This past February, while players in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am were competing on Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course, PGA Tour officials had their eyes elsewhere. They were checking out the club’s other course, the recently renovated Dunes, which is slated to begin alternating with the Shore on the AT&T rota as of 2018. There was some concern because the pros love the Shore. But after seeing what Tom Fazio and Jackson/Kahn Design did, the Tour concluded that they’ll love the Dunes, too.
The redesigned Dunes, which reopens May 1, marks a vast improvement. Seth Raynor did the original routing in 1924, but he wasn’t able to finish it and it’s not clear who did. (Robert Hunter and Alister MacKenzie are the leading suspects.) Despite a Rees Jones redesign in 1998, the Dunes never had the sizzle of the more scenic, artistic, and friendly Shore, which Mike Strantz masterfully renovated in 2003.
The biggest changes to the Dunes are on the forest holes (1–8, 17–18), where Fazio and company created variety, angles, and playability, especially to the formerly plateau green complexes. They also removed about eight acres of turfgrass on holes 9 to 16, creating more dunes while saving mightily on water bills.
The team even improved the course’s most famous hole, the 169-yard 14th, which Jones created right on the ocean. Despite its impressive setting, the hole lacked definition: A cypress tree was transplanted to a spot behind the green, giving the hole the iconic look it deserves.
And earning the Dunes its chance to shine.