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.”

Sheep Ranch Lager


Like many in Oregon, beer is a way of life for Sherard Rogers, the Food and Beverage Manager at McKee’s Pub. So taking on Bandon Dunes’ assignment to craft a beer that would properly celebrate the June 1 opening of the Sheep Ranch was a welcome opportunity to put his passion into practice.

The result? Sheep Ranch Lager. A specially brewed, limited edition Helles lager brewed in collaboration with the award-winning brewer Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene.

“I had an interest in brewing, so Bandon Dunes gave me the beer program and they told me, 'Hey take it over and see what you can do with it.'" said Rogers, who began homebrewing nearly a decade ago as a hobby. “I mean who wouldn't like a chance to work with many different breweries and try their beer, right?”

The tasty result is a light-bodied lager with a crisp, clean finish at about 18 IBUs and 5.2% alcohol — just about right for a refreshing beer at the turn. And that is no accident.

Rogers put a lot more into Sheep Ranch Lager than just a desire to land some tasty beer. Lighter alcohol beers are in high demand at Bandon Dunes’ turn stands and clubhouses, where Sheep Ranch Lager will be found. And he wanted to make a statement with the style.

His first thought was a maibock, a traditional beer that Germans brew as a celebration of spring, but rarely seen in the U.S. He thought that might be too heavy for a round of golf, though. That led him to decide on creating a Helles lager, a lighter, flavorful take on the traditional maibock.

“The Helles is very similar to that of a maibock, but just a little more tamped down,” Rogers said. “I think the style really brings together that celebration of the new Sheep Ranch course. A lot of people won’t put two and two together that this is a style that has been traditionally brewed to celebrate spring. But that is OK. It still feeds into the mystique of the Sheep Ranch.”

Rogers is no lightweight when it comes to beermaking. In fact, he has continually honed his skills since he first became interested in making beer. Now he carries a Cicerone certification, an intensive program that is the beer equivalent to a wine sommelier.

You don’t take on the kind of curriculum it takes to earn Cicerone certification without gaining some favorite ingredients. So when the resort sought a partner in Sheep Ranch Lager, Rogers looked to find an Oregon brewery that not only had the capability to can the beer on a necessary scale but also wanted to work with a brewery that wanted to work with the malt and hops that he thought would make the ideal Helles.

There were some challenges for Ninkasi — a highly decorated Oregon brewery that brewed Helles Belles Lager from 2015-18. For one, as a larger production brewery, it had to figure out how to can a small-batch beer.

But ultimately Ninkasi was just the right fit. Though Sheep Ranch Lager and Helles Belles are different beers, each with unique ingredients, Ninkasi understood well the delicate profile of Helles lagers, and the required extra care and attention needed during brewing, fermentation, and packaging.

“Personally, Helles is one of my favorite lager styles, especially on a hot day,” said Daniel Sharp, Ninkasi's Director of Brewing Process Development. “It has been great working with Sherard on this project and has been fun finding solutions to the challenges of putting a small batch lager into cans. The Bandon Dunes team came prepared with their recipe and Sherard showed up on brew day ready for mash in and shovel grain.”

About 250 cases of Sheep Ranch Lager, all in specially designed Sheep Ranch cans, were produced and are ready for sale exclusively at the resort property. Or about three months supply, Rogers said. The beer arrived at Bandon Dunes the end of May, just in time to commemorate the opening of the Sheep Ranch, and will be available exclusively at the Sheep Ranch clubhouse and turnstand. 

“It’s been a fun project and a wonderful partnership with Ninkasi, and I can’t wait for Bandonistas to be able to crack a Sheep Ranch Lager for the first time,” Rogers said. “I think it ended up as the perfect statement of celebration for the opening of the Sheep Ranch.” 

Designing Sheep Ranch - The Fried Egg


On his recent trip to the Oregon Coast to cover the Bandon Dunes Championship for College Golf Live, Andy Johnson squeezed in a quick tour around the Sheep Ranch during a beautiful crisp morning. Watch and listen to The Fried Egg's conversation with designer Bill Coore of Coore & Crenshaw, pairing together great commentary with stunning visuals. We can't wait to be walking down these fairways with all of you by our side come June 1. 

Part 1: Wind, Contour, and Bunkering 

Part 2: The Routing

Pictured above: No. 4 & 14 greens

Pictured above: Sheep Ranch, looking south

Sheep Ranch Progress Update: Routing & Approximate Yardages


Sheep Ranch treasure map. We hope you find gold! 🙂

Sheep Ranch Progress Update: No. 1 - The Hydroseed Train


The agronomy team is working up the fairway on #SheepRanch No. 1, one of the last holes to be seeded. #StaffPic by Sheep Ranch Assistant Superintendent Eric Langford. #SheepWeek

Sheep Ranch No. 1

Sheep Ranch No. 3

Sheep Ranch No. 16

Sheep Ranch Progress Update: Seeded Greens


All of the phases of golf course construction and agronomy are on full display at the Sheep Ranch this summer. As Coore & Crenshaw and the rest of the Sheep Ranch team continue to work their way north, we’ve started to see pure golf links land emerge. Starting in the furthest southwest corner of the property, holes 6-10 were the first to be shaped, irrigated and seeded. Similar to how a painter avoids painting themselves into a corner, the team has since been working north up the western ridge overlooking the Pacific and are now working their way east. Prime growing conditions are providing great progress with multiple green sites and tees now settling in for the upcoming season.

Below is a quick tease of every green with grass growing. It may be tough to imagine yourself amongst the dunes, watching the waves crash against the rocks as you take on Bandon’s 5th 18-hole course, but with each sunny day that passes we get closer to playing the Sheep Ranch. Stay tuned for more progress updates, the routing, opening date announcement and more! Remember to give a big round of applause to the agronomy team as they have been working hard to bring you pure, unbridled links golf.

See you out on the links!


No. 3

The first of two approaches toward Five Mile Point, Sheep Ranch No. 3, is the first Par-3 on the front nine, providing an early glimpse of the double green. The prevailing summer wind will be coming off your right shoulder from the north.


No. 4

Recently seeded, Sheep Ranch No. 4 is a Par-4 that moves southeast away from the ocean through many diverse undulations. The location of the green is sure to be a social space where the adjacent greens of Nos. 10 & 14 are located as well as the 5th, 11th, and 15th tees. This gathering point on the course will also be the home to the course’s turnstand.

No. 5

The next peninsula just south of 5 Mile Point, is home to both the 5th green and 6th tee. Sheep Ranch No. 5 is a Par-3 that runs directly west making for a challenging crosswind when playing your tee shot.

No. 6

Sheep Ranch No. 6 is a strong par-4 with its fairway running south along the coast, forcing you to determine the best line of flight for your game. The summer wind from the north could push your ball a little further right toward the ocean, so be sure to choose a good target!

No. 7

No. 7, a short Par-3, playing directly south was featured in our No 7: A Meditation post and will contend for one of the best views on property.

No. 8

The Par-4, No. 8, is a slight dogleg right that has more room in the fairway than it appears from the tee. The green is turtle-backed and possesses some great hole locations that will challenge even the best links golfers.

No. 9

No. 9 on the Sheep Ranch is the most southern Par-4 on the property, backing up to the adjacent Whiskey Run Road as well as Old Macdonald in the distance. Playing directly west, the summer winds will help tee shots and approaches work from right to left along the natural terrain of this beautiful hole.

No. 10

Playing directly north into the prevailing summer breeze, the 10th hole is a short Par-4 with teeth that finishes up in the central section of the course. Also, as stated above it will be located adjacent to the 4th and 14th greens as well as the 5th, 11th and 15th tees.

No. 14

No. 14 a Par-4 playing south has an elevated green with a steep false edge on the left. Off the tee, it will be essential in finding the right angle into the green to be able to attack the proper hole location. This hole completes the triangle of greens that surround the turnstand.

No. 15

Recently seeded, the 15th hole is a slight dog-leg right Par-4 that heads directly west and begins a three-hole stretch of links golf beauty right on the bluffs overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean.

No. 16

It’s hard to look at Sheep Ranch No. 16, a dynamic Par-3 heading north, and not think about the amount of fun this double green complex contains. Overlooking a beautiful rock formation to the west in the Pacific Ocean, this hole is sure to get your blood boiling, challenging your focus on the shot at hand as well as taking in the beautiful scenery.


Sheep Ranch Progress Update: No. 7 - A Meditation


Coore & Crenshaw Drawing

An initial thought. That is how Bill Coore describes his hand-drawn sketches of potential hole designs at the Sheep Ranch. While the illustration above and others to follow aren’t necessarily how the holes at the Sheep Ranch will be polished up, it is these initial thoughts that lay the foundation for his team’s artistry to evolve. And evolution is all about creative freedom. As Coore has described to his associates in the field, “feel absolutely free to deviate from the design at any point you think you see something better.”

How do you think the initial thought sketched on the back of a Bandon Dunes notepad evolved into the hole you’ll soon play? Check the video below for how Hole No. 7 has been shaping up from initial thought to a sandy construction site, to the beautiful par-3 with fescue covering it today.

In Charles Schwab’s golf series “The Challengers,” Bill Coore speaks about his process as a designer and features his initial sketch in this post. Click the image below to watch the director’s cut at!

Sheep Ranch Progress Update: We Now Have Grass Growing!


Start practicing your short game, we now have grass on the south end of the #SheepRanch!

Check out these images from last week’s drone flight.

Sheep Ranch Progress Update: SEEDING HAS BEGUN!!!


Teamwork at its finest! Seeding has begun on the south end of the Sheep Ranch.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks/months!

Sheep Ranch to Open in 2020


More than 15 years in the making, the Sheep Ranch is excited to announce it will be opening to the golfing public in 2020.

Co-founded by Phil Friedmann and Mike Keiser, the Sheep Ranch has for many years been a mysterious golf landscape on the ocean just north of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Originally designed by Tom Doak in 2001 while he worked on Pacific Dunes, the property featured 13 greens without a set routing, allowing golfers to choose the next green after each hole. The concept was long thought of as a fun placeholder and will finally be renovated for full public use as a complete 18-hole course complimenting the adjacent Bandon Dunes Resort.

"It has been wonderful to have this incredibly special golf experience for so many years but now is the time to share this truly magical place with lovers of the game," stated Friedmann. "The tradition of golf as it was meant to be will continue. It will blow your mind."

Hired to design the 18-hole layout was the trusted world-class team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Bill and Ben have a long history of working with Keiser dating back to 2005 at Bandon Trails, Bandon Preserve (2012), Cabot Cliffs (2016), Sand Valley (2017), and The Sandbox, the latest par-3 design at Sand Valley Resort in 2018. What is it that keeps Mike coming back to them?

"They are great listeners," said Keiser. "Their design of the Sheep Ranch is truly brilliant."

"Coore and Crenshaw solved the riddle of the perfect routing. There are nine greens that will be perched atop the cliffs along the Pacific coastline and all 18-holes have stunning ocean views," shared Friedmann.

A Par-71, 7000-yard layout with over a mile of ocean frontage will meld the perfect balance of stunning views, playability, and links golf challenges. 

"We are incredibly honored to have been chosen for this project by Phil and Mike," said Bill Coore. "The property has some of the most magnificent natural contours for golf that I have ever seen." 

Centered around 5-Mile Point, the Sheep Ranch is absolutely ideal for links golf. 

“The movement of the coastline as it bends its way toward the point will tease golfers with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, dramatic sea stacks to the west, and the challenge of choosing your line of flight,” said Coore.

When asked how the Sheep Ranch will compare to its neighboring courses Phil responded, “the Sheep Ranch sits on incredibly special coastal linksland, and as Mike said the design is brilliant. With all of the ocean views, I would say it will soon be judged the best course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort."

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