Giving Back Through Great Golf


It was a conundrum: what to do with a beautiful piece of property that couldn’t be incorporated into Bandon Trails, but seemed simply too remarkable to be left untouched. After all, the property had been considered as part of Bandon Trails, but the challenging nature of its plunging landscape and choppy dunes made it difficult to incorporate into a design. But changing trends at Bandon—and the desire of visitors to play more golf without the challenge of walking 36 holes on a traditional course—led founder Mike Keiser to an epiphany: Why not build a short course?

As Seen in the first issue of Bandon Magazine

“I remember when Mike called and said he was really serious about building a short course,” says Bill Coore, who designed Bandon Trails with his partner Ben Crenshaw. “He’d seen the trends and, being intuitive, he’d perceived a short course would have some appeal. He told me we both knew where it should go.”

That spot was a triangular piece of land the pair found particularly appealing. Coore thought he might be able to incorporate it into Bandon Trails, but abandoned the idea when he recognized too much earth-moving would be involved.

“The site itself just sat there,” Keiser says. “It plunges towards the ocean, and it was too much of a climb to go back down and come up. But Bill thought you could build some great par threes there. He planted the idea.” That concept meshed with Keiser’s assessment of the market. “We are getting older, and there are a lot of people without the ability to play 36 holes in a day, but want to do something,” he says. “So that led me to think about trying a par-three course because you could play it in two hours—and if no one is in front of you, even less.

The objective of the design was simple—Keiser wanted Coore and Crenshaw to create a short course where length was not the object. In fact, Keiser said he'd prefer the holes being kept relatively short. But there was a catch—every hole had to be able to be lifted onto one of the full-length courses at Bandon and hold its own.

“I asked Mike how many holes he wanted,” Coore says. “He said he didn’t know—just not nine or 18. He wanted it to be fun, and Mike said he didn’t care how short the holes were, but he wasn’t enamoured with long holes. He wanted a quality that if you picked up one of the holes and put it on the big course, it would fit. I thought, ‘Is that all you want?’”

The result is a course where every one of the 13 holes is unique and set on some of the most vibrant, visually stunning property in all of Bandon Dunes.

“Am I surprised it has caught on with golfers? Not at all,” says Coore. “The key was when Mike set the goals. He just wanted quality golf holes you’d be thrilled to play. That set the bar that it would be extremely interesting golf on a smaller scale. That’s exactly what it is.”

Bandon Preserve No. 4


Once it was recognized that Bandon Preserve would be one of those special courses that resonated with the public, Keiser began considering what he might do with the profits. Thus the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance was born. The simple idea was to create something that could promote conservation, a concept that is important to the Keiser family.

“There are people who scratch their heads and wonder why we’re giving money away,” Keiser says. “But if you are doing conservation with strong community support, there are no politics. Everyone is in favour.” Keiser recounts something he read from legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest Americans in the late 19th century.

“Carnegie said, ‘There are three things you can do with your money,’” Keiser recalls. “‘Leave it with your kids, and they will squander it. You can leave it to other people, and they’ll squander it too. Or you can give it away yourself and live to see the results.’”


WRCA has extended its support to numerous causes in its eight-year history, but one of the most notable is surely The Washed Ashore Project.

Washed Ashore was created by Bandon artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi (pictured left with Cosmo the Puffin) in the same year as WRCA. Pozzi saw the amount of plastic being washed ashore on the Pacific beaches and determined she could create art out of the garbage that would open people’s eyes to the damage of marine debris.

“Washed Ashore was one of the first organizations to come to us,” says Seeley.

Through Pozzi’s direction, a global audience has learned the story of the damage wrought on the ocean through powerful artistic sculptures. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” was the first art exhibit at the Smithsonian National Zoo, where 17 sculptures were displayed in 2016, sponsored by both Bandon Dunes and WRCA.

“It was the idea of an artist who wanted to clean plastic out of the ocean,” says Seeley. “It has gone from this little idea in Bandon to being at the United Nations, The Smithsonian, and The Shedd Aquarium and is now becoming internationally famous. It is an example of what can be done together.”


It was a bold decision, and designer Bill Coore remembers it well.

“We were walking on the site that would become Bandon Preserve and Mike said, ‘I think we’ll give the proceeds from this project away,’” says Coore. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s going to be quite something.’”

It was a benevolent gesture Keiser would complete, creating the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA) with the proceeds from Bandon Preserve. Working in partnership with local groups, to date around $4-million has been put to work on triple bottom line causes in Bandon and the surrounding area that are beneficial to the environment, the economy, and that have strong support from the community. WRCA has crafted partnerships to support restoration of salmon habitat, fought against the challenges of the gorse that is ever-present in the area, and worked on an innovative conservation project in the Coquille River basin to increase the productivity of agricultural lands. All of this and more from the proceeds of one par-three golf course. In addition to those grant funds, Bandon Dunes also picks up the operating expenses relating to WRCA.

“We meet people with great ideas that don’t have the resources to put those ideas into play,” says WRCA Executive Director Jim Seeley. “The goal is for the betterment of the entire south coast. We’re a small region with a small population and we can really make a difference in the area.”

Based on a three-pronged approach—to undertake projects that have strong community support, are environmentally positive, and economically sustainable—Seeley feels the WRCA is just getting started. “Our goal is to help put good thinking to work to make a difference,” he says. “It is about bringing funding to the table when it is needed.”

The Making of Cosmo the Tufted Puffin


If you've ever been to the town of Bandon you've probably seen the 'Sea Trash' sculptures from our friends, and WRCA grantee, Washed Ashore. We continue to be impressed by the great work they're doing to help clean up Bandon's beaches and educate the world on the dangers of marine debris.

In celebration of Earth Day, we are excited to share the story of their newest Tufted Puffin, Cosmo. So without further ado, enjoy the 'Making of Cosmo the Tufted Puffin' by Angela Haseltine Pozzi & Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea!

Every piece of plastic on Cosmo was found on the beaches near Bandon, Oregon. Nothing is ever colored. Stainless steel wire, screws, and frame make it long lasting.

Soon he will have a cement base which will imitate the shape of a large rock.

Details of the Wing Feathers show hangers, pipes, flip flops, handles, miscellaneous plastics, and more.

Cosmo’s life began at the beach. 

Buoys from Korean Aquaculture are gathered off the beach to create his feathers. Large black plastic garbage cans and buckets were used as base plastics. These were wired onto the steel frame and became the base for the volunteer-made panels. Tires are difficult to remove from beaches with high cliffs, and State Park partners often help out. These are a challenge to cut, but make excellent parts of wings.

A dedicated group of volunteers pick up debris weekly and drop it off to be made into art supplies for Washed Ashore. Washed Ashore also partners with Oregon Department of Parks And Recreation as well as SOLVE to do beach clean-ups. The outdoor bins start getting filled and debris is carefully washed.

Everything is sorted by color, size, and shape. Orange is pulled for Cosmo’s feet. Black and white flipflops are an important part of sculpting the head and feathers. Long and thin black plastic is pulled for the feathers. Pipes become an important supply for our volunteers to use as they string and stitch feather panels. The debris yard hosts a wide array of possibilities. A mysterious large orange plastic piece is cut for the base of the feet and part of the beak of the Puffin.

Our free community workshops created much of the work on Cosmo’s back and belly. “Trash-kabobs” are often made by young children who come with their families to our workshop. These were used on Cosmos fluffy belly.

While the volunteers worked on panels and kabobs, Angela worked on the head, neck, feet, and wings. The stainless steel frame of the head was first covered with base plastics then covered carefully with the correct colors for puffin’s markings. His tufts are made of cut rubber buoys. His top crown is made of sliced golf balls (help us protect ocean life by not hitting your golf balls into the ocean on our ocean holes). Angela added the finishing touches with individually chosen and cut feather plastics.

What's next?

Cosmo now awaits his heavy cement base and his new home at Coquille Point! Check it out next time you're in town and happy Earth Day!

UPDATE: Coquille Point Instillation 5/18/18

Striking “sea trash” sculptures a source of pride for Southern Oregon Coast


The colors of a sea turtle sculpture are striking at first sight, and even more so when a closer look reveals that it is created entirely from discarded plastic. Another piece is created entirely of garbage found floating in the Pacific Ocean, artistically pieced together to form a Tufted Puffin.

These sculptures, just two of many from Washed Ashore Project, can’t help but seize one’s attention. The art is beautiful and interesting in its own right, made more powerful in the message that lies in the materials used to sculpt the sea animals. Founded seven years ago by local artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi after she was struck by the sheer amount of plastic waste that littered Bandon’s beaches, Washed Ashore was created to bring attention to plastic pollution in oceans and waterways.

Since then, Washed Ashore and its thousands of volunteers have turned 20 tons of garbage — including discarded toothbrushes, combs, detergent bottles, nets, lighters, polystyrene foam, toys, and more — into more than 70 pieces of recycled art. All with a specific goal in mind: “Art to Save the Sea.”

“Our mission is to use the power of the arts to draw attention to the serious environmental issue of plastic pollution and educate the public as to what we can all do to help save our oceans and waterways,” said Angela Pozzi.

Washed Ashore’s mission has struck a powerful and emotional chord, and you do not have to look hard to find evidence. Just recently, Washed Ashore displayed sculptures of a 9-foot whale tail, a 6-foot salmon, 10-foot seahorse, and a 30-foot coral reef at United Nations headquarters in New York for the United Nations Ocean Conference.

In addition, 17 massive sculptures were on display last summer at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and three traveling exhibits visit zoos, museums, and aquariums across the country.

In other words, Washed Ashore’s message is clear, unique, unforgettable, and most importantly, highly effective in shining light on the threat that plastic pollution has on the world’s oceans and waterways. Hopefully, in the long run, that message will change the habits of all of us.

“All of us here on the South Coast are inspired by what Washed Ashore has accomplished, and the powerful environmental story they are telling through art,” said Don Crowe, Bandon Dunes General Manager. “Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is proud to support the Washed Ashore mission, and the missions of other like-minded local organizations, to ensure that the Southern Oregon Coast’s pristine beauty will be preserved for generations to come.”

Protecting the Southern Oregon Coast is an issue that is dear to Bandon Dunes and its entire team that calls this one-of-a-kind region home. After all, the allure of the South Coast in large part lies in its natural beauty. The sight of this rugged and dramatic coastline is what first inspired Mike Keiser, and protecting it has been a significant part of his vision for Bandon Dunes from the beginning.

Bandonistas might not know it, but their patronage has been incredibly significant in supporting organizations such as Washed Ashore. All net proceeds generated from play at Bandon Preserve, our 13-hole, par-3 course that opened in 2012, go directly to the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance.

The WRCA’s mission is important. Founded by Mr. Keiser in 2010, the WRCA focuses on funding projects that support conservation, community, and the economy of the Southern Oregon Coast. With the help of grants from the WRCA, Washed Ashore has been able to expand its reach and continue its mission.

Of course, that support would be all but impossible without the help of Bandonistas.

“Playing a round at Bandon Preserve is a unique and memorable experience by itself,” said Crowe. “That experience is magnified by the environmental initiatives it helps fund and the change it is inspiring to protect the Southern Oregon Coast as well as oceans and waterways worldwide.”

For more information about Washed Ashore, its Marine Debris Art, Traveling Exhibit and Integrated Arts Marine Debris Curriculum, please visit

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