The Takeaway: The Dunes stands tall among its peers on the prestigious Monterey coast with one good hole after another. With renovations complete at the Dunes and Shore courses in the 21st century, MPCC is now one of the best 36 hole clubs in the world. Grade A
Designer: Seth Raynor in 1926; Alister Mackenzie and Robert Hunter 1927, Rees Jones 1999, Tom Fazio 2016
Phone Number: (831) 372-8141
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Monterey Peninsula CC (Dunes)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 3000 Club Rd, Pebble Beach, California 93953 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Monterey Peninsula Country Club owns some of the primest real estate in America for golf just north of Cypress Point, and they double down on that honor by having two courses. The Shore course was renovated by Mike Strantz in 2004 and the Dunes course received its facelift in 2016 under the handiwork of Tom Fazio. While the Shore gets more member play and accolades, the Dunes is very, very good by featuring several excellent holes including the signature par three of the club. The bentgrass turf conditions are absolutely pristine and the greens roll as pure as you could ever hope for. Speaking of the greens, the surfaces feature several slow, steady slopes to contend with as well as some very intriguing pin placements and creative ways to get close to them. The front nine starts with inland holes that feature nice movement in the terrain paired with attractive, effective bunkering before getting to the more dramatic coastal holes on the back nine. The fairways are wide enough to offer comfortable driving corridors and if your ball sails wide of the fairway you can often find it, but there are certainly areas of tall fescue-like grass and other trouble that will gobble up your ball. Ultimately when it comes to the Dunes course, there is little to cause disappointment and a ton of things to love. Also of note, men are required to wear pants and while many players will walk and be accompanied by a caddie, carts are available for those that prefer to ride.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 14th Hole – 169 Yard Par 3 – You'd think this hole would be on the Shore course considering its location on the ocean side of 17 Mile Drive, but the Dunes features a dazzler right along the coast here. With a lookout area available to the public behind this tee, it isn't uncommon to have an audience while teeing it up on this one-shotter so you better have your nerves together. The tee shot is all-carry with your ball needing to sail over the ocean, a waste bunker, and thread the two greenside bunkers before safely finding the putting surface. With a rocky coast on the right and waste area on the left, there isn't nearly as much forgiveness as there is beauty to take in here. It is a flat out stunning hole that stands alongside Cypress' 15th and 16th as the best par threes in the area.
Best Par 3: 10th Hole – 171 Yards – Players start the turn with a beautiful par three that plays northwesterly towards the ocean. The kidney-shaped green is protected by a 27 yard wide bunker that flanks the left half of the highly undulated putting surface and begs players to stay out of it. The right half of the green is the easiest side to attack but the false front is quick to repel shots that come up wanting. A pair of bunkers were added to the backside of the green and crest above the putting surface in order to help keep balls from tumbling out onto 17 Mile Drive and also deliver an attractive aesthetic with the ocean backdrop. Ultimately, navigating this challenging putting surface with the flatstick is what will determine your success.
Best Par 4: 16th Hole – 393 Yards – A classic dogleg left hole, there is plenty of strategy to consider on this mid-length two-shotter. The instant temptation with any dogleg is to cheat the length with a bomb over the corner, however with a bunker that runs the entire length of the inside of the hole, players may want to consider safety over valor. In addition, the ideal angle truly is from the right side of the fairway so cutting the corner's only benefit is in an effort to shorten the hole up. The wide and narrow green stretches out over 60 yards wide and narrows down to just 10 yards deep at its narrowest point and 25 yards deep at its most forgiving point in the front right of the green. Three-quarters of the green is fronted by a cavernous bunker and leaves just the far right side as an inviting entrance. The green slopes strongly from right to left so pins tucked on the left side can quickly yield a three-putt if players bail out to the safer right side with their approach. It is just a great hole that rewards strategy over brute strength.
Best Par 5: 13th Hole – 535 Yards – Traveling northwest towards the ocean, the par five 13th is reachable in two if the wind isn't too strong off the water. 280 yards out from the tips is a center bunker that will make players decide whether they should aim to the high side on the left or fire for the low side on the right. The serpentine fairway winds through a sandy waste area enroute to the green that is protected by a pair of bunkers on the left side of the putting surface. Right of the green is a high point that players should aim at in an effort to get their ball to tumble down towards the putting surface away from the neighboring bunkers. Players that don't have the juice to reach the green in two should still aim to play up the right side if they can reach the chipping area offered there and the enticing angle it provides. Like being in a battle, staying on the high ground enroute to the hole is the desired play for success here.
Birdie Time: 5th Hole – 312 Yard Par 4 – A short par four with a wide fairway is just begging to be the Birdie Time hole at Monterey Peninsula's Dunes course and that is exactly what you get at the 5th hole. A lone bunker sits in the middle of the fairway 60 yards from the green and encourages players to blast over it or just lay up short of it and wedge it in from there. The other bunker in play flanks the right side of the green nestled between the putting surface and the trees. The fairway slopes from left to right and also offers a bailout area on that side of the green so it is clearly the safest side to play up, but a direct line at the green is the shortest route but brings in the trouble hugging the right side. With an inviting entrance to the green and a short club in your hand on the second shot, this is a great opportunity to throw a birdie on the card.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 439 Yard Par 4 – While it isn't the longest par four at the Dunes, the 12th presents plenty of challenges to contend with. Playing back into the prevailing wind, tee shots need to avoid the waste area on the left while still keeping their ball up that side since the fairway slopes to the right. The approach shot plays uphill, into the wind, to a green with enough slope to repel shots that don't have enough juice to get into the first third of the putting surface. The undulated green features some distinct tiers and pin positions that yield three-putts on the regular when finding yourself in the wrong spot. The biggest piece of advice here to avoid a bogey is to club up on the approach shot; it plays longer than you think.