Bandon Dunes

Once upon a time, I walked up all alone in the early morning to the first tee at Lahinch Golf Club. The fog was so thick one could not see more than 100 yards in any direction, including the open fairway on the 1st hole. I had hired a caddy, “Big John” Murphy. He told me that we were next off. “Next off?”, I said, and he replied, “Yes, there’s a two ball on the tee now, and a foursome is somewhere out on the fairway already. It was 7:08 AM on a November, 1997 weekday.

Lahinch is situated on the West Coast of Ireland within sight of the Cliffs of Moher. A treasure of a golf course not so impressed with itself as many get, but friendly with a quirkiness that makes the day of play fun. It’s just plain fun.

On the tee already was a twosome. One looked over and asked me if I was alone. When I said “Yes”, he wondered if I would like to join them so as to match pace with the larger group ahead. It made sense, so I agreed. Some quick decisions are better than others, and this was one.

Jump forward 13 years. It’s suddenly 2012, and I find myself standing on the 3rd hole of another friendly and indeed quirky golf course in western Oregon called Ocean Dunes Golf Club  and again in the company of that same twosome. Notice in this picture that we hold hickory shafted clubs.

The twosome is Bob and Mike, aka Bwana and Chewy.  Meeting them so many years ago led to a grand friendship, one that takes me to Oregon about every year to play their favorite courses at Bandon Dunes.   The game of golf often holds people together as they “play” the “game”.  We do our best to hit it, find it, and hit it again; and when we’re through, add ‘em up.   The game is so much larger than that; ask them. Still it’s “playing”.  Most often, more people of like mind join in.  Seamus, an Irish lad, is pictured here too.  Funny thing about him. He is passionate about Golf. He plays banjo too, he loves to cook, and he is self-employed.  All in all, there were 32 on this trip.  There were lions and tigers and bears, oh my; and each one an old or a new friend.

So “playing” I did, this past week at Bandon.  Ocean Dunes was first, then three of the courses at Bandon Dunes.  The Dunes course was first of those, my favorite.  Pacific Dunes was on the last day. I adore it and play it best for some reason.  In between was the new Old McDonald course.  They brag about the greens being the largest anywhere, indeed they are football fields.  It is truly different, and one wonders if it’s fun or just plain work.  It’s play, because still, it’s golf.  Hush and go hit it, go find it, hit it again, add ‘em up.  The winner is the one who is proud of himself, regardless of the sum.

I said before, “it’s more than that”.  Mostly, it’s about people; and not just the ones playing on any day. Some are those that taught me the game, the larger game. Some become stories about their “play”. Some could not make the trip this year, and I missed Skunk and Duckie and ChiMex.  Some are gone. Two of them, Rev and Chick, walked with us anyway. 

Can you tell that I had a wonderful time in Oregon?

Thank you, Gus.

2 Responses to Bandon Dunes

  1. Brad Riles

    Love it! What a wonderful game that exemplifies the principles of our life’s journey on many different levels.

  2. Ron Payne

    It is about people!! Say Hi to all our wonderful friends at Laurel CC.

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