On the 17th hole of the Wild Dunes Links course…
“We are about 100 yards from the Atlantic ocean”
So close you can smell the salty ocean air….
“It’s part of the beauty being on a barrier island here on Isle of Palms,” Jeff Minton, Director of Golf at Wild Dunes Resort, said. “You have the ocean, you have the marsh and you have mother nature to deal with.”
Especially when it comes to that sea breeze. Being so close to the open waters presents challenges golfers don’t see on many courses.
“Every time you play it, it’s a different experience. You tend to use all of your clubs in the bag which is kind of a unique ability,” Minton said. “Again, it’s not easy, but it’s totally fun. Guests love it when they get done. They’re like ‘wow what a good experience’.”
The views, the ever-changing conditions, walking with Minton across the course we could quite literally feel what he meant.
“Just like today, the wind is probably blowing 10-15 mph and this hole it’s in our face. The next hole might be downwind, so each day, each hole, the wind is a challenge,” Minton said. “It’s hard to predict no matter how long or how short the course is.”
His best advice, take each hole in stride and only make shots to your ability level. While you do, take a good look around.
“Certain species of plants will survive because there is a lot of water and ocean water coming in,” Minton said. “So you can see how it’s really a lot of dunes, not many trees, and as you go more inland Palmetto trees and some live oak trees. But really just seagrasses and some crepe myrtles on the dunes is what will survive.”
Speaking of surviving, in 1989 when Hugo hit just north of the Links, the winds and storm surge took out many trees on the course. To this day, the ocean continues to shape the course when it comes to high tides.
“It looks like a big lake which is what the marsh is designed to do,” Minton explained. “The water comes in and it fills up all the areas and protects the golf courses and the homes. It’s quite a sight on a 7-foot or 8-foot tide.”
One of many sights worth making the trip to Wild Dunes for.