Who can say what the southern Oregon coastal weather will be May 9-13? That’s when the United States Golf Association comes to Pacific Dunes for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, the fifth USGA national championship in the 16-year history of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Four-ball is another name for the two-person best ball you play in your home club. At Pacific, the format is two days of stroke play to narrow the field to 64 two-woman teams for three days of match play.
Four-ball is the USGA’s newest addition to its tournament roster, and replaces the U.S. Amateur Public Links for both women and men.
As I said, I’ve been spoiled by Pacific Dunes. This week, not so much – rain in sheets and winds to 30 mph that got worse after I quit, all awash, after seven holes. I was soon warm, and dry, and ready for the social hour. When the other players joined me in the bar, I heard about it for not persevering through 18. But their eyes said envy.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has three other full-length courses, just as unfairly fabulous, in Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails and Old MacDonald.
A fifth course, Bandon Preserve, is the newest and in some ways the most interesting course at Bandon. The standard phrase for Preserve, is, “Best views on the property.” You won’t get a whisper of an argument from me.
I haven’t played all the par-3 courses in the world, so I can’t say for absolute, but make the claim there’s a better one in the world than Preserve and I will go play it, just to entertain the argument.
If yours is better, it’s awful damn good. I can’t imagine it’s prettier. None, I’m confident, has 13 holes, no more no less, and none encourages using putter from the teebox of the finishing hole.
Thirteen holes is just right – very different, very Bandon.
I used to work for a guy who was a jerk by any normal measure of human decency, but he had a working definition for what makes a simple bar into a saloon, which to him was the highest compliment you can pay a drinking establishment. A saloon, he said, is hard to define, but you know it when you’re in it.
The Bunker is the manly man bar at Bandon, among an assortment, and despite a pretty good smoke-ventilation system, you’ll know it when you’re in it.
A bunch of press types and some other, more desirable humans, got to playing pool in The Bunker Monday night. It was soon clear we were playing by Bob’s Rules, a flexible set of guidelines that worked for everybody around the pool table as long as they worked for Bob. That would be Sherwin, a longtime sports journalist, now co-proprietor of a site called www.GolfersWest.com.
Bob’s already quit his old day job in favor of the website, which is a tough way to make a living. One thing I know: He’ll never make a penny playing pool, even when he gets to make the rules.