Old Macdonald adds to legend at Bandon Dunes

By Erik PetersonJuly 1, 2010, 12:57 am
old macdonald hole 7
No. 7 at Old Macdonald is a short, uphill par 4 with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop

BANDON, Ore. – The legend continues at Bandon Dunes.

In June America’s most iconic 21st-century golf resort unveiled its fourth course, Old Macdonald.

Contrary to the three previous courses at Bandon Dunes which are unique to its designer, Tom Doak and Jim Urbina approached “Old Mac” the way they believe Charles Blair Macdonald, the father of American golf, would have.

The result is a brawny links course characterized by wide fairways and massive greens. It’s modeled after Macdonald’s design of National Golf Links on Long Island, which in turn was inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Two degrees of separation from the world’s first golf course? So much for critics suggesting Bandon Dunes lacks history.

When Macdonald designed National Golf Links near the turn of the 20th century he did so with the intention of creating the finest golf course outside the British Isles. He borrowed the name and concept of several British favorites including the Alps hole at Prestwick, the Road and Eden holes at St. Andrews and the Redan hole at North Berwick.

Fittingly, Doak and Urbina used the same tactic at Old Mac.

“We had a palette of about 20 golf holes or features which were favorites of Macdonald's,” Doak said. “In the end, we managed to include 16 or 17 out of those 20 features.”

No. 11 is Old Mac’s Road Hole. Though this long par 4 doesn’t require a shot over a hotel like at St. Andrews, it does favor a tee shot down the right side, with a crescent green protected by a pot bunker that’s every bit as devilish as the original.

Old Mac’s characteristics
Though the ocean is visible from several holes, Old Mac doesn’t play along the cliffs like at Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes. The greatest defense here is the greens, which, according to Doak are “probably bigger than any set of greens anybody has built in 30 years.”

No. 8, for example, is a straightforward downhill par 3 guarded by a behemoth green that’s 216 feet from front to back. If the pin is back-right and you leave it short of the green, the longest putt of your life is a real possibility.

Two holes later you’re reintroduced to a double green that Nos. 5 and 10 share, which is the largest green surface in the world (it takes the maintenance crew an hour to mow). A shot that skips long-right past the hole could catch a slope and roll into No. 5’s portion of the green, leaving a putt that would cause even the most creative short game guru to have a conniption fit.

None of the 18 greens at Old Mac is fewer than 110 feet in depth.
 
But while the greens are tricky, the fairways are incredibly wide. Like any great links course, hitting your tee shot to the correct side of the fairway is paramount if you want to get your approach shot within birdie range.

Like the aforementioned 11th, No. 1 is also a prime example of this design trait, and for this reason it’s one of Doak’s favorite holes.

“I think the first hole is the perfect starting hole for this course,” Doak said. “There is an ocean of fairway to hit into, but a poor tee shot makes getting the second shot close to the hole much more risky.”

One of the true links characteristics of Old Mac is that it can be played a number of different ways. Planning on using the same “aim and fire” tactic you use at your weekend muni course? Good luck. If you leave it on the wrong side of the hole, four putts and pot bunkers beckon.

The verdict
Old Mac is much different from Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes. There aren’t any holes where the ocean is your water hazard – except No. 7 if you blade it over the green.

Though you’re not required to take a caddie at any of the courses at this walking-only resort, you should definitely get one at Old Mac because aim points are hard to find and there aren’t any hole signs.

The huge greens, many of which transition into the next tee box, are the biggest at the resort and are reminiscent of St. Andrews. The layout is hillier than the Old Course, and built on a larger piece of property with no out of bounds. Other than the gorse, there really isn’t a place where you can lose a ball.

In some ways Old Mac is the easiest of the four courses at Bandon Dunes, but it’s also the most tactically challenging. It’s by far the best match play course at the resort, and the Bandon Dunes staff says it’s likely the course will be used in the rotation of courses when the men’s and women’s U.S. Amateur Public Links visit simultaneously in 2011.

Big, brawny and a heck of a lot of fun to play. Just how Bandon Dunes drew it up. Old Mac would be proud.
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry