Day Four: Pacific Dunes and Tom Doak
Day four brought the final new course experience, courtesy of Pacific Dunes. The shortest of the three courses will leave me with the greatest number of memories. To begin, Tom Doak created the most unique nine of the three courses. After a balanced outward half of one five, one three, and seven four pars, the renowned throwback architect went bananas on the inward half. Four par threes, three par fives, and only two par fours make the back nine at Pacific Dunes the most interesting nine hold stretch I’ve seen in forty years (and I’m only forty years old!)
The weather added quite a bit of memorable moments to the experience. As you’ll see on the hole-by-hole sequence, the first three holes are shrouded in fog, and what you see is what we saw. Not that I’m blaming the low visibility, but I hit perfect drives into fairway-center pot bunkers on each of the first trio, resulting in pitch-outs, leading to bogeys. Quite the frustrating way to begin!
Tom Doak, like the other architects at Bandon Dunes Resort, begs you to walk the course backward before playing it. By doing so, you see the spots to avoid near the greens, as well as the moguls and swales to resist in the fairways. With the exception of the three long par four holes (4, 7 and 13) and the four par five holes (3, 12, 15, and 18), the driver can stay in the bag. The par three holes call for two short irons, two long irons, and one medium iron. The remaining par fours can be played with long iron or rescue/hybrid from the tee. Pacific Dunes asks you to think, plan, and FOLLOW the plan more than the other two courses at the complex.
By the seventh hole, I had removed my rain jacket. By the fourteenth, my long-sleeve came off, leaving me in a short-sleeved shirt for the first time all week. The vagaries of the elements made the time spent at Pacific Dunes seem more like an epic than a round of golf. Coupled with the most seaside vistas of the three courses (kind of unfair, since Pacific Trails has none), the Pacific Dunes experience easily qualified as the most radical and unforgettable of the week to date. After all, when you face back-to-back par threes, the only other great course on the coast that recalls that is Cypress Point.
If you want to see the pictures, click here.
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