The Original Jekyll Island Golf Course - Great Dunes

My drive off the tee on hole 2 of the Jekyll Island golf course Great Dunes was actually pretty good, which was something new for me, to say the least. I had a good lie going into the dog leg, lots of open fairway, with just that small, seemingly innocent pond to my right - the one that always gave me fits.

But not this time. I was ready for it. This time I would defeat that pond.

Okay - a 5 iron, maybe. Settle down, take a breath, loosen up. Ignore the pond, which I knew was staring at me with malevalent intent.

Exhale. An easy, confident, unhurried swing - kerplunk! - nailed that pond dead center.

No doubt a seasoned golfer would have little trouble on hole 2, but let's face it - I'm a hacker when it comes to golf. For some reason I torture myself by playing at least a few times whenever we visit Jekyll Island. Scott and Josh, my boys (who are way better than me, but don't tell them - they'll get the big head), insist on this ritual degrading of Dad on the links. And since I love being with them, I grin and bear it.

Well, there's always putt-putt...

It's become a family tradition to play our first round of golf at Great Dunes. This Jekyll Island golf course is only 9 holes (you can play 18 by using another set of tees), but it's deceptive in it's simplicity.

Scott Teeing Off at Great Dunes Golf CourseScott Teeing Off at Great Dunes Golf Course

Great Dunes was the original Jekyll Island golf course. In 1926, when Rockefeller and his contemporaries decided they wanted a golf course on the island, they contacted golf course architect and 1919 U.S. Open winner Walter Travis to design it.

Although designed and built as an 18 hole course, only 9 holes remain - 3,298 yards, par 36. But these 9 holes are in their original condition, making Great Dunes a historic golf course that you, too, can play with your kids as part of your Jekyll Island Family Adventures.

The holes are mostly par 4, with a few par 3's and 5's thrown in for variety. Hole 2 has always been my nemesis (actually, they all are). I've lost more balls in that dad gum pond; it's a wonder there's still water in it.

Still, I always give it my best shot. My sons won't win without a fight!

Josh on Jekyll Island's Great Dunes. Dig those Golf Shoes!Josh on Jekyll Island's Great Dunes. Dig those Golf Shoes!

Great Dunes is located off Beachview Drive, adjacent to the mini-golf course. The pro shop is stocked with balls, tees, some clothing, and a few sets of rental clubs (the rentals aren't the best, so bring your own). They also provide carts.

They say appropriate attire is collared shirts and soft-spiked shoes, but I've worn T-shirts and tennis shoes here (sacrilege!!!) and gotten away with it. (just take a gander at the photo above to see what footwear Josh is modeling!).

They also have a putting green where you can tone up your short game.

Tee times start at 8:00 and end at 3:30. We've never had a problem getting one.

One of the things that makes Great Dunes a memorable Jekyll Island golf course is holes 5 and 6, where play takes you alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Actually, these holes are separated from the sea by Beachview Drive and some dunes, but you can see the ocean as you play, and smell the salt air.

By the way - depending on it's strength, that sea breeze can have a startling effect on how the ball flies.

My boys and I have had some interesting experiences on these two holes. Scott, my youngest, has always been the more steady player, with better shots all around. His older brother Josh isn't as good a "stroke-ster", but he can hit the ball a country mile.

greatdunesgolfcourseScott Makes a Short Putt on Great Dunes

Josh has a mean hook, and there's nothing like playing those oceanside holes, with Beachview down below and bike trails adjacent the dunes, and watching Josh's sizzling drives hooking left onto Beachview, caroming off cars, taking out bikers, maybe winding up on the beach for all I know. (There are probably sea turtles trying to hatch Josh's errant golf balls as we speak).

But I shouldn't be talking. I've lost more balls on this course than I can count. (Actually found a bunch, too. Seems we're not the only hackers out there...)

All in all, it's great fun. We may play four times a year tops, and two to three of those are on Jekyll Island during our Jekyll Island Family Adventure weeks.

Now that my boys are grown and living lives of their own, we don't get to Jekyll as a family as much as we used to. But when we do, you can bet we hit the links on this great Jekyll Island golf course, relive memories, and try our best to keep the ball down the center of the fairway - for the sake of all the folks traveling Beachview!


To play this storied Jekyll Island golf course, give the folks at the pro shop a call at (912)635-2368. Reserve your tee time, and add to your own stock of great family memories.

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