The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is one of Myrtle Beach’s premier private clubs with a world wide reputation and rich history. Designed by Robert Trend Jones, The Dunes was established in 1948 and was the second golf course built in Myrtle Beach. Everyone we talked to during our week long vacation in Myrtle Beach said that The Dunes is a “must play” and one of, if not the best course in the Myrtle Beach area. The Dunes is one of the most highly rated courses in the Myrtle Beach Area:
- Our fellow Texan, Lee Trevino said “That’s a fabulous golf course. It’s one of the best I have ever played!”
- The Dunes is #38 in Golf Digest’s 2009-2010 “America’s Top 100 Great Public Courses"
- It was selected #8 in South Carolina's Top 50 Golf Courses by the South Carolina Golf Course Rating Panel and #1 in the Grand Strand Region
- The Dunes was named to the 2010 Golf World Readers’ Choice Awards in the Top 50 Resorts category according to Golf World
And the course has been home to a number of tournaments including two USGA National Championships as well as the PGA Tour Qualifying School. We felt very lucky and special to be able to play it. It is a private club but available for play with reciprocal rights and limited tee times are available through affiliated resorts and hotels.
Built on a rolling land studded with majestic live oak trees, The Dunes Club, though not a true seaside course, has some views of the Atlantic Ocean, plays by some tidewater marsh areas, and is buffeted by sea breezes. It is a classic Robert Trent Jones layout with tree lined fairways, long tees, well-defined fairway bunkers, and elevated greens guarded by small to huge steep and deep bunkers. In 2001 the course underwent a $6 million renovation and in 2003, Rees Jones, Robert Trent Jones, restored and redid all the greens with bent grass, which were in near perfect condition when we played. The greens were about average size, at tad slow thanks to a recent aeration (normally they run about 10), and have minor slope and undulation. Most of the greens are elevated, requiring you to club up, and are very well protected by bunkers that we want to do everything you can to avoid. For example, number 16 was a bear with a small 27 yard deep odd shaped two tier green surrounded by 7 bunkers. Make sure you practice your sand shots before you head out to play The Dunes. Once you do get on the greens, you’ll find that they hold well, are true, and not that difficult to putt.
The Bermuda fairways are ample, pretty traditional and straightforward, gently rolling and contoured. In most cases you can see the pin but there are a couple of hidden hazards that can add a stroke to your round if you’re not careful. The fairways were in great condition and lined with stately oaks with Spanish moss, crepe myrtles, tall magnolias, and pines. The rough was cut thicker than normal but playable and when we did spray it to the pine needle beds under the trees we were able to chip our way back to safety.
The Dunes has a slope ranging from 130 to 144 and a rating of 68.7 to 75.7 – we didn’t think it was quite that challenging, but it is long, has strategically placed deep bunkers, well guarded elevated greens, some forced carries, and water. Typical of most Robert Trent Jones designs, you are going to encounter some bunkers, 76 to be exact, of all shapes and sizes (small pot bunkers to some real monsters) which are strategically placed in the fairway or guarding the greens and most of which are steep and deep with soft thick sand.
It’s easy to say, but if you pick the right tee boxes for your handicap, can keep the ball in the fairway, avoid most of the bunkers, and putt, you’ll have a good score and a memorable fun round.
For risk takers and long hitters, you’ll have a couple good opportunities to test your nerves, particularly on the infamous
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is home to some fantastic holes and beautiful par 3s, like:
- #13 which is a 245 yard par 3 with a carry over water to a shallow 26 yard green with water and 4 bunkers protecting it or
- #16, called Bull's Eye, which is a short but challenging par 4 thanks to fairly narrow fairway with a strategically placed fairway bunker and a small downhill oval green surrounded by 6 bunkers
- the infamous #13 (named Waterloo) which was chosen by both Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Sports Illustrated as one of America’s Best Holes – its 590 yards with a fairly narrow fairway that horseshoes around a lake to a small well guarded green – a great opportunity to risk flying the lake to shorten the hole to potentially get a birdie or eagle, but beware, many a tournament has been won or lost on this fantastic hole
- 18 is a fantastic finishing hole named Little Gator which will eat your ball if you miss the challenging downhill approach over water to a green with some monstrous bunkers left and right
What makes playing The Dunes Golf & Beach Club enjoyable is it's rich tradition and history, fun and challenging holes, near perfect conditions, excellent pace of play, and unequalled service. A must play if you're in Myrtle Beach.
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Service is outstanding, the pro shop is well stocked and one of the best, and the club house is first class. Practice facilities are also excellent - spend some time practicing getting out of the bunkers!