UPDATED: Interview with Wood Sabold, Bandon Dunes' official photographer



(Wood Sabold's first Bandon Dunes photo taken in Nov. 1998 - Bandon Dunes No. 12)

BANDON, Ore. – The Bandon Dunes coffee table book is the next best thing to being here. It displays photos of every hole on the resort in stunning detail – 85 of golf's most alluring, mysterious, almost mythic holes. Every photo in the book was taken by Wood Sabold, Bandon Dunes' renowned official photographer with nearly 15 years’ experience taking photos at the resort.

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with Sabold about his experience, his history with the resort, and a little about the new book.

Tell us a little about your history with the resort. How did you become the Official Photographer?

I was in the right place at the right time with the right credentials. Before groundbreaking I had an interview with the late Howard McKee, the resort architect, planner and good friend of [Bandon Dunes owner and founder] Mike Keiser. They were looking for someone to document the construction progress of the first course. I photographed the progress of the course as well as helped oversee the landscaping of the Lodge and Lily Pond units (I also had experience as a landscape architect). When it came time take the beauty shots of Bandon Dunes another photographer was chosen much to my dismay. As time went on I gradually proved myself capable of taking course beauty shots and was given the opportunity to take the promotion shots of Pacific Dunes. That was the beginning as ‘official photographer’ and I have been at it ever since.

Describe the first photo you remember taking for the resort. Is it in the book?

The first hole completed was Bandon No. 12. It was some time around Thanksgiving when I received a call from Mike Keiser asking me to get a photo of the hole ASAP for a printed resort announcement card. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure that the weather would cooperate. I was lucky and got a great shot of the hole with the surf behind. The image is not in the book because the hole was still a little rough without green definition and a cup (Pictured above).

Do you have a favorite hole to photograph at Bandon Dunes? Is it also your favorite hole to play?

This may come as no surprise but the 11th hole of Pacific Dunes is both my favorite hole to photograph and play. I love short holes both to play and photograph. There are views of this hole from the front, side and rear in the book.

I know fall is particularly beautiful on the Oregon Coast. Do you have a favorite time of year to shoot the resort?

I prefer the spring and fall because the angle of the sun is lower and the light is more flattering for landscape photography. The weather is also more dramatic during these seasons with more interesting skies and clouds. Late winter and early spring are also best for the gorse bloom.

Any funny/crazy stories from your photoshoots on the resort?

One of the most pleasant stories took place when I had the right clouds and light angle for a great shot of No. 16 at the Bandon Dunes course. I was waiting for the right moment when the clouds would open and the sun would hit the hole when I saw someone walking toward me and I thought someone was coming to ask what I was doing. This happens often and I always feel bad that I can’t concentrate on the shot and chat at the same time. It turned out to be Bill Coore taking a sunset stroll on David Kidd’s course. He is one of the very few people with which I would give up a shot to talk. As it turned out, we had a pleasant conversation and I got the shot. See the shot on page 60 in the book.

Top 5 favorite images from the book?

I am going to pick one photo from each course.

  • Bandon Dunes No. 15 (page 59), for its simple graphic quality.
  • Pacific Dunes No. 11 (page 85), for the golden light and softness of the surf.
  • Bandon Trails No. 2 (pages 106-107), because of the transition from dunes to meadow/forest. Also, No. 14 for the pleasing combination of meadow and forest.
  • Old Macdonald No. 14 (pages 168-169), for a feel of the lay of the land including six flags (Nos. 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 and No. 14 on Pacific).
  • Bandon Preserve No. 11 (pages 200-201), for the subtle, pastel look of the course, ocean and sky before sunrise. It feels like you are truly alone with the course.

When you plan a photoshoot for Bandon Dunes what's your process?

I am fortunate to live close to the resort so a lot of my shooting is spontaneous but based loosely on which holes will show best with the angle of the sun, the weather, and the direction and speed of the wind. The wind may not seem important but taking photos with the flag blowing directly toward or away from you don't show well. The toughest part of planning is running my mind through the 85 holes and the above factors and predicting which holes will be most productive. When I finally get to the course it is not uncommon for me to change plans. In traveling to my planned destination, something else might catch my eye and I throw my original plans away. This is part of the spontaneity which I never ignore.

What was the genesis of the book? Why now?

From the time Pacific Dunes was completed there were many requests for a coffee table-type book. Mike Keiser kept saying, ‘No’ but was probably thinking that the time was not right. Mike – and I don’t know how many others – knew there was much more to come. After the completion of Bandon Preserve, I think he finally thought the time had come.

Any other insight you’d like to share about the book or your photography experience?

I am most proud to have been trusted and supported by Mike Keiser and the resort management of Bandon Dunes for the fourteen years this project has taken. I am also proud that I feel I have produced a volume of work that positively reflects the melding of the natural beauty of the land with the great game of golf. This would not have been possible without Mike Keiser, the architects, and the construction and maintenance crews.

Check out the newly updated Bandon Dunes Coffee Table Book in which Wood's photography is highlighted along with other amazing golf photography. Click here or on the image below to view the book. 

CoffeeTableBook Button
Click to visit Wood Sabold's Website

Gifts for Dads & Grads


Summer is here! You know what that means, it's time to get ready for links golf season. Oh, you thought we were going to say Father's Day and Graduation? Those too!

Did you forget a gift for that special golfer in your life? Don't worry, we have you covered with this blog post full of gear from BandonDunesGolfShop.com for dads and grads!

1) Our Dads and Grads Collection will help get you started:

2) Be prepared with our Gifts & Accessories Collection:
Accessories Collection

3) Finally, our Menswear Collection will get you excited for that father/son or father/daughter golf trip this summer:

BONUS: Put your family's golf skills to the test in this year's Fall Family Match Play! Click here to read more or call (888) 311-3636 and book today!

Top 5 Collections from the Bandon Dunes Online Shop


Are you and your loved ones Bandon ready? If not, we've created these useful BandonDunesGolfShop.com collections to help find that perfect gift for the Bandonista in your life. Surround yourself with loved ones this holiday season and we look forward to sharing the Bandon experience in 2016!






How to prepare for links golf weather


If you are familiar with links golf, you know that weather conditions can change quickly – it’s one of the reasons links golf is so fun. The changing weather conditions, whether it's wind or rain, force players to use their imagination to hit golf shots that they wouldn’t otherwise try. But unless you’re properly dressed, a change in conditions can have a significant impact on your round, even making you wish you were back in McKee’s Pub, out of the weather. 

To help determine what to wear, we asked Grant Rogers, director of instruction at Bandon Dunes, to put together a Links Golf Layering Guide with some useful tips to make sure you stay comfortable, warm, and dry out on the links. Check out this video:

Layers, Layers, Layers!

Wearing multiple layers is the best way to prepare for changing weather conditions because they allow you to make adjustments based on your level of comfort and the weather conditions. Too cold? Add a layer. Too hot? Shed a layer. Don’t get caught with a bulky jacket or, even worse, no jacket at all. Here are the 3 types of layers you should have ready:

1) Base Layer to Keep Your Body Comfortable
This is the layer that touches your skin. It’s extremely important that you choose a material that helps pull moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable. 100% cotton typically retains moisture so we don’t recommend it as a base layer.  Instead, try a blended fabric made up of both cotton and polyester or 100% synthetic fabrics like polyester. not only are these fabrics comfortable while wearing them, they are also wrinkle resistant and easy to care for.  If you’re not sure where to find something like this, we’ve got you covered. Bandon Dunes Base Layers include Adidas, Cutter & Buck as well as Fairway & Greene golf shirts.  

Click here for our Base Layer Collection.


2) Middle Layer to Keep Your Body Warm
This is the layer that helps you retain heat by trapping air and keeping it close to your body. It’s nice to have at least one middle layer piece with a zipper so that you can unzip when you’re heating up or zip up when you need some extra protection. Vests are great because they insulate the core of your body while keeping your arms free for your golf swing. We also recommend using wind sweaters that include an anti-static, wind-resistant lining to protect you on those blustery days. Again, if you’re not sure where to find some great middle layer pieces, we have some great options: Bandon Dunes Middle Layers include Fairway & Greene merino vests and wind sweaters. These products are made with Zegna Baruffa Italian merino wool which is finer and softer than other types. They hold up and will last over time. We also offer the Climawarm layering options from Adidas, which utilize tech fabric. 

Click here for our Mid Layer Collection.


3) Shell Layer to Keep Your Body Dry and Protect You from Wind and Rain
Some of you have probably had it happen to you…if you haven’t had it happen to you, it’s probably happened to someone in your group…a rain jacket that lets in water bit by bit, drop by drop, until you or your golfing buddy are soaked. Even with the rugged beauty of links golf around you, getting wet on the golf course can be a distraction. 

Thankfully, we know rain jackets and rain suits. Our recommendation: “There are different levels of waterproof fabrics and the more you educate yourself about seam sealing versus critically sealed, the better off you will be. There are waterproof knits that give you amazing stretch and mobility but they are not the best for keeping you comfortable in a steady rain.  Our preference is Gore-Tex because it’s guaranteed to keep you dry. 

Here are some pieces we recommend: Bandon Dunes Gore-Tex Rainwear including jackets and pants from Adidas and Zero Restriction.

Click here for our Shell Layer Collection.

Find some buddies, grab some layers, and hit the links! There’s never a wrong time to play links golf if you’re properly prepared. Follow the steps above and the next time your friends start to whimper when the wind picks up, you’ll be prepared to enjoy golf as it was meant to be.

Interested in learning how to hit some classic links shots? Check out our instructional blog posts and videos here

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