Longtime golf journalist and Pacific Northwest blogger Tony Dear (The Bellingham Golfer) has posted a wide-ranging golf interview on Cybergolf with Pacific Gales Project Manager Troy Russell about the exciting new project along the spectacular stretch of Southern Oregon coast near Port Orford.
During the interview, Russell offers insights into the permitting process ahead, the scale of the project and members of the local construction team who will help bring the design by Dave Esler and Jim Haley to life on what is considered one of the more exciting golf landscapes in North America. Russell also draws on his expertise as a former superintendent at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort to draw some comparisons of the Pacific Gales land on Knapp Ranch to the golfing mecca 30 minutes north that brought golfing fame to this part of the Northwest.
There are obviously a lot of similarities,” he says. “They’re both great coastal sites with a lot of natural sand. But because this is a working cattle ranch, the 330 acres of Knapp Ranch that we will be using for the course are a lot less overgrown. Bandon Dunes was wall-to-wall gorse that took David Kidd and the rest of the crew a long time to clear. The gorse at Pacific Gales is limited to the south and west of the site and isn’t nearly so dense or intrusive.
“Of all the courses at the Bandon Dunes Resort, I suppose Pacific Gales will be most like Bandon Dunes because they are both set on plateaus above the ocean. And the dropoff at the south end of Bandon Dunes resembles that at the north end of Pacific Gales. But the scenery is actually better here than at Bandon. At Pacific Gales, we have the Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the north, and the Port Orford Heads to the south. And due east is the Coastal Range and the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest
“And the plan for Pacific Gales is somewhat different to Bandon Dunes too. Mike Keiser wanted to build a big resort; Pacific Gales will be a course and a clubhouse — there are no plans for on-site lodging. So Mike and his main advisor Howard McKee had a tough time getting the necessary permits. Thankfully Howard did a brilliant job securing them. These things are never a foregone conclusion, but the process for Pacific Gales should be a little easier.”