By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor
In the ever-evolving meat market that is Myrtle Beach golf, the juiciest cut is The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. Of the 100-plus courses along the Grand Strand, this 1948 Robert Trent Jones Sr. original is the only true-to-its-roots classic. When it closed for renovations this summer, the course already ranked No. 47 in Golf Magazine's Top 100 You Can Play. Now, following a sensitive retouching by Jones' son Rees, the Dunes is open again -- and better than ever.
The younger Jones stretched the tips back 185 yards, added a number of new tee boxes, rebuilt or constructed new bunkers on several holes, and widened the approaches to open up new shotmaking options. The biggest change came on the greens themselves, where the club transitioned the old bent surfaces to Champion Bermuda. That means faster, smoother conditions year-round. Fortunately, Jones left the teeth of the course largely unchanged, especially the scenic, if scary, stretch from 11 through 13, aptly named "Alligator Alley," which tangles with Singleton Lake (and its reptilian residents). The vaunted 13th, "Waterloo," now doglegs around the water at a healthy 640 yards, up from 590.
Even with the new greens and extra muscle, the Dunes' appreciation for traditional design values sets it apart from much of the Myrtle muddle. You'll still need to stay at a member hotel to access this otherwise private course, but if you're craving a classic amid the modern marvels of the Lowcountry, you gotta do the Dunes. 7,370 yards, par 72; Green fees: $75-$225; (843) 449-5236, thedunesclub.net For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.