Old Macdonald Golf Course

57744 Round Lake Drive
Bandon, OR 97411

Course Review Date: 01.27.2012
Course Reviewer – Ian

Almost a year to the day we made our long awaited return to what I coined at the time as the best golf course I have ever played.  Can’t say much has changed about that opinion in the past year.  A good course here, a new golf course there, but nothing that has amazed me with its simple beauty and flawless design like Old Macdonald.  Accented by unforgiving pot bunkers and rolling fairways Old Macdonald was designed to be a putters golf course (at least in my mind).  You’re allowed to block a tee shot right or cross one left, but still have a relative chance at finding the green…if you can actually determine where the green begins.

Here lies one of the best features of the golf course…you really have no idea where a green begins and ends without using the sprinkler heads as your identifier.  If you play Old Mac without rolling at least one 100 foot putt, you just missed one of the most enjoyable featured of true links golf.  The ability to be creative and try a shot you would never dream of at your local municipal.  100 yard bump 7 iron?  Absolutely!  40 yard putt from off the green between two pot bunkers?  All day long my friends!  That 60 degree lob wedge you are so used to playing from 75 yards and in…well, it needs to go on a vacation of its own while you are playing this course.

I might not have statistical evidence, I believe Old Macdonald has the largest putting surfaces in the country.  Undulated and rolling very true they present a significant challenge depending on where your approach shot lands.  You may have made the green in reg, but now you need to try and 2 putt from 70 feet on a downhill lie with 5 feet of break.  Good luck!  The biggest difference from last year with the greens, and Old Macdonald in general, is how much the golf course has matured.  It has only been open two years yet the greens seemed so healthy and rolled very very true.  All 4 golf courses at Bandon feature fescue greens but Old Mac’s (and Bandon Trails) rolled quite a bit better than the other courses.

How good is this golf course?  I put up a pretty big number on the old scorecard this day with some poor ball striking and still call it my favorite track.  It can be tough writing positive stuff about a course when you just laid a total egg out there, but this place is nails.  If you’re one of those people that is into the history of golf, the old world of golf course design, a golf purist in my mind, you will adore this place.  As a side note, you might not adore it as much when you get stuck in a hellish pot bunker and after 4 meager hacks you pick the ball up and throw it at the flagstick.  Not that this incident occurred at any point 😉

More course details and information can be found in our previous review below.  Pictures are at the bottom.


Course Review Date: 01.29.2011
Course Reviewer – Ian

(Pictures Below)

Our final day of the 3 day, 4 round Bandon Dunes golf mission led us to the most recent course opened out there, Old Macdonald. Opened in June of 2010, Old Mac was designed as a tribute to the late great golf course designer C.B. Macdonald (1855 – 1939), creator of the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York and winner of the first ever U.S Amateur in 1895. This course was to be the true definition of links golf for me (which is my personal favorite) with wide landing areas, crazy large and undulating greens, putting from 100 feet off the green, clever bunker placement, and wind. We got all of that and more minus the wind. Sunny skies, upper 50’s, and no wind in late January on the Southern Oregon Coast? Jackpot.

Simply put, I believe the front 9 at Old Macdonald is the best nine holes of public golf you can play. The first 2 holes are a real warm up for a brilliant next 7 on the front 9. Teeing off on the 3rd hole you have a blind tee shot over a 50ft dune with their famous “Diablo tree” middle left in front of you. The Looper tells you to hit it right of the tree and you’ll be good to go. Pacific, Bandon, and Trails all have their moments of awe inspiring views, but cresting the top of that hill was likely the most remarkable golf moment of my life. From the top of that hill a huge majority of Old Mac and some of Pacific Dunes sprawls out in front of you with the ocean in the backdrop. This might be the only time I have skipped down a fairway like a 7 year old.

3 holes in and I am already babbling about how remarkable the design and layout of the course are. Then we hit the 6th hole, a 555 yard par 5 that features a replica of the famous Hell Bunker from The Old Course (not exactly a replica, but more of a replica in spirit really). Amazing golf hole. Then the 7th hole, an uphill par 4 that finishes with an incredible view of the ocean and course. By the time we make the turn, my golf mind is way past the overload stage and I’m giggling after each shot I hit.

The back nine is as brilliant as the front featuring another “replica,” this time of the Road Hole from St. Andrews. I guess this hole (#11) is named Road for a reason. Watch out for that pot bunker in the front of the green because it is nasty! The final 3 holes as with the rest of the course really get you to pause and think about what you want to do instead of just grabbing a stick and firing away. The 16th hole is a 455 yard par 4, with an extremely challenging green surrounded by some tough bunkers. It also features a giant bell you ring so that the group behind knows when the green is clear. Oh, if your tee shot is left on this hole, like mine and Jason’s were, you have a blind second over a huge mound.

To finish you off, Old Macdonald throws a heavily bunkered, 546 yard par 5 on 17 at you. This hole also has a weird marsh like section off to the right.  If you fillet a tee shot short and right you will find it. Obviously there’s a reason I make mention of this…..damn. On to 18, a 500 yard par 4 that ends with a green that is only missing the clown’s mouth and a windmill. I’ve never seen anything like it on a golf course. Amazing. Hit it left! No matter what you do the ball is going to funnel down to the right on this green.

Whew! Exhausted. After a 3 days Bandon Dunes extravaganza there is no debate in my mind that Old Macdonald is the best golf course I have ever played. I love Chamber’s Bay, thought Bandon Dunes was amazing, marveled at the views that Pacific Dunes had to offer, and hacked my way through the brilliant design of Bandon Trails, but Old Mac is the most remarkable golf experience of my life. What a day.

Golfchops.com rating: 25/25
Customer Service: 5
Condition of Greens: 5
“Perceived” maintenance level of course: 5
Value: 5
Amenities: 5

Rating Notes:
 The entire staff was extremely friendly and we really appreciate them having us out to play…our Looper was a pretty intersting dude
– Greens were simply amazing!  We’ve never seen anything like them before and they all rolled great.  Old Mac has all fescue greens.  The design of them..the burms and hills, undulation, and way they make the ball funnel to places is just amazing.  Think we liked the greens?
– Old Mac is immaculate…in perfect condition
– Depending on the season, prices vary, but golf is Bandon Dunes is not cheap by any means.  I would have paid double to play this course.
– Restrooms in a couple different places, access to a snack bar in a couple places, solid practice green, etc.  Loved it.

Pictures of Old Macdonald

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