If you don’t like golf please stop reading this now, you simply won’t understand and it will be a waste of your time. If you do like golf, I hope the following will do justice to the trip I just had. August of 2021 is when I finally took the Bandon Dunes experience off my bucket list and on to my golf resume, and let me just say I’ve never been happier to make the transition from a must do to a just did. It was, incredible. There is so much to tell you about and so much to share about what was an absolutely amazing ride.Let’s start with getting there. You have to WANT to get to Bandon Dunes. This isn’t an excursion for the faint of heart or for those who are like “ well I GUESS we could go there if we HAD to.” No, that isn’t an option. Pristine coastline territory in Oregon is as hard to purchase as it is to experience. In our traveling party alone people came in from 3 different airports: Portland, Eugene and North Bend. The drive from Portland is over 4 hours, the drive from Eugene is 2.5 hours. The easiest route in is the one I took, flying directly into North Bend which is only a 30 minute drive. The catch? Let’s just say North Bend (OTH in airport code) isn’t exactly DFW, LAX or O’hare in Chicago. It’s a quaint little stop with exactly one gate, one runway, 2 rental car agencies and zero food options. Flights aren’t plentiful but if you can get in there it’s worth it. From the airport you wander some 30 minutes through town and up through the forest before turning right into Bandon and the drive is great reminder that Oregon is timber country; the trees are massive and they are EVERYWHERE.Bandon Dunes is a golf destination at its core. If you are coming here golf is the first second third and fourth item on your itinerary.But the beauty of Bandon is they have so many options: There are 5 18 hole courses and one 13 hole par 3 course called The Preserve. We mapped out an aggressive plan to play all 6 in 3.5 days: the par 3 upon arrival, 36 the next two days and finishing up with a final 18 the morning we were departing. I wouldn’t recommend that if you can make it a longer stay as it is all walking at Bandon Dunes and your dogs will be BARKING. So let’s break it down by golf experience. I would definitely recommend starting with the par 3 13 hole Preserve. It’s a beautiful little track that eases you into what the experience will be like playing on the coast. After that you could play the courses in any order you choose. I’ll recap the order in which we played them.The first 18 hole course we played was Pacific Dunes, which lives up to the name. Lots of views of the water among massive sand dunes all over the course. Plenty of water holes but also several inland that take you through some beautiful country. After finishing that 18 my immediate thought was I’d love to play it again knowing where to hit it, Pacific is definitely a course where local knowledge would help you to and dammit did I need help on that 18. Our afternoon round was at Sheep Ranch. It’s the newest course on the resort and by far the most unique. There are several dead trees still standing around the course which give it this really eerie feeling, especially late in the afternoon when the fog rolls in. Tremendous views of the water and just a really cool vibe, plus a squirrel that lives by the snack shop after the 11th hole that will literally chase you down to get food that it will eat right out of your hand. That squirrel is living his best life and it shows.. he could drop 3 pounds or so 😂Our second day of 36 began with a round at Old MacDonald. The best way to describe that course is like you’re playing on the surface of the moon. Most of the course is located in a bowl between massive dunes that protect it from the ocean. It’s a good track with a very inland vibe sort of like a massive meadow. Our afternoon round was at the signature course the resort is named after, Bandon Dunes. It was everything you’d imagine: pure links golf where the wind whips and the Ocean views are incredible. The finishing 3 holes are really great: a drivable par 4 into the wind with the ocean on the right, a great par 4 where a gorge really pinches in where you land your tee shot, and 18 is just a great par 5 leading back to the clubhouse. Bandon Dunes was an absolute blast.On get away day we played Bandon Trails. Our caddy said it was his favorite course on the resort and it is a totally different experience. You don’t really see the ocean on a single hole. The entire feel is much more like a PInehurst course, nestled among tall trees with generous fairways and some very challenging par 3’s. The layout from hole to hole might be the best of all 5, and it’s a nice change of pace from all the courses on the ocean. Parts of Trails reminded me of Pine Valley.. albeit a kinder, gentler version. It was the perfect way to end the trip after having the wind just beat you up for 2.5 days, and some of the elevation changes were remarkable.So now the big question you always get asked: rank the courses. Let’s be clear.. there is no wrong answer and all of them are spectacular. But if I’m trekking to the coast of Oregon I want that experience more than anything. So with that in mind I would rank them this way:Sheep RanchBandon DunesBandon TrailsPacific DunesOld MacDonald.I know many people that would put Pacific Dunes higher but that’s the order I felt the most comfortable with. Did it help that I played better at Sheep and Bandon Dunes? Probably. But I kinda scraped it around the Trails course and I still really liked the feel. In summation let me just say this: You can’t really explain Bandon to anyone, you just have to tell them to get there. It’s incredible. The juice was absolutely worth the squeeze and I can’t wait to get back there again for another crack at it.