One of the things I miss most about playing college golf is the travel. Every few weeks, our team would arrive at an incredible golf course and play a minimum of 54 holes before packing up and heading home. It was like taking buddies trips every month with the additional luxury of having everything planned out for you and a nice tee gift.

I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing that experience until I played in the Golf Digest Woman Classic last May at Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Dunes: 18 things you must know before planning your trip

From the moment my flight touched down, to dropping the rental car off at the Eugene Airport, this trip was exceptional. It was like a college golf trip but better, because I didn’t have the stress of a midterm looming over me the entire time.

There were a few key things that really made this an outstanding experience for me. Most obvious was the location. The tournament was held at Bandon Dunes—a bucket list course for any golfer.

The Magic of Bandon Dunes

Bandon Dunes is famously known for its world-class golf courses that feature breathtaking views of the Oregon coast, high bluffs and lush forest. In fact, four of their five 18-hole courses hold spots on Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.

One element that was especially captivating was the overall feel of the resort. Their entire campus has an almost nostalgic feel to it that reminded me of being a kid at summer camp. Every golfer there is just as excited to be there as you are and if you sit down next to a stranger at Mckee’s pub for a post-round pint, there’s actually a chance they’ll want to hear your round recap–that is if you listen to theirs, too.

I was especially blown away by was their transportation service. I don’t think I actually drove my rental car the entire time I stayed at the resort. If I wanted to go somewhere, I simply picked up the phone, told the concierge where I needed to go and a bus was at my door in five minutes or less. It was the first time I’d been more than 15 minutes early to a tee time in over a year, and I was even more relaxed when I arrived for my round. It’s surprising how little things like navigating to the course, traffic en route and finding parking spots can stress you out before teeing off.

Planning Makes Perfect

The organization on this trip was top notch, you can take a peek at this year’s itinerary here. For the $2,225 price tag, each individual received a carefully curated schedule designed by Golf Digest staff members who worked hand-in-hand with the Bandon Dunes team to create the best golf experience possible.

The four day trip began with an afternoon single-day competition on the Preserve, one of Bandon Dunes’ par-3 courses. A pro move that allowed us to have a low-stress arrival, get settled and meet everyone on the trip before gearing up to compete at the par-3 challenge.

During the next three days, we competed in two-person teams and played 54 holes following best ball format. Each 18-hole round was scheduled in the morning and we were all given the option to play another 18 on either of the courses we weren’t scheduled to play during the tournament, for an additional fee. I chose to play Pacific Dunes on the final day, and highly recommend the course to anyone that signs up this year.

We also had access to things that aren’t available to typical guests. Like the private instruction clinic at the Punchbowl, Bandon Dunes’ putting course. We worked with two of Bandon Dunes’ top instructors, Kevin Phillips, the director of instruction, and Jessica McClellan, for an hour on the putting green.

Phillips and McClellan spent the first part of the private group lesson talking about the keys for being a successful putter, demonstrating drills for dialing in your speed and answered any questions we had. Following the quick group lesson, the two were available for one-on-one lessons, where each player received an individual analysis and even personalized drills for improving their putting.

Community and Competition

The golf community at Bandon Dunes as a whole is incredible, but the community on this trip was unmatched. It was the first time since college that I played in an event with a mostly-female field.

I walked away from the experience with some great friends, course invites and the desire to make it an annual trip. It’s hard to find like-minded women who enjoy golf and want to spend money on the best trips golf has to offer, so it’s incredibly refreshing when you do.

This article was originally published on