The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is Myrtle Beach’s most famed course. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. design has hosted everything from the U.S. Women’s Open to six Senior PGA Tour Championships and the finals of the PGA Tour’s Q-School. If you want an inside look at a layout that has few peers, we asked three golfers – two low handicappers and one, shall we say, more average player – to tell us what they think of the Dean of the Myrtle Beach golf scene. Here is what you can expect to find at the Dunes Club, through the eyes of three locals:
Name: Trey Evans
Occupation: 1st Assistant Golf Professional/Marketing Director at Barefoot Resort and Golf
USGA Handicap: 2.7
Toughest Hole(s) on The Course & Why: The 2nd hole is a tough one for me because it calls for a high draw/hook to have a shorter wedge into an elevated green. If you over draw/hook it, you’re in the trees left, or if it doesn’t draw and you hit the dreaded straight ball, you’re through the fairway and in trouble on the other side of the hole. Another tough hole in my opinion is #11. This hole you have to favor the left side and have it end up in a narrow area at the end of fairway. If you miss right, you’re in the marsh, or if you hit it too far and a little right you run out of fairway and will end up in the marsh as well. If you do hit a good tee ball, the second shot is to a green that is guarded by several bunkers and again the marsh on the right as well as long.
Best Holes to Make Birdie & Why: There aren’t any easy birdie holes out there but if I had to put my finger on a couple, I’d have to say two of the par fives aren’t terribly difficult. The first one is #4. This hole is a dog leg left and if you’re able to hit it up the left side or hit a draw around the corner you’ll have a better than good chance at being able to hit the green in two. The other par five, in my opinion, that I have a good chance at making birdie is #8. This hole is pretty straight and if you’re able to hit it up the middle then you should have another great chance at getting it on or near the green in two.
This Design Suits my Game Because: The design suits my game because of the length of most of the holes. Most of the holes out there are a yardage for me that if I’m hitting my driver well then I usually have a full shot into the greens with most of my scoring clubs. Another area that suits my game are the larger greens. I like to consider myself a fairly good putter and if I’m on the green there’s always a chance it may go in!!
This Design Does Not Suit my Game Because: The design does not suit my game because of the tall trees that line the fairways. If my driver is a little off, my ball seems to catch these trees pretty regularly and makes these holes very difficult to make par from either in the trees or a long way back from the green. Also the speed and firmness of the greens make it somewhat difficult to get up and down if I’m missing greens.
Overall Impressions of this Golf Course: Overall impression of the Dunes Club is nothing short of amazing!! It’s always a treat to get out there and give it my best shot. Everything about that place is first class from the pro shop, range, and putting green to every hole on the course which is always in spectacular shape even down to the bunkers.
Name: David Williams
Occupation: Social Media & Content Coordinator at Golf Tourism Solutions
USGA Handicap: 3.1
Toughest Hole(s) on The Course & Why: The Dunes Club has a lot of holes that are not only tough, but that fire the imagination. The first one that stands out to me is the first hole. Off the tee your eyes are drawn to the bunkers down the left. It’s almost like they are begging you to hit in there. An underrated tough hole on the golf course is #12. This par-3 sits right in the middle of the famous three-hole stretch called “Alligator Alley.” Avoiding the swash and the bunkers around this green are your keys to success.
Best Holes to Make Birdie & Why: This question is interesting for me. I tend not to make a lot of birdies during my round, unless I’m on fire. The first hole that pops in my head is the par-5 4th hole. Blast a drive over the left side of the dogleg and it will leave you a mid-iron into this green. I don’t hit it very far, but I can hit fairways which brings birdie on the 16th hole into play for me. I fancy myself as an above average wedge player, so I can really use the contours of this green to leave me a good look.
This design suits my game because: I briefly mentioned earlier, but it fires the imagination. Around the greens you can do almost anything. I love chipping the golf ball so when I miss a green I have the confidence to do anything with the ball. I also can hit fairways, while they aren’t long, they’re in the fairway. That is huge part of getting around the Dunes Club.
This design does not suit my game because: The Dunes Club puts an emphasis on iron play. My iron game comes and goes in waves. If you hit your approach to the wrong quadrant of these greens you could be looking at 40-footer that breaks two different ways. These greens are always quick so getting the right weight on those putts is difficult.
Overall Impressions on this golf course: One word pops into my head after playing the Dunes Club. Impressive. From the conditions, the design, the staff, it’s an unbelievable experience.
Name: Ian Guerin
Occupation: Golf Writer/Myrtle Beach Golf Trips & MBN.com
USGA Handicap: What’s after a gazillion?
Toughest Hole(s) on The Course & Why: This is going to sound strange given how straight it is and how wide the fairway is by comparison to the other holes, but every time I’ve stood on the first tee box at Dunes, I’ve wondered “Is this the time I’m not going to screw this up?” Since I play the whites there, I’m only looking at 385 to the flag. So I usually put the driver away just to get some rhythm. However, what I’ve found is that the small patch of rough that dips into the fairway usually prevents any chance of a low, rolling tee shot. It’s better than find either of the two bunkers hugging the fairway, of course, but when you’re staring at half of the hole remaining and a protected bunker, yeah, it can be a pain that then changes your attitude the rest of the way. Just to make sure, I went back and looked at old scorecards. Yep. Six. Six. Started with doubles each time.
Best Holes to Make Birdie & Why: If we’re taking the Par 4s and 5s out of the equation – I’m going to do just that – you’re looking at the four pack of Par 3s to make this happen. The target area on No. 5 is a touch small for my game. No. 9 can be tricky in that there’s a depth perception issue tied to the backdrop of the green. The undulated putting surface on 12 is anything but easy unless you stick your tee shot. That leaves No. 17, the 155-yarder that by that point of the round looks like a gold mine. Especially on middle-of-the-green pin placement days, you can fly your low iron straight into the sweet spot and have a clean line from there.
This design suits my game because: Challenging as this may be to answer, the part of Dunes Club that I enjoy the most in terms of my own skill set is that it forces me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. The aforementioned comment of leaving the driver in the bag is a good example why. Dunes slows me down and forces me to take a much more deliberate approach, something that usually improves the overall look on the card at the end of the round.
This design does not suit my game because: This sucker is tough. There’s no way around that. And like most of you, I’m a total rhythm golfer. How the holes here are often stacked means I’m frequently playing triage golf, saving what I can and moving on to the next one.
Frustrating as a high-90 on the score card can be, Dunes is one of those “Blue Moon” courses for me. I don’t get to play it often enough, and every time I leave I wish I had another crack at it the next day. Quite simply, it’s won so many awards because it delivers every single time. Dunes doesn’t have bad days. And neither do the players who come here.
Overall Impressions on this golf course: Frustrating as a high-90 on the score card can be, Dunes is one of those “Blue Moon” courses for me. I don’t get to play it often enough, and every time I leave I wish I had another crack at it the next day. Quite simply, it’s won so many awards because it delivers every single time. Dunes doesn’t have bad days. And neither do the players who come here.