The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club is located on Sanibel Island, Florida and plays 5,583 yards from the back tees for a par of 70. The course rating is 68.1 with a slope rating of 124 on Bermuda grass. The Dunes originally opened in 1973 as a nine-hole course and then added nine more holes in 1983. In 1995, PGA professional and golf course architect Mark McCumber renovated the entire course to create the current 18-hole, par-70 course. A new clubhouse, golf shop, tennis court, pool and restaurant completed the update.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System has certified The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club as Environmental; an international program which is administered by Audubon International and is designed to help land owners preserve and enhance the environmental quality of their property.
The Dunes plays amid an abundant natural landscape where a diverse array of native wildlife can be observed including ospreys, turtles, alligators, herons and bald eagles. One of the biggest factors that influence your round is the breezes off the Gulf of Mexico; they will cause you to think and re-think your club choice.
The Dunes boasts Sanibel’s only aqua driving range; there is also a large practice green to warm up your putting. Each cart is outfitted with a GPS system, which is extremely valuable in helping you navigate the ponds and streams that pop up on every hole.
Number 1: Par 4, 325 Yards. Get used to leaving the driver in the bag at The Dunes; there are only a handful of holes where you will need it; this is not one of them. Hit a three-wood or hybrid off the tee and leave about 100 yards to the green. It’s only about 239 yards to carry the traps on the left. Beware of the water on the right. Your short approach shot is to a small, slightly elevated green. Par is a good score to start.
Number 3: Par 5, 460 yards. If you can hit a straight drive about 250 off the tee between the clump of trees on the right and the bunker on the left, you’ll be looking at a second shot of a little over 200 yards and a good chance of birdie or better. The green is slightly elevated and the water on the right comes right up to the green. Keep it left and you have a great chance at par or better.
Number 4: Par 4, 297 yards. Long ball hitters will be tempted to go for it off the tee; it only about 260 to clear the water. Most golfers will prefer to hit a wood or hybrid off the tee and leave a manageable distance to the green. The elevated green has a large bunker directly in front of it. The elevated green has a large, deep bunker in front of it. The green is wide and not real deep and slopes right to left.
Number 5: Par 4, 345 yards. Number 5 has two ponds that need to be navigated off the tee; you only need to hit it about 200 yards. From There you will have about 150 yards to an elevated green. A successful tee shot goes a long way to a good score here.
Number 7: Par 4, 401 yards. This is a good golf hole on a relatively short course. Number 7 plays as a par 4, around a lake. Cut off as much of the dogleg as you can but make sure to keep your approach shot left as the water up the right side can quickly come into play as does the greenside bunker on the left. The green slopes back to front.
Number 11: Par 3, 154 yards. There is nothing real special about this par three. It’s 154 yards of pure carry over water; no greenside traps to worry about. The green is long and narrow. As long as you can get over the water, par or better is quite possible.
Number 12: Par 4, 312 yards. Another short par 4 that requires you to cross the water twice; the water on the right side of the fairway becomes a creek that crosses the fairway can is about 210 yards out and can easily be driven. From there, you’ll have a short pitch shot to a medium sized, elevated green that yields lots of pars and better.
Number 14: Par 4, 442 yards. This is one of the few challenging par 4 holes on the course. At 442 yards, it plays only 16 yards less than the par 5, number 18-hole. It’s a straight hole that requires a modicum of accuracy off the tee with water on the right and woods on the left. Two long straight shots will get you on the green in regulation.
Number 17: Par 3, 187 yards. A nice par 3 with an elevated green and a large bunker in the front of the green that takes away any chance of bump and run.
Number 18: Par 5, 458 yards. This hole provides a great chance at birdie or better; as long as you can get off the tee. The danger on this hole lies in the creek that crosses in front of the green. Your approach shot is slightly elevated to a medium sized green with subtle undulations. This is a nice, challenging finishing hole that offers a great chance to score well.
Last Word: Like many typical resort courses in Florida, The Dunes plays somewhat short at slightly less than 5,600 yards. Don’t take that as a sign of weakness; what this course lacks in distance it more than makes up for in finesse. Knowing the course goes a long way in scoring well; being able to place your tee shots and approaches where you want is a big help too.
Be sure to bring plenty of balls (or use floaters) as water comes into play on every hole. A few holes may require a fairly long forced carry off the tee or to the green; something not all resort guests will be happy with.
The greens roll true but I found them to be somewhat slow. It’s probably not a good idea for a resort course to have them rolling around 10 -12 on the stimpmeter – that could just be frustrating and make for longer rounds. Just be sure to warm up on the putting green before your round so that you are ready to hit your putt a little harder. The aqua driving range offers a good place to warm up as you can hit every club in your bag.
If you are staying on Sanibel and feel the need to get out and play a round of golf, The Dunes is worth a play. To book a tee time at The Dunes, you can visit them online at www.dunesgolfsanibel.com or give them a call at 239.472.3355. Summer rounds of golf at The Dunes can be booked for as little as $25.00 per round.