Dale Dunlop is “The Maritime Explorer,” and he’s traveled the world and written about it from his home base in St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia for more than three decades. South Carolina and its Lowcountry have been among Dale’s countless global visits, which have included golfing excursions to each of Mike Strantz’s masterpiece designs at Caledonia and True Blue.
Dale’s love for Strantz’s work prompted him to offer his own hole-by-hole insights he gleaned from his experience at Caledonia. Here, in the second of three parts, is Dale’s take on holes 7-12 of his Caledonia journey:
Hole 7 – “Mike Strantz gave left handers a break on #5, but now on #7 he’s done the opposite. There’s nothing but trouble all the way down the left-hand side of this hole, from tee to green. To make matters worse, you need to be on the left-hand side of the fairway to avoid the huge live oak that perfectly guards the green from a right-side approach. Once again, putting away the driver and using a wood off the tee is the only sensible way to play this hole. Off course, I didn’t listen to this advice I gave myself and promptly hit my drive in the drink.”
Hole 8 – “After the idiocy on #7 I did take my advice on this hole, hitting a wood off the tee, using the range finder to get the proper yardage for the layup, actually making the layup, pitching on with a short wedge and two putting for par. Reading that back, there’s a lot that could have gone wrong and didn’t. The picture shows my position for the third shot at about 90 yards away. #8 is a hole that will reward patience and punish needless bravado.”
Hole 9 – “The only problem is that the green has little depth and (on the day I played) the pin is placed at the very front – a sucker’s pin for sure. Even though I know that, I’m pumped after playing the last hole properly and decide that I can get close with the right wedge, but which one? I don’t have a clue, pick a sand wedge and appropriately enough, get to hit it twice in a row as I come up short.”
Hole 10 – “#10 is the only par five on the back and it’s mid-distance lengthwise for my handicap, but quite parable if you just keep it in play. There’s lots of room to hit a driver, just avoid those bunkers on the left. The second shot is also wide open, and if you’re like most golfers, you’ll still be at least 150 yards out for the third shot which is to a small green. Like #8, three decent, not necessarily great shots, will reward the patient golfer.”
Hole 11 – “#11 is not rated a hard hole, but believe me, for left handers, it’s one tricky little bastard. With a natural fade this should be an easy shot – just take it out to the right and let it drift left into the green which runs in the same direction as that ball flight … The problem is that there are trees on the right-hand side that make this type of shot tricky. Avoid the trees and you should have a birdie putt. Hit them like I did and you fight for a bogey. However, it’s a very pretty hole to look at and next time I’ll choke up on a 5 and go right at the pin.”
Hole 12 – “Things start to get real serious starting on #12. This is a 384-yard par four that requires a half decent carry over water and sand and then what, for most, will be either a wood or a hybrid long iron to another green that is protected by a big live oak. I’m starting to think that Mike really had a thing about live oaks because he left enough of them around the greens to make one think about carrying a chain saw for the next round. Seriously though, live oaks are majestic trees that, to me, symbolize the south and I never get tired of seeing them, even if they do have a propensity for getting between me and the pin.”