Near Orlando’s attractions, Mystic Dunes is an attraction itself

By: John Schwarb

ADD TO FAVORITES

One can picture how some visitors to Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club likely use the Gary Koch-designed course right outside their villas’ front doors.

During a vacation centered around all of Walt Disney World’s offerings, just four miles up the road, a round of golf is a relaxing day off from the park crowds.

But after 18 holes, the script changes. Play Mystic Dunes once and the trip itinerary demands another look – how do you finagle one more round?

Mystic Dunes earns the highest compliment one can give a course, the desire to play it again. Since being taken over by Diamond Resorts a year ago, capital improvements have been made all over the resort but especially at the course, helping it regain a position as one of Orlando’s must-plays.

A new superintendent is helping the course play friendlier (think sod instead of vegetation alongside several fairways), but anyone looking to score still must earn it on Mystic Dunes’ trademark roller-coaster greens.

The course has two distinct halves, with holes 1-10 featuring the dunes and the rest offering a tree-lined challenge. Distinctive “whiskey barrel” bunkers dot several holes and must be seen to be believed (we’ll revisit those later this week). And don’t be surprised to see a critter or two, like the baby turtle that crossed our path coming off the seventh hole.

You’ll see a little bit of everything at Mystic Dunes. And then you’ll want to figure out a way to see it all again.

Three cool holes

  • No. 5, 496-yard par-5: Was a brutal par-4 just two months ago, now far more inviting as a birdie/eagle hole.
  • No. 11, 508-yard par-4: Mystic Dunes’ No. 1 handicap hole and the introduction to the tree-lined part of the course. Be straight off the tee or else.
  • No. 13, 344-yard par-4: Four signature “whiskey barrel” bunkers are far better to admire from a distance than to play out of.

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