One of the great joys each year during my On the Road with Oregon Bounty journey is carving out at least a day on the Southern Oregon Coast. Sure, I love spending a few nights in an Oregon Bounty lodging property and dining at one of the coastal restaurants involved in the promotion. But, the real treat is making my way to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

Each year, I’ll stop during the trip for a few rounds at this place known as Mecca for golfers in the United States (the world, actually; a few years back, on a trip to the Old Course at St. Andrews, the only thing the caddies wanted to talk about was Bandon Dunes). It’s easy to understand why. Having played the courses around St. Andrews the comparisons – like holes #4 at both Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes are unmistakably Scottish.

On this trip, there was an added attraction: a tour of Old MacDonald, the fourth course under construction at Bandon Dunes (set to open in 2010) with Ken Nice, Bandon Dunes’ director of agronomy. I put together some notes and photos from my tour of the 10 holes they’ve completed so far. I’m telling you, it was tough not to grab a driver and give some of these holes a go.

The new Old MacDonald course pays homage to C.B. Macdonald, considered one of the greatest golf architects ever (among many others, Macdonald designed the famed National Golf Links of America in New York). The new 400-acre Bandon course, designed by Tom Doak (who also did the Pacific Dunes Course at Bandon), will draw on inspiration from many of Macdonald’s famed design touches. Jim Urbina, a frequent partner of Doaks, assisted with the design, along with a committee of golf luminaries from around the country. Here’s a little peak at what will surely become yet another top 100 course when it opens.

Even though the course is set a bit more inland than Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald will have ocean views from a few of the greens and tees.

Some greens will be huge — over 18,000 square feet in the case of the par-3 #5 – with lots of potential hole placements and putting disasters waiting to happen.

The course meanders through the valley of dunes just inland from the Pacific Dunes course, and features elevation changes of 30 – 40 feet from fairway to green in some cases.

Like Doaks’ Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald features many, many large and strategically placed bunkers as well as natural sand and gorse-filled hazards.

In addition to their size and elevation changes, some of the greens are traversed by dips and rises that can make a three-putt almost a given on some holes if you hit your approach in the wrong place.

Overall, though the course will have a personality all its own – with a revival of Macdonald’s touch – but there’s no mistaking you’re at Bandon Dunes.

Fall is a great time to visit Bandon Dunes and the entire southern Oregon Coast. During Oregon Bounty, there are many inns and restaurants — including Bandon Dunes — featuring special lodging offers and menus. Check out the Oregon Bounty site for details.

Greens fees at Bandon Dunes drop on November 1, and you can still find some very pleasant days on the coast. They’re also offering a two-day package from Nov. 21 – Dec. 29, 2008 (two nights lodging, two rounds of golf, two breakfasts and one dinner for $370 per person, based on double occupancy).

Hope to see you on the Oregon Bounty links… cheers!

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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