This article is part of our latest special report on International Golf Homes, about some of the top spots to live and play.

Mike Keiser started building Bandon Dunes, a remote golf destination in Bandon, Ore., with little care as to where the golfers who came might stay after they played.

Bandon is certainly hard to get to: It is hours away from any airport and a five-hour drive from Portland. But in the late 1990s, Mr. Keiser felt the time was right. He also had the funds to make it happen, having built a successful greeting card company, which he sold for $250 million in 2005. And he wanted to test his theory that golfers in America would love links golf — an old form of the sport, invented in Scotland, involving a more open landscape and generally near the water — if exposed to it.

“I expected we’d have 10,000 rounds the first year, which was the break-even number,” Mr. Keiser said. “We did 24,000 that first year and…

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