Best of the Best 2013: Golf Courses: Bandon Preserve

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Bandon Preserve (888.345.6008, www.bandondunesgolf​.com) is a 13-hole par-3 course intended as something of a bet-settling wind-down for baby boomers too tired to play a second 18. So how does such a course rank among the year’s best? Simple: It was designed by the visionaries Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw over a stretch of sandy ground every bit as bewitching as that of its more illustrious neighbors—Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald, and Bandon Trails—at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Coore had walked the 20-acre site years before when working with Crenshaw on Bandon Trails. The land did not end up in their final plans for Trails, but Coore knew at the time it was too good not to use. When designing Preserve, which opened in May 2012, he had no preconceived ideas about how many holes he should build or how long they might be. His only mission was to find fun golf. The result is a quirky assemblage of holes—ranging in length from 65 to 164 yards—that offers up about as much fun as can be had on a golf course.