Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes – By Stephen Goodwin
But it’s not simply the enchanted backdrop of Bandon Dunes that makes Dream Golf so unique. Instead, it’s about the vision Mike Keiser had and how he realized it, surpassing all of his expectations. Keiser and his crew transformed a stretch of the wild Oregon coast covered in gorse and heather into a location that awakens everything spiritual about the game of golf by drawing inspiration from some of the game’s greatest architects.
Goodwin (Breaking Her Fall) brings a passion for golf and a fluid narrative style to his account of one man’s quest to create a British-style links course on a gorse-choked, craggy expanse of land on the Oregon coast. Mike Keiser was a successful entrepreneur whose company, Recycled Paper Greetings, afforded him the possibility of laying out $2.4 million in cash for what most people viewed as a dubious project at best. Goodwin deftly breaks down the differences between traditional, modern and postmodern golf course architecture, and relays the revelatory experiences in Great Britain that gave Keiser a love of rolling, sandy, seaside courses.
He portrays Keiser as visionary, humble, generous and dynamic, though readers may wonder if he’s too reverent or close to his subject (for instance, Goodwin makes no mention of Keiser’s thoughts on golf courses’ tendency to wreak havoc on the land, which is strange considering Keiser founded an environmentally friendly greeting-card company). Although chapters on the intricacies of development might be of interest only to businesspeople and planners, Goodwin’s lively writing and clear descriptions make for an apt chronicle for golf fans of the making of Bandon Dunes, which, since its 1999 opening, has been considered one of the world’s premier courses. Photos. (May 19)
About the Author
Stephen Goodwin is the author of four other books, including the critically acclaimed Breaking Her Fall. He lives in Virginia and teaches at George Mason University.
“This is much more than a golf book; it’s the story of one man’s unshakable vision and the extraordinary people who helped him bring it to life.”
—George Peper, former editor in chief, Golf Magazine
Mike Keiser, entrepreneur, amateur golf enthusiast, and founder of the successful company Recycled Paper Greetings, turned his unlikely dream of creating a British-style links course on Oregon’s rugged coast into one of America’s most extraordinary golf destinations. Working against the odds, and making decisions that seemed counterintuitive to most outsiders, Keiser surprised the skeptics and charmed the critics with the result of his efforts. When it opened in 1999, Bandon Dunes was instantly acclaimed one of the best courses in the world.
This book, written with Keiser’s full cooperation, is the first all-inclusive account of how he translated his passion into a reality. It reveals the difficulties he had to overcome, the personalities he encountered—most notably two of golf architecture’s most controversial figures, Scotsman David Kidd and American Tom Doak—and the goal he has achieved in creating a true golfing utopia in an astonishingly short period of time on a wild, windblown bluff high above the Pacific.
From the Inside Flap
This is the story of a man with a dream–as well as the vision and passion to make it come true. The dream was to build a great American links course, one that would contain all the excitement of the famous golfing destinations in Scotland and Ireland, storied places like St. Andrews and Ballybunion. The man was Mike Keiser, an entrepreneur and amateur golf enthusiast, founder of the successful company Recycled Paper Greetings, and “Dream Golf” is the story of how, with the help of some of the most colorful–and occasionally controversial–men in golf, he transformed a remote area on Oregon’s Pacific coast into not one, but three of the most stunning, challenging, and highly ranked courses in the world.
It began modestly, when Mike Keiser decided to build a nine-hole “dunes” course and golf club on the shore of Lake Michigan, near his home in Chicago. The experience prompted him to look further, with the goal of realizing a dream that he had harbored for some time: to bring to American golfers the same kind of experience he had enjoyed while playing some of the legendary courses of the British Isles, “links” courses that had evolved naturally to fit the rugged, heaving coastal terrain. These ancient courses were the antithesis of most modern American courses, where the features were shaped by bulldozers and all too often look sleek, manicured, and artificial.
No, Bandon Dunes would be a “pure” golf experience, pitting the golfer against the elements, allowing the land to dictate the course, banning the use of carts, making the golfer feel at one with both nature and the game. To achieve that goal would take a great amount of planning and hard work, the struggle of man againstnature in shaping the land into three courses that would become the Bandon Dunes complex. Conventional wisdom said it was impossible.
And even if he built it, would anyone come to this remote Oregon outpost?
“Dream Golf” is the first complete account of how drive and determination, coupled with the best minds in the game, created a utopian golf experience in a place of breathtaking natural beauty. It is the gripping and compelling account of how one man followed his dream to its greatest conclusion.
But it's not simply the enchanted backdrop of Bandon Dunes that makes Dream Golf so unique. Instead, it's about the vision Mike Keiser had and how he realized it, surpassing all of his expectations. Keiser and his crew transformed a stretch of the wild Oregon coast covered in gorse and heather into a location that awakens everything spiritual about the game of golf by drawing inspiration from some of the game's greatest architects.
- It is, in my opinion, the most sacred location in North America to play golf.
- I could continue forever. It's in the part with the books that any golfer worth their salt should read.
- Instead, it's about the vision Mike Keiser had and how he realized it, surpassing all of his expectations.
As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry.