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Monday, January 28, 2013

Emerald Dunes Refreshed And Exceptional

A just-completed multi-million dollar renovation makes Emerald Dunes an excellent membership choice for those second-home owners who don’t live in a dedicated golf community in Florida. Tom Fazio supervised the renovation of the course he originally designed, resulting in a challenging but perfectly playable course where there’s plenty of risk-and-reward to go with the refined landscaping and sense of isolation that comes from the 2,000 trees recently planted along the club’s perimeter.

Emerald Dunes, West Palm Beach
Emerald Dunes opens with a pair of enjoyable birdie opportunities, a 503-yard par five and a 397-yard par four, but the teeth come out on the first par three, 167 yards over water and a major bunker with a small bail-out area to the left. A delightful rock-ledge waterfall frames the green back right. That’s followed by a double-dog leg 571-yard par five with water all the way to the green on the left and bunkers lining the fairway on the right. The front side wraps up with a brutish 439-yard par four that dog legs right around a lake. If your drive is under 300 yards, you’ll have to carry the water to reach the green in regulation.

Emerald Dunes, West Palm Beach
The back nine offers some birdie opportunities as long as you’re not risk-averse. The eleventh hole, a 486-yard par five, is one of them, especially for the long drivers in the group. The par four fifteenth, 394 yards, is a fine Cape hole that will yield a short approach to the brave player who challenges the water. The eighteenth hole, a 426-yard par four, has a big, inviting fairway but a long approach to an elevated green.

Fazio also designed a new short game practice area with multiple target and chipping greens, sand and grass bunkers (including a shallow-face fairway bunker), and a huge putting green to go with a double-ended range, learning center with two teaching bays, and a club-fitting area. Members also enjoy a unique yearly dues arrangement, which includes absolutely everything—even all food and beverages. The club has an excellent caddie program as well.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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