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July 25, 2013

Course Spy: Bandon Trails

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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