With five courses at the Bandon, Ore. golf destination—including Sheep Ranch, which opened this year—Director of Golf Steven Borror says no two days are ever alike. This pure golf resort engulfs guests in the sport from sunrise to sunset.
Reminiscent of Scotland’s ancient links courses, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. has been a must-visit golf destination since opening its first course in 1999. Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, the Bandon Dunes course was the beginning of property owner Mike Keiser’s grand vision. Pacific Dunes (2001), Bandon Trails (2005), Old Macdonald (2010), Bandon Preserve (2012, a 13-hole, par-3 course), and Sheep Ranch (2020) would follow.
Steven Borror, PGA, Director of Golf at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, is in his second run at the property (see box, opposite page) and oversees all golf operations. In this “ProTalk” conversation, Borror describes how Bandon Dunes has steadily enhanced its appeal through its years of growth, and how he and his staff have met the challenges that 2020 has posed.
Club + Resort Business: What is a “typical” day like as Director of Golf at Bandon Dunes?
Steven Borrer: It is difficult to say there is a “typical” day in the life of a golf professional at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. We often refer to our days as Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,” yet there never actually seem to be two days just alike. The demands of our time and of taking care of our guests are constantly changing, which keeps us on our toes and having fun in our jobs.
C+RB: How have you been keeping guests and staff safe during the pandemic?
Borror: We established a COVID-19 Task Force that worked with the Oregon Governor’s Office, the Centers for Disease Control and the Coos County Health Commission to gather relevant information, assess our operations and develop safety plans to protect the guests, staff, caddies and Bandon community as a whole.
Weekly meetings ensured proper communication and assessment of safety practices. Personal protective equipment and safety information was made available to all guests, staff, caddies and visitors, and we established a safety website, www.bandonsafepractices.golf, where all of the safety measures we’ve implemented can be found.
C+RB How do you provide the best golfing experience possible for your guests?
Borror: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort offers a unique golfing experience regardless of the season. For us, it is all about the golf. With five 18-hole championship golf courses, a 13-hole Par 3 course, a vast practice center and the Punchbowl, our 100,000-sq. ft. putting green, guests are provided golf adventures from sunrise to sunset. Our genuine, service-oriented team is always present to offer assistance and assist with guest needs.
C+RB: Bandon Dunes has become a “bucket list” destination. Do you do anything to entice guests to return from a marketing perspective?
Borror: Our best marketing has always come from those who visit here. Once experienced, it becomes innate to plan a return and share the experience with others—introducing them to the complexities and thrill of links golf along the southern Oregon coast. Our Communications Department does an incredible job of using print and social media to capture the essence of Bandon Dunes and share the experience.
C+RB: Any advice you’d offer for a young assistant professional looking to one day take the reins?
Borror: We often joke among the staff that working at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort may be the easiest job a golf professional will ever have. Understand, we work our tails off to make the obvious seem effortless.
However, the work culture starts at the top—from the vision of Mike Keiser and his family, to the wisdom and support of KemperSports, to General Manager Don Crowe, all professionals are encouraged to think outside the box and look for opportunities to enhance the guest experience.
Happiness in any job comes in many forms, but who you surround yourself with, what you are able to offer, and your ability to impact a business and the guest experience—these are the things that every assistant professional should hope to find in any job. I believe we do a great job of bringing in a professional team, conveying the expectations, and letting them grow within the framework.
C+RB: How do you best work with other departments within the resort—from General Manager and Superintendent to F&B and Guest Services?
Borror: For the resort to operate efficiently and effectively, it requires a coordinated effort and communication within all departments. Regular staff meetings and personal relationships allow us to operate in the best interests of our guests.
C+RB: You have guests from all over the world visiting the resort. How do you and your staff navigate the language barrier and/or various customs that traveling golfers may have?
Borror: Fortunately, English is a predominant language that provides access for most visiting guests. Occasionally, guests visiting from other countries provide us with opportunities to go outside the normal framework of communication. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort also hires an international workforce with multiple languages available. However, when push comes to shove, technology and translator apps can bridge the gap.
C+RB: How can golf professionals “grow the game” to make sure the industry continues to get stronger?
Borror: Passion is always the key. Golf professionals, as with any other career path, have to find something they are passionate about and exhaust their education and experience to become experts in that area. As long as we can continue to convey our passion for the game, provide opportunities to experience the thrills of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, and introduce new adults and kids to the beauties of the game, golf will continue to grow.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort provides a unique setting, distant from the hustle and bustle of daily life, that’s remote to distractions and offers the ability to electronically disconnect and provide uninhibited family and friend time.
Steven Borror, PGA
Current Position (Since 2017): Director of Golf, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Ore.
Years in Golf Industry: 25
• Head Golf Professional, SpurWing Country Club, Meridian, Idaho
• Head Golf Professional, Indian Summer Country Club, Olympia, Wash.
• Head Golf Professional, Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, North Plains, Ore.
• Head Golf Professional at Bandon Dunes (2005 to 2008)
Education: University of Idaho
Honors and Awards:
• PGA Merchandiser of the Year – Private (2009)
• PGA Oregon Chapter Merchandiser of the Year – Resort (2007)
• PGA Rocky Mountain Section Assistant of the Year (2000)
• PGA Professional Golf Management Titleist Scholarship (1999)
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
Courses (Year Opened):
• Bandon Dunes (1999)
• Pacific Dunes (2001)
• Bandon Trails (2005)
• Old Macdonald (2010)
• Bandon Preserve (2012)
• Sheep Ranch (2020)
• David McLay Kidd
• Tom Doak
• Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
• Jim Urbina
Number of Holes: 103
“Each course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has a similarity of feel, but distinctly different playability,” says Director of Golf Steven Borror. Here’s how he likes to describe each course to guests:
Bandon Dunes – It is the “classical symphony” of the resort. David McClay Kidd did a wonderful job of providing soft, rolling terrain offering multiple shot types into the green complexes.
Pacific Dunes – This is Rock & Roll turned up to 10 on the volume meter! Large blowout bunkers engulfed in tall fescue grasses require a little more ball flight to reach landing zones and green complexes.
Bandon Trails – Maybe the best journey of the courses. Coore & Crenshaw provide players a beautiful contrast of yin-yang dualism as they travel the routing.
Old Macdonald – If we were able to play golf on Mars, Old Macdonald may be the closest thing to compare it to. Open, vast and complex—[Tom] Doak and [Jim] Urbina provide a simplistically complex adventure.
Bandon Preserve – Maybe the best “pound-for-pound” course ever created. This exhilarating Par 3 course provides everything wrapped in a bow. Go wayward, though, and Bandon Preserve will test every shot and club in the bag, including the putter.
Sheep Ranch – Sheep Ranch provides a stunning visual cornucopia for guests, providing them with a true Oregon Coastline perspective. The most challenging characteristic of Sheep Ranch is not getting distracted from your golf.
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