Golf Course Architecture - Issue 54: October 2018

31 the eleventh green was a bit too hard. But the club eventually went to the original concept. “They’ve been caring for the golf course and bringing it up to speed every decade. It’s not major stuff because the original design was so well conceived, but it makes a big difference.” For the past 15 years, the club has continued the same spirit of ongoing improvement with Rees and his associate Steve Weisser, working alongside the long- standing superintendent Steve Hamilton. “Back in 2003, we brought the greens back to their original sizes. The grasses are now Champion bermuda, so we have also recontoured greens. Just like Augusta, we have kept the same concepts but brought the grade in so they can take the higher speeds.” The club has also added tees, so it remains a test for the best – it has hosted the US Women’s Open, PGA Tour Qualifying School, the Senior Tour Championship, PGA National Championship and US Women’s Four-Ball Championship – while being playable for members. “We’ve brought it into the twenty-first century. Every group that comes to play it loves it, finds it a challenge and a true test. “It’s just one of those golf courses that pleases the average golfer and really tests the best,” says Jones. “Dad always wanted to build a true test of golf, but what I think is fascinating is that there are 800 members of The Dunes Club and they find it really playable.” This year, the club has installed a state- of-the-art drainage system, and Jones and Weisser have conducted a comprehensive review of the bunkers. “We’ve made sure the fairway bunkers are in the proper location,” says Jones. “They’ve been re-evaluated based on the equipment of today. Technology has changed where people are hitting it. I think they’re now well located for both the best golfers and those who play from the various tees. We’ve moved bunkers into the fairway in many cases and brought them into play in the second landing areas on par fives. Better Billy Bunker liner has been installed throughout, and the bunker review has led to an overall reduction in the sand area. “Every bunker has been rethought and relocated or rebuilt. We also carefully evaluated the depths of the bunkers. We’ve taken some fill away and cut them down into the surface.” Jones describes The Dunes Club as a throwback to the era before golf course architects started cranking out golf courses too rapidly. “Some people call me the link, because I still have my memories of the past, and I know what’s going on today. “What really makes me happy at places like Bellerive, Congressional, Atlanta Athletic Club, Golden Horseshoe and The Dunes Club, is that I’ve been entrusted with the ongoing design of some of my father’s great golf courses.” GCA Above, Rees Jones with shaper Nino Mongollan and The Dunes Club’s golf course superintendent Steve Hamilton during this year’s project to rethink and rebuild bunkers throughout the course, as seen on the par-four eighteenth hole (left) and the par-three ninth (top) Photo: Carl Kerridge Photography Photo: Carl Kerridge Photography