Old Macdonald Course at Bandon Gets Ratings

When USGA Executive Director David Fay mentions that Bandon Dunes Resort in Bandon, Ore. has become "the epicenter of golf on Planet Earth," the scheduled opening of the resorts' fourth course on June 1 essentially becomes one of the most anticipated golf course openings worldwide. The course will have a lot to live up to with the other three courses - Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Trails - all ranked among the top-25 courses in the world by several leading golf publications.

With that, the Oregon Golf Association has calculated the course and slope ratings for Old Macdonald.

The layout is a tribute to Charles Blair Macdonald (1856-1939), the "father" of American golf course architecture and one of the founders of the USGA. Designed by Tom Doak (who also designed Pacific Dunes) and Jim Urbina, Old Macdonald features the classic principles and strategies that Macdonald incorporated into his own courses, chiefly National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.

The par-71 Old Macdonald will play 6,978 yards from the black tees where it has received a USGA Course Rating of 74.1 and a USGA Slope Rating of 133. The most forward tees, Royal Blue, are 4,280 yards with a USGA Course Rating of 62.6 and a slope of 104.

"I can see where wide fairways, huge greens and beautiful vistas are going to make Old Macdonald a favorite course for many," said Gretchen Yoder, Manager of Handicapping and Course Rating for the Oregon Golf Association.

"We rated all five sets of tees for men, and all but the back tees for women," she added. "It's certainly a challenging course for the better golfer, but I think it's also the most user-friendly course at the resort - especially for families, women and higher handicappers if they select the most appropriate set of tees. With a variety of routes and approaches to greens nearly impossible to miss, it'll be a fun course to play over and over again!"

With stretches that are flat, wide open and unprotected from the elements, as well as replicas of the Old Course's Hell Bunker and Road Hole, some might find similarities to St. Andrews. But, significant elevation changes and holes reminiscent of other Macdonald favorites such as the par-3 Barritz Hole with its 26,000-square-foot green that is divided in half by a putt-able chasm, it's really unlike any other course.

A USGA Course Rating is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer under normal course and weather conditions for the purpose of providing a uniform basis on which to issue USGA Handicap Indexes.

A USGA Slope Rating evaluates the relative playing difficulty of each set of tees for non-scratch golfers and is used in calculating a course handicap from a handicap index. It adjusts a handicap for a higher handicap golfer to the scratch golfer.

Course ratings are objective evaluations of a course's difficulty based on a number of factors including roll, elevation, forced lay-ups, prevailing winds, altitude, topography, fairway width, green targets, recoverability and rough, bunkers, hazards, trees, and effective playing length.

In 2011 Old Macdonald will host both the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the U.S. Women's Public Links championships. Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails were used for the 1007 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and the 2005 Curtis Cup was played at Pacific Dunes, making the resort on Oregon's southwestern coast the first venue to have hosted national championships on four different courses.