Review of Pine Dunes Golf Club
Located about 30 miles south of Tyler in the east Texas piney woods, Pine Dunes Resort & Golf Club may be a little difficult to get to, but it's well worth the drive. What was originally a nine hole course that had been run into the ground morphed into what is consistently rated as one of the best 18 hole championship courses in Texas. In 1999, well renowned course architect Jay Morris was hired to redesign the course into what it is today and the new 18 hole course opened for play in 2001.
Wow, what a great layout and a blast to play as the wide rolling fairways meander though the stately east Texas pines. Pine Dunes is sometimes compared to Pinehurst and Augusta National and it's not surprising to us that Pine Dunes Golf Club has been the recipient of several awards and accolades, some of which include:
Some of the reasons why we included Pine Dunes in Texas Outside's Best Public Courses in Texas list and why we think you should add Pine Dunes to your list of "must play Texas golf courses" includes:
And Pine Dunes Golf Club is home to some great holes that make for a memorable and fun round, some of our favorites include:
When we played in September 2013, Texas was still suffering through a severe drought which had impacted all of the courses in Texas. With that said, the conditions at Pine Dunes Golf Club were very good. The fairways were firm and a tad dry but near perfect, the rough was thick and in great shape, and the greens were excellent.
The fairways are wide and forgiving off most of the tee boxes and you can bring out the big dog and let it rip - but if you miss, you're in a natural area, under dense trees, or in a challenging thick rough. Most of the fairways are gently rolling with some contour and lots of strategically placed bunkers plus some fairways include slope, berms, and mounds of various sizes.
The greens at Pine Dunes Golf Club were excellent, held the ball well, and ran true, but a tad slow when we played - we were told that they normally roll around 10 or so. Some of the greens are raised and all but one are well guarded by one to six bunkers putting a premium on your approach shots. Around the edges of the greens, the slope can be severe and the fringe is puttable ranging from 5 to 15' wide.
Before you head out for your round, you may want to spend some time on the practice facilities working on your sand game - there are over 75 bunkers to contend with, plus several natural waste bunkers! The bunkers range from small pot bunkers to some huge treacherous monsters with steep and deep faces. The sand was ok but a little thin and firm from our perspective, which may have been the result of a recent rain.
Bottom line - a must play course with an excellent layout that's fair and fun, good conditions, and some very memorable holes.
Rates: $59.00 to $79.00
Service is ok as are the practice facilities. The pro shop is limited to the basics. The grill is cool and has a deck that overlooks the 18th hole - food includes bugers, dogs, sandwiches, and more.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.