Heathland Golf Defined
We at Bandon Crossings want to continue our education (harping?) on how special the land is that the course is built on. There are over 13000 golf courses in the United States and perhaps 20 or 30 could be considered heathland property. What is heathland? Well let me count the points that make property heathland. 1. It is typically not directly on the ocean but shares some of the virtues and vices of being near the ocean. It is sandy and light soil that is poor in nutrients and is typically acidic. We were shocked when we checked the soil when we were first trying to grow grass and found it to be a pH of 4.2. A lot of our fertilizers have to be carefully monitored to not push the pH lower. 2. It typically grows gorse, bracken and heather. Brant is constantly trying to keep the gorse out of the playing area as it very unpleasantly defends itself well with thorns even where plants shouldn't have thorns. 3. Because the property is not right on the ocean the winds are gentler and the summer temperatures are a little warmer. This will typically lead to different grasses than typically grow on pure links land. That is why perennial rye is grown and holds up much better to cart traffic than fescue.
-- Rex Smith
New Construction is Underway!
Anyone who has been to Bandon Crossings the last few weeks has noticed that we are doing our best to tear up the property between the cypress trees and the putting green. Hopefully that is to a good cause.
We are starting to build our 5000 square foot Club house and event facility. It is fairly small by most clubhouse standards. It will have a little bit of a Craftsman look and the event facility will be large open beams with tongue and groove wood ceiling. The floors will be stained concrete. It will be painted the same color as the new paint currently on the cart barn and pro shop. This design includes a portion of the building being offset so that we have a protected area from the north wind and it should be very comfortable sitting outside with the protection from the northwest summer wind. That area is fairly protected from the wind anyway but that should make it even better. We have also designed the closed portion of the clubhouse to enjoy the view of number one Fairway and the wetlands. Number 18 green should also be visible so you can watch your friends or competitors one putt that green.
There are many reasons for building the new facility the first of course is our current facility is rather suspect. We would love to have our annual pass members and guests to feel like this is as good a place as any to sit down and enjoy a few minutes before or after their round of golf.
Another reason is we would love to have more tournaments and non-golf events like weddings. The event facility holds 99 people inside and can spill outside as we have glass garage doors that can be lifted up. If you know someone who is looking for a facility we should be finished by 1 January. We have every intention of improving our food and beverage which will not include a full restaurant at this time even though we have an area that could someday be converted to a kitchen. We do have had some fine caterers we have used in the past and will hopefully find a good array of choices for our future events.
Dan Hixson Designs Another Great Layout at Sylvies Ranch
Dan Hixson has done it again – a fabulous golf layout designed to fit the beauty of land he was presented. In the center of Oregon at the Links at Sylvies Ranch he took on an unusual challenge:
Design a course that plays one direction on one day, and the opposite way on the next day. The canvas is an absolutely beautiful setting in a pristine Ponderosa Pine forest spread out into the low hills. Hixson didn’t cut any corners, and he didn’t let the two-way concept compromise the quality of any of the golf holes. So he added an extra 9 greens and incorporated those into the routing to keep the best shot values on each hole.
The ranch has taken names from the early pioneer history of the valley, naming the courses Craddock and Hankins after early settlers and the golf shop is the Hideout, with lovely views out to the valley. But Hixson didn’t quit there: he created a fun 9 hole par 3 short course called the Egan, after the Native American Paiute chief. Then, probably with a glint in his eye, Hixson starting planning a short but seemingly impossible course called McVey’s Gauntlet. It’s still in design and shaping, but anyone with an accurate shot and lots of balls should start practicing and getting in shape to walk up and down as they run the gauntlet.
It took Hixson 8 years to go from design start to the soft opening summer of 2017, partly because of the short growing season and partly because he did most of the shaping by himself. When the golf courses mature a little more the rye/fescue turf will play firmer and faster than it does now, and they will be even more fun. Carts are allowed to run on the fairways on the 18 hole courses even, now, but the courses are walkable if you’re in good shape.
Sylvies Valley is also a “Retreat”, and not just for golfers. In fact, the accommodations may look like rustic log cabins, but they are actually very luxurious and beautifully furnished in western ranch style but with all the modern conveniences. The lodge has an excellent chef and a well-stocked bar, and even a stage coach overlooking the dining room. The Ranch is continuing to add various activities, such as fishing, shooting range, paddle boards and kayaks, mountain bikes, hiking, horseback riding and wagon rides, and relaxing in the pristine environment.
You can get some more information on the Silvies Ranch website.
Some practical tips: excellent guest wi-fi near the buildings, and I was able to make and receive phone calls when I set my Verizon phone to call over Wi-Fi. Other than that, I had no phone signal, and our phone golf app wouldn’t work. However the yardage book has excellent information. Private cars aren’t allowed in the complex, so guests are issued a personal golf cart with lights to get around the area, and use on the golf course, as well as two way radios for each person, to communicate with each other, the restaurant, golf course, etc. Staff is friendly and helpful.
This is a real working ranch as well, growing hay, cattle and goats they have bred themselves. It is all is owned by Dr. Scott Campbell and his wife Sandy and their children, who are friendly and pleasant and obviously hard working. One of the goals of the Campbell’s was to employ local people and buoy up the local economy, and they have added their personal touches throughout the ranch.
Meet the Architect at our 10th Anniversary Party & Golf Tournament
Our Anniversary Bash will be a ton of fun. Everyone is welcome to enjoy Putting Contests, Golf Ball Art, Fun Golf activities and Marshmallow long drive contest. We’ll all have a great lunch with stories about the good old days building a golf course, and toasting to the next ten years at Bandon Crossings.
There will be a two-person best ball tournament on Saturday with a chance to play against our Celebrity teams:
- Dan Hixson, Golf Course Architect and Amy
- Brant Hathorn, Superintendent since Day One, with Alan Young, our token Scotsman and 12 year veteran greens keeper
- Jim Wakeman, Head Golf Professional
We’ll start out with a Horserace, Friday 4:00 pm, September 15, Free to Tournament players
Putting contests on Saturday: 9 am and 1 pm
- $3 per person entry fee
- 50% back to winner
- 50% to Port Orford scholarship fund.
Raffle for Great Prizes
- Only $1 per ticket
- Drawing at 3 pm
- 2 Person Best Ball, with Handicap and Non-handicap Divisions
- Saturday, September 16, 2017, 10 am Shotgun start
- Entry Fee only $95 per person or $71 for Annual Pass holders
- Our Celebrity twosomes will play one hole with each group; you can elect to use their score as your team score
- Reduced rate for Friday practice round.
- Optional team honeypot $40 per team.
- Continental Breakfast , Lunch, Awards
- Golf cart, range balls, green fee, commemorative tee-gift, prize fund
- Cypress Flight, for USGA handicapped player’s/teams.
- Madrone flight, for player’s/teams without USGA handicaps.
- Handicaps NOT required: Callaway handicap system will be used for golfers without handicaps.
- Closest to pin & longest drive prizes for men & women