Pacific Gales golf property north view toward the Cape Blanco lighthouse. Photo by Brian Oar.
Pacific Gales, one of the most anticipated golf projects in America, cleared a key hurdle Feb. 27 when the Curry County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the developers’ request for a conditional use permit.
The 18-hole links golf course in Southern Oregon — designed to be built on a portion of the privately owned Knapp Ranch located between iconic Cape Blanco and the small fishing village of Port Orford, less than 30 miles south of the town of Bandon — has received widespread media attention since plans were first unveiled in November 2013. Golf Digest declared the project “A New Course to Keep An Eye On” while a Golfweek journalist reported being “blown away … by an inspection of the ground at Pacific Gales.”
The unanimous approval during the Planning Commission’s Feb. 27 meeting came after an outpouring of support from the Port Orford community and surrounding towns in the form of letters and e-mails posted on the Curry County website.
“We’re thrilled about receiving unanimous support for our conditional use permit application,” says Dave Esler, course designer and partner with Elk River Property Development, LLC. “We believe the Planning Commission recognized the positive effect Pacific Gales will have on the area and our proactive approach to protecting the environmental assets of the land while restoring native habitat.”
With a leadership team that includes Elk River Property Development managing partner Jim Haley, who worked as a shaper on the original Bandon Dunes course, and lifelong Oregonian Troy Russell, who is a two-time recipient of the Golf Course Superintendents Association / Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, Pacific Gales has been sensitive to environmental concerns from its inception.
The 354-acre site boasts some of the best oceanfront golfing landscape in North America, including views of the Elk River Valley and Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the north, the Port Orford Headlands to the south and reef islands just offshore, as well as the mountains of the Coast Range inland. The course routing, which includes several blufftop holes, will close each nine with a shared green overlooking the Pacific Ocean in what some say could be among the most thrilling finishes in golf.
Pending final approval by the Curry County Board of Commissioners, work on the site could begin as early as mid-2014, which would create a timeline, weather-permitting, for media and VIPs to play preview holes possibly as soon as fall 2015, with a complete grand opening anticipated for spring 2016.
“We recognize we have a lot of work ahead of us and this is an important first step,” Esler says. “We are grateful and humbled by the overwhelming support we’ve received from the folks in the Port Orford area — and we’re hopeful and excited to become a vital member of their community.”
For more information about Pacific Gales, including media inquiries and investment opportunities, visit the website at www.pacificgales.com.