Did You See Pacific Gales on Golf Channel with Matt Ginella?

It’s been a strong start to 2017 for the Pacific Gales team as we move closer to breaking ground on what some are calling the most highly anticipated new course in America. Not only are Founders Club inquiries strong — including interest from members at some of the nation’s most prestigious clubs — but the project recently got a media boost from Golf Channel when Matt Ginella and Cara Robinson discussed Pacific Gales among other high-profile projects across the country [watch the clip above]. And Pacific Gales was also the sponsor of Scotland Week on the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast on GolfNewsNet.com.

With golf course permitting now in place just north of the bustling fishing village of Port Orford, Oregon, Pacific Gales is working toward closing Tier 1 fundraising this summer with an eye on beginning course construction in the fall. Routing plans by architect Dave Esler are being polished and the construction team led by Managing Partner Jim Haley and Project Manager Troy Russell is beginning to take shape.

For more information about how you can help make Pacific Gales a reality — and you and your family can play a lifetime of links golf in one of the world’s most stunning coastal locations — visit our Founders Club page.

Pacific Gales Working Toward Opening

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Pacific Gales’ 16th green overlooking Elk River basin and Pacific Ocean beyond • by Brian Oar

With Final Permitting in Place, Strong Interest in Founders Club

It’s been an eventful year for the experienced team behind the Pacific Gales golf course project along the Oregon Coast, just 30 minutes south of Bandon and 90 minutes north of the California border.

Pacific Gales opened 2016 with an Oregon Land-Use Board of Appeals victory, clearing the zoning hurdles that stood in the way of building the 18-hole modern links among the dunes of what many have called one of the most beautiful settings in the United States — on the bluffs of Knapp Ranch, just outside the small fishing village of Port Orford, and within view of the famed Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

And now, as partners Jim Haley and David Esler work to detail the construction timeline and tweak the final course routing, fundraising through the Pacific Gales Founders Club takes center stage throughout the remaining months of the year.

“We’re finally signing up Founder Club members and taking checks — and that means we’re getting close to making Pacific Gales a reality,” says Jim Haley, managing partner, who served as lead shaper on the original Bandon Dunes course. “It’s been a long process, but we always knew we’d get to this point. We could have rushed into the Founders Club more quickly, but we wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered — and we reached out for help from some of the best in the business.”

The Pacific Gales Founders Club offers a lifetime of free golf at the course along with a wide range of benefits. Founders pay no dues, no assessments and have no monthly minimums. In addition, a one-time transferal of a Foundership is also included in the package.

In the end, though, the team of Haley, Esler and Project Manager Troy Russell know seeing is truly believing — stepping foot on Pacific Gales sells itself.

“We’re having more and more potential Founders out to the site,” Russell says. “Once you climb that rather large dune where the Clubhouse will be, see the Lighthouse to the north and the Port Orford Reef Islands out west, you can’t help but get excited about what this stretch of Oregon coast will become. People want to be part of Pacific Gales from the beginning.”

For more information about Pacific Gales and the Founders Club, visit www.pacificgales.com.

PGA Tour Radio, Media Talking about Pacific Gales

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Pacific Gales golf landscape and ocean bluff grasses with view north toward Cape Blanco point — photo by Brian Oar

The Pacific Gales Founders Club is hitting full stride, and the golf media is taking notice. Architect Dave Esler hit the satellite radio airwaves recently to discuss the project, golf architecture and more on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio’s “Mark Carnevale Show” (listen above).

“It’s just spectacular. And so Jim (Haley) and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s stop waiting for someone else to do this for us and let’s just do it ourselves,’” Esler told Carnevale about the decision to move forward with a “built from the ground up” mentality that has manifested itself in the Founders Club. “And that spirit has kind of endeared us to the folks in town and the folks in Oregon.”

The Pacific Gales spirit can also be seen over at PlayGolfGetaways.com, where veteran golf-travel writer Vic Williams has penned a memorable piece based on his site visit to Knapp Ranch (when he also snuck in a few swings from the would-be 18th tee).

“I know, it’s just a golf course. But it’s so much more than that,” Williams writes. “Not only will Pacific Gales help nudge the region toward full-fledged ‘golf destination’ status, a fact even the folks at Bandon a half hour’s drive north up Highway 101 recognize and welcome, but it will do so in the best possible way. Under the guidance of a core group of developers, builders and greenkeepers, 385 acres of the sprawling Knapp Ranch will be elevated to a higher plane of environmental excellence, contrary to some naysayers’ unfounded objections. … It will bring jobs. It will bring pride. It will belong. It must be built. That’s my gut view and I’ll defend it to anyone who asks.”

Pacific Gales Founders Club Launching July 1

Morning view east toward the meadow through the trees at Pacific Gales • photo by Brian Oar

Morning view east toward the meadow through the trees at Pacific Gales • photo by Brian Oar

Imagine the possibilities. Playing golf every day you want on one of the most picturesque stretches of oceanfront wonder anywhere in the world. For the rest of your life. What would you pay for the pleasure? Soon it can be more than a dream.

For a limited number of golf travelers, Pacific Gales can be your true golf getaway.

Welcome to the Pacific Gales Founders Club.

This limited-membership program will begin accepting applications in early July, and interest for these rare lifetime Founderships is already gaining steam throughout the Northwest and beyond. Not only will Founders receive unlimited preferred access without green fees, dues or assessments, they will also see a host of benefits ranging from access to the design and construction phases to exclusive VIP preview play.

A Founders Club Concierge will coordinate all activities to make ensure Founders receive the industry-leading level of service Pacific Gales is committed to providing — plus priority tee time bookings, starter times, VIP Grille access and preferred rates for accompanied guests.

National Founderships are available to single individuals throughout the United States and beyond, and Corporate Founderships are also available. For additional details, visit the Founders Club page to assess whether you’re ready to Experience Pacific Gales from the Beginning and Beyond.

Environmental Activists Lose Bid to Stop Golf Course

The massive dune the bisects the Pacific Gales golf course property • photo by Brian Oar

The massive dune the bisects the Pacific Gales golf course property • photo by Brian Oar

The May 15, 2015 decision by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals denying all golf course-related claims by environmental activists has cleared the way for Pacific Gales to build an 18-hole golf course on the Knapp Ranch property just north of Port Orford — 30 minutes south of Bandon.

“It’s definitely a victory for us,” says Jim Haley, managing partner of Elk River Property Development, who is one step closer to seeing his dream of building on the picturesque bluff-top site overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Cape Blanco Lighthouse become a reality. “We have a little more work to do in the planning process, but with this decision from LUBA, we are now assured the environmentalists can’t stand in the way of building the golf course anymore.”

Although the decision was remanded back to Curry County, the sole remaining issue is a minor sticking point regarding the size of the clubhouse and haggling over the definitions of “maximum occupancy” and “design capacity” — which will be addressed this summer with additional details of the structure to be provided by the Pacific Gales team.

“We’re already working to gather the information needed to settle the clubhouse issue,” Haley says, “but the heart of the matter for us is that LUBA denied all of the actual land-use nuisance appeals for how the Knapp family can use their own ranchland. We won on all three crucial counts when it comes to actual land-use issues for building the golf course.”

During the permitting and appeals process — which began in Curry County and went all the way to the state level — the Pacific Gales team began examining a fresh approach to fundraising for construction of the golf course. And now with the environmental hurdles cleared, the team will launch its limited-member Founders Club program in July 2015 and expects to begin pre-construction on the course as early as fall of this year as they work toward a 2017 soft opening.

“It’s been a long few years that we’ve had to fight,” Haley says, “but we’ve known all along that we have a sound environmental plan and would be good stewards of the Knapp’s beautiful land — and we’ve never doubted that we would win in the end.”

Northwest Media Keep Pacific Gales Golf in the Headlines

Oregon-based writer Ron Bellamy has penned two pieces about Pacific Gales recently after making a site visit to Port Orford earlier this year to see the Knapp Ranch site up close. The first story, titled “Aspirations of Greatness” appeared on the front page of the Eugene Register-Guard’s “Golf Extra” section in April.

Along with his interviews of Jim Haley and Troy Russell, Bellamy writes describes the picturesque scene golfers will come to cherish once construction is complete: “To the north, you look down upon the Elk River, one of Oregon’s great fishing waters for salmon and steelhead, as it flows between pastures where cattle graze, zigs northward and then empties into the ocean on a long spit of beach. Beyond that, you see the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, the western-most point in Oregon. (When you play your second shot on the 15th hole, you’ll aim at the lighthouse, and then the 16th fairway will take you west, along the edge of the cliff, the Elk River delta below.) From the would-be 17th green, you look down on the waves hitting the beach and then west toward the rocks of Orford Reef. To the south you see more coastline and, on a clear day, the outline of Humbug Mountain. To the east, the Coast Range.”

Read Bellamy’s complete story here on the Register-Guard’s website.

Bellamy also went on assignment for Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, where he wrote “Pacific Gales Coming to Fruition” for the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s U.S. Open-themed May issue — and was the first journalist to break news of the upcoming Founders Club fundraising program, which will launch officially in early July.

To view the digital version of the current issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer, visit the PNGA website here.

Pacific Gales Golf Project Receives Unanimous Approval

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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.

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Dave Esler on the radio with Golf Connections

During Pacific Gales’ visit to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January, course architect Dave Esler stopped by for a wide-ranging radio interview with “Golf Connections with Mitch Laurance” on the thegolfdirector.com network. Mitch and Dave discuss the highly anticipated new golf course project along the Southern Oregon coast, just north of Port Orford less than 30 minutes south of Bandon. Dave talks about everything from the beauty and challenges of the oceanfront site to his design philosophy of building golf courses with a “light touch”.

Click Here for the Complete Conversation

A regular video contributor to GolfGetaways and On the Green, Mitch Laurance’s colorful career includes work on ESPN, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and HBO’s “Not Necessarily the News” in addition to acting roles in “Dawson’s Creek,” “LA Law” and more. His “Golf Connections with Mitch Laurance” Internet radio program has featured guests including golfing greats Tony Jacklin Annika Sorenstam and Peter Jacobsen, plus journalists and commentators ranging from Ben Wright to Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella and Todd Lewis to Golfweek’s Bradley S. Klein.

Final Pacific Gales Golf Info Meeting Jan. 22

More than 50 Oregonians joined Pacific Gales Troy Russell on Jan. 11 for an informational meeting about the golf course project planned for the Knapp Ranch area outside Port Orford, Oregon, about 30 minutes south of Bandon. The next informational meeting is set for Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on 11th Street in Port Orford. The Pacific Gales conditional use application goes before the Curry County Planning Commission this month, but there is still time for Pacific Gales proponents to contact the county by letter or phone to voice support. Russell said the first informational meeting went well, allowing the Pacific Gales team to put many rumors to rest about the golf project, which since its announcement in late 2013 has generated interest not only locally but from golf media across the country, including Golf Digest, Golfweek, Links and GolfGetaways magazines as well as websites such as Cybergolf.

Cybergolf Talks Pacific Gales Golf with Project Manager Troy Russell

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Pacific Gales golf landscape and ocean bluff grasses with view north toward Cape Blanco point — photo by Brian Oar

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.”

Read the complete interview at Cybergolf or The Bellingham Golfer.