BANDON — Sheep Ranch, the newest edition to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, received another national media honor when Golf Digest named it the top new golf course of 2020.
In its story introducing the honor, the magazine noted that only 15 courses were considered, but the publication decided to go ahead with recognition anyway — 10 years ago, when the fourth course at Bandon Dunes, Old Macdonald, opened, no honors were announced because only 40 courses opened that year during what then was a golf recession.
“Sheep Ranch, by any standard, is a worthy winner and a breathtaking addition to the world of golf,” the magazine wrote, noting that half of the greens on the course are on cliffside spots overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean.
“We're honored and humbled by the golf world's response to the Sheep Ranch,” Bandon Dunes General Manager Don Crowe said. “Our thanks go out to our incredible staff and to Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's team for helping showcase the course's natural beauty. The ranking is a testament to their hard work.”
The resort’s courses have frequently been featured in the best-course rankings of the various national golf publications. Earlier this year, Golf.com listed all five courses among the top 80 in the United States (public and private, new and old). Sheep Ranch made an impressive debut at No. 80 on that list.
Golf Digest’s latest ranking of the top 100 courses was released last January, before Sheep Ranch opened. In that list, Pacific Dunes came in at No. 17, Bandon Dunes No. 36, Old Macdonald No. 50 and Bandon Trails No. 69.
In its list of the top public courses, released in May of 2019, Pacific Dunes was No. 2, Bandon Dunes No. 7, Old Macdonald No. 12 and Bandon Trails No. 14.
In Golf.Com’s list of the country’s top 100 courses, released this fall, Pacific Dunes was No. 19, Bandon Trails No. 38, Bandon Dunes No. 44, Old Macdonald No. 66 and Sheep Ranch No. 80.
Golf.com’s most recent list of the greatest courses in the world list had Pacific Dunes at No. 24, Bandon Dunes at no. 80 and Bandon Trails at No. 87.
Golfweek Magazine’s list of the top 200 modern courses, from July, has Pacific Dunes at No. 2, Old Macdonald at No. 5, Bandon Dunes at No. 9 and Bandon Trails at No. 15. It’s list of the top 100 courses you can play (public courses), released in August, has Pacific Dunes at No. 2, Old Macdonald at No. 4, Bandon Dunes at No. 6 and Bandon Trails at No. 10.
The rankings have proven a strong advertisement for the resort, which has enjoyed continued success even during the pandemic.
In advance of the 20th anniversary of the first course opening in 2019, Bandon Dunes owner Mike Keiser said they are significant because they are right.
“They are extremely important,” he said. “I would like to say they are incidental, but in the golf world, everybody follows them. And I’ve found they are accurate form an architectural view. I think if you talk to golf raters, they would agree.”