With the busy schedule that so many of us have these days, it's not always easy to get in a full round of golf.
Sometimes, nine holes is just right. Throw in beautiful views and a breeze off the ocean, and you have a perfect quick round of golf.
Where does one go to find just such a treat? My quest took me to Island Dunes Country Club on South Ocean Drive in Jensen Beach. Located about 3.5 miles north of the round-a-bout at Jensen Beach Boulevard and State Road A1A, this track offers a nice get-away from the normal.
Island Dunes plays to a par of 31 from four sets of tees and measures from 1,738 yards to 2,126 yards long. There are four par-4s and five par-3s. While there is no driving range at the course, there are a few sets of tees and nets for those wanting to get in a few full swings before heading to the first tee.
The first hole may be the most difficult par-3s on the course. Playing anywhere from 113- to 170- yards and playing due east, you can find yourself hitting anything from a wedge to a middle iron or hybrid depending on how the wind is blowing.
One of my buddies reports that when he plays a second nine the wind sometimes picks up so much in just a couple hours that he has to hit two to three clubs more just to get to the green.
The second hole is your first par-4. In addition to being the shortest of the par-4s, this hole also has the widest fairway. If you struggle to get the ball on the fairway here, you need to watch out for the mangroves and wetlands the rest of your round.
The third hole is a beautiful par-3. Measuring just 106 yards from the back, there is no excuse for missing the green here. If you do, you will find a challenging pitch or chip or bunker shot to a severely sloped green.
After a couple more par-3s and a short par-4, you come to the most challenging par-4 on the course, the 360-yard seventh. You tee shot here must hug the left side of the fairway or you will be blocked out and forced to hit a blind approach to a small green. Also, the longer your drive is, the narrower the fairway becomes and you become more likely to find a bunker or waste area. If you miss this green, you are better off if your ball lands left or short of the green.
The par-3 eighth is Island Dunes signature hole, and it is beautiful. In fact, the ride along the raised wooden bridge through the mangroves to the tee is soothing by itself.
Playing to 145- yards from the back tees, your tee shot must carry the mangroves and wetlands and land on a green that is only about 45- feet deep with the Indian River sitting behind. It's an intimidating shot, as you have to take in the wind, the carry over the hazard, and yet try not to hit the ball onto the beach beyond.
The finishing hole is a beautiful, but frightfully narrow, 353-yard par-4 that runs along the river. The more you hug the river side of the fairway, the better your angle will be for your approach. A quirky feature of this hole is a short "Green Monster" wall that runs along the mangroves down the right side as you near the green. If you hit your tee shot far enough, you can play the carom and find your ball back in the fairway with a short wedge to a well-protected green.
Island Dunes may not have monster yardage to intimidate the best players, but it does have very undulating greens and some narrow areas that will penalize wayward shots. Best of all, it's an easy course to walk, and with the breeze off the ocean or the river, it's a pleasurable way to enjoy a round. There is also public beach access just a few hundred yards away, so you can drop off the non-golfers for some beach time while you get in a quick nine.
For more information, contact Island Dunes Country Club at (772) 229-2739.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.