Mystic Dunes is located within the beautiful Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club. Champions Tour Player and NBC Golf Analyst Gary Koch carved this course out from protected wetlands and rolling orange groves. With greens reminiscent of Augusta National, par fours that play as long as those seen on the PGA Tour and a trio of par threes that will leave you scratching your head, it’s know wonder that Mystic Dunes is one of the top courses visited by PGA professionals during the annual PGA Show.
From the black tees Mystic Dunes plays 7,012 yards for a par of 71. The black tees are reserved for professionals and low-single digit handicappers only. From here the course rating is 75 and it has a slope rating of 145 on Bermuda grass. Joe Average will elect to play the blue tees (6,574/73/136) or the white tees (5893/69.4/127). From any set of tees on the property you will find the course to be meticulously groomed which guarantees superb playing conditions year-round. The staff pays particular attention to the green complexes which allows players to use a variety of short game techniques. Five sets of tee boxes offer every level of golfer the ability to play from the distance that makes a round of golf enjoyable while maintaining enough challenge to keep their interest. Par View GPS systems are equipped on every cart and provide accurate yardage and detailed shot information. Now you have no excuse when you hit a bad shot. You can also use it to order lunch as you make the turn; or drinks if you’ve hit enough bad shots.
Before your round, make sure you take advantage of the practice facility which includes a driving range, chipping and putting greens and practice bunkers. Lessons are also available from the PGA staff. The range is complimentary with you paid greens fee; the lessons are not.
Mystic Dunes also features a 20,000 square foot clubhouse which includes a spacious pro shop as well as a bar and grill that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Should you have the need to clean up after the round, locker rooms with showers and towels are accessible for both male and female guests.
Number 1: Par 4, 375 yards. Number 1 poses a challenging starting hole. From the back tees it’s almost 225 yards to clear the waste area and get past the large tree on the right. Fairway bunkers on the left side off the tee can get long ball hitters off on the wrong foot. A tee shot down the left side of the fairway will provide the best angle of approach. This will leave a mid-iron into an odd shaped green that is tricky to putt. Shots that are too long will roll back into a collection area back right. Be happy with par here.
Number 2: Par 4, 508 yards. I didn’t know par fours were allowed to be this long! You will need to keep your tee shot out to the left on this extremely long par four; anything right will find the trees and possibly be lost forever. After successfully guiding your tee shot down the middle of the fairway, you will still be left with a monstrous approach shot to a large green that slopes back to front with several undulations. Good luck!
Number 6: Par 5, 510 yards. All things considered so far at Mystic Dunes, this is a fairly short par 5. In fact it’s only two yards longer than Number two, the par 4 from hell! It’s a dogleg left that plays a lot shorter that the scorecard. If you hit a solid drive down the right side you can reach the green with a long iron. On this hole, left off the tee is death; if you’re lucky, the fairway bunkers will get you. Otherwise you are likely grabbing another ball from the bag. Knowing the pin placement on this whole is critical if you want to get it close. Calling the green on number 6 a two-tiered green doesn’t do it justice; it’s more like two separate floors. There is probably a good four foot elevation difference between the front and back. Depending upon the mood of the pin setter, this can be a treacherous hole, but birdie is always a definite possibility.
Number 7: Par 3, 200 yards. This hole is 90% carry over a marsh area with a massive waste bunker that runs almost the entire length of the hole on the right. Club selection here is important as there is a large sand trap behind the small green as well as front left. The hole plays slightly uphill. Par is a great score here.
Number 11: Par 3, 177 yards. Perhaps the most scenic hole on the course, this par 3 can make or break a round (literally). There is water down the left side that wraps pretty much around the green and no bailout area to the right. You are pretty much either on the green or in the water, it’s that simple. This large two-tiered green slopes back to front. If this hole treats you poorly, whip out your camera phone and take a picture of the waterfall on the left. Oh yeah, don’t try and get to the green across the rocks, use the walkway provided. I have seen someone try and cross the rocks and break their leg, although he still made par (we conceded a two-putt)!
Number 17: Par 3, 249 yards. This par 3 is wide open, you just have to be able to hit it a long way off the tee. Many people hit driver from the black tees; from the blues (222 yards) it’s a three wood or hybrid. The waste bunker directly in front of the tee should not pose a serious problem. To the left of the green you will find a couple of nasty little pot bunkers. The green is large with a few slight undulations. If you decide to bailout to the right, you will be faced with a tough pitch shot to the hole.
Number 18: Par 4, 485 yards. Why not end the round with another monster par 4 dogleg left? If you want to try and cut the corner to shorten the hole, you will need to hit your drive at least 240 yards to carry the waste area on the left. Bear in mind that anything that goes farther left than planned is probably lost for good. A good drive will still probably leave an approach shot well over 200 yards although it does play slightly downhill. The green is fairly large with some mounding and undulation in the middle. Take your four and run, should you be so lucky.
Last Word: Mystic Dunes is like playing two different nine hole courses on the same day. The front nine has a “low country”, Carolina feel to it as it winds through Florida wetlands and marshes and then cuts through some forested areas. The back nine has a more Scottish “links” feel – only with alligators. On the back nine you will find pot bunkers similar to those made famous on some of the historic Scottish courses as well as mounding on the holes making for the dreaded “uneven” lie. Unlike most Florida courses you will find some elevation changes – on both fairways and greens (reread my synopsis of number 6 in case you have forgotten). As always, it’s all about controlling your shots, both off the tee and from the fairway. Regardless of the number you put up you are sure to have an enjoyable and memorable round of golf. For more information about Mystic Dunes Golf Club or to book tee times, please visit www.mysticdunesgolf.com, or call 407-787-5678