The most exciting and highly anticipated new course for 2020 has opened for public play, with Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon today welcoming resort guests to play the Sheep Ranch for the first time.
Blessed with around a mile of coastline, and a number of holes set along stunning clifftops, Sheep Ranch is located immidiately north of Old Macdonald and was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Creshaw. Coore and Crenshaw also designed the Bandon Trails and Bandon Preserve (par three) courses at Bandon Dunes Resort.
Unlike the previous courses at Bandon, Sheep Ranch is co-owned by Bandon owner Mile Keiser and his long-time partner in the Recycled Paper Greetings business, Phil Friedmann. Friedmann actually built a course on the ranch in 2001, which operated independently of Bandon Dunes because it was an unusual, ‘choose your own adventure’ type of experience. There were only thirteen greens on the layout and no defined routing to follow. Only a handful of golfers were permitted on the links each day and they simply crisscrossed the site how they pleased; inventing their own holes and essentially playing the game in its simplest, rawest form.
To fashion a spacious, exciting and believable arrangement of holes from such a narrow, raw site is one of the routing achievements of Bill Coore’s illustrious career.
Coore said the following of the land at Sheep Ranch. "It’s amazing when people see this landscape from a distance or from altitude. The first impression is it’s completely flat. When you’re out in it, walking, you realize it’s anything but flat. It owns the most magnificent contours for golf that you could hope to see.”
We had the great fortunate of experiencing the Sheep Ranch in October last year, and confirm it as being tremendously fun and original to play. The par threes are all beautiful, and the opportunity to play Cape-style par fours across the edge of cliffs, and in opposite directions, is incredibly rare.
Photo: The strong par four 6th plays across a corner of the cliffs.
We have no doubt that the Sheep Ranch will prove to be the favoured course for many resort guests.
A full 6-page Planet Golf review of Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes will appear in the 2020 edition of Planet Golf USA, due for release this September.
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