Bandon Trails gets mixed reviews. It was Golf Magazine's best new course of 2005 and ranks 10th on the Top 100 You Can Play. Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore were given the least impressive property at Bandon and did a decent job with it. But Bandon Trails is just not in the same league as its siblings, Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes. The terrain is ho-hum, too many tee shots end up in divot-riddled collection areas, and the greens are so slippery and prone to sudden, unexplained shifts in direction that only a masochist or congressman could love them. The Trails has some fine holes, particularly on the front nine, but some of the holes on the back (Nos. 14 and 16 come to mind) will have you scratching your head.
From Sports Illustrated Writer-Reporter Rick Lipsey: It's a good thing that Bandon Dunes, hard by the Pacific Ocean, 250 miles south of Portland and 550 miles north of San Francisco, is probably the most out-of-the-way golf resort in America, if not the world. Otherwise, it would also be the most crowded. That's because no place on earth has as much outstanding and drop-dead gorgeous golf. Bandon has three courses, and all of them are ranked among the top 100 in the world according to Golf Magazine; no other facility has more than two tracks in the top 100. Created and financed by greeting card baron Mike Keiser, Bandon opened its first course, Bandon Dunes, in 1999. Some people said Keiser was crazy to hire David McLay Kidd, a novice 27-year-old golf architect, for the job, but the rave reviews instantly silenced the critics. Two years later, Keiser had Tom Doak build Pacific Dunes, and then in 2005 Keiser opened Bandon Trails, a layout designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.