Destination Golf - September 2016 * - Page 51

of property that had done duty as a rock quarry, railroad center and gravel mine over the centuries. The golf course was built to resemble and play as a links course: firm foundation with rolling, hummocked fairways that caromed balls in various, oftenunintended directions. At the end of these would be enormous, oddly-shaped putting surfaces that put a premium on artistry and creativity when rolling the rock. The grass would be fescue, an homage to the great links of the British isles. What was different, of course, was the extreme nature of the golf course. Chambers Bay is located in a deep bowl, precisely what one would expect to find after a property had been quarried. The 8th, 9th and 13th holes run along the eastern rim of the course, the most elevated part of the acreage. The 4th, 7th and 12th make the most severe climbs, perhaps compelling the golfer to confess that he does not possess the fitness he should. Holes are characterized by massive sand wastes along one side of the fairway (typically the lower one, where balls often end up.) Greens are hidden in dells or sited on minor bluffs, completely exposed to the elements. On the day that we visited, we experienced wind, rain, cold and warmth, allowing us to check the Elements box off the list. It was great fun to stand where Brandon Grace hit a ball on the train tracks, where Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson face down (and succumbed to) the pressures of major championship golf. And we even descended the black-diamond slope that is the par-three ninth, where Jason Day collapsed under the strain of vertigo. His reaction was completely understandable OREGON (BANDON PRESERVE) Imagine that you visit a resort with four, top-shelf courses designed by the likes of David Kidd, Tom Doak and Bill Coore. These courses have hosted the USGA Mid-Amateur and 4-Ball championships, along with a Curtis Cup and collegiate tournaments. No doubt, you’ll recall every step along those wonderful, seaside fairways, each long drive and bounding approach, all of the fun, bump-and-run plays you made. And yet, the finest memory of the week might not have come from any of those 72 holes, but from a smaller, 13-hole par three course. After plans for the fourth big course were concluded, Mike Keiser set to thinking about the needs of his retail golfers at Bandon Dunes Resort, in Bandon, Oregon. What he concluded was that not everyone needs to play 36 or 54 holes of big golf to fill a day. Instead, a par three course might be just the thing to wind down a fulfilling day of golf. Pleased with Bill Coore’s (and Ben Crenshaw’s) work on the resort’s third course, Bandon Trails, Mr. Keiser enlisted them to create as many, fine par three holes as they could on a piece of property adjacent to the first holes at the Trails course. Keeping in mind that the resort already had a pitch and putt course (Shorty’s), the two architects considered ways to differentiate what would come to be called Bandon Preserve from the sibling layouts. The thirteen holes at Bandon Preserve range in distance from 40 to 150 yards, depending on the tees (back or front) you select. At times, balls may be putted from tee to green. In fact, my compatriot and I often challenged each other to see which could play a hole in fewer strokes with just the putter as a tool. On his fifth try on the last hole, he holed out for a one, but of course, we couldn’t claim it as a prize-winning ace. What Coore and Crenshaw did at the Preserve was to create thirteen holes that could be swapped into the card of any of the four big courses and not look the slightest bit out of place, or offer a lesser challenge. The temptation at The Preserve is to play with pace-forget that. As long as you’re not holding an [ۙH\ ZH[\[YBܙX]H[[\\[ܛYH[H\\Xۈ[\\X\KԕTSH ԓRQJB[XY[H[\[ۈ[[ۈ]\\\[][[HۙH\X\BH\TH\[[[[ [ܙH܈\H^H[\ܙKPܙ[]˜\K]8&\]x&\H\[[Hˈ[] H][YHX\\\وBTHY\^H\\ڛ\]H\\^HY[\]X[ܙH]\\X[[YH 8(\YH BLB