This summer will be a bit quieter than usual around the Dunes Golf and Beach Club. Glasses will still clink outside on the patio, by the pool and in the dining room and bar areas of the clubhouse. The wind will still rustle the trees and the ocean will send waved up and down the beach. But for June, July and much of August, the golf course will be silent except for the sounds of machinery that will be elevating the Dunes to new heights in preparation for its hosting the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship next June.
The main thrust of the work is to adapt the Dunes putting surfaces to the realities of modern golf course maintenance. Contour-wise, they are excellent-architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. was a master as designing challenging green complexes. But they have been A1/A4 bentgrass for some time now, and Southern golf courses have increasingly sought summer relief for their putting surfaces, which require considerable amounts of water and air movement amid hot, humid temperatures. As a result the Dunes will be regressing those surfaces with Champion Bermuda grass, which appears on many of the best golf courses in this part of the world. This will allow the greens to run fast and firm with relatively little watering and provide the 312 club professionals teeing it up in the PGA Professional National Championship consistency of putting between the Dunes and co-host course Grande Dunes Resort Club.
In addition to new greens, the Dunes will be a little meatier when the autumn comes. A few new tee boxes will stretch the course from just under 7,200 yards to just under 7,400, further allowing the tournament setup committee the opportunity to set certain holes up to play at different distances on different days. In addition, some new forward tees will be put into place, giving higher-handicap players some better chances for lower scores during their own rounds.
Finally, a couple new fairway bunkers will be installed, including along the first hole, to catch up with the recent technology-based boom in driving distance. Some improvements to the tee area on the driving range will add more space as well.
In short, one of Myrtle Beach’s best courses will be getting even better this summer.