Course Architect: Gary Koch
Year Opened: 2001
Location: Celebration, Florida
Slope: 145. Rating: 75.0
Par: 71
Yardage: 7,012
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 375 Yds    10 - Par 4 350 Yds
                      2 - Par 4 508 Yds    11 - Par 3 177 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 428 Yds    12 - Par 4 434 Yds
                      4 - Par 4 344 Yds    13 - Par 4 419 Yds
                      5 - Par 3 175 Yds    14 - Par 4 496 Yds
                      6 - Par 5 510 Yds    15 - Par 4 366 Yds
                      7 - Par 3 200 Yds    16 - Par 5 546 Yds
                      8 - Par 5 571 Yds    17 - Par 3 249 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 379 Yds    18 - Par 4 485 Yds
                      Par 36  3,490 Yds     Par 35  3,522 Yds

Awards Won: Rated four stars - Golf Digest's - Best Places to Play (2004-08),
            Ranked #2 by - Orlando's Top 5 Golf Courses,
            Ranked #2 by - Orlando's Top 5 Golf Courses,
            Top-100 Best Resort Golf Courses - Golfweek Magazine (2007).

Key Events Held: Buick Scramble National Championships (2005),
                 PGA Pro-Pro Series Tournament (2005-07),
                 Darrell Armstrong Celebrity Golf Tournament (2005-07),
                 AJGA Medicus Preseason Junior Series (2007).


HISTORY: Open just a few seasons, Mystic Dunes Golf Club has received rave
reviews, including four stars by Golf Digest's, Best Places to Play. Designed
by tour player and NBC golf analyst Gary Koch, Mystic Dunes is an exciting
track featuring elevation changes, rolling fairways and sand dunes, wetland
areas and beautiful vegetation. Mystic Dunes is just minutes from the Magic
Kingdom of Walt Disney World and is home to the Advantage Golf School.

In 2007, the course went through a re-certification of its slope and rating
and the USGA awarded Mystic Dunes with a course rating of 75, up from 74.3 and
a slope of 145, an increase of eight points. "Since opening a few years ago,
our landscape has had a chance to mature, offering golfers a truly unique
experience on one of the area's most beautiful courses," stated Head Golf Pro
Rick Smith.

To make matters worse, or better, depending upon how you see things, Mystic
Dunes' greens were just named among the most difficult in all of golf by the
2008 PGA Professional's Guide to travel. "We are pleased with the growth and
maturity of the course since our first rating," acknowledged Melissa Suttles,
General Manager at Mystic Dunes Golf Club. "Although the slope rating did
increase, the course is still a fair, yet challenging test for every player."

REVIEW:  The course opens with a solid, dogleg right par four, just 375 yards
from the back buttons. Your tee shot must favor the left side, as you must
carry over a sandy waste area that traverses the entire right side, in
addition to the native love grasses. A short iron  approach is  left to  a
somewhat  crowned  green, surrounded by tightly  shaved areas. A solid shot at
birdie  to start your  round.

Your first real test comes at the second, a U.S. Open  type par four,
stretching 508 yards, yes, 500 plus from the tips. A big ball  down the left
side is needed just to reach the corner of the fairway as it  bends to the
right. From there, well, a fairway metal is required to have any  chance of
getting home in two. The green is very undulating, guarded only on  the  right
with a  pot bunker and  by shaved slopes.  Quite a hole to talk about, even if
you make bogey.

The third is a straightaway par four with trees right  and  left, plus  a
fairway bunker  to the left.  The putting surface is quite difficult and very
deep, so club selection on your approach shot will be key. Three pot bunkers
to the left of the green do not come into play, however a  trap long  and
right will catch  any misplayed shots. Take par and move on.

The fourth is a relatively simple par four with a wide fairway, as it moves to
the  right. The  landing area is highlighted by four traps which challenge the
player  as he or she decides  the angle of attack. The percentage play is
three-metal off  the tee  and a  little wedge  to a  sloping, sandless  green.
Slopes  and hollows protect the left side of the surface, but this hole can be

One of the  many signature holes at Mystic Dunes, the fifth is the shortest
par three on  the course,  featuring an island green. This clever one shotter
is fronted by  water and  sand and  on both  sides by  collection areas.  If
the  wind is blowing,  your  choice of  clubs will  be quite difficult.  The
green is quite narrow,  sloping away on both ends. Par will be a good score.

As you reach the par-five  sixth, thoughts of  eagle run through your mind, as
the hole is only 510 yards from the black tees. That however is where your
idea of getting home in two should end. First of all, the hole doglegs
severely left. Second, water and  wetlands hug the  entire left side all the
way to the green. Third, trees guard  the  right side  of the  fairway, from
the tee  towards the green. And finally,  the  putting surface has an  eight-
foot slope. Here's the plan. Take out  driver and  bomb one down the  right
side of the fairway. This will leave you  a taste of  the green. A long iron
or fairway metal may get you home, but play  to  the right, just  in case.
Pin position is  key, as the green slopes severely  from front-to-back.  With
a  front cup,  you'll be  hard pressed  to three-putt if you miss long. All in
all, birdie is a distinct possibility.

The seventh  is a lengthy par three that requires a carry over wetlands to a
long, kidney-shaped  green, with  the only  sand  trap behind  the surface.
Another sloping  green, so play center, two-putt and move on. Anything off
target will roll off into collection areas, stressing out your short game.

The sixth might have  been reachable  in two, but the  eighth, no way. It's
571 from the tips, uphill  all  the way and sand,  sand and more sand  from
tee to green down the left  side. Start off with a drive that must carry 200
yards just to reach the fairway.  Layup towards the  right side of the landing
area to set up the best approach  to the  green, which sits below the fairway.
The mounding around the putting  surface  will repel errant shots,  but the
green is fairly simple, so making birdie is a definite possibility.

The ninth hole is unique, as you look out  from the tee  box, which sits high
above the landing area. The play is to the  left side of  the fairway, thus
avoiding the series of bunkers that cross out towards the fairway. The second
shot will be uphill to a green that slopes hard  from  right-to-left and
back-to-front.  A  front  pin location  is  the easiest,  so take advantage of
the situation, play slightly long and right and let the ball feed towards the

A  perfect opportunity for  birdie awaits as you tee off on the 10th. Just 350
yards with a wide landing zone, this hole requires just a fairway metal to the
right  side of  fairway to set up  the best approach to the green. The putting
surface  can  be tricky, with  three separate levels,  but take advantage of a
middle  or  front flag  and make  three.

The 11th  is beautiful, dangerous and intimidating,  but  don't be scared.
This spectacular hole features an island green that requires a mid iron from
the tee. Water lurks everywhere, including waterfalls  to the  right and left.
Let's  not forget the sand, left, back and right  which makes club selection a
must. A back-left pin could spell doom, so play  towards the center and two-
putt for par.

The next hole is a straightaway par  four, stretching  434 yards with a
fairway bunker guarding the right side of the landing area. Play towards the
left side to set up the best approach to the  green. The  putting surface  is
elevated,  so make  sure you  have enough stick,  otherwise your shot will
roll back down towards the fairway, finishing in  a deep  valley.

Although the  13th  hole is  straightaway,  the tee  shot requires  a  draw to
avoid a  large tree and waste  area down the left side. A medium to short iron
is all that is needed to reach the green, which is fairly flat  by  Mystic
Dunes standards. One  word of caution, the collection area to the  right of
the green is quite steep,  so to err, miss left.

If you thought the  second  hole was brutal,  wait till you  step up to  the
box on 14. Eight different  teeing  areas and  you'll need  a wallop just  to
reach the fairway from  the black tee. The entire right side is waste area and
sand dunes, while the  left features more of the same with trees as you get
closer to the green. The  putting  surface is one  of the  largest on the
course with a pot bunker looming, short and right. With so many different
tiers to the green, you'll be hard-pressed  to  make four,  let alone five.

Good news and  bad news for the 15th.  The hole  only measures  366 yards,
and yes,  that is  the good  news. Unfortunately,  the fairway slopes severely
left to right with a bunker in the center  of  the grid and the  green, well,
there is  no doubt that this is the most  undulating putting surface on the
course. After a successful drive, just a wedge is left to a green split in two
by a large hump that will make putting difficult  if you miss  to the wrong
side. A pot bunker resides to the left of the green, while a deep valley looms
right. A fun hole that can put a smile or a frown on your face.

The three closing holes at Mystic Dunes are certainly no picnic,  although the
16th will most likely be your last shot at birdie. A par five that doglegs to
the right, this 546-yarder requires a belt over the trees and  sand in an
effort to cut the dogleg. From there, you'll have two options, go  for the
green in two or layup, short and right. The hole plays downhill to the  green,
however if going for it, you must carry the large sandy waste area fronting
the  surface and to the  left. The sensible play is leaving yourself with a
full sand wedge to a green that slopes from middle-to-front and away in the
back.  A front flag  will enable you  to stick it  close and make a four.

There's  no  doubt that your going  to need it as  you play 17 and 18.
Picture this.  The wind is in your face and you have 249 yards to the flag
and your on a par three. That's what can happen on the 17th, a stern,
slightly uphill hole with  a severely  undulating green. Even if  you happen
to land on the putting surface,  the  green slopes from  back-to-front and
when it's fast, you'll be hard-pressed  to keep your ball on the green if you
miss long. Par is a bonus, birdie  a miracle and  bogey, a very good score.

As you ride towards the 18th, you'll  pass  the first green  and driving
range, similar  to your trip to the second  hole.  You'll be  thinking of what
might have been  or that maybe you should  stop by for some lessons. Whatever
the case, don't forget you have one more  bear of  a hole to complete. The
closing hole on the home nine is quite demanding, as it swings from right-to-
left. It's 485 yards and a par four, not your  weak  sister. If  you play
down the  left side  to cut  off some of the yardage,  you'll run the  risk of
bringing trees and sand into play. The right side  opens up  the hole, but
you'll  be left with 200-plus to the green. From the  landing area  to the
green, the  entire right side is flanked by a bunker and  beyond that,
wetlands of no return. The putting surface is quite deep and slightly
reminiscent  of that famous mouse.  Make par on 18 and you'll forget about how
tough this course was.

OVERALL: By most standards, Gary Koch had a pretty decent career as a PGA Tour
player,  winning six times, four of which were in Florida. Koch, who calls the
Sunshine  State home, has crafted another victory with Mystic Dunes Golf Club.

First  of  all, the layout offers  surprising elevation changes, not normal to
the  region.  Sand dunes and waste  areas with majestic oaks invade the course
throughout the layout with just 36 bunkers. The venue is a tale of two cities,
with  the outward  nine driving  through century-old  trees while  the closing
holes  play  more to  a scottish-style  of rolling  fairways. When people talk
about  courses, they  always mention the signature holes. Well, how about Nos.
5,  11, 16  and  18 to  name  a  few. Secondly,  conditioning.  The course  is
immaculate.  Greens  as smooth as  glass and  reminiscent, so the starter will
tell  you,  of Augusta  National. Beautifully  manicured fairways and chipping
areas  make you wish  your lawn was as nice.

Next, the challenge. If you don't believe  that this  course will bring out
every club in the bag and test your nerve,  then  no course will.  Mystic
Dunes  features holes that question your courage, thought process and ability.
How about the practice facility you ask? The  driving range alone  is 60,000
square feet and is home to the Advantage Golf School. Not only that, the pro
shop staff are more accommodating than the doting  "cast members" at Disney.
And speaking of the pro shop, a 3,000 square foot  apparel  home to everything
your heart  desires. The clubhouse alone is 20,000  square feet.

Finally,  the price. Some might call it steep at $165 per round, but with Stay
and Play packages or off-peak rates, the price could drop to  as low  as $65.
This is  a must play, no  doubt about it. Yes, some of the buildings  that
surround  some of the holes are obtrusive, but look past that. If  you're
trying  to find something wrong,  then you're not on vacation and you have  a
bad state of  mind. If you're looking  for a challenging golf course,
beautiful layout, scenery and friendly people, then you're in the right place.
The course offers a wide variety of tee boxes, as it ranges from 4,665 to over
7,000 yards, so it's a course for all levels of play. Let's not forget the GPS
units  on  all carts to make  life easier when  selecting a club for your next
shot  or  ordering lunch. The  drawback is that this  is not a walking course,
especially  when some of  the cart rides take a lengthy time to reach the next

Mystic Dunes has all the answers. There are over 700 spacious villa
accommodations, featuring one, two or three bedrooms, with all the amenities -
fully equipped kitchens, Whirlpool bath in the master bedroom, Internet
service, washer and dryer, 52" large screen televisions and screened patios.
Let's not forget the four heated pools, Dunes Lagoon, a two-acre water
recreation area with a two-story waterslide, miniature golf, tennis and
basketball courts, fine dining and of course, the outstanding golf club.

Remember, you're  just minutes  from Disney, so your significant other won't
mind a quick morning round, after which you're back in the park before noon.
Mystic Dunes is an eagle of a course that will only get better with age.
The key here is to choose the correct set of tees. You have five choices, from
the red markers at 4,665 yards to the black buttons stretching over 7,000

On my first visit to Mystic Dunes, I opened with the back tees and struggled
mightily. So after some soul searching and the realization of getting older
and wiser, I decided to play from the blue markers on my second sojourn to the
resort. Although my score was similar to the first, I thoroughly enjoyed the
layout and can't wait for a return round. Mr. Koch, stop broadcasting and
design more courses like this. You're right on the mark.