Our Thanksgiving day golfing adventure took us to Old Macdonald, probably my favorite course anywhere.

Chris teeing off at the ghost tree Chris teeing off at the ghost tree

We split into teams to play a fun Thanksgiving themed golf game: a modified Stableford scoring best ball Nassau with tilting, supplemented with a turkey ball per team. Normal golf, as we say. We played brothers vs brothers, so Dave/Chris vs Jacob/Matthew.

The contrast between Bandon Trails and Old Macdonald is high as we traded wooded solitude for a vast, sometimes stark, ocean dunes landscape. Old Mac is mostly devoid of tall trees but for the landmark ghost tree (a Cedar snag) on the third hole (Sahara). This meant our wayward drives would contend with gorse and some epic bunkers rather than getting lost in the pine forest.

How is Matthew even standing there? How is Matthew even standing there?

Matthew and Jacob each had great bunker-adjacent encounters, with the balls technically not in the hazard but having to contend with them nonetheless. Old Mac brings out a classic bag of tricks to bring challenge to the golfer, all inspired by the golden age architect CB Macdonald. The tricks manifest as template holes, and the best way to understand what this is about is to read Tom Doak (Old Mac’s designer) own words on the course (front nine, back nine).

Jacob made an amazing recovery to the green from this precarious position Jacob made an amazing recovery to the green from this precarious position

For my three companions this was their first experience with true links golf though without a super treacherous wind. The ground game truly shines on this course, giving so many options for approach (and even second shots on par 5s) play. My inexperience and lack of feel hurt a few times as I played decent bump and run shots into a few greens that didn’t hold on. The fast runway style fairways also meant more balls would run unexpectedly into bunkers.

All in all, another glorious day in Bandon and a great way to spend our Thanksgiving.

P.S. The old brothers won the Nassau, losing front nine to the young ‘uns, but winning the back nine and the overall.