It can’t be said our waterproof gear failed, really. It just didn’t work, against the insistent rain, the weighty rain, the damned and damnable rain that blew in our faces and seeped down our necks, that sloshed over our shoes and rendered meaningless their two-year waterproof warranties.
By the end, we just wanted to get warm and dry … so while weather is part of the deal at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, we were glad to be done with 18 at Bandon Trails and in no mood or condition to play our afternoon round*.
Which is a shame, because Bandon Trails, the most inland of the four full-length Bandon courses, is beautiful, sweeping, dare-to-be-great devilish and not like any course you’ll ever see.
Bandon Trails is not a course you can quit at the turn when the weather is shitty … it’s not built that way. For the first 10 holes, the rain was spotty, anyway, and the wind no less punitive than usual. On No. 11, it started dumping, and it didn’t stop.
Therefore, most of our impressions of the Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design are of the first nine holes.
No. 2 is a relatively easy par-3, 166 yards from the green tees, but the eye stretches to the broad and misty forever – take a breath.
The fifth, another par-3, has a wide, deep and undulating green, and it was the site of the only KP of the day. Thank you, boys, for buying my martini (dry), once we hit the Bunker Bar (dry) in fresh clothes (dry).
To get from the 13th green to the 14th tee, you climb up to a road and catch a tram, or whatever you want to call the motor transport with cheerful driver and – on this day – a roof angled perfectly to sluice a thick stream of water onto the golfers clinging to the back seats – namely, Barry and Kevin. It was maybe not so hilarious at the time as it was – to me – over dinner.
We were a forlorn threesome on the course, for sure, and to think being that wet would not affect our golf is too much to expect, and finally, pretty funny. We didn’t take any pictures, and if anybody had we were a vision, marinated in our Smartwool.
Its off-coast routing earns lower marks from some players compared to the other Bandon courses, but the three of us agreed that Trails was the Bandon course we most wanted another crack at … on a better day.
*Bandon Preserve postscript
We had no stomach for the 2 p.m. tee time at Bandon Preserve, which was a disappointment. Preserve is the newest course at Bandon, a pretty and challenging 13-hole par-3 layout designed by Coore and Crenshaw.
Bandon Preserve’s creators protected, during construction, the silvery phacelia, a tiny flower endangered by non-native species. Net profits at the course go to an organization that supports coastal conservation.
I’ve never seen silvery phacelia up close, but on the Preserve logo it looks a little like a plant species that is legal for recreational consumption in two states, which might or might not have affected my decision to buy the hat.