MIKE KEISER PULLS THE PLUG ON BANDON MUNI-PROJECT

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The Gog Blog by Rory Spears, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory on Faecbook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. At Old Macdonald at the Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon.

All Good Things.

The same can now be said for Mike Keiser’s, Bandon-Muni project that was about 35 minutes south of his Bandon Dunes Resort.

After almost 8 years of negotiations, the project was not making enough progress and has now been called off by Keiser.

So the idea of more great golf near the Oregon coast line, goes bye-bye for now and in time we will see if Keiser can put together another project in the state.

This morning through the Northbrook Illinois based KemperSports management firm, Keiser released this statement.

Seven years ago, I hired Gil Hanse, a world renowned golf course designer, to plan a destination golf course near Bandon, Oregon to be called Bandon Links. Coos and Curry country residents would play a world class golf course for greens fees as little as $10 dollars 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 these 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 that 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 in 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.

This project has great promise for boosting the local economy and providing employment opportunities and job training. And, the golf experience would have rivaled that which is present at Bandon Dunes Resort 15 miles to the north. So it is with great regret that I make this announcement.

The support of Lisa Sumption, Director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and the hard work of her staff in pursuit of this project is greatly appreciated. We are also thankful for the pleasant and welcoming attitude of the local staff at the Bureau of Land Management office in Coos Bay as we were trying to work through the federal regulatory process.

I am pleased to say we met some of our other goals. We contributed $450,000 to the acquisition of the Whales Cove near Depot Bay; that parcel is now owned by the Unite States Fish and Game Department for public use into perpetuity. We, long with Ecotrust, facilitated the state of Oregon’s acquisition of a highly ecologically significant 357 acre parcel known as “Sand Lake” or “Beltz Farm”, one of the last remaining undeveloped estuaries on the Oregon Coast. And in keeping with our commitment to controlling gorse, we contributed $120,000 to the state of Oregon for it’s gorse control efforts. We had hoped for additional benefits of this project which would have included our contributions of additional lands to the state park system and of money for the acquisition of other park properties.

The termination of the Bandon Links project will have no effect on anything having to do with the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort where the public will continue to experience the first-class golf experience which they have come to expect there. And, my family and I continue to be devoted to the Oregon south coast area as we remain involved in projects which promote conservation, the local community and the local community by blending recreational and educational opportunities with ecological initiatives.

MIKE KEISER

Editors note*** It is our hope at Golfers on Golf that Mike Keiser will find another avenue to continue this type of golf project. Keiser’s new project Sand Valley in Central Wisconsin, continues to move forward, and is expected to open in 2017. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.