A two-month renovation project has concluded, and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is reopening this weekend with new greens and 175 yards of added length.
The Dunes Club will host the PGA Professional National Championship next summer along with the Grande Dunes Resort Course, and it will host the final two rounds exclusively.
The courses A1 bentgrass greens have been converted to more heat tolerant Champion Bermudagrass, and the Robert Trent Jones layout has been stretched to 7,370 yards, with all but 30 of the extra yards added to the front nine.
Being at sea level, thats plenty of yardage, Dunes Club superintendent Steve Hamilton said.
The changes are generally part of a master plan drawn up in 2003 by heralded course designer Rees Jones for his fathers layout, which opened in 1948. Jones revisited his master plan in January, and twice visited the course while it was closed to check on the changes, the last visit coming on Aug. 1.
I think we just followed in the footsteps of what my dad did originally back in 1948, and were adding a little bit of length here and there because the ball is going farther and making the holes play pretty much the same way my father designed them, Jones said. Dad had the elasticity on this course.
The course will open Saturday for a pair of members-only shotgun starts in the morning and afternoon. The afternoon shotgun was added after members quickly filled the morning spots. I think there is a little pent up anxiety to get back to the club, Dunes Club head pro Dennis Nicholl said.
The Dunes Club allows limited outside play through select hotels, and some of those tee times become available beginning Sunday.
Yardage was added through new or extended tee boxes to the par-4 second, par-4 third, par-5 fourth, par-3 fifth, par-4 seventh, par-4 eighth, par-3 ninth, and par-5 13th holes. Changes in addition to length include a new bunker on the left side of the fairway on the par-4 first hole, and a rebuilt front greenside bunker on the par-4 seventh to lessen the steepness of the bunker face.
You talk about a course that has withstood the test of time, its The Dunes Club, Jones said. The tree canopy, theres nothing quite like it. Every tree has a wonderful canopy. Its really like Gone with the Wind.
A late decision that was not part of the master plan was made to shift the front greenside bunker on the 430-yard par-4 11th hole a tough dogleg right with a green that is a near-peninsula into marsh more to the right to open up the front of the hole.
We shifted the bunker right so they could access the green on the ground on the left a little better, Jones said. I wanted to open up the entrance because it is a tough shot for the average golfer. Youre still going to have to thread the needle a little bit.
Jones is particularly pleased with new tees on the par-4 second hole, which has extended to 445 yards, and par-5 fourth hole, which will lengthened to 535 yards.
He said the new mens tee on the second hole that has been added to the right of the existing tee is primarily to open up the sharp dogleg left and bring drivers more into play to cut the dogleg. As trees along the dogleg have grown drivers have become obsolete on the hole. The major tee change is on two, Jones said.
The championship tee was moved back 30 yards on the dogleg-left fourth hole, which turns around bunkers and has water fronting the green near U.S. 17 Business. I think the best tee is probably on No. 4, Jones said. Were finally getting the length so the fairway bunker will come into play again for better players.
The hitting area on the driving range has been expanded approximately 50 percent to 45,000 square feet.
The Dunes Club has previously hosted the 1962 U.S. Womens Open, final stage of the 1973 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament and Champions Tour Championship for six years from 1994-99.
I think The Dunes Club has always been a standard for golf in the south, Jones said. Its a wonderful place to visit. When you come here you want to come back. I love this place.
Tyndall going national
Pine Lakes Country Club assistant pro Ryan Tyndall has qualified for the National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship by finishing sixth at the Carolinas PGA Section Assistant Championship earlier this month.
Tyndall shot a 4-under 71-67138 from Aug. 5-6 at The Hasentree Club in Wake Forest, N.C., to earn one of the CPGAs five qualifying spots for the Oct. 31-Nov. 3 national assistant championship at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Tyndall finished five strokes behind winner Charles Frost of Pineville, N.C., and was one of seven players from the Carolinas to advance. Frost and Scooter Buhrman of Fayetteville, N.C., were exempt from qualifying after tying for third at PGA Golf Club in 2012.
Tyndall will be one of 126 players from the 41 PGA of America sections at PGA Golf Club. The top four qualify for the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship being played at Grande Dunes Resort Course and The Dunes Golf & Beach Club.
The University of Georgia graduate has worked for National Golf Management since February 2012, including previous posts at Wild Wing Plantation and Willbrook Plantation.
Black Bear Golf Club has come up with a creative promotion that just might land consumers some inexpensive rounds of golf this fall.
Its called the Black Bear Pigskin Challenge, and golfers choose one NFL or college football team to represent them throughout the season.
The amount of points that team scores each week will be price of the players combined green and cart fees that week, as well as the percentage of discount the player will receive off merchandise and food and beverage items, excluding liquor and canned beer.
So fewer points are good for the rates and more points are good for discounts.
Were sitting here trying to come up with different ways to get business, and I came up with this, Black Bear head pro Patrick Wilkinson said. Its just something unique and fun to do, and we can get people to come out and play. Its going to be fun to see how it goes. Its worth a shot.
The team chosen cant be changed, though college teams may transfer to an NFL team at the end of the college regular season. A team can be picked at any point in the season.
Wilkinson said about 40 people had chosen teams as of Friday afternoon, including the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, and college teams Alabama, Coastal Carolina, South Carolina and Clemson.
Course damage minimal
The damage done to Pine Lakes Country Club by vehicles that rode on the course on the night of Aug. 16 was minor, and head pro Matt Daly said the course is no worse for wear because of it.
Greens were not damaged, though there were deep tire marks on the fairways of holes 5 and 7 that have been repaired.
Its really a non-issue. Its just a small blip on the radar, Daly said. Hopefully it doesnt happen again. Vehicles did similar damage to a residents lawn on Calhoun Street, and Daly said the perpetrator or vandals have not been caught.
The course experienced similar damage from a vehicle or vehicles shortly after reopening from an extensive renovation and restoration project in 2009, though additional damage was done to outdoor restrooms in that incident. Were looking at it as an isolated incident and well monitor it as much as we can, Daly said.
Academy graduates 35
Thirty-five students from Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach received an associate degree in Golf Complex Operations and Management during graduation ceremonies on Aug. 16 at Crown Reef Resort.
Golf Academy of America is the largest and longest-running two-year golf career college in the world and prepares graduates for a wide array of golf career opportunities. The golf course management school offers a comprehensive curriculum of golf instruction and business management in a 16-month program.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.