You probably shouldn't think beaches here. Oh, there are many reasons why. For one, the Dunes Golf Club at Seville is nowhere near the gulf, and secondly, when you get stuck in the miles of sand at the Dunes — yeah, they're actually dunes, believe it or not — its not a day at the beach. However, this is an unique course, especially since it was shut down in December 2006 and given a $3.5-million face-lift. There's more sand, the greens are tough and unforgiving and the course became even longer, topping out at 7,139 yards. Every golfer who passes by course manager Jim Cocchi just raves about how much better and well done the course is now. "People are outpouring so much it's remarkable," Cocchi said. That being said, No. 8 at the Dunes isn't even the hardest hole — that's the 11th. Though this hole is no cakewalk. It's uphill, there's more sand than Long Beach and nature can play havoc with your ball. It's just a par three, but it can play like a par five. It's a hole that can hate you, but also respect you.
Here's the scouting report:
When first stepping up to the tee box, it's going to be pretty hard to ignore the giant wasteland bunker to the left of the hole. It runs all the way up the hole, even past the green, and then, there's another bunker behind the green that during renovations was filled in more because it was impossible to get out. "People were hitting snowmen (a score of 8) on this hole more often then not," Cocchi said. However, there is solace. The wasteland bunkers can be hit out of with full swings, and you can even practice since it's not a normal bunker.
So once you can pry yourself away from gawking at the bunker, you'll realize that you'll need to club up to reach the green. We're talking 160-plus yards that play more like 180, and if you've got wind in your face — even a nice breeze on a hot autumn day — its more like 200. Cocchi says you shouldn't be afraid to consider a three wood on those days, but when you have those perfect conditions, he says you shouldn't be looking at anything lower than a six iron. Another good suggestion would be trying either the three or four hybrid to get up to the green.
But your biggest problem will be — and it can happen — when you send your ball right into the giant bunker. If you find yourself in that situation, your two options are outing real quick with a sand wedge or, taking a four iron and really dig deep, into the sand as well as your swing, to whack away. You might be finding sand where you'd never hope to find it, but you'll be out.
Cocchi warns about the very top part of this hole. It's steep at the very front of the green and the top of the fairway. Come up short there and you're coming back down. Cocchi says the front-quarter right of the green is a fake green — it's more like fairway because of how the ball will roll. There will be a pin placement there some days, but when it's not, avoid it. "You think it's green — it fools you," Cocchi adds. "No ball will stay there."
It's a fact. The Dunes have some of the hardest greens around. They're uneven, hilly, small and large and incredibly fast. No. 8 is no exception. Besides the fact it can roll off the faux pas-front, no matter the pin placement, it's uneven and the ball will move faster than Road Runner. So, go all Wile E. Coyote on it and try to slow it down. Just make sure you really take your time reading the green before putting.
Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 544-1771.