Mike Keiser continues to astonish with a simple rule prevailing at his properties in Bandon-just go out an enjoy golf. Whether it is the 13-hole Bandon Preserve par 3 playground or his new mega putting facility Punchbowl he continues to break the mold of modern golf resorts by providing unique opportunities to enjoy the game.
In this article by Ron Bellamy for The Register-Guard you can read about one of Keiser’s most innovative concepts, one of the best kept secrets in Bandon, a DIY golf course that anyone can play-the Bally Bandon Sheep Ranch. No clubhouse, no golf shop, no practice facility, not even a bathroom with running water. This is an unirrigated piece of kept golfing land with 13 greens where you can pretty much make your holes up as you go playing your own unique design.
Keiser’s business partner from the greeting card business, Phil Friedmann bought this land about a dozen years ago and had Tom Doak build him 13 greens on this piece of land he had purchased on the north border of Bandon Dunes. It was basically his personal golf course and is not part of the Bandon Dunes Resort.
Yet it is totally accessible if you know the secret process for getting to play it. Actually pretty simple, just call Bandon Golf Supply where they will put you in touch with the course superintendent. He will arrange a day and time to meet your group at the course, it is available weekdays between November and June, the course is closed during the hot summer months. He will collect a fee of $100 a man hand you a scorecard and a suggestion for a routing and where to begin. The rest is up to you.
This is a fantastic concept for any devout golfer with a strong opinion on course design. It is a golf equivalent to backwoods helicopter skiing without the chopper. Imagine an open canvas of stellar golfing land overlooking an ocean where you decide where to tee it up and where the green will be on each hole. No complaints about the design being unfair especially because the designer is looking back at you in the reflection of the glass face of your watch. This is the ultimate in the Play It Forward concept. Just decide what distance is comfortable and put a peg in the ground.
Don’t forget to bring a grill and plenty of refreshment….there will be no visits from a cart girl or a halfway house at the turn. In fact there is no turn…..nor end to your round until you decide it is over. What a concept…..leave it to Keiser and his buddies to break the mold once again.