Bandon Dunes looper (that’s slang for caddy) Joe Bentham spills.
Looping at Bandon Dunes brings you into contact with people from all over the country, and world, for that matter—folks on vacation who have decided to come all the way to the southwest corner of Oregon to play golf. It is also amazing to see how quickly smart people turn their brains off while on vacation. We get a lot of big, loud surf in the fall. We also get a lot of fog that time of year, too. So from the first couple of holes at Bandon Dunes you can hear the surf, but you can’t see the surf. On one of these days, a lady asked me on the third tee box what “freeway” she could hear, certain it wasn’t the 101 that they had driven in on. I had to break it to her that it was, in fact, the Pacific Ocean she was hearing.
We’ve had multiple guests injure themselves on and in the gorse. Usually someone in every group will try to touch it. The first time you touch gorse [a thorny but hardy shrub] is the last time you touch gorse. A player last year went in after his driver that he had chucked into a rather prickly patch. He quickly wished he hadn’t.
Best tip I ever got? A dozen filet mignon USDA prime steaks. Close second: handmade knit driver-head covers made by the mother of an Olympic medalist.
I’ve seen a guest show up with three freezer bags full of golf balls in his bag, afraid he was going to lose them all. I’ve also seen that same guy play Old Macdonald with the same ball all day.
But mostly I’ve seen a bunch of people acting like kids in a candy store. They get here, and the place overwhelms them. They have the most fun they’ve ever had on a golf course. It is cool to be a part of. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been invited to places that I wouldn’t be allowed near otherwise. And on the lucky occasion or two that I’ve taken them up on their invites, they are genuinely happy to host their looper from Bandon Dunes.