Designing the perfect logo for Bandon Dunes’ Sheep Ranch was no small task

The logo for the Sheep Ranch, Bandon Dunes' newest 18-hole course.

The logo for the Sheep Ranch, Bandon Dunes' newest 18-hole course.

Courtesy Photo

A red firetruck was in the running. So was a sheepdog. Ditto a ram standing on a bluff.

Creating a golf-course logo is a cross of social science, artistry and instinct. So, it comes as no surprise that the search for an emblem that would signify the Sheep Ranch, the newest 18-hole course at Bandon Dunes that officially opens on Monday, didn’t start and stop with a single source.

Over a many months-long process, ownership sought input from multiple designers and challenged resort staff to drum up ideas. Submissions took a range of shapes and formats, from cocktail napkin doodles to slick computer graphics. The entries were whittled down to top contenders, then displayed in the gift shop of the main lodge and put to an informal marketing survey: golfers browsing through were asked which logo they liked best.

The firetruck had a certain plain-faced logic: It was inspired by a real-life vehicle that had been on the Sheep Ranch from the beginning, used to water greens on what was then a 13-hole, unirrigated course. But the sheepdog and the ram also made good sense for reasons that require no explanation. In the end, though, the winning design was something even simpler: a shepherd’s crook, flanked by the letters S and R.

If you’re partial to the also-rans, don’t lose hope.

There’s precedent at Bandon Dunes for a single course having multiple logos. That’s what happened at Old Macdonald, where the original M logo, with criss-crossed golf clubs ringed by an O, was later joined by what’s known as the “ghost tree,” a representation of the striking cedar that frames the tee shot on Old Mac’s 3rd hole. In the pro shop, both logos are emblazoned on all sorts of merchandise.

The same will likely transpire at the Sheep Ranch someday. You’ll stroll into the pro shop, see the shepherd’s crook logo on a shirt or cap, and then beside it, on similar apparel, an image of a ram or a firetruck.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.