At the end of the 1990s, owner Jodi Lutz enlisted Jay Morrish and his son Carter to transform the old 9-hole Dogwood Trails layout into Pine Dunes Resort and Golf Club, one of the best daily fee 18-hole golf courses in Texas.
The 7,117-yard par 72 layout weaves through a dense pine forest dotted with dogwoods and around four small lakes. Dallas native Justin Leonard holds the course record of 69 and he’s a big fan of both the consistent bunker sand found at Pine Dunes and its tight fairways.Architect Morrish designed the course with a quartet of very strong short holes (at 3, 6, 12 and 16) and a pair of trademark short par fours (at the 2nd and 15th). Still, many regard the most memorable holes on the card to be the par fives at 11 (where a large sandy area crosses the fairway) and 18 (which doglegs right past water to the home green).
Deep in the heart of east Texas lies Pine Dunes, a one-of-a-kind course that looks and feels completely different than anything you’d find in the whole state. Towering pine trees litter the property, one that is consistently ranked among the best public courses in Texas. I enjoyed Pine Dunes for a myriad of reasons: for one, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value around, as the course’s greens fees never hit the triple digit mark; secondly, there are several stretches of solid golf and very few pushover holes; and third, there’s a sense of tranquility at Pine Dunes that you cannot find in many other places. The clubhouse is tiny, the practice facility is modest, and there’s a small lodge that rests a few dozen folks. As for the course, Pine Dunes rewards smart play and kicks the bajeezus out of you if you can’t hit the ball straight. Nearly every hole is an adventure that brings the pines into play. A few things I was less than thrilled about: the green speeds were a little inconsistent, and some sand shots are flat out impossible. Sporting an enormous amount of sand and flash, hole 11 is a treat visually, and probably ranks as one of the coolest holes I’ve played in Texas. The par five fifth and par three sixth are two holes that emulate what I mean when I say Pine Dunes rewards smart play. If there is one bit of chatter to expect after your round is complete, it’s talk about the 18th. From what I have heard opinions are divisive, but more people than not aren’t exactly raving about the finishing par five, a 90 degree dogleg that doesn’t seem to fit the mold of the rest of the holes because it lacks the trees of the other 17. Pine Dunes is worthy of a day trip; this east Texas gem is sure to be one you’ll talk about long after you finish the controversial closer.
Played after seeing Top 5 ratings in golf magazine - course didn't meet high expectations. Good condition but nothing special
Loved the layout. Not extremely long, but there's a different challenge every hole. Definitely get a good bang for your buck, and the replay is good till sundown! Excellent hospitality from staff as well.
Set in the middle of nowhere Texas, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about (ranked #1 of courses you can play by Golfweek). This course is definitely deserving of the high praise, the fairways are in great shape, the holes have an interesting routing and there is a decidedly Carolina Pines feel to the whole endeavor.
Favorite hole has to be #5 a short par 5 but with an ultimate risk/reward with the fairway being split by pine trees. Go long and left over a huge waste area? Have an easy shot into the green. Go short and right? Have to contend with the trees in the middle of the fairway all the way down.
The course can stretch to 7,000 yards and most people will probably play from 6,500 but I actually think you should play this from 5,800 because the trouble, the bunkers, all come into play more the further up you tee the ball.
The only downside to the course when I played it is that the greens weren't in the best shape. It was the heart of winter and I hear they really firm up for the summer time crowds and this course is surely in its prime in the warmer months.
Definitely worth the trek!