Bandon Dunes owner/developer Mike Keiser announced today that he is terminating the proposed Bandon Links project in southern Oregon.
Through a release by KemperSports, here is Keiser's statement:
Seven years ago, I hired Gil Hanse, a world renowned golf course designer, to plan a destination golf course near Bandon, Ore., to be called Bandon Links. Coos and Curry county residents would play a world class golf course for greens fees as little as $10 a round. And up to 200 high school students annually would earn money by caddying, and they would be able to apply for college scholarships in association with the Western Golf Association, whose mission is to fund scholarships for young caddies. The project also included funding for gorse removal in the south coast area. Importantly, these programs would only be made possible by charging out-of-state tourists $200 to $250 per round.
The Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency with jurisdiction over a portion of the lands which would be devoted to the project, has just advised that in keeping with federal regulations the fees charged must be commensurate with other golf courses on BLM lands, and that revenues would have to be devoted to use on the property. That eliminates the funding source for subsidizing the low local rates, for the scholarship program, and for the off-site gorse control. Additionally, recent well testing has met with disappointing results; and that in turn creates difficulties for meeting certain Oregon land use requirements which protect lands designated as farm land.
As a result of these problems, I am abandoning the Bandon Links project and will seek a site where the same programs would be viable.