Every time Mike Keiser has an itch to scratch, the result is a Top 10 public course. Since 1999, the developer of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the Oregon coast has succeeded brilliantly in creating three well-regarded tracks: Bandon Dunes (David Kidd), Pacific Dunes (Tom Doak) and Bandon Trails (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw). With the opening of Bandon’s Old Macdonald on June 1, Keiser goes for a grand slam. The early returns indicate that he may have hit it out of the park again.
Co-designed by Tom Doak and his longtime associate Jim Urbina, Old Macdonald answers this question: “What would C.B. Macdonald have concocted had he been given this property?” Many consider Charles Blair Macdonald to be the father of American architecture, a man whose lasting design legacy is the National Golf Links of America on Long Island, a private 1911 creation that incorporated templates — not replicas — of Britain’s finest holes. At Old Macdonald, Doak and Urbina included all of the usual touches: an “Alps” hole, a “Biarritz” green, a “Road” hole and a redan — all of which may mean little to casual golfers, but for architecture fans is like playing in a design textbook come to life.
However, it doesn’t take a scholar to soak up Old Macdonald’s virtues: massive contoured fairways, bold, strategic bunkering, ocean views in abundance and the largest greens in the free world. Some normally moderate observers are already calling Old Macdonald the equal of Pacific Dunes — or even better. That’s some compliment, since Pac Dunes is our top-ranked public access course in the nation. Go see for yourself.