First day recap: Bandon Trails and sunshine!

The group teed off at Bandon Trails today amidst fairly rare Oregon coast sunshine and temps in the high 50s. Bandon Trails is the woodland Coore-Crenshaw design that was the third of the four regulation courses built at Bandon Dunes.

Joining us today was Ken Nice, director of agronomy for all courses at Bandon Dunes, and Tom Jefferson, of the superintendents here.  After the round, Ken (an Oregon State alum) addressed the group and gave us an overview of course operations.  Some key points:

  • Every course has a superintendent (with one overseeing Bandon Trails and the adjacent Preserve par-3 course), operating out of three maintenance facilities.  Large equipment is shared among all courses.
  • The fescue/poa green and fairway surfaces are kept intentionally lean, with only 1-2 lb of N applied annually – all liquid spoon feed.
  • There is very little definition between fairway, approach, green, collar and surrounds height.  A crew was out spray-hawking mancozeb for algae control today and the color from the active ingredient plus an extra glub of tracker dye was the only way to tell on many holes where the actual green surface was.  Four USGA competitions have been held here, and for those the green surfaces are demarcated by dots of white paint for ruling purposes.
  • There has never been a core pulled at Bandon Dunes due to frequent topdressing with the native sand on which the courses are built. All greens are push-up.  Vertidrain, needle tines, Aerway, Planetaire are all employed to vent the surfaces when required, but the staff here has “never enjoyed the thrill of a core aerification cleanup,” Ken quipped.

Some photos from the day…

Photos from Stone Creek Golf Club

We enjoyed a nice round of golf at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City yesterday, joined by host superintendent Mike Turley.

MIke Turley, superintendent at Stone Creek, addresses the group prior to the round. Stone Creek is a county-owned/managed facility.


Environmental sensitivity and awareness at Stone Creek…


…Even down to dead trees left standing for wildlife habitat.

This morning, onward to Bandon Dunes!

Eager to get started!

“Wonder if we can play golf somewhere in Portland today?”

That was Jerry Matthews’ comment as four of us waited for our outbound flight in Atlanta yesterday. A quick online search and call found Colwood National Golf Course (just a few miles from the airport) and they could take us around 2:00 PM for nine holes.

After a few minutes of getting settled at the Hyatt Place Portland Airport the hotel shuttle took us to this charming course that was originally built in 1929.

$14 to walk nine holes shows that they have their pricing in line with the offseason and the time of day. Nine of us had fun playing upon arrival in Oregon.

Today it’s on to Stone Creek in Oregon City before staying in the night in Eugene.

(L-R) John Colo, Doug Middleton, Paul Carter, Jerry Matthews, John Gall, Jon Kiger, Matt Crowther, Robin Boyer, Frank Tichenor at Colwood National Golf Club near the Portland Airport

Here we go!

Rumor has it that Bandon Dunes is not easy to get to.  One has to want to go there;  you can’t just “drop in” for a round or two.  It’s a five hour drive from the end of the line, airport-wise.

Couple that with starting the journey in Vermont, where we have a saying that “you can see it but you can’t get there from here”, and I’m sure I’m embarking on an experience…  taking off from Burlington at 5:45AM for the flight west.

As many as you know, however, getting up at 3:00 AM has it’s perks.  An incredible display of stars on this cool, brisk morning.  Driving 45 miles to the airport without hitting the brakes except for a quick detour for coffee, after 4:00AM, when the world begins to wake up here with the cows and roosters.  A parking spot within 100 yards of the terminal (one of the beauties of small regional airports, even though most are called “international” now).

I’m packing light compared to most.  A backpack full of my “gear” – laptop, iPad, digital SLR and video camera along with assorted cables, adapters and plugs.  It’s always a relief to arrive and find I didn’t forget anything.  I’m sure there’s no Best Buy in Bandon.

It’s always a relief to arrive and find I didn’t forget anything.  I’m sure there’s no Best Buy in Bandon.

No golf clubs.  Going to Bandon without clubs?  Yup.  Haven’t played golf in twelve years, save for the ‘Beat the Maestro’ par-3 tee shots in Ireland the last couple of years.  Don’t intend to on this trip, either, one benefit of a torn rotator cuff in one shoulder and a buzz down my other arm from a pinched nerve.

You see, I love golf courses and the guys who maintain them, but really have no use for the game. There’s plenty of stress in life today without voluntarily adding more.  Back when I pretended to be a golfer, a round of golf for me was four hours of frustration and embarrassment.  So I excused myself, permanently.  But I’ll wander the courses at Bandon, taking photos and videos and hopefully a ride with each superintendent.

I heard from Jon Kiger yesterday afternoon that two groups of guys were playing a course near Portland airport already, warming up for the opening round at Stone Creek Golf Club this morning.  I’m meeting up with Shawn Potter from Syngenta and Clark Throssell (guest of Lebanon Turf) at PDX around noon, so we’ll catch up with the group at Stone Creek.

I hope to put my “gear” to good use and give you a vicarious taste of Bandon Dunes…

Syngenta, LebanonTurf and Turf Drainage Co. step up as sponsors

We are pleased to once again welcome Syngenta and LebanonTurf as sponsors of our “TurfNet Goes To…” series, and also extend a warm welcome to Dennis Hurley of Turf Drainage Co. of America as a new sponsor. Rumor has it Dennis knows his way around a golf course pretty well, so hold onto your wallets, fellas!

2012 TurfNet Members’ trip announced: Bandon Dunes

Stone Creek Golf Club and Eugene Country Club to bookend four rounds at Bandon

After three successful TurfNet Members’ Trips to Ireland, we decided to keep it stateside for 2012 and play the closest thing to Irish links golf in North America: Bandon Dunes.

We will play all four courses at Bandon Dunes — Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails, Pacific Dunes and Old MacDonald — with optional pre- and post-Bandon rounds at Stone Creek Golf Club (Oregon City, south of Portland) and Eugene Country Club.

While at Bandon, we will be staying on the property in either double Chrome Lake rooms or single Chrome Lake Loft rooms (with private baths, sharing a sitting area with fireplace). The Eugene Hilton will serve as our base of operations for the events at Stone Creek and Eugene Country Club.

Getting there… part of the “Bandon Experience”

The closest airport to Bandon is Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (OTH) in North Bend/Coos Bay, approximately 45 minutes away by car. Since the options for flying into OTH are limited (United from San Francisco/SFO and Portland/PDX), many of those traveling to Bandon fly into Portland or Eugene (EUG) and drive south to Bandon (5 hrs from Portland, 3 hrs from Eugene).

To sweeten the deal and buffer the travel hassles, we have arranged for golf near Portland on the front side and Eugene on the back end for a minimal extra expenditure.

Another option for getting to Bandon is to drive north from San Francisco (~9 hrs) or Sacramento (8.25 hrs).

Since porterage around the Bandon property is via their fleet of jitneys, rather than hiring a bus and having it sit idle for three days at Bandon we will facilitate shared rental cars based on your arrival day/time and airport. What better way to enhance travel time than to swap stories, experiences and expertise with fellow TurfNet members!


In a nutshell, for those choosing the “whole enchilada” (with both optional rounds), we will arrive in Portland on Tuesday, Oct 23 or early on Wednesday, Oct 24.  We’ll join host Mike Turley and play Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City.  Lunch after golf, then we’ll drive to Eugene (~halfway between Portland and Bandon) and overnight at the Eugene Hilton.

We’ll get an early start on Thursday for the 3-hour drive from Eugene to Bandon.  Tee times at Bandon Trails start at noon.

On Friday, Oct 26, we will play the original Bandon Dunes course starting at 8:00 AM, then Old MacDonald (TurfNet member Eric Johnson, supt) on Saturday.

The last round at Bandon will be Pacific Trails on Sunday, again teeing off at 8:00 AM. Those playing golf at Eugene Country Club will then depart for the Eugene Hilton, others may depart for home.

Monday we’ll play Eugene Country Club with host Chris Gaughan, CGCS.  After golf, depart from EUG or continue on to fly out of PDX Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Cost per person:

  • $900* pp double occ, $1200* single for Bandon only
  • Additional $125 pp dbl and $175/single (each day) for optional Stone Creek Golf Club and Eugene Country Club, including hotel, lunch, golf and cart. 
  • The Whole Enchilada (five nights/six rounds of golf): $1150 pp dbl or $1550 single.

Included at Bandon:

  • Three nights at Chrome Lake cottages at Bandon Dunes
  • Four rounds of golf at Bandon Dunes courses
  • At least two dinners, Pub Night
  • Porterage around the Bandon property on shuttles
  • Sponsor gifts

You are responsible for:

  • Getting yourself to Bandon (or connecting with ride-share partners)
  • Caddies (~$80-100). All four courses at Bandon are walking only.  Caddies are suggested.
  • Breakfast, “on your own” lunches and/or dinners, beverages and any other amenities you may desire.

Reservations are being accepted on a first-come/first-served basis upon receipt of a $200 deposit, refundable up to 90 days prior to the trip. Our target number is 32 golfers.

To ensure your place on the trip, send a check payable to TurfNet to Jon Kiger, 5276 Wynterhall Way, Atlanta GA 30338.  Please indicate whether you intend to take advantage of the Stone Creek and/or Eugene Country Club options so we can make the proper arrangements.