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July 25, 2013

Course Spy: Bandon Trails

Posted at 2:35 PM by Joe Passov | Categories: Bandon Dunes, Course Spy

Bandon-trails
Coore and Crenshaw's Bandon Trails ranks 55th in our Top 100 U.S. Courses. (Credit: Steven Gibbons/USGA)

Bandon Trails
Bandon, Ore.
6,765 yards, par 71
Green fees: $75-$235
800-742-0172, bandondunesgolf.com

SERVICE
Like the course itself, it's throwback in spirit without distractions or silly frills. A warm greeting in the pro shop, a quick intro from the starter, and you're off—ideally with one of the seasoned caddies, who are key to understanding the layout's many quirks.

PACE OF PLAY
This is one of the few high-end resorts where you never worry about a five-hour round. Laggards, happily, are a rare breed here. If you book a trip to Bandon, you're the kind of player who understands the term "ready golf." We finished in four hours flat.

QUALITY
Quibblers complain that the Coore-Crenshaw creation is not on the water, and that No. 14's tabletop green is unfair. But Trails opens amid dunes, spills into meadows, and journeys through a coastal forest, making it the most varied—and perhaps most interesting—course at Bandon.

VALUE
In the off-season, prices plummet below $100, so a round at Trails feels like stealing. But even during peak months, the green fees are worth paying. After all, a trek here costs only a fraction of a trip to Scotland, and you get great golf with none of the bagpipe music.

VERDICT
According to our rankings, this is the weakest of Bandon's four 18-hole layouts—which, of course, is damning with high praise. If you make the trip here and play this charmer, there's a great chance you'll come away thinking the course raters got it wrong.

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