The Dunes Golf and Beach ClubGolf Course Review by: Bill Satterfield
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1948, with remodels in 1978 and 1993
Cost: Private (some play allowed through select hotels)
Phone Number: (843) 449-5914
Course Website: Official Website - Visit The Dunes Golf and Beach Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 9000 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
Accolades: Ranked 52nd on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Public Courses in America list and 16th overall in the state of South Carolina.
What to Expect: The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is often referenced as the finest course in Myrtle Beach which is an impressive designation considering the 100+ courses to contend with. The clubhouse boasts a seaside location with impressive views of the ocean waves crashing into the shore. The conditions are quite plush and the course has more of a parkland feel than the dunes/links feel that I was expecting. There are gentle contours found throughout the course and several water hazards. In fact, as we approached the signature hole, I was a bit taken back by the “Beware of Alligators” sign that prominently sits next to the tee box; something you would never see back home in Idaho! Overall, the course was a pure joy to play with solid golf holes from start to finish and one of the best locations to enjoy the 19th hole.
Signature Hole: 13th - 590 Yard Par 5 - Not only the signature hole of the course, but perhaps the signature hole of Myrtle Beach, this famous par five is as difficult as it is memorable. This dogleg right bends around Singleton Lake with the water jetting out and tightening the fairway at various places, none tighter than where the hole takes its sharpest turn right. The approach shot plays uphill to a well bunkered green which makes reaching the green in two an unlikely proposition. With alligators looming in the lake as a reminder of all of the trouble on this hole, the 13th is perhaps the finest three-shorter in South Carolina.
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 9th - 200 Yards - This postcard par three boasts palm trees sprinkled across the landscape and waves from the Atlantic Ocean rolling into the beach in the background. The elevated green combined with the prevailing wind in your face make hitting this green in regulation no easy task. Factor in some white sand bunkers and this hole is as much beauty as it is beast.
Best Par 4: 11th - 430 Yards - The 11th hole plays along the marsh known as Singleton Swash and should have golfers thinking about hitting it anywhere except right. Trees provide a buffer between the fairway and the marsh prior to the fairway turning 90 degrees to the right and the green being fronted by water. The hole is long enough and the approach shot demanding enough that it is tough to justify playing too safely off the tee, but this hole certainly rewards accuracy more than length.
Best Par 5: 13th - 590 Yards - Already featured as the signature hole, this larger than life par five is well known up and down the Grand Strand. With a "Beware of Alligators" sign causing players to be nervous in the first place, the hole doesn't hold back as this lengthy three-shotter banks right around Singleton Lake and uphill to an undulated green protected by bunkers and sitting in an amphitheater of trees. This green sits at the northeast corner of the property with attractive views across the lake and of the coastal buildings. The wind also tends to be stronger moving across the lake which can affect approach shots here.
Birdie Time: 4th - 505 Yard Par 5 - A very reachable par five greets you at the 4th hole which is a dogleg left protected on the corner by a pair of bunkers. The green is fronted by a thin creek which acts as the main defense to this vulnerable hole. If you can reach the green in two with an iron in your hand then take a rip and two putt your way to glory. If you need to lay up, you still have a great chance to convert a birdie since there is plenty of room to hit to your favorite yardage. The 4th is a great chance to get under par early in the round.
Bogey Beware: 12th - 245 Yard Par 3 - Playing along Singleton Swash, this lengthy par three is intimidating to attack. If the wind is coming off the ocean and across the lake then players may have to consider starting their ball over the hazard in hopes that it blows back to the green. It may not be sexy, but you may want to implore Billy Casper's 1959 U.S. Open strategy where he laid up on the lengthy 3rd everyday and took par all four rounds.
Final Cut: The Dunes Golf and Beach Club makes a strong argument as the best course in Myrtle Beach. The conditioning is excellent and the parkland setting just feels different than many of the upper end courses in the area. While it would have been nice to have more ocean views from the course, the 19th hole provides a front row seat to the Atlantic. The course design is varied and there is little to not like about Dunes. Grade B+