Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bandon Dunes, 2015

The main people I golf with are my brother, "Sparky" and his two kids, "Lefty" and "Numbers". These, of course, are their Irish Mafia names. Every year we play toward one goal, our annual winter trip to Bandon Dunes. For the past four or five years we've traveled together to Bandon in December, when the weather is surprisingly calm and the greens fees are reasonably priced. In June you're likely to find me at Langdon Farms, Lefty at Spring Hills, Numbers at OGA, and Sparky floating in his pool with a margarita in his hand. And we all agree -- it's just preparation for Bandon.

Lefty, Bad Golfer, Sparky, & Numbers
at Bandon Dunes
The trips to Bandon started with me and Lefty and I have to give Lefty credit, because it was all his idea. Since the first trip was the two of us, we enjoy the honor of being the "Founder's Club". That first year the weather was rough. The extreme wind was the worst of it. I'm talking wind where you blast a drive 80 yards on one hole and then over shoot a green 150 yards away with a sand wedge on the next. But that first trip we didn't catch too much rain. It was harsh, but fun.

Following that first year Sparky and Numbers joined us. Typically we keep our eye on the 10 day forecast looking for a weekend where the weather looks reasonable, and book our trip. The trip consists of us arriving at Bandon on Friday night or Saturday morning, spending Saturday at the practice center and playing 27 or so holes on Shorty's, and then playing Bandon Dunes or Pacific on Sunday.  And every year we've played, the weather has been perfect. I'm talking short sleeves, guzzling beer because you're thirsty perfect. And over the years we've had some great times. I should have been blogging about them. There was the round where Numbers had the opportunity to be the first of us to break 100 at Bandon. He was at 90 on the 18th of Pacific Dunes and proceeded to shoot a 12 on the final hole. There was the time that Sparky had one too many on the course and got enraptured by sunset. It was beautiful and he was having an out of body experience that didn't end until the marshals came looking for us.And every year we've played, the Founders Club has marveled and told Numbers and Sparky, you haven't played Bandon until you've played it it weather. Well this year, Bandon abides...

"Old MacDonald had a farm. You
gotta ride with the waves, baby"
- Sparky 
This year we broke tradition on a number of counts. First, we booked our trip well in advanced. I think we got cocky about the weather. Additionally, we arrived early on Friday, spent Friday at the practice center and Shorty's, and played Old Mac on Saturday and Pacific on Sunday. This was the first year we played two rounds. Suffice it to say that mother nature had her due, and we had the pleasure of playing Old Mac in some of the worst conditions imaginable. If you haven't seen the Bandon Dunes Wrath of God video check it out. Our round was like that. Only worse. Have you ever had to clear a path in standing hail on a green to make a putt? Well, now I have. More than once. I didn't even keep score. I'm not sure which was higher, the number of strokes or the number of shots that I took. I had to survive somehow. And man did I pay for it that night. I guess Sparky's training regiment makes sense.

On Sunday we were supposed to play Pacific. The weather forecast called for more of the same. Standing in the hut on the first tee it was already raining. Sparky and I were ready to bag it. Spend the day watching football. But the damn kids kept nagging us. It never ends. And they convinced us to golf. And dumb-asses that Sparky and I are, we did. And here's the odd thing. Of all the ups and downs of that second day, the 10s and 12s and lost balls, Sparky and I ended up tied. Seriously, how do you tie when you shoot in the 120s?  Well...

The weather was so bad during this trip, we don't have many pictures because it wasn't worth the risk of ruining a phone. But Sparky did bring a Go-Pro. I haven't seen it yet, but apparently there's a section where Sparky is wearing the Go-Pro on his head. And the movie shows him look left, then look right, then look down, then kick his ball into the fairway! Bwaaaahaaaahaaaa. I don't care. I might have done the same thing somewhere along the way. I might have even thrown my ball out of a sand trap when the other three were clearing hail from the green. Not saying I did. But I might have. Cuz let me tell you, our 2015 trip to Bandon wasn't golf, it was survival.

I believe this text message exchange sums it up. I wanted to include a few more pictures of the trip in this post, so I just sent this out to Sparky, Numbers, and Lefty. The reply is from Lefty:



Dean R. said...

Good stuff Rob.

Bad Golfer said...

Thanks Dean!