Pacific Gales: The incredible possibilities along the southern Oregon coast

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Updated: December 30, 2021

The Pacific Gales project was first announced to the public in 2013 and it quickly became one of the most anticipated golf projects in America. Today, 11 years later, it still has not been built. So, where is the project at in 2021?

First, let’s review the project. Located in Port Orford along the Pacific Coast, about 25 miles south of Bandon Dunes, on private land leased from the Knapp Ranch. It encompasses 354 acres overlooking the ocean with views of Cape Blanco Lighthouse to the north, the Elk River and the mountains of the Coast Range inland.

“I’ve been in the business for 30 years, and you know a great site when you’re on it,” says Jim Haley, managing partner of Elk River Property Development, LLC, who first ventured to the Oregon Coast as a member of the construction team for the original Bandon Dunes course. “This is a great site. You don’t get them very often.”

“One of the owners of Knapp Ranch, Jeff Knapp, had worked with me,” he says. “He invited me down for a crab feed when Mike Keiser was building Bandon Dunes.” That’s when Haley first caught site of the family’s incredible 1,100-acre stretch of oceanfront property.

In 2010 Haley and his business partner, Jay Kenyon, completed a lease agreement with the Knapp family to develop 330 acres along the ocean. 

They brought on Troy Russell to be the project manager. Russell is a native to the area and played pivotal roles in Bandon Dunes Golf Resort’s early success during his 10 years there. Troy Russell brings the perfect combination of local knowledge and 20 years of golf course construction and project management experience to Pacific Gales. His 10 years as Resort Superintendent with Bandon Dunes Resort included construction work on Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Trails. Additionally, he has worked on other notable courses to open in recent years — as Construction Project Manager for Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash., and Construction and Project Liaison for Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Ore. 

Says Troy of Pacific Gales: “It’s a spectacular site. When you see it, it gets your attention.” Troy is a two-time recipient of the Golf Course Superintendents Association / Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, first in 2003 for resort course in the state of Oregon and later receiving the national award in 2005.

Russell told Inside Golf Newspaper that there was an up coming meeting scheduled after the first of the year that would provide some big news about the Pacific Gales project. He said, “I can’t say anymore at this time, but it was going to be big news.”

The major permitting hurdles have been secured, the design has been completed and so, all that remains to be done is to get financing. 

We are anxiously waiting to hear the ‘big news’ and will keep you informed. It’s taken a while to bring this project to fruition, but it will all be worth the wait and give golfers another destination on the southern Oregon coast.