Pacific Gales Receives Conditional-Use Permit

Pacific Gales, a new links-style course on the Oregon coast, cleared a key hurdle February 27 when the Curry County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the developers' request for a conditional-use permit.

The 18-hole layout in Southern Oregon - to be built on a portion of the privately owned Knapp Ranch between Cape Blanco and Port Orford, less than 30 miles south of Bandon - has received media attention since plans were first unveiled in November 2013. Golf Digest declared the project "A New Course to Keep an Eye On," while a Golfweek journalist reported being "blown away . . . by an inspection of the ground at Pacific Gales."

The unanimous approval during the Planning Commission's meeting came after an outpouring of support in the form of letters and e-mails posted on the Curry County website from the Port Orford community and surrounding towns.

"We're thrilled about receiving unanimous support for our conditional use permit application," says Dave Esler, course designer and project partner with Elk River Property Development, LLC. "We believe the Planning Commission recognized the positive effect Pacific Gales will have on the area and our proactive approach to protecting the environmental assets of the land while restoring native habitat."

With a leadership team that includes Elk River Property Development managing partner Jim Haley, who worked as a shaper on the original Bandon Dunes course, and native Oregonian Troy Russell, a two-time recipient of the Golf Course Superintendents Association/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf award, Pacific Gales has been sensitive to environmental concerns since its inception.

The 354-acre site boasts one of the few prime oceanfront landscapes for golf in North America, incorporating views of the Elk River Valley and Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the north, Port Orford Headlands to the south and reef islands just offshore, as well as the Coast Range Mountains. The routing, which includes several bluff-top holes, will close each nine with a shared green overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Pending final approval by the Curry County Board of Commissioners, work on the site could begin as early as mid-2014, with a possible grand opening in spring 2016.

"We recognize we have a lot of work ahead of us and this is an important first step," Esler said of the conditional-use permit. "We are grateful and humbled by the overwhelming support we've received from the folks in the Port Orford area - and we're hopeful and excited to become a vital member of their community."

For more information about Pacific Gales, visit at