(article and photos by Nick Martin)
Oh, the Practice Center, the heart of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. For many guests, it is the first and last place they go during their stay. For others, it’s an afterthought, probably because they don’t realize all it has to offer. The Bandon Dunes Practice Center is not your typical driving range; it’s a vast expanse of game improvement, the likes of which you may not have expected. Here are five things every golfer should know about it:
1. Ease of access – The Practice Center is minutes away from practically anywhere on property. And the efficiency of the resort’s shuttle system makes getting there as easy as an uphill 2-footer.
2. “Big Putt” – After knocking a few balls into the ether from the practice tee, having established the confidence to hit fairway shots off the links-style turf, turn now to the 1-acre putting surface to work on the 100-foot-putt that is sure to become a part of your round. Unlike The Punchbowl putting course, the Big Putt is intended for practice and mimics the putting situations you will undoubtedly experience out on the course.
3. Shorty’s 9-hole par-3 course – Shorty’s is the perfect warm-up – or warm-down for those fanatics who just can’t get enough golf and want to play into the darkness after a full day of golf. For a full description of the course, click here.
4. New Visitor Center building – One of the jewels of the Practice Center is the new Visitor Center building and bag drop. Complete with a cedar inlay ceiling and a 270-degree glass enclosure that offers a view of the entire facility, every detail is top-notch. Copies of the Wall Street Journal are laid out on tables. Coffee and tea are complementary. Take a break from practice and enjoy this new facility.
5. Links instruction with Grant Rogers – No world-class practice facility would be complete without golf instruction. Grant Rogers, director of instruction at Bandon Dunes, offers personalized links-oriented lessons that help golfers of all abilities enhance their golf experience. Having trouble with those links-style approach shots? Trouble adapting to the wind? Bunker issues? A personal lesson is the perfect way to hone those skills and feed the obsession that brought you to Bandon Dunes in the first place. To schedule a links lesson, contact the front desk or inquire at any of the golf shops. For an even better understanding of what this Grant Rogers guy is all about, check out this article published in the September 2013 issue of Golf Digest. Study it, there will be a test.