When Bandon Dunes Golf Resort hosted its first USGA championship, the 2006 Curtis Cup at Pacific Dunes, the resort's owner, Mike Keiser, and his staff operated firmly in the present.
"We wanted to do the best possible job what we could in hosting that championship," Keiser said.
By not looking too far ahead, they succeeded, and the USGA subsequently awarded six more of its amateur championships to Bandon, including most recently last summer's U.S. Amateur.
Now, USGA amateur golf may have just found its new capital: Bandon, Oregon.
The USGA announced Tuesday that Bandon will host 13 USGA championships over the next 24 years, including a Walker Cup and a pair of back-to-back U.S. men’s and women’s amateur championships.
"Mr. Keiser has gotten up on numerous occasions and said, We love the USGA's mission, we want to support it, your championships are a huge part of that mission and we love amateur golf; we would host a USGA championship every year at Bandon Dunes," the USGA's senior managing director of championships, John Bodenhamer, told GolfChannel.com. "Well, after hearing that two or three times, I thought it was appropriate to call the question. ... Mr. Keiser was serious, and we took him up on his gracious offer, and we put this schedule together from the standpoint of really showcasing these great championships at one of the world's – not just our country's – greatest sites."
Added Keiser: "Our slogan is, Golf as it was mean to be. We are dedicated to public golf, links-style golf and amateur golf."
The deal begins next year when Bandon Dunes, the first of what is now five championship golf courses along the Oregon coast, hosts the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur on July 25-30. Bandon Trails will serve as the stroke-play co-host.
Dates and courses for the other 12 future championships will be announced at later dates, but here is a look at the lineup:
- 2022: U.S. Junior Amateur
- 2025: U.S. Women’s Amateur
- 2029: Walker Cup
- 2032: U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur
- 2035: U.S. Girls’ Junior
- 2037: U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball
- 2038: Curtis Cup
- 2041: U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur
- 2045: U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior
While Bandon has previously hosted seven USGA championships on four different courses (Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails, Pacific Dunes and Old Macdonald), it has never hosted a Walker Cup, but that will change in 2029. The 2023 Walker Cup will be played at St. Andrews followed by Cypress Point in 2025. The 2027 U.K.-based match venue has yet to be announced by the R&A.
"If you would've asked me last year if there would ever be a Walker Cup at Bandon Dunes, I'd would've said, you know, there's a waiting list of clubs who want to host thee Walker Cup, so it's a long-odds shot," Keiser said. "I was delighted that the USGA picked us in 2029 to host the Walker Cup; who would've thought a year ago?"
Three years after it hosts its first Walker Cup, Bandon will achieve a USGA first by hosting the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Amateur in the same year – twice, in 2032 and 2041. Keiser hopes to host the championships concurrently, much like in 2011, when Bandon hosted the U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at Old Macdonald and Bandon Trails.
Bodenhamer admits that it will likely be back-to-back weeks that the championships, which have a combined field size of 468 players, are contested, but either way it will be just as meaningful a moment for the USGA, Bandon and the competitors.
"In a match-play final on a Sunday for a Women's Amateur, you'll see some men's players there early for a practice round and they'll come out and watch the women; we saw that at Pinehurst [for the U.S. Opens in 2014]," Bodehamer said. "... And men will be hitting practice balls on the range with the women. We think that's a very positive message for the game.
"Men and women play this great game together, and they can do it and integrate that way at the highest level of amateur golf."
Keiser is also planning on building a sixth 18-hole course on the resort's property. That, too, could someday be in the mix to host one of these USGA championships.
"Our expectation would be anything Mike Keiser builds at Bandon Dunes – or anywhere, for that matter – would be worthy of a USGA championship," Bodenhamer said. "We don't want to be presumptuous, we would need an invitation, but we would certainly look to use and play on all of his courses."