Mike Keiser first came to notice with the phenomenal success of his business Recycled Greeting Cards.
It put him in the position of being able to pursue other interests..
Being a keen golfer, that opportunity soon came when he employed Dick Nugent to build Dunes Club near his holiday house in New Buffalo
Keiser loved Scottish links golf and saw an opportunity to bring links golf to America
He scoured the country for a suitable site and eventually settled on sandy terrain on the ocean near North Bend in Oregon.
Keiser overlooked America's 'name' architects and instead chose an inexperienced young Scottish architect named David Maclay Kidd to design a genuine links course at Bandon Dunes
Keiser had the experience of building Dunes Club so he had a taste for the build- but it was a huge risk
Bandon Dunes was remote and both Keiser and the architect were relatively inexperienced.
Bandon Dunes opened for play in 1999 and straight away golfers flocked to play true links golf in America
Such was the success that Keiser catered for the growing demand by immediately building a second course at Bandon.
In 2001 Tom Doak's Pacific Dunes opened and was instantly acclaimed as one of the best courses in the world
Bandon Trails by Coore & Crenshaw followed in 2005- and remarkably all three courses were regarded as being world top 100 standard.
And still demand grew!
Mike Keiser added Old MacDonald by Tom Doak in 2010, a thirteen hole par 3 course by Coore & Crenshaw in 2012 called The Preserve, and finally The Sheep Ranch by Coore & Crenshaw in 2020
Bandon Dunes Resort now boasts five world class links courses, an amazing par 3 course, fantastic putting greens and practice facilities, a variety of dining and accommodation options and the best pro shops anywhere.
Bandon Dunes is the best golf resort in the world, in my opinion!
Mike Keiser is a member of the first course built by C.B. MacDonald- the ultra exclusive Chicago GC.
He was keen to pay homage to C.B. with the 4th course at Bandon Dunes.
Originally the concept was to reconstruct a legendary CB course called The Lido Club (New York)- which was hailed as the best in the world at the time.
However when Tom Doak (as an expert in MacDonald) was asked to build the Lido at Bandon he rejected the idea, saying the land at Bandon was not suitable for such a project.
His suggestion was that a project of template holes might better fit the land
So that's what they did- and I have to say it turned out very well!
I had done my preparation and read about the classic links holes for 10 years before I ever saw them, and by the time I played Old Mac I had played most of them a number of times
So I was able to compare the original holes behind the templates that C.B. MacDonald used in his designs to the Tom Doak's interpretations
C.B didn't copy holes, but in using them as templates employed the inherent strategies when creating his template version or the interpretation of them
Some like The Redan and Short, he used in all of his courses, and others less frequently..
MacDonald also included original holes in his designs from time to time, but with styles and strategies sympathetic to the template holes...
And then Seth Raynor, who started as the engineer assisting C.B., and went on to build many more courses himself- used the same concepts he learnt from C.B....
The MacDonald and Raynor template courses form a significant portfolio that mark the start of golf architecture in the USA...
Hence C.B. (who also won the first US Amateur as a player) was considered "the father of golf in America"
The holes at Old MacDonald are (with original hole which inspired the template denoted) :
1. Double Plateau (National Golf Links- hole 11)
2. Eden (The Old Course, St Andrews- hole 11)
3 . Sahara (Royal St Georges- hole 3)
4 . Hogsback (Lundin Links- hole 17)
5 . Short (Royal West Norfolk- hole 5)
6 . Long (The Old Course- St Andrews- hole 14)
7 . Ocean (an original)
8 . Biarritz (Biarritz- hole 3)
9 . Cape ( National Golf Links- hole 14)
10 . Bottle (Sunningdale- hole 12)
11. Road (The Old Course, St Andrews- hole 17)
12 . Redan (Nth Berwick- hole 15)
13 . Leven (Lundin Links- hole 16)
14 . Maiden (an original)
15 . Westward Ho! (an original)
16 The Alps (Prestwick- hole 17)
17 . Littlestone (Littlestone- hole 16 )
18 . Punchbowl (Chicago- hole 12)
It is all brilliantly done and a real education for those who have any appreciation for the history of the game and how it has evolved.
I particularly enjoyed:
- hole 5, the aptly named short par 3 (Short)
- hole 7 (Ocean), with it's brilliant green site on the ocean (see pic near top of page).
- hole 8 (Biarritz), it's an intriguing hole- especially when the flag is forward!
- hole 13 (Leven) with it's lovely green complex fitting perfectly in the dunes and bunkers (see pic mid page).
- hole 16 (Alps), a real old world hole and fun to play!
- hole 18 (Punchbowl), 'cos I always love punchbowl greens!
Old Mac is something very special!
We rate it a 'Travelling Golfer must play!'
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour for your group.
Suggested itineraries can be found at Golf Destinations: Bandon Dunes Resort
For further information please enquire here: