Possible new golf development coming to the Oregon Coast

Updated: May 2, 2011

According to Golf Digest’s Matt Ginella, Herb Kohler and company have been to Oregon twice in the past month and a half, but not to play golf at one of the most popular golf destinations in the country. Kohler’s hopes to find a piece of property for another U.S.-based golf destination. Kohler is trying to capitalize on property value and to expand his golf empire, which includes Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin and the Old Course Hotel, Hamilton Hall and the Duke’s golf course in Scotland.

He couldn’t make it work on his recent bid for property near the resorts at Sea Island, so now Kohler is focusing his efforts roughly 60 miles south of Bandon Dunes.

According to several sources close to the situation, Kohler and some of his team were in town in Feb. to look at property in the area and they “poked around” at the Bandon Dunes Resort but didn’t play golf. Then the Kohler plane was back on March 11, this time shuttling Pete Dye for a quick look at two potential course sites. Dye and plane were gone only hours later. No one from the Kohler Company was available for comment.

Keiser, the owner of Bandon Dunes, which will unveil its fifth course in 2012 (a par-3 Crenshaw/Coore design adjacent to Bandon Trails), was not aware that Kohler had been to Bandon Dunes, or that the Prince of Porcelain was interested in property nearby. “This would be a good thing,” Keiser says.

Keiser assumes the property Kohler is looking at is Crook Point south of Pistol River, which is a six-mile stretch of coastal land that Keiser once considered for his dream destination. “It’s drop-dead gorgeous,” he says. But it’s also even more remote than Bandon Dunes.

Bill Crook and family have been working on the planned development of 440 acres, 27 holes of golf, a lodge with 175 overnight units, spa and an equestrian center for a few years. At the end of last year they had made progress with local government, meeting and tweaking various conditions to their plans. Perry Dye, Pete’s son, was thought to be the architect of the golf courses, but if Kohler were to buy this property, or potentially another one in the area, it’s clear he prefers working with Pete, who built all four of Kohler’s courses at Whistling Straits.