Twisted Dune has reached out to the public, without losing its air of exclusivity.
The Egg Harbor Township facility recently unfurled a Sunset Nine special, $25 after 4:30 p.m. for nine holes. This rate connects those on time constraints and a budget with a high-level course that usually costs much more.
The program caught fire. Late afternoons became more crowded with players squeezing nine holes in around work schedules and the beach. The deal increases traffic for the course and enables golfers to become familiar with this links-style Scottish establishment, which boasts an interesting history.
Several years ago, course designer Archie Struthers moved a staggering 2 million cubic yards of earth to build it, with substantial elevations. The vistas give a rich eyeball perspective to the absence of trees, which is countered by dunes, deep rough and bunkers.
"The look of the course is one major thing that keeps people returning," says Scott Dunn, Twisted Dune's general manager. "The holes are separated from one another, so you have a feeling of privacy. The fescue, the sand and the stone give it a desert look and then you have the plush fairways and beautiful greens.
"One thing that is very important for players to enjoy this is to play the correct tees."
Twisted Dune has five tee boxes, ranging from a PGA-tour-like 7,248 to 4,930. Its scorecard gives players a clue for selecting the right one, listing the appropriate handicap next to the tee-box designations. Most players will choose the whites at 6,332 yards. That pertains to anyone with a handicap of 16 or higher, roughly a score of 90 or above.
Although it is temping to hit from "the tips" or back tees, golfers will be in a world of difficulty if their shots can't reach the fairway. Frustrations aside, their struggle to find balls in the high rough and fescue will slow the pace of play.
The course is loaded with traps, but not water, and the greens are generally unguarded in front. This allows for some nice punch shots that can roll onto the green. The putting surfaces are large, some are two-tiered and most have sharp, interesting breaks.
Among Dunn's favorites is the ninth, a par 5 that plays 495 from the whites. An elevated tee provides a clubhouse view and long hitters can consider trying to reach the green in two.
"It's a great risk-reward hole," Dunn says. "It is one of the few holes that include water, which is on the left side. The fairway breaks right to left as does the green. Even if you think you can get home in two, you must usually start the second shot to the right and let it come back in. I've seen shots hit on the green and roll all the way across, going into the water.
"The safe play is to lay up with your second shot and have a shorter approach to the green."
The club lists hole 4 as its toughest challenge. It plays 517 from the whites and travels uphill, often into a wind. Those factors can add 50 yards to the hole.
Thirteen is an interesting par 3, and is practically a tee-to-green, or all-or-nothing hole. Rough and fescue run from the tee box to a small landing area just beside the green. A bailout bunker to the left will also catch a few shots. If the drive isn't long and straight, players will pick their poison: water on the right, unplayable rough or the bunker.
Twisted Dune Golf Club
WHERE: 2101 Ocean Heights Ave., Egg Harbor Township
HOW MUCH: June 21 to Sept. 2: Mondays to Thursdays $79 before noon, $70 noon to $3 p.m., $60 after 3 p.m. Fridays to Sundays, $99 before noon, $79 noon to 3 p.m., $65 after 3 p.m.
Sept. 3 to Oct. 20: Mondays to Thursdays $79 before noon, $70 noon to 3 p.m., $60 after 3 p.m. Fridays to Sundays, $89 before noon, $75 noon to 3 p.m., $65 after 3 p.m.
AMENITIES: Pro shop, driving range, snack bar, chipping and putting greens, teaching academy.
TEE TIMES: Available up to 10 days in advance
MORE INFO: Call 609-653-8019 or go to TwistedDune.com