Ever since its low-key opening in 2002, the Bally Bandon Sheep Ranch, just up the coast from the Bandon Dunes Resort, has been enshrouded in a cloud of mystery. The course played without a definitive routing (golfers could choose their own adventures on the raw, rolling plot), it never had a proper starter shack, and it was a rare day when the course would attract more than half a dozen visitors.
That cloud is quickly lifting, however, with the announcement of a big-time expansion of the course. Sheep Ranch founder Phil Friedmann and Bandon Dunes founder Mike Keiser have tapped Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who designed Bandon Trails at the main resort, to turn the Sheep Ranch into Bandon Dunes’ fifth regulation course and sixth overall. It will be called, quite simply, Sheep Ranch.
Friedmann and Keiser will co-operate the new course, and it’s easy to make the case that the property is more stunning than the land that houses Bandon’s other courses. It’ll tip out at 7,000 yards, offer more oceanfront holes than any of Bandon’s older courses, and will be entirely bunker-less.
Sheep Ranch is set for a limited, preview-play opening in the fall of 2019, with a wider grand opening in the summer of 2020. Several days ago GOLF.com got a sneak preview of the property — and now you can, too. Here’s a look at how the Sheep Ranch is shaping up, a full year ahead of its opening.