Synopses & Reviews
This is the story of a man with a dreamand#8212;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 colorfuland#8212;and occasionally controversialand#8212;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 andquot;dunesandquot; 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, andquot;linksandquot; 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 andquot;pureandquot; 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 against nature 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 Golfis 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.
"The story of how Mike Keiser, a golf-loving, greeting-card millionaire from Chicago, fell in love with the rugged, windblown site...and transformed it into not one but three world-class golf courses will appeal to golfers and lovers of golf history on multiple levels." Booklist
"Mike Keiser followed his instincts to build courses that speak to golf as a rugged adventure. Steve Goodwin's spirited book will speak to the golfing soul in you and make you want to leave—immediately, whether or not you've already been there—to experience what Keiser and his band of inspired architects have wrought at Bandon Dunes."
—Lorne Rubenstein, columnist for The Globe and Mail (Canada) and author of A Season in Dornoch
Bandon Dunes is a golf resort on the remote southern Oregon coast, a region that defies all common assumptions about where to build both golf courses and resorts: It's sparsely populated and relatively inaccessible from any large urban areas (five hours from Portland and more from San Francisco). The story of how Mike Keiser, a golf-loving, greeting-card millionaire from Chicago, fell in love with the rugged, windblown site (it reminded him of Scottish and Irish linksland) and transformed it into not one but three world-class golf courses will appeal to golfers and lovers of golf history on multiple levels: as a crash course in golf-course architecture; as an insider's look at how golf holes are designed and constructed; and as a surprisingly inspirational account of how a golf course built the old-fashioned way can inspire a "sense of the sublime" in all who trod its fairways. Author Goodwin compares Keiser to Jay Gatsby and claims that, in Bandon Dunes, Keiser found something "commensurate to his capacity for wonder." Readers with a passion for golf will share that wonder as they read this very special book. Bill Ott
"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
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 Poets - & - Writers
"A fascinating study of Keiser's evolution as a golf entrepreneur . . . any golfer interested in how things work will find it a worthy read. This, one suspects, is how the West was truly won."
—Travel & Leisure Golf Booklist
"Fascinating . . . Any golfer interested in how things work will find it a worthy read." --Travel and Leisure Golf
"What a pleasure when a good story lands in the hands of a good storyteller." --Golfweek
"Go buy the book--it will make you go to Bandon for sure." --Golf Today
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.
Motivated by the simple desire to create the best and purest golf experience possible, one man sets out to build a world-class golf course--"and succeeds beyond all his dreams.
On a wild, windblown bluff high above the Pacific sits one of America's premier golfing destinations, Bandon Dunes. Golf enthusiast Mike Keiser had the dream of building this British-style "links" course on a stretch of Oregon's rugged coast, and Dream Golf
is the first all-inclusive account of how he turned his passion into a reality.
Now, in this updated and expanded edition, golf writer Stephen Goodwin revisits Bandon Dunes and introduces readers to Keiser's latest effort there, a new course named Old Macdonald that will present golfers with a more rugged, untamed version of the game. This "new" approach to the sport is, in fact, a return to the game's origins, with a very deep bow to Charles Blair Macdonald (1856 -1939), the father of American golf course architecture and one of the founders of the U.S. Golf Association. This highly anticipated fourth course, designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Doak along with Jim Urbina -- as detailed in Dream Golf -- will further enhance Bandon Dunes' reputation as a place where golf really does seem to capture the ancient magic of the game.
About the Author
Stephen Goodwin, the author of four previous books, including the acclaimed novel Breaking Her Fall, is a former director of the literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts. He served two terms as president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and currently teaches at George Mason University. He has written extensively about golf and was involved in the development andcreation of a public golf course in Ijamsville, Maryland. He lives in northern Virginia.