The Dunes Golf and Beach Club: Crème de la Strand
In addition to being one of the best, The Dunes Club is one of the oldest in the area. second-oldest, in fact—it opened in 1948 when a group of local businessmen saw the need to add a second golf course to the area some two decades after Ocean Forest, now known as Pine Lakes Country Club, hosted its first golfers. These men hired Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to build 18 holes of great Myrtle Beach golf just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. Jones succeeded and even though said Ocean is only visible on one hole, the sea breezes that buffet the course are a constant reminder of one’s proximity to the deep.
While the ocean is more of a tease than a hazard, there are plenty of bunkers and water features that can wreak havoc with a scorecard at The Dunes—it is one of the area’s three or four hardest courses. Chalk it up to the narrow, tree-lined fairways and deep fairway and greenside bunkers that serve as a half- or even full-shot penalty, or the undulating, smallish greens that repel more shots than they gather. Take the short par four 16th, for example. On the scorecard it seems a rare birdie hole but after confronting a devilish fairway bunker and the further seven that ring the putting surface, many golfers walk away shaking their heads.
Because The Dunes Club straddles the line between classification as a resort course and a private club, guests can expect excellent treatment from the moment they drive through the guard gate to the moment they exit. The clubhouse’s men’s locker room and restaurant afford sweeping views of the Atlantic—perfect for pre-round inspiration or post-round wound-licking.
As if there is any doubt, both the high-class atmosphere and fairly steep price tag to play The Dunes Club belie excellent course conditions and one of the few remaining sets of bentgrass greens on the Grand Strand. And as one would expect from any private club, the practice facilities are comprehensive and wonderful—grass-tee driving range, separate putting and chipping greens and a practice bunker.
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is unquestionably one of the luminaries of the Myrtle Beach golf scene. Is it the undisputed king, no questions asked? Hardly, but it is certainly in the conversation. And being one of the area’s venerable venues for golf, it is a standard against which all other Grand Strand tracks can be ju