Sheep Ranch Is A Walk Unspoiled


Since it opened to Bandonistas on June 1, Sheep Ranch has made quite an impression on our guests and the golf world. In fact, the response so far has been nothing short of incredible, humbling our resort team and striking pride in all of us locally! 

Just ask Nick Bonander, Sheep Ranch’s Clubhouse Manager who spent the month prior getting the course up and running. For Bonander, the work has been both challenging and rewarding ... kind of like Sheep Ranch itself.

Of course, you can’t spend that kind of time around the Sheep Ranch clubhouse and not learn a few things about how golfers are receiving the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design. In fact, Nick has made a habit of chatting up our guests. It is the Bandon Dunes way, after all.

What have we learned?


Sure, walking any Bandon Dunes course is part of the experience. But Sheep Ranch pioneers have learned that there is no course friendlier to hoofing it on two feet.

Built on 140 acres and at 6,636 yards from the back tees, Sheep Ranch has the smallest footprint of Bandon Dunes’ five championship golf courses. The routing has left relatively short walks between tee to green, and saving a few steps has been popular so far.

“The response to the walker-friendly layout has been very, very positive,” Bonander says.


It doesn’t take long for visitors to have their breath taken away. In fact, the first glimpse of Sheep Ranch in the foreground and the panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean in the background as you approach is one to remember.

It’s the only Bandon Dunes design with a view of the Pacific Ocean from the first tee. With one mile of ocean frontage and nine green sites on the coast, Sheep Ranch has unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean from every hole. It’s a sight that quickly becomes memorable without ever becoming ordinary.

“People are blown away by the views,” Bonander says. “They are spectacular, and one of the things I hear a lot is just how close the Pacific Ocean feels on every hole.”


Sheep Ranch was designed without a single sand bunker, a rarity in golf course architecture, though not without precedent. In fact, the first links courses in the United Kingdom were without sand bunkers, which developed naturally over time in places protected from the wind, attracting animals looking for shelter.

Modern course design has made sand bunkers virtually mandatory, despite some notable exceptions, mostly in the UK. But Sheep Ranch bucked the bunker trend, opting to make use of grass hollows instead.

“I have not heard from anyone who has said they have missed sand bunkers,” Bonander said. “The hollows, grass bunkers, and mounding let a golfer know that there are hazards out there."


Set north of Old Macdonald, Sheep Ranch’s entrance is a bit removed from the center of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Some of those who have driven themselves instead of taking the Bandon Dunes shuttle have taken a wrong turn at Whiskey Run Lane and ended down by the beach.

It's a beautiful alternative, but a ways from the first tee. Be sure to allow some extra time for traveling over and if you get there early you'll appreciate the extra time to soak in the vibe.

“We’ve had a few late for their tee time,” Bonander said. “But we’ve made it all work.”


The legend of Sheep Ranch is one that stretches back to 2001, when Tom Doak carved out 13 green sites near Five Mile Point while he designed Pacific Dunes just to the south. For years, golfers would find their way to Sheep Ranch for a truly unconventional and unique golf experience.

Those who were able to enjoy that experience and return to play Sheep Ranch in June learned that Coore and Crenshaw were able to preserve some of the interesting original attributes. In fact, many of the new green complexes are similar to the 13 originals, and like the original, Five Mile Point is the focal point of the course.

“We’ve heard from some who have played both versions of Sheep Ranch that the preservation of some of those original attributes is one of the coolest parts of the experience,” Bonander said.


With a new clubhouse has come a fresh menu of food. What has been the most popular item so far? The corned beef breakfast burrito, and it’s not particularly close.

The corned beef breakfast burrito is 1.5 pounds of goodness — which can be shared or satisfy even the biggest of appetites — as a perfect start to any round.

“It’s been a fan favorite for sure,” Bonander said. “It’s huge.”


The Sheep Ranch Golf Shop has been a busy place since it opened. But our Sheep Ranch hats have been head and shoulders the most popular items so far. In fact, hats have been so popular they’ve been tough to keep in stock. But don’t worry a fresh shipment is always on its way.

Head on over to our online store to check out the available Sheep Ranch gear.

“Hats have been an absolute hit,” Bonander said.


A pair of 64s, shot by two different golfers, have so far been the lowest scores. That’s some pretty strong play.

Sheep Ranch plays at 6,636 yards, has no bunkers, and few trees. But that doesn’t make it easy. Exposed to the Pacific Ocean, breezes keep scores mostly in check (those unobstructed ocean views don’t come for free).

“If you get it on a calm day, Sheep Ranch is there for the taking,’ Bonander said. “Those days don’t come around too often. But one of the fun things of Sheep Ranch is that you can definitely shoot a score out there.”


Through the first month, nearly every par 3 was aced. Nos. 3, 7, and the 16th hole, with its green set on Five Mile Point and playing into the prevailing wind,  all experienced at least one hole-in-one. The last hole to receive an ace was the 198-yard fifth hole, which also plays directly west quartering against the prevailing summer north wind.

An ace at the Sheep Ranch has your name on it. Don't be afraid of the putter!

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Perhaps no Bandon Dunes course has been more anticipated than Sheep Ranch. And Bandonistas have responded. The first Sheep Ranch golfers have come from all over, many driving across the continent to get here. Stay tuned as we share some of their stories in Issue 2 of Dream Golf Magazine.

“It’s been really heartening watching everyone come here and experience it for themselves. And they seem to truly love Sheep Ranch.”

Stay Cool. Play Links Golf.


The breezes off the Pacific Ocean have shaped Oregon’s rugged coast for eons, creating the natural canvas on which Bandon Dunes now rests. It is this coastal weather that makes true links golf so unpredictable and engaging, and often a welcome relief from summer’s heat.

At Bandon Dunes, that coastal weather is always a source of conversation and a consideration on when to plan your next visit, but the weather has also been top of mind for golfers everywhere, it seems.

This summer has been one for the record books, with points across the country and beyond hitting thermostat-busting new highs. In fact, June & July were among the warmest on record, and August appears to be following suit.

Learning to manage the summer conditions is an important part of golf for many of us, and typically a small price to pay for playing a game we all love, to be sure. Yet a cool breeze this time of year is always a welcome change of pace. And while golfers around the country toil under a sweltering summer sun, Bandon Dunes keeps cool with the natural air-conditioning that the Pacific Ocean provides.

While the dog days of summer are in full swing throughout much of the country, Bandon Dunes is entering its most reliably gorgeous stretch of weather. High temperatures in Bandon average just 68 degrees in August. In September, 67 degrees. And in October, the average high dips to a beautifully mild 63 degrees — about the same average high as one will find here in June.

August, September, and October happen to be three of the driest months of the year, too.

Climate data only gives us so much insight, though. What is truly intriguing is the opportunities those clear, mild days present.

Some quintessential Bandon moments become more likely in August, September, and October. Watching the clear, blue sky seemingly set on fire as the sun fades behind the Pacific Ocean as you play the 16th at Bandon Dunes is a memory of a lifetime. And the chance to see it only increases in late summer and early fall. The late summer and early fall also offer ample opportunity to take advantage of the replay rates, with plenty of daylight to finish a full 36 (or more) holes.

Of course, defying expectations is part of the Bandon Dunes experience, too. While Bandon Dunes offers the chance to simply escape the heat of summer or to stave off the early fall chill in August, September, and October, clear, sunny days are more common throughout the year at Bandon than many might think.

Whether escaping the heat in August, savoring the fall, sneaking in a visit on a surprisingly calm winter day, or getting a jump on the year in spring, the golf season never ends at Bandon Dunes.

To Experience True Links Golf  This Fall

CALL (855)417-1854

Links Golf: Brown is beautiful


Every July during The Open Championship, images of faded green and brown fescues beam back to the high-def televisions of the United States, where golfers are accustomed to the manicured emerald green fairways of parkland golf.

Links golf — the original style of course design that came about naturally along the coasts of Scotland — is often misunderstood by the uninitiated, especially during The Open Championship. This week at Carnoustie, the siren calls have predictably come again.

Of course, the whole idea of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is rooted on this most traditional style of the game. And we happen to think the faded green and brown turf (we prefer the term “tawny” actually) of links golf is quite beautiful and presents the most enjoyable form of golf.

George Peper, an authority on links golf who co-wrote True Links with Malcolm Campbell, describes (with help from the British Golf Museum) links golf as “a stretch of land near the coast on which the game is played, characterized by undulating terrain, often associated with dunes, infertile sandy soil, and indigenous grasses such as marram, sea lyme, and the fescues and bents which, when properly managed, produce the fine, textured, tight turf for which links are famed."

“Formed more by Mother Nature than man,” the original courses in Scotland gave birth to links golf, Peper wrote in his 2010 book, adding that only 246 of the 30,000 courses worldwide are true links courses.

As most any Bandonista knows by now, Mr. Mike Keiser set out to bring links golf to the United States. Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, and Old Macdonald (whose namesake, C.B. Macdonald, brought the foundation of links golf to the U.S.), are three of those true links courses described by Peper (Although Bandon Trails plays exactly like a links course, it is just inland enough to not make the list).

When Bandon Dunes opened in 1999, links golf was almost entirely absent from the U.S. In America, parkland-style courses — think Augusta National — dominated golf course design for the entire 20th century.

Why did Keiser envision bringing the classic links designs back to the U.S.? He had made a habit of playing the great links courses of Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales. And he had come to love the style.

Links golf is played differently than the aerial game so common at American parkland courses. At Bandon Dunes — like Carnoustie and St. Andrews — those tawny fescues laid over sand create a naturally firm and fast surface. Coastal winds are ever-present. The undulating, uneven surfaces factor into every shot, and the tight lies of the fine fescues dictate club selection.

These characteristics force golfers to play a game closer to the ground. Wedges play a diminished role in links golf, giving way to bump-and-run shots that are often a much smarter play. Lower ball flights are prized to minimize the effect of those winds. With tight lies that characterize those firm, fast fescues, a putter is almost always a reliable weapon ... even from the fairway.

“Wind and water, hillocks and hollows, mounds and pits, marram-grass and bents — these are the hazards of the links; and while they are all difficult to contend with, there is not one of them which cannot be overcome by the skill of the golfer,” wrote Robert Hunter, an early 20th century author and golf course architect.

Links golf encourages imagination. Rarely is there just one obvious route to the hole. Recovering from a bad shot often comes down to finding the alternative route or a different kind of shot.

This is where the magic of links golf really comes from, even if it takes some getting used to for American golfers. Just ask Tom Watson, a five-time Open winner who embraced links golf more than any other American professional.

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“Even though I won the Open in 1975 and 1977, I still didn't like the way the game had to be played on links courses because I was so conditioned to play the ball high in the air.” Watson said in a 2009 interview. “Links was the antithesis of how I played. I started to realize I had a love for links golf in 1979 when I made the decision to stop fighting it and play the ball along the ground and not get upset when the bounces didn't turn out the way I wanted. I think it goes back to my childhood when I had to play the ball along the ground because I couldn't get it up in the air and I couldn't hit it far enough so I had to bounce the ball onto the greens [laughs].

“American golf is so predictable it sometimes becomes boring,” he added. “Everybody plays the same shot the same way. Whereas links golf is so unpredictable. That's its beauty.”

As American golf fans watch the greatest golfers in the world battle Carnoustie this weekend, remember that those tawny fescues are no accident. As young Spanish star Jon Rahm said this week upon his arrival: “I forgot the fact the R&A lets Mother Nature set up the course.”

Letting nature dictate the game? At Bandon Dunes, this sounds like music to our ears.

Pace of Play at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort


“Golf as it was meant to be,” is far more than a clever slogan here at Bandon Dunes. It is a philosophy that guides most everything we do at the resort, and that includes the way we try to manage pace of play at our five golf courses.

The pace of play is an issue that never seems to go away, and for good reason. Pace of play is easily among the starkest differences between golf in America and in Scotland. Recent research by the USGA puts the average time for a weekend round in the U.S. at about four hours, 30 minutes. By comparison, the average round in Great Britain and Ireland — where practice swings are rare and the walking is brisk — is played in a mere three hours, 44 minutes.

Guest experience is always No. 1 at Bandon Dunes, and we would never want to rush guests. But we also know that nothing wipes out an otherwise perfect day on the links quite like a slow slog through 18 holes. It’s why Toby Stanley, who manages Bandon Dunes’ Starter/Ranger Department, spends so much time thinking about how to keep the pace of play at Bandon Dunes as close to four hours as possible.

With an average round time of about four hours, 20 minutes, Bandon Dunes’ pace remains speedy by today’s American standards. That above-average pace is not something that has happened by accident, taking the cooperation of both Bandon Dunes’ staff and Bandonistas themselves.

“Playing quickly is a team effort,” Stanley says.“With the pace of play being a major issue in the golf industry, we here at Bandon Dunes are trying to do all we can to be on the cutting edge of speeding up the pace.”

Setting the pace

One of Bandon Dunes most recent efforts is the establishment of “pace-setter” tee times. The first 10 tee times of each morning at each golf course are reserved for these pace-setters, meaning every group that tees off in one of these early slots is expected to complete its rounds in four hours or less.

This is rooted in one of the most basic tenets of golf etiquette: Always keep pace with the group ahead. To keep up a pace of 4:20 throughout the day, the first rounds of the day must be played at an even quicker pace.

A slow front group will have a cascading effect that slows down the course throughout the day. But speedy groups out front keep things moving by willing the trailing groups to stay within the flow of the golf course and directly behind the group in front of them.

Of course, we certainly understand what can slow down a round here. From high-stakes games among friends, jaw-dropping vistas that just beg for a photo (or 10), to the overall challenge of Bandon Dunes’ five golf courses, much can distract an otherwise speedy golfer. So if four hours seems like an unreasonable pace of play, then Stanley suggests avoiding the 10 pace-setter times and taking sound pace of play strategies throughout the round to keep pace.

The Rangers are here to help

Bandon Dunes has rangers placed throughout each golf course, diligently tracking the pace of play.

Contrary to popular belief, rangers do not necessarily have a set expectation of how long a round should take. Instead, Stanley says his rangers want to see your group on pace and in contact with the group ahead, no matter how slowly or quickly that particular group is playing.

Most of all, rangers are there to help, so there is no reason to be intimidated. Their purpose is to simply keep Bandon Dunes an enjoyable experience for every Bandonista, and every once in a while that means they may urge a slower group to step up the pace.

“You can monitor yourself,” Stanley says. “If you are walking up to the teeing ground of a Par 3, the group ahead of you should be walking off the green. If you don’t see them, then you’re behind.”

Be prepared

Of course, a brisk pace of play would not be possible if not for Bandonistas. Golfers should play ready golf, always be aware of their position on the course, keep up with the group ahead, walk to each tee fully ready to hit, and place clubs between the green and the next tee when on the putting green.

“It comes down to being prepared,” Stanley says. “I see a lot of golfers who are not prepared on the first tee to start playing, they’re not prepared when they get to the green to putt, they’re not prepared to walk to the next hole and park their pull cart on the wrong side of the green. Just doing those basic things can save so much time.”

By keeping play at a brisk pace, Bandon Dunes will hopefully remain able to provide “Golf as it was meant to be.”

Tom Doak’s Hole-By-Hole Description Of Old Macdonald, Back Nine


We've made the turn from last week's hole-by-hole description of the front nine on Old Macdonald. In case you missed Tom Doak's thoughts on holes one through nine, click the link at the bottom of the page! Enjoy the back nine and don't forget to comment on your favorites below!

10.  "Bottle” -- As at Macdonald's eighth hole at National Golf Links, two sets of fairway bunkers narrow the driving zone, forcing you to make a carry to the left side of the fairway or funnel into a narrow area in the right side of the hole.  The second shot is one of the most difficult on the course, with the green sitting well up above the fairway and not much room through the back; chipping from the base of the green for your third is the best way to avoid a big score, while par is a great score.  Precedent:  Sunningdale (Old) #12, National Golf Links #8.

11.  "Road” -- The line of the fairway and green here are almost identical to the famous Road hole at St. Andrews.  Although the tee shot is visible instead of blind, a long drive down the very right of the hole opens up an angle to the green; any approach played from the left or center is threatened by the deep revetted bunker at the left, and a bank falling away at the back right.  Precedent:  St. Andrews #17, National Golf Links #7, Piping Rock #8.

12.  "Redan” -- The most-imitated hole in the world is the par-3 15th at North Berwick, Scotland, known as the Redan, after a Crimean War fortress in Russia which was in the news when it was built.  The plateau green runs away from a high shoulder at the right front to the back left, with a deep bunker guarding the left flank of the green.  Our Redan is a bit different; the left bunker does not come across the front of the green as far as would be typical for the hole, but the bank of the green feeds short balls out to the bunker.  Only a straight fade will work here.  Precedent:  North Berwick #15, National Golf Links #4, Chicago Golf Club #7.

13.  "Leven” -- One of Macdonald's favorite short par-4 holes was at the old Leven Golf Club, whose course has since been split in two; the hole is now the 16th at Lundin Links, Scotland, a few miles south of St. Andrews.  The hole is almost drivable, but the green falls away dramatically from the base of a big dune at its front left, down toward the right; so you would like to play your second shot from the right-hand side back up into the slope.  Precedent:  Lundin Links #16, Chicago Golf Club #5, National Golf Links #17.

14.  "Maiden” -- This short par-4 climbing up to an elevated green is named after the famous Maiden at Royal St. George's, the largest dune on any of the Open Championship links.  The original Maiden hole was a blind par-3 over the dune which Macdonald sharply criticized, however he admired the size and scale of the hill.  The green has elevated wings at the left and back right which demand a precise approach; the nature of the approach can be altered by driving well out to the right, so that the green lays out from front to back.  Precedent:  none.

15.  "Westward Ho!"  -- This long par-5 plays back into the setting sun to a green up on the primary dune, overlooking the ocean.  The heaving contours of the fairway are like ocean swells; the key shot is the second, which must either get past a deep bunker on the right or be aimed safely short and left of it, which makes the uphill third shot much more difficult.  The green is sharply two-tiered, so the correct length of the approach is paramount.  Precedent:  National Golf Links #18.

16.  "Alps” -- Macdonald's third hole at National Golf Links was not just an homage to the Alps at Prestwick, but an improvement on the hole -- instead of making the approach over a dune completely blind, his arrangement of the hole allowed a long drive down the right to get a peek at the green, while allowing a way around the dune for short hitters trying only to play the hole in three installments.  Our version is faithful to Macdonald's hole, except that we left a narrow open approach for blind shots from the left, instead of building a bunker all the way across that line as at Prestwick and National.  Precedent:  Prestwick #17, National Golf Links #3.

17.  "Littlestone” -- One of Macdonald's most daring ideas came from the par-4 16th at Littlestone, England.  The hole in his day was a long dogleg to the left, but Macdonald imagined an alternate fairway among the dunes on the direct line to the hole, which would enable daring players to cut the corner and get home in two.  His version of the hole was the par-5 fourth hole at Lido Golf Club, Long Island, a great course which closed its doors in the Depression.  On our seventeenth, driving over a small wetland yields an open approach to the green, but the carry is so long that most players will have to be content with playing away to the left off the tee and taking a three-shot route home.  Precedent:  Littlestone #16, Lido #4.

18.  "Punchbowl” -- Many greens on Scottish links were hidden away in natural bowls between the dunes.  Macdonald had a very stylized version of this concept, with a huge green surrounded by small hills sweeping down from left to right; our home green is an outsized version of the Macdonald concept, so that the scale and drama of the course will stay with you right until the last putt is holed.  Precedent:  Chicago Golf Club #12, The Creek #6.

Check out the front nine of Old Macdonald (Part One)

Five GIFs That Help Explain Links Golf at Bandon Dunes


If imagery speaks to you, and for most of us in this day and age it does, this post will surely entertain and help quickly digest a couple key points about Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Check out our first five links experience GIFs that will prepare anyone striving for Bandonista status!

1) Need Rescued from the Fescue?
There's plenty of this beautiful flowing fescue on property. Listen to your caddie and stay away from the deep spots!

2) No Golf Carts
Our courses were designed with the walking golfer in mind. However, our caddies are here to help carry your golf bag and provide sound advice to get the most out of your experience.  If you have a permanent disabilty that requires cart assistance please call 541-347-5795 with your questions!

3) Brown is the New Green
Most parkland courses are a lush green hue. Here on the Southern Coast of Oregon, brown is the new green.

4) Options are a Good Thing
Leave the 56 degree in the bag every once and a while and enjoy the opportunity to play a shot that won't travel back to your home club. Whether you putt, bump, or pitch it from well off the green options are a good thing.

5) Reminisce on one of our many Patios
Whether it is your first trip or you've been coming every year since 1999, most post round activities begin by recalling your glory moments with buddies on the overlooking patios.  Be sure to try one of our many Pacific Northwest microbrews on tap!

Can Experiencing Bandon Dunes Help Make You a Better Golfer?


Golf is a game of subtlety, where control and imagination are blended into one. For the average retail golfer we are often fixated with control and perfection more so than enjoying the moment. However, the lucky ones who have a chance to play a round at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort realize the overall experience is far more significant than how close your ball is to the hole. Does this realization alone make anyone who experiences the resort a better golfer?

Whether you truly start to see strokes shaved off your score after playing at Bandon Dunes is tough to prove but playing a round here certainly helps you appreciate the game.   We’ve started the list of potential game changing benefits and need your help adding to it…

  1. The caddie dynamic- Nothing ties all the factors of a links experience together better than a good caddie who knows the course and more importantly understands links golf. Jeff Simonds, Director of Golf at the resort believes, “golfers, like other athletes can get into a rhythm, producing shot-after-shot. Walking and talking with a caddie and others in your group can help keep you in that rhythm. The game comes to you on a consistent pace without the start/stop feeling of playing in carts.” Additionally by keeping an open mind to their suggestions, you often discover a new way to navigate obstacles that present themselves during your round and in turn, expand the overall creativity in the golf game you take home with you. Their ability to calm your nerves and prepare you for any shot is contagious, making it easier to deal with the challenges of the game no matter what course you are playing.
  2. Course design and creativity- All four of our 18-hole championship courses were designed to defend par, with turf that plays firm and fast. The tight lies and undulations around the greens promote a wide variety of shot selection, all of which could have a successful outcome. Most of us have that trusty wedge we use for any situation around the greens but at Bandon Dunes you learn to develop your entire repertoire of short game shots and how much fun it can be when you have more than one option to play a successful shot.  This creative gene will be challenged, opening a new way to playing the game when you arrive back home.
  3. Score is an arbitrary number- Often times we become so overwhelmed by what we shot last Saturday or why our handicap is increasing that it consumes our mind while playing. This distraction makes it nearly impossible to stay in the present and remain focused on the task at hand while standing over the ball.  One way to combat this challenge is to forget about score and play match play but if you ask the majority of guests at Bandon Dunes what they shot, the topic seems to be an afterthought to the overall experience. What does this all mean? The less we worry about our results the more we find ourselves pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
  4. Your turn- Leave your own comments in the comment field below.

VIDEO: Classic Bunker Shot with Grant Rogers


"On the beach..." "Fried egg..." "Trapped in the bunker..." We've all been there. The ball leaps off the club face, tracing a perfect arc across a crisp blue sky. It sails pleasingly over a sea of green, glides back to Earth toward the intended target and then lands with a flump against the lip of a deep and ratty bunker. No need to worry. Sand, especially in a links setting, can be your friend. The following is another video in an ongoing series with Grant Rogers, director of instruction at Bandon Dunes. The videos are designed to give you quick tips to help you become a better golfer. In this video Grant suggests three tips for successfully escaping a greenside bunker. With a few simple techniques and a little confidence, you'll be hitting out with ease and maybe – just maybe! – incorporating a bunker or two into your overall strategy. grant_bunker

VIDEO: Mastering the Long Putt with Grant Rogers


Grant Rogers, Director of Instruction at Bandon Dunes

It's an adage as old as the game -- the modern game, at least: "Drive for show, putt for dough." It means a round of golf is won or lost while the putter is in your hands.

The short game is arguably the toughest to master. Especially in a links setting, the short game is paramount. It can feel strange at first to approach a green from fifty-plus yards with a putter.

In a continuing series of short videos, Grant Rogers, Director of Instruction at Bandon Dunes demonstrates techniques associated with links golf. Most importantly, he'll help you become a better golfer.

This video is titled, "Mastering the long putt."

Don't be afraid to putt it from off the green. Read the break. Keep trying. You'll get better.


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