Pacific Dunes

Green Keeper: Jeff Sutherland

8th hole, 400 yards; Doak’s encyclopedic knowledge of significant design features of the world’s finest courses must surely be an immense help in designing holes and this one is a case in point. Picturing the 3rd at Woking GC where a solitary green side bunker influencesevery approach angle, Doak saw the potential to create a similar play here. The back half of the greenis ina naturaldepression and Doak and Urbina hollowed out the area to the right of it and used that dirt to build the front part of the green. Approach shots can be thrown 10 yards to the right of the green, take the slope from the bowl and bound onto the green, all of this with the golfer neverneeding to flirt with the greenside bunker. The real genius, though, lies in how the central bunker distracts the player when playing to a left hole location from the real danger of the left bunker that is so close to the green that a player in it has precious little hope of getting the ball close to a left hole location. The slope at the front of the green makes the front-left hole location that much more difficult.

From this view short and right of the 8th green, the bowl of the rear portion of the green is evident. A player can land his approach where the golfer is and comfortably wind up on the green. Note also the slope at the front-left of the green.

A seemingly impossible hole location to which to get close.

Closer inspection shows that the golfer can use the gathering nature of the terrain to the right of the green to feed the ball in tight.

9th hole, 405 yards & 10th holes, 205 yards; There is an upper and a lower green at the 9th and which green golfers prefer is a matter of debate. In part, which green is played at the 9th determines the tee used at the 10th: the lower green at the 9th leads to the lower tee at the 10th, which is a one shot hole of over 200 yards. The upper green at the 9th leds to the upper tee for the 10th, from where the hole is a postcard perfect drop shot one shotter of 135 yards to the green. The author is ambivalent as both combinations have merit, so it’s no wonder whyan alternate green was created.However, two points are worth mentioning that favor the lower 9th green/lower 10th tee combination, namely1) the downhill 9th green encourages the golfer to be as bold as possible in attackinga diagonal ridge off the tee – if successful, he has only a short iron left. The upper 9th green makes the hole play straightaway and thus robs this ridge of its strategic value, and 2) as played from the lower tee, the 10th becomes a long iron which adds to the variety of shots required on the second nine. Though rare, on calm days, the golfer is likely to have short irons into the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes, so a long iron approach here at the 10th is a good thing.

The upper tee at the 10th provides this gorgeous view. As at the fallaway 12th green, there are no inspid little mounds to 'frame' behind the green.

11th hole, 150 yards; The second of two one shotters in a row, this hole is made by the threat of the beach 105 feet below and the rugged cross bunkers in front of the green. Thisone shotterhighlights threedifferences betweenBandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes: the green to tee walksare shorter at Pacific Dunes, the bunkering is more natural in appearance and length was less of a concern at Pacific Dunes. The bunkers that fronts the 11th greenare symbolic of the work: intricate fine-tuning was done to make the bunkers appear this natural.

The view from the 11th tee highlights the rugged, natural appeal of the architecture on offer at PacDunes.

12th holes, 530 yards; An interesting transition hole as it plays from one dune line across the flat 500 yard plain to a green at the base of the next set of dunes. This hole is made by the front bunker and ridgethat guard the left of the green, asking the golfer to come in from well to the right. The slope of the greenruns away from the golfer and falls towardthe back left. For this reason, though front hole locations at the 12th may appear simple, they are among the more vexing on the course as they send the frustrated golfer to the 13th tee without his up and down for thebirdie.

The short way home at the 12th is down the left, which also affords the worse angle into the green.

13th hole,445 yards; Picture the most dramatic hole at your home course. Now picture the 13th here: to the left, a 115 foot drop to the white beach below; to the right, a massive 60 foot exposed sand dune. In the summer, a fresh two club ‘breeze’ is in your face with the sound of the pounding surf everywhere. This then is the stage for your golf. Add in the fairway undulations and the false front to this deep green, and you have an untouched hole of great natural beauty that makes you itch to play golf. Thanks to the firm playing conditions obtained by Green Keeper Jeff Sutherland, many a ball rolls twenty yards down off the green’s false front and back into the fairway, an excellent design feature to have incorporated into the summer’s prevailing breeze.

The allure of the natural dunescape to the right ofthe 13th cannot be overstated.
The golfer who shys too far from the cliff on the left will face …..
…an intimidating uphill approach across an impressive array of bunkers.
Putting on the exposed 13th green offers its on set of unique problems. On a windy summer day, the ball pictured above would roll well back into the fairway. The underrated one shot 14th along a ridge line is in the background.

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