Just when you think Bandon Dunes has run out of golfable land and great ideas, along comes a new layout that will not only give longtime visitors a fresh option for sublime play, but deepen the resort’s relationship to the environment.
Now under construction just south of Bandon Dunes on what General Manager Hank Hickox calls “probably the best site we’ve got,” a collection of 13 3-pars ranging from 50 to 220 yards currently known as The Preserve is shaping up as yet another shining moment for Bandon Trails designers Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
“It hangs out on the dunes with great views of the ocean from every hole, and looks back on the other golf courses,” Hickox says. “It’s completely an environmental project in the sense that it winds through some rare plant life, the most notable being the silvery phacelia, which we’re going to restore.”
With Crenshaw and Coore leaving its towering dunespace as untouched as possible — we’re talking tees and green complexes and very little turf in between — the Preserve will deal another blow to the erroneous conceit that modern golf courses do more harm than good to their natural settings. Even its business model is geared toward the “other” kind of green, though its development isn’t completely without profit motive.
“The profits from the operation of the Preserve will help restore that plant and other environmental causes,” Hickox says. “There will be nature corridors for the public. It’s another commitment by Mr. Keiser to the environment.
“And from a marketing standpoint, it’ll be, ‘Gee, I’ve played 18 and don’t think I can play another 18. OK, let’s go play the Preserve.’ We don’t see it displacing anything, it’s more an alternative second round. Or maybe it will be the first course they play. We’ll take it either way.”
As if we needed another reason to get on back to our favorite stretch of Pacific cliffs.