Bandon Dunes

The Bandon Preserve golf course is empty as sunset nears during a November evening in 2018. The resort reopens to the public May 11. 

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BANDON — When Bandon Dunes closed last month, one of the groups most impacted was the resort’s caddie corps.

The closure, which currently is scheduled to extend through the end of the month, is the first in the 21-year history of the resort.

It has left some 350 caddies without work. The caddies are not regular resort employees, but rather are private contractors, dependent entirely on doing loops for their income.

On Monday, a new fundraiser was started to generate relief funds for the caddies. It was announced by the resort in an email message Monday.

“Since the first strides in 1999, Bandon’s caddies have been by your side helping deliver a one-of-a-kind links golf experience,” the message to golfers read. “They’ve spent more time with you than anyone else and are some of the resort’s strongest ambassadors. Right now, like many others, they’re out of work.”

The fundraiser was announced with the hashtag “GreaterThanGolf.

“The sun is out, waves are crashing on the beach, the grass is cut and the flags are fluttering in the breeze, yet our courses are empty,” the message said. “It is times like these that make us ask, ‘What is greater than golf?’

“We will all be ready when the time comes to safely welcome you back, but this pandemic has proven that many things are greater than golf.”

By Tuesday morning, the fundraiser had generated more than $94,000 through the GoFundMe page, with nearly 800 people making donations.

Unlike a lot of fundraisers, which have specific goals, the goal listed on the fundraiser page is $1, which is explained in the message from the caddies.

“It is difficult to determine a financial goal for this campaign, due to the size of our program and the number of individuals and families that will be assisted by your generosity,” the message reads. “We are hoping this campaign will grow large enough to provide each caddie with enough support to get through this difficult period.

“Due to the size of this endeavor, we are setting the goal at $1 and leaving it up to your discretion. Our goal will be met when each person with a memorable caddie experience at Bandon Dunes has had an opportunity to show their appreciation through this fund.”

The message said more than 350 caddies have been out of work since March 25.

“We like to think of our guests as the heart of the resort, and we hope you see us as its soul,” the message reads.

The Bandon Caddie Relief Fund has been made possible through the Greater Bandon Association, which is dedicated to the community and economic revitalization of the Bandon area, on behalf of the Greater Bandon By-the-Sea Corporation, a registered nonprofit corporation, and the cooperative support of Bandon Dunes. All donations are tax deductible.

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