79. Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Dunes course)
Seth Raynor (1924) / Tom Fazio, Tim Jackson & David Kahn (2015)
The Dunes Course, long been in the shadow of its big brother Shore Course (ranked No. 56) was originally routed by Seth Raynor, who died before construction. It was completed by Robert Hunter, a partner to Alister MacKenzie (who did not participate in the work). In the 1990s, Rees Jones remodeled the course and reshaped holes to mimic the Raynor look. When Tom Fazio was brought in to make the Dunes as appealing to members as the gorgeous Shore Course, he and former associates Tim Jackson and David Kahn opted to give the Dunes a MacKenzie look. Sandscapes now frame most holes, fairways now zigzag around jagged bunkers and nearly all the greens are now diagonal to lines of play. The Dunes Course now lives up to its name.
100 Greatest History: First appearance on 100 Greatest. Ranked on Second 100 Greatest in 2013-2014 (189th) and 2015-2016 (194th). Previous ranking: Not ranked.
Panelist comments, Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Dunes):
"A Seth Raynor routing on the dramatic landforms of the Monterey Peninsula is enough of a draw. The Dunes course’s unique architectural features and interesting inland holes, combined with its dunes-dominated ocean holes and recent renovations, make this one of the best courses in what’s one of the best stretches of golf in the United States."
"One of the most special clubs in the world with two outstanding courses and outstanding amenities. I’d be happy sitting at the halfway house at the Dunes course all day, basking in the glory of the Pacific Ocean views and this outstanding golf setting."
"The Jackson-Kahn team have been able to achieve something that is an important piece of Seth Raynor’s philosophy: large, undulating, fun putting surfaces with possible ground-game approach options. The Dunes courses’s Bentgrass greens are large, with interesting slopes—some unlike any you’ve ever seen before."
"Carved out of dramatic sand dunes re-exposed tremendously in recent renovation, significantly improving aesthetics and bringing bluffs into play. Kudos for reducing the amount of irrigated turf and creating firmer and drier turf conditions."
"It is interesting to see how two courses, the Shore and the Dunes, which share the same land, can give two very different feels based on the choices of the architect. Tom Fazio and Tim Jackson have done a terrific job in bringing back the "Wow factor" to the Dunes Course. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dunes course is ranked higher than the Shore course some time soon."
Photos: Courtesy of Jon Cavalier