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The second edition of the class of ’68 Bandon Dunes golf trip was held from October 31-November 5, 2010 at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the coast of Oregon.

Most of us arrived on Sunday, October 31 (Halloween day).  My son Tim and I shared a flight from Boston to San Francisco with Mike Lenehan and a friend of his whom he brought along to play with us, as well as Joe Grasso and his wife Maureen.  For the flight from San Francisco to North Bend OR, we six were joined by Rick Dolsky out of Philadelphia and Warren Connelly from Washington DC.

After check-in in mid-afternoon, we met up with other classmates and headed to the practice range for a bit of fresh air and exercise, after having sat in airplanes most of the day.  The weather was a bit damp, cloudy and breezy, so we did not stay out for too long.  John Blair, Dana Waterman and friends of theirs drove in from Eugene OR that afternoon, and Jim Noyes appeared with friends from the Spokane WA area.  Bill Adler had driven up from San Francisco.  Gerry Rinehart and his wife Peggy had come on Saturday from Minnesota and played a round on Sunday, so were already singing their praises of the Bandon program. Dick Olson came in from Michigan. Lastly, Bill Kolasky from the Washington, DC area also had arrived a few days early, to spend time with his daughter and take a lesson or two before she left and we arrived.  Thus, we were 22 all totaled.

Our golf tee times the whole week were starting at 8:30 am.  Since we are on the west coast, and this was before the time change, we were getting up and having breakfast at 7 am in the dark, as sunrise does not happen until about 7:45 am or so.  Thus, our daily routine was an early breakfast, head to the practice range for a half-hour or so warm up (in the dawning light of the day), then off to the course of the day for that day’s round.

The Bandon Dunes golf resort has a world-class selection of courses, all on the top-25 listing or courses you can play, so each day was a treat from the golf perspective.  In addition, not unlike New England, the weather was different each day as well.

Monday we started the golf week on the Bandon Dunes course, which was the first one built and put the resort on the golf map.  Weather today was a real challenge, as the wind was a steady 25 mph with gusts to 50!  Needless to say the impact on the flight of the ball was very interesting at almost every hole.  Skies were overcast, and a brief shower came through about mid-round, but did not stay long and did not dampen the golf spirits.  Our caddies could not recall a wind as steady and at that level for a long time.  Dinner that night was in the upstairs of McKee’s Pub, an Irish style pub.  We had several tables and were able to watch the final game of the world series while we ate.

Tuesday was the day for Pacific Dunes, the highest rated course on the property with several spectacular holes along the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  Away from the immediate coastline, the weather was clear, sunny and nicely warm.  Several of us wore shorts for the round today.  However, right adjacent to the ocean cliffs, the fog was so dense that we could hardly see 100 yards, and needed to take the caddy’s advice of where to aim our shots.  Following this morning’s rounds, a number of us played the par-3 “Shorty’s” 9-hole course adjacent to the practice area.  It made for a fun way for a bit more golf without having to walk a second 18, although some in our group did opt for a second 18 on most days.  Dinner again was above McKee’s Pub.

Wednesday was the day for the Bandon Trails course.  This is quite different from the other three courses in that it winds through trees and is away from the ocean.  It has an entirely different feel to it, and many of us found it to be the most challenging of all four courses.  Weather was overcast, breezy and quite cool-no shorts today.  There seem to be more ups and downs on this course as well.  Dinner tonight was in the Main Lodge, in the Garden Room, surrounded by all-glass walls allowing us to have a full view of the outside and the 18th green of the Bandon Dunes course.  We made several awards to various players all in good fun tonight.

Thursday golf was not unlike having desert-saving the best for last.  We played Old MacDonald, the newest course that was designed in honor of C. B. MacDonald, the first important American golf course architect.  The majority of the course sits in a valley-like flat plain, and is wonderfully open for both sightlines and errant shots.  The day was intermittent clouds and sun.  Great fun, good challenge and an excellent finish to the golf week.  A few of us left after this round to begin the trek home.  Since we did not have any formal dinner gathering planned, most of us headed into the town of Bandon to a wonderful, small (28 seats) Italian restaurant and wine bar for what became an outstanding meal and selection of Oregon wines.  No one left there disappointed that night.

Friday was the beginning of the end, with what seemed like a never-ending journey back home.

This year, we had two women join us for the first time (Maureen Grasso and Peggy Rinehart).  I have asked each of them to share their comments about the trip, and reproduce them below.  In addition, I have asked those classmates who participated for the first time to add their comments as well.  Here is what each of them had to say:

-From Maureen Grasso-Hi Ed,  I want to thank you so much for all your efforts in putting this phenomenal trip together.  I have a few thoughts about the week, but I will always have a lifetime of wonderful memories.  If you are a golf aficionado that appreciates raw beauty and unspoiled landscapes, this vacation is for you.  The "Dartmouth Class of 68" has found  a true winner on the North Pacific coast.  I enjoyed five glorious days golfing on four challenging courses, admiring the dramatic ocean views, and watching all the golf talent among our group.   The resort accommodations and restaurants were excellent.  The town of Bandon held a little gem named Alloro,  where on the last night we dined on a delicious gourmet meal and sampled many tasty local wines.   I feel very fortunate to have been included and look forward to next year.

-From Peggy Rinehart-Jerry and I played 18 yesterday on our home course— 65 degrees and sunny. You're right, not quite Bandon but I broke 100.  Again, Ed, I want to thank you and John Blair for organizing this trip. Your style is reflected in the substance and success of this venture and thanks for including me. Afterall... Who knew 40 -some years ago that I'd relish the time spent with Jerry's Dartmouth classmates, playing golf on four spectacular golf courses in the middle of Almost-Nowhere, Oregon.  But when you let it, life takes you on some pretty wonderful adventures and our week at Bandon Dunes with all of you counts as one of our best weeks ever. Perhaps it was the quirks and irregularities of the golf courses. I actually used a five wood to put within 10 feet of the hole on 15 at Old Macdonald. That's quirky. So, I loved the challenge of the shots and also the companionship of the caddies. Thanks to Rodney, I can get out of a pot hole bunker, again and again and again. But most of all it was the camaraderie with others who love golf as much as we do and the good fellowship with people who appreciated their time together in Hanover and their willingness to share where life's taken them. (Okay their friends are pretty cool, too.) And if there are more spouses out there like Maureen Grasso, please come along. There's nothing to do but play golf on extraordinary courses with wonderful people. Say hi to the Grassos when you see them. It was great getting to know them.

 From Joe Grasso-Still suffering from Bandon Dunes withdrawal.   Suffice to say the venue was spectacular, as was the variety offered by four very different courses.  Equally impressive was how comfortable everything was--not just the resort, but the company.  Getting together with classmates I knew, others I didn't know, and friends of classmates who all proved to be wonderful company was an unexpected bonus.  Kudos to Ed and John.  Their efforts were well worth it from my perspective.

 From Gerry Rinehart-As a first timer, I didn't quite know what to expect, but the week was outstanding! I haven't stayed in touch with many Dartmouth folks, but it was easy to re-connect.  Great people, incredible golf courses, and beautiful surroundings.  Peggy was amazed at how gracious and welcoming everyone was.   We will be back again, and if there are other golf-loving partners, Peggy and I hope they will join us. Thank you Ed, John, and Jim for all your work to make this an unforgettable vacation!

From Rick Dolsky-Thanks to Ed, John, and Jim for all the time and effort that made this experience smooth and seamless. The concentration of pure golf  at Bandon Dunes is incomparable; every hole was unique, challenging, and fun. I can't think of another site that provides more golf and is as easy to navigate. I have had little contact with Dartmouth since graduation; I see my Dartmouth classmates at my Med school reunions, not Dartmouth functions. The camaraderie  and dinner conversations enhanced the overall experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to play with most of the group. Next year, I'll know that my old body can handle 36 on more than one day; another chance to play with more group members. Our afternoon "competition" on Shorty was fun and and good short game practice.  Looking forward to another trip.

From Dana Waterman-Sorry to be delinquent in responding, but I have been snowed under (not literally) since returning to work.  The trip was certainly one of the most memorable of many golf outings I have taken in recent years.  The venues are clearly links courses (with the only exception being Bandon Trails) comparable to those I have played in Scotland and Ireland.  The vistas (when the fog was not lurking) are spectacular, and the facilities and service first rate.  What made the trip truly special was the opportunity to reconnect with classmates who share a love of the game and the camaraderie that is such an important part.  My guest, Mark Bawden, says he is still “in the glow” and felt truly welcomed by all those classmates attending.  I would encourage anyone who enjoys the game to put this on your bucket list for next year.  I join my colleagues in thanking you, John and Jim for shouldering all the work that goes into making a trip like this a great success.  Hope to be there again next year – it’s on my calendar.

 That’s all from this trip.  We have plans in place for a return here again next year, so if you are interested share your level of interest with me.  We will have a formal call for interest in the spring of 2011.  Also, do not hesitate to let me know any questions you may have about our trip.  My email is esheald@aol.com  or edward.heald@wfadvisors.com .  You can also reach John Blair at j.blair@juceplus.com , and Jim Noyes at jepnoyes@gmail.com .

For a look at photos from this year’s trip, click on the following Picasa links:

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=jagrassojr68&target=ALBUM&id=5543137574378697505&authkey=Gv1sRgCJXhjrmynrPYqwE&invite=CKvB9yk&feat=email 

http://picasaweb.google.com/113021185761096522673/BandonDunes2010

http://picasaweb.google.com/113021185761096522673/BandonDunes2010#

 
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Last updated: Monday, September 26, 2011