Challenge The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club

By: Frank Fenton

Take a shot at playing one of Sanibel’s top courses.

The Challenge

Your golf game will be tested on the tight island course known as The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, situated on the beautiful island of Sanibel, just off the coast of Fort Myers in Southwest Florida.

The Gulf of Mexico breezes will cause you to think and re-think your shot choice. As you size up the task laid out in front of you, you may be tempted to dismiss the shorter yardages as simple golf shots. Nothing could be further from the truth. Playing the Dunes is like a chess match. Just when you think that you have figured out the way to play a hole, the Gulf winds kicks up and you must totally re-boot your mind.

Add into this equation the fact that every one of the 18 holes has water in play. From the sparkling freshwater ponds and lakes to low-lying wetlands, you must play each shot to the next piece of dry land as you advance toward the hole. When to charge ahead, when to lay up, when to risk the flight over the long carry to the green – that’s what goes through your head at the Dunes.

Course Background and Exceptional Holes

The Dunes 18-hole Championship Golf Course, designed by 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, offers multiple tees to accommodate golfers of all playing levels.

Matt Oakley, head PGA professional, took me to explore the layout. Several of his favorite holes are the scenic 11th – a par 3 over water – and the tough, 442-yard, par-4 No. 14. Matt pointed out that you’ll wrap up your day with the sturdy par-5 18th hole.

Be sure to use the GPS monitors mounted in each golf cart. They are extremely valuable, with color pictures of each hole’s layout and the precise yardage to the next landing area, hazard or hole. With many people playing the course for the first time, this device helps not only their scores, but the pace of play as well.

There are three groups of players at the Dunes: the members of the club, the resort guests and the general public. Being a guest at LXR Properties, owner of the Dunes and the upscale South Seas Island Resort on Captiva, will get you a preferred rate over the general public. While there, take advantage of golf lessons from the PGA staff and practice your golf at their range – the only aquatic practice range on Sanibel Island – and the short-game area.

The Time to Visit

Take advantage of low summer rates, May through September. Sanibel has been a destination from the time Ponce de Leon landed here in 1513 while searching for the Fountain of Youth. Through the years, people such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford sought out the sandy isle to get some rest and relaxation. It was also a favorite of Charles Lindbergh and Teddy Roosevelt in their day.

After your game of golf, consider lunch or dinner at the Dunes Restaurant, featuring a new neighborhood grill menu.

How to Book Your Tee Time

Sanibel is only 45 minutes through Fort Myers from the Southwest Florida International Airport. With The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club located on the island just off the causeway, you’ll be at this tropical course before you know it. Make plans to visit this terrific layout that three Sanibel newspapers voted Best Sanibel Golf Course from 2000 through 2012. Contact the golf shop at 239-472-3355, or visit the website And prepare to be challenged.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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