9-1If you hit a good tee ball you are rewarded with a green light shot.  The preferred miss would be right, but not too much.

PD 9-2The green is quite large with some gentle slope from left to right.

PD 9-3Here is another view from the back left.

PD 9-4Hole 10 – 163 yards – Par 3 

The first of the back to back par threes plays down the hill.  There is trouble to the left in the form of heather and gorse.

PD 10-1Hole 11 – 131 yards – Par 3 

The view from the eleventh tee isn’t too shabby.

PD 11-1Luckily this is a short hole.  There is trouble all along the way.  Pars will be hard to come by from off the green.  Choose a club wisely and run to the next with a par.

PD 11-2Hole 12 – 507 yards – Par 5 

This hole favored a draw by my eye.  Start it at the left side of the bunker in the fairway and you will be in good shape.

PD 12-1The green is framed by two dunes covered in gorse.  You must be accurate with your second if going for the green.

PD 12-2The third shot gives you some options including running it up onto the green.

PD 12-3This is the view from behind and left of the green.

PD 12-4Hole 13 – 390 yards – Par 4

This is another of the great seaside holes.  There is plenty of room out there even though your eyes are drawn to the trouble on the left.  Fire one at the big blowout bunker and you will be just fine.

PD 13-1From the right side of the fairway the second shot plays uphill over some bunkers that aren’t really in play.

PD 13-2Here is a grounds-eye view of the green.  There is some undulation as you can see on the right side of the photo.

PD 13-3It’s a pretty nice view from up here.

PD 13-4Here is another good one.

PD 13-5Hole 14 – 128 yards – Par 3

What looks like a breather after the last hole is really anything but.  While it plays short any misdirected shot will face serious bunker trouble.  This one can be especially daunting in a crosswind.

PD 14-1Here is a closer shot of the putting surface.

PD 14-2Hole 15 – 504 yards – Par 5

There is some gorse to avoid on the outer edges of the fairway, but the landing area is quite large so swing away.

PD 15-1The second shot is definitely tempting if you can get home in two since the bunker in the middle is quite a bit short of the green.

PD 15-2If you choose to hit short of the green the shot is very enticing.  There is a big green to play to and the chance to really get one close.

PD 15-3The green is sloped along the edges, but the middle is flatter and gives you a chance to make a putt.

PD 15-4Hole 16 – 338 yards – Par 4

The sixteenth completes your journey back among the dunes.  The tee shot is more framed than on the previous holes.  The distance of the hole does not require driver allowing for more accuracy.

PD 16-1The approach is pretty straightforward compared to some of the others.  You can see the fairway slopes leading up to the green so make sure you get it there.

PD 16-2You can see the green in the photo below.  The putting surface is surrounded by runoff areas that allow for different options for up and downs.

PD 16-3Hole 17 – 189 yards – Par 3

This is a demanding tee shot.  There is a small bailout to the right, but not much of one.  At all costs, carry the bunker on the left.

PD 17-1Here is a closer shot from the tee.

PD 17-2Hole 18 – 575 yards – Par 5

The last hole will test you.  A good line is just right of the clubhouse building in the distance.  This will most likely be a three shot hole for all but the longest hitters.

PD 18-1As you can see from this photo the green is a long way off.  Trust the caddie on the yardage and line.

PD 18-2Surrounded by sand, the green is partially blind, but the front bunker is the only real trouble as the others are farther from the surface.  You can see somewhat that the green starts before the bunker on the right and curves around it.

PD 18-3This is a large hourglass-shaped green that allows for many pin positions.

PD 18-4The round at Pacific Dunes was very memorable.  The views were world class and it was a thrill to play it in the wind of the afternoon.  I certainly understand its acclaim.  All that being said, I may have a somewhat controversial opinion.  I cannot put it ahead of Pebble Beach, but that may be my uneducated golf course architecture brain.

I was personally of the opinion that it wasn’t even my favorite at the resort.  It has stunning vistas and an interesting routing and I loved it all.  Don’t misunderstand what I said before.  When you are talking about courses of this caliber you are really just splitting hairs.  They are all great.  That is the true beauty of Bandon, every course has something to love!  Next up, Bandon Trails.

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5 thoughts on “Pacific Dunes

  1. Jimmy,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. The experience and views at Pacific are great, but it doesn’t even come close to the experience of playing Pebble Beach. It’s gorgeous, but from a pure golf perspective (magically shutting the views off), it was my least favourite at the resort.

    Great post and great photos.


  2. Jimmy

    Given I have not played any of these courses, they all look awesome! This particular course would be tough because of the wind off the ocean and what looks like “no flat lies”. Thanks for the review.


  3. Pingback: End Of The Year Newsletter | Tiger Golf Traveler

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