Talking GolfGetaways, Ep. 51: Bandon Week tees off with Director of Golf Jeff Simonds

Talking GolfGetaways, Ep. 51: Bandon Week tees off with Director of Golf Jeff Simonds

The par-4 No. 4 on Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Photo by Brian Oar / Golf News Net)

Obviously, “Talking GolfGetaways” is all about golf. And travel. And sharing with friends those times, those rounds, those drinks and laughs, those memories that we find and forge throughout the world of golf travel. And there’s no better place in America to do just that than Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the Oregon coast. And that’s why it’s fitting that Bandon Dunes Director of Golf Jeff Simonds launches “Bandon Week” with “Talking GolfGetaways” hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch. Jeff brings a wealth of insight about the courses, resort amenities and a passion for playing links golf in one of the world’s most ruggedly beautiful oceanfront locations — the perfect primer for anyone thinking about planning their first trip (or a return visit) to Bandon Dunes.

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  • Jeff leads off with a classic story from his past and explains why he may still hold the record as the only professional caddie with a 100% victory record (Matt Gogel and Hillcrest Country Club in Idaho figure in prominently). He then details the path that lead him from his home state of Idaho to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, discussing how, after playing golf in high school and at the University of Idaho, he and his (now) wife Marie, also a golfer, began to look at places to call home with a future in the game.
  • Simonds then talks about his initial experiences at Bandon — when Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes were the only courses open at the time — and relates how much he loved playing links golf for the first time (as so many of us do) because of the differences in shotmaking and creativity needed in addition to the wind and playing conditions.
  • You’ll hear about the ladder of success Jeff climbed at Bandon Dunes — from the first job he could get in the Pro Shop to a promotion to 1st Assistant at Bandon Dunes before moving up to the Head Professional position at Pacific Dunes (at age 24!) when the resort’s third course, Bandon Trails, opened. Finally, hear how he became Director of Golf in 2009 — and his unsurprising answer when people ask where he might want to work next.
  • Find out what the future might hold for Bandon Dunes Resort as Jeff talks about the possible next course being built on what’s known as The Sheep Ranch, and why he considers the best part of the resort experience being the entirety of the options and experiences you can have at Bandon — the variety of restaurants and food, bars, hiking and lodging possibilities available for every level of golf traveler.
  • Jeff next gets into his personal rankings of the Bandon courses (which he says can change at any time), and breaks down what makes each track special — Bandon Dunes (“fairest test”), Pacific Dunes (“most beautiful course out there”), Bandon Trails (“best shot values”) and Old Macdonald (“open and fun, great for any level”).
  • The 13-hole Preserve short course and the Punchbowl putting area are, according to Jeff, “what lets golfers be kids again,” and he describes why the addition of both has taken the resort to another level, amenity-wise.
  • Finally, Simonds breaks down each of the lodging options at Bandon, discussing why each particular experience focuses on a relaxed and uncluttered environment for the golfer. Whether it’s the four-bedroom (and four-bathroom) Grove Cottages, the two-bedroom (and two-bath) Lofts or the stunning Golf Suite above the Tufted Puffin (“Like sleeping next to the first tee”), Jeff has good reason to say “There’s not a bad room here.” He closes with his favorite food, and tells you why the double-cut pork chop at Pacific Grill would be the one entrée he’d order above all others.

Truly a treat to get some insider perspective from a man who helps keep the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort courses running smoothly for all golf travelers to enjoy. Enjoy the conversation — and get ready to start dreaming about your next buddy trip to the Oregon coast.

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“Talking GolfGetaways with Mitch Laurance & Darin Bunch” can be found on and across the Golf News Net platform. New episodes post daily, five days per week (for the most part), and “Talking GolfGetaways” is also available on audioBoom, iTunes and Stitcher.

Follow us @GetawaysGolf and @MitchLaurance on Twitter, and use #Emergency, #TalkingGolfGetaways and #2HaggisBags to hit us with your favorite Bandon Dunes buddy trip stories and recommendations — you just might make it onto a future episode of “Talking GolfGetaways.”

About the author



The GolfGetaways crew of Darin Bunch and Mitch Lauarance have decades of golf travels and adventures to share, which they do here at GNN, on their "Talking GolfGetaways" podcast and on their social media channels. You can find them usually playing hickories and having a great time taking in amazing architecture, scenery and company.