No. 3 Tries Harder Coore and Crenshaw's challenge: Keeping up with the neighbors

December 15, 2003

Given his history of hiring young, untested course architects,
Mike Keiser's choice of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to design a
third 18 at Bandon Dunes was something of a shock. Bringing in
well-established designers made sense, though, considering the
less appealing site of the new course, which is scheduled to open
in 2005.

Like Bandon and Pacific Dunes, Dune Valley, as the new course has
been provisionally named, begins on sand dunes not far from the
coastline. Dune Valley, however, turns inland at the 3rd hole and
passes through a pine forest at the 7th. The 5th, 6th and 17th
holes are situated in a sparsely vegetated meadow, but the rest
of the course--except for the 18th hole, which returns to the
dunes--winds again through the trees.

Such a landscape makes Dune Valley a marked departure from its
linksland cousins, raising the possibility that golfers will shun
the woodlands course in favor of the more exotic Bandon and
Pacific Dunes. "The downside is that everyone will compare this
course to the other courses, which are amazingly scenic and
exceptionally well-designed," says Coore. "To build something
that people will actually want to come up here and play is a real
challenge. The huge risk, both for us and for Mike, is that when
we've finished, we'll have built a course that no one cares
about."

Don't bet against Coore and Crenshaw, but keep in mind something
Coore said in the book Golfers. He was discussing Sand Hills, the
masterpiece he and Crenshaw constructed in Mullen, Neb., in the
mid-'90s. On a site so unquestionably perfect, Coore said, "If
you don't do something extraordinary, you have failed." The same
holds true for Dune Valley, though for different reasons. --C.L.

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRED VUICH MAGIC TOUCH? Crenshaw (right) and Coore are making the most of alesser site.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)