Reprinted with permission from Golf Odyssey.
While it's hard to justify playing anywhere else but a resort that boasts five of the best courses around, there is another game in town and it's no slouch.
Bandon Crossings (Rating: B), a Dan Hixson design, earned plaudits as one of the top- 10 new courses in the US when it opened in 2007.
While we wouldn't necessarily call it a "must add" to a Bandon itinerary, it can help round out one's trip.
For one thing, it's an option if you can't get a tee time at Bandon, or, more likely, if you're feeling weary about the prospect of another day of walking 36.
Located 15 minutes from the resort, Bandon Crossings delivers an enjoyable, comfortable eighteen, especially in the afternoon, when you can throw a few beers in the cart and zip around at your leisure. One final benefit of this Bandon Dunes golf course—a peak season green fee of only $75.
The inland parkland eighteen reminds us a little of Bandon Trails. With its majestic pine trees, it sports a Pacific Northwest feel. The routing starts in the meadows for holes 1 through 5, delves into the woods for a strong stretch from holes 6 to 13, and finishes back in the meadows.
The 4th and 5th are the first of two sets of back-to-back risk-reward par fives. The number one handicap hole, the dogleg left 8th, plays 425 and 450 yards from the back two sets of markers.
Our favorite of the woodland holes is 11, Bandon Crossings's very pretty Redan hole. Framed by beautiful madrone trees, it tops out at 195 yards, though most players take it on from the 165-yard blue markers. Hole 14, a one-shotter, begins atop a promontory and plunges 90-feet down to the green. The round finishes with a strong par five.
Stretching from 5,030 yards to 6,800 yards from four sets of tees, the course is not penal. Instead, it provides a playerfriendly game. Hixson's routing plays through generous corridors off the tee before tightening up a bit closer to the greens. The chief defense of par comes from the strategically placed bunkers. Much like those of David McLay Kidd's original course at Bandon Dunes, the traps here feature wild fescue grass edges and the occasional tall lip. Greens vary in size from tiny to moderate. Subtle nuances make for tricky but enjoyable putting.
Bandon Crossings boasts two additional advantages over the courses at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Being an inland parkland course, it's not as windy. Also, thanks to its position on the east side of Highway 101, it's usually a good 10 degrees warmer than the coastal courses.
So, if the weather is particularly blustery along the coast, the sheltered golfing grounds of Bandon Crossings may be much more comfortable. This friendly, low-key club has an active local membership and hosts a fair amount of residual play from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort guests. Practice facilities include a grass driving range as well as chipping and putting greens.