BANDON, Ore. – Bandon Dunes is a rugged golf experience. No carts. No frills. Just pure, unadulterated golf.
In order to stay comfortable during 36-hole days where the weather can vary from sunny and warm to rainy and cold, you’ll need to pack the right equipment. During my three-day sojourn at this magnificent seaside resort I tested some Nike and FootJoy apparel, as well as the new Winn grips. By the end of the trip I was more than just glad to have it – I wondered what I would have done without it.
For starters, you’ll want to pack a waterproof rain suit. It’s not guaranteed to rain while you’re here, but there’s a good chance that it will. And with cold and wind also a factor, it’s good for that too.
I tested the Nike Storm-FIT Elite golf jacket and pants, a sleek, slim-fitting getup that kept me dry and warm. With a retail price of $500 it’s a bit on the pricey side, but if you could use a rain suit anyways, it may be worth the splurge. A drawstring at the waist ensures the proper fit while zippers from the bottom up to the knees ensure they go on and off easily over your shoes. The jacket is similarly high-tech but relatively simple, with the same waterproof zippers as the pants.
For a roomier fit in the arms and legs try the FootJoy DryJoys jacket and pants, which is more affordable ($420) and just as waterproof as the Nike. Fleece-lined pockets in the jacket are a nice touch.
Under my jacket I wore a long-sleeve, compression-fit mock with a regular golf shirt (no urgent need to invest in new golf shirts for Bandon Dunes, but the undergarment is essential). Not surprisingly, Nike’s compression shirt is spot-on, and the FootJoy alternative is just as good. In my mind, you can’t go wrong with either option.
The Nike half-zip cover-up and FootJoy performance half-zip pullover are sweatshirt-type garments perfect for wearing around the resort before, after or between rounds. If it’s not raining and not too windy, they also work well on the golf course.
As for shoes, you’ll want to invest in something that’s durable and waterproof, both of which describe the Nike Air Bandon, which looks like a zippered basketball shoe with soft spikes. You can find them at most golf retailers and also at the Bandon Dunes pro shop. They may look funky, but at Bandon Dunes function is more important than fashion.
If you’ve been looking for a reason to re-grip your golf clubs, a trip to Bandon Dunes is a good excuse. I tried the new WinnLiteFirm grips and found they’re tacky to begin with, and only get tackier when wet.
If your preconceived notion of Winn grips is that they’re heavy, know that the WinnLiteFirm (26 grams) is considerably lighter than the more traditional Golf Pride Tour Velvet (51 grams). Grip weight may not be of utmost importance to you, but at Bandon any advantage is worth considering.