Wild Dunes Resort put the Charleston, S.C., area on the golf destination map more than 44 years ago when Tom Fazio built the Links Course. Located on the barrier island of Isles of Palms 18 miles north of Charleston’s historic district, the Links was a young Fazio’s first solo design away from his then-more famous uncle, George.
With its signature par-five, 18th hole that finished along the Atlantic Ocean, the Links, it can be argued, also was an important building block in the foundation of Fazio’s illustrious career that continues to this day.
That was in 1979. Fazio returned to Wild Dunes in 1985 to create the Harbor Course, which stretches from the barrier island’s salt marches and lagoons to the Intracoastal.
Over the years, Mother Nature’s tropical storms and hurricanes – most notably Hurricane Hugo in 1989 – have changed the Wild Dunes landscape. Erosion, for example, in 2015 forced a change on the 18th hole of the links from its par-five to a 200-yard, par-three.
But a return to a par-four – or perhaps a par-five layout – for the Links is on the drawing board as part of a larger renovation for the Harbor course. The Harbor will receive the brunt of the $8 million upgrades and enhancements project. The course is scheduled to close in March 2024 and reopen in October 2024 with a new irrigation system and new greens and tees. The Links Course will remain open during the renovation of the Harbor.
“The (Harbor) was built 40 years ago, so now is the time to renovate like we did to the Links in 2015,’’ said Jeff Minton, director of sports ar Wild Dunes Resort. “We want to bring the greens back to their original sizes and change out the irrigation system so we can water more efficiently. And the cart paths will be replaced.’’
Fazio’s design team, Minton said, will assist in the renovation.
“We’ll probably add some strategic bunkers that make sense and remove some, as well enlarge some tee areas. There won’t be any routing changes so that the original holes won’t be much different at all.’’
The $8 million renovation is the latest reinvestment in Wild Dunes. The resort and its partners have invested more than $150 million in property renovations since 2021, with the new signature hotel, The Sweetgrass Inn. Featuring 153 rooms, The Sweetgrass Inn also includes a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art spa, 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a 3,000-square-foot rooftop bar, and a pool deck. Additionally, the resort added five new pickleball courts to support the sport’s growing demand and popularity.
“For those who have not experienced golf at Wild Dunes,’’ Minton said, “from the moment you step foot on the property and are greeted by our friendly team, you will know you are somewhere special.”
Feature Photo: The Harbor Course (Wild Dunes Resort)