Happy almost-winter from the Illinois Valley Country Club golf course!
This week has been fairly quiet at the course due to the wintery weather, so I will be giving a small report on golf course news and then describe one of the most popular holes at Bandon Dunes Golf Course, where we meet up with 88 other folks from around the west coast to play in a pro-am tournament every February.
Monday and Wednesday were too wet and cold so nobody showed for twilight.
On Thursday evening the ladies decided to play Bunco instead of going outside and braving the cold, dark, rainy afternoon. I showed up to lend moral support and they bribed me into playing with a shot of whiskey. They had only six ladies but are hoping to fill the field with 12 this week. They start at 5 p.m. and are out of there at about 7 (some of them continued on to Bruno’s for some additional friendship)!
Friday only Colby and Graham and I showed up. Graham had a tough day for most of the holes but finally got his game together on the last hole and birdied #9. Colby had a solid game as always and I was late in getting there and met up with them on #4 and took a few holes to get going, losing four balls in the process. I finally had some good shots on #7 and got a par there. We hung out in the clubhouse afterward and enjoyed some warming drinks then set up the glow ball stuff and got the fire barrel going. Roland and Lucas showed up for a bit but Lucas wasn’t feeling too well so they left. Scott Kern showed up and Scott, Eugene and I hit a few balls and put quite a few in the smallest ring. We later met at Lost Camp for Pam White’s birthday and a number of her friends from Thursday night Ladies showed up and helped her celebrate her 60th birthday.
On Sunday the weather started looking really nice at about 1 p.m. so I sent out a message for Sunday skins. Only Todd, Colby and I showed up and the weather mostly held, except for a small deluge that lasted only two holes. Eugene decided that nobody else was going to show to play, so he met us out there and we split into two teams for a 2-man scramble. Todd and I took an early lead and then added another stroke, but Eugene and Colby came back strongly and only lost by one stroke by birdying the last hole. I put one very close on #17 but we didn’t bet anything so went home empty-handed.
So the #4 hole on the original Bandon Dunes course is one of the most striking holes in the entire golf world. It sits on the rugged Oregon Coast on a cliff about 50 feet above the beach, which stretches about 10 miles in either direction. The beach is open to vehicle traffic so it is kind of fun to see people enjoying it and getting to drive along the wet sand. The view from the tee box is a simple fairway nestled between some raised, tawny fescue covered dunes and runs parallel to the beach. You cannot see the beach from the tee box and it is not the most impressive hole just yet. Your tee shot should land in the fairway at about 180-200 yards for the most impact visually. As you walk toward your ball, the view to the beach begins to open up and as you come around to the right, turning toward the cliff that defines between beach and golf course the indigo blue of the Pacific Ocean punches your senses. There is a marked contrast between the blue ocean, deep green fairway and the putting green that matches the tartan pattern hanging on the clubhouse walls. The fairway opens up wide, but drops off on both sides of the green, which is guarded by two small, deep sand bunkers which will penalize the unlucky golfer. If the golfer lands in either place there is a steep front wall that makes only a backward shot out of it possible. The face of the green is steep and the green itself is shaped like an eggplant, the narrow end being on the left and further away than the right-side larger end. The green sits about 30 feet lower than where your drive shot will be, so you will use less club to cover the distance as the ball falls through the salty coastal sky. Too much club may land your ball in the non-native gorse that lines the cliffs and that was introduced from Scotland to provide forage for sheep. It is one of the elements that make the Bandon Dunes courses an authentic British Isles links courses.
Any ladies who would like to join in on the Bunco can call Emily at 541-415-0277 and come have some fun.
Glowball on the driving range will happen Friday nights at dusk and is open to anyone who wants to come play, watch or just eat dinner at Gimmees Grill.
t Gimmees Grill.