Equipped with the Instagram app on his iPhone, our Travel Editor, Matt Ginella provides a unique look at Bandon Dunes
Driving north on Hwy 101, from Arcata, Calif., to Bandon, Ore., is three hours of spectacular scenery.
"Golf, Lodging, Restaurant." And so much more ...
The lodge at Bandon Dunes.
A view from the lodge, looking out to a practice putting green and the finishing hole of Bandon Dunes.
A lot of people asked me if Bandon was busy in August. I'd say so. In the morning, the staff organizes bags by foursome and course before they shuttle them to the appropriate first tee.
OLD MAC: Your blind tee shot on the 375-yard third hole needs to stay right of the dead tree.
OLD MAC: A popular spot for pictures is above the seventh green. (On the right, you can see a corner of Pacific Dunes' 13th green.)
OLD MAC: A wind-swept chunk of dune to the left of the 15th fairway.
OLD MAC: I was having a hard time taking a picture of a 50 mile-per-hour breeze. Then I held up my white golf towel, and my shadow said it best -- "I surrender!"
OLD MAC: The bell at the back of the hidden 16th green, which signals to the group behind you that your group is gone.
TRAILS: The 214-yard second hole is one of my favorite par 3s on the property and one of several good holes at what I think is the underrated Trails course.
TRAILS: The 133-yard fifth hole has a false front and a three-tiered green.
TRAILS: The polarizing 325-yard 14th hole. Some have referred to it as a "awful." Co-designer Ben Crenshaw says it's his favorite hole on the course. I'm somewhere in between.
TRAILS: The 180-yard 17th hole is another good par 3 at Trails. I usually leave it right, short and in the rough.
BANDON: Everyone loves the view from the fairway of the 410-yard fourth hole. It's the first time at the David McLay Kidd-design that you get a peek at the Pacific Ocean.
BANDON: After you putt out on the 428-yard fifth hole, climb the dune behind the green and take a minute to admire your surroundings.
BANDON: Completing a run of three good holes, if, for no other reason than they're along the water, this is the 161-yard sixth.
BANDON: The first hole built at the resort, this is the 199-yard 12th.
BANDON: At sunset, you get some sweet silhouettes. My buddy Kevin putting out on the 163-yard 15th.
BANDON: The view from the back of the 16th green; my favorite spot on property.
BANDON: Just to the right of the 17th tee isn't bad either. Whoever put the bench right there gets "it." (Whatever "it" is.)
BANDON: The tree next to the 17th tee, like the dead tree at Old Mac's third hole, is one of several iconic fixtures of the American links land.
BANDON: From behind the 17th green, with just enough light to play the 18th, you can see the same tree in the distance.
PACIFIC: Standing on the tee box of the 463-yard fourth hole, one of the best par 4s in the world, feels as though you're playing along the edge of earth.
PACIFIC: The 206-yard 10th hole visually gets your attention, and isn't an easy way to start the back nine.
PACIFIC: How often do you see back-to-back par 3s to start a back nine? This is the 148-yard 11th, which plays uphill and into the prevailing wind.
PACIFIC: The 444-yard 13th is Pacific's "other" best par 4 in the world. I play it as a par 5 and I usually make a 6.
There aren't many caddies cuter than Jaira Chaffee, 20, who's going to University of Oregon on a Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. (Look for more about Jaira and her scholarship in an upcoming blog post.)
What better way to end the trip than a reflective walk and a stop at the labyrinth? Where is it? How do you find it? There are only subtle hints throughout the property. Since finding it is half the fun, I won't make the search any easier on you.
The key ingredient to a buddies trip at Bandon Dunes -- friends and family. It has been two weeks and our in-boxes are still full of the classic banter. Next year is only 50 weeks away.