Pin Hunting: Bear Trap Dunes

Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club in Ocean View provides golfers with one of the most unique experiences in the entire state, with three nine-hole courses that make any outing different than the last time. Known as the Grizzly, the Kodiak and the Black Bear courses, each group of holes offers something different, all while adhering to the natural lay of the land.

Coastal Point • File Photo: Bear Trap Dunes’ Black Bear Hole No. 4 is the signature hole at the Dunes in Ocean ViewCoastal Point • File Photo
Bear Trap Dunes’ Black Bear Hole No. 4 is the signature hole at the?Dunes in Ocean View

The semi-private course, designed by Rick Jacobson, a former associate of Jack Nicholas, depicts winding bentgrass fairways, coupled with native wetland grasses and the unaltered topography of a true beach destination. Depending on which courses are played, yardage varies, but on average, Bear Trap tests golfers with roughly 6,900-yard rounds, with four different tee boxes to play from.

“What makes us original,” said Brian Painter, the PGA Head Golf Professional at Bear Trap Dunes, “is our course’s use of the natural terrain. The dune settings are iconic with our proximity to the beach. There is plenty of length throughout the course, some water on the sides, and some wind to contend with. There aren’t too many trees, but the entire course is completely scenic. The humps and bumps and mounds make all of our courses an enjoyable place to play.”

With 27 holes to work with, and a rotating schedule for each, one of Bear Trap’s most notable features is the course’s upkeep. Depending on which courses are available at which times, a steady alternation allows for substantial maintenance on each of the holes, more than is typically offered on other courses.

“The one thing we hear the most,” said Painter, “is that our courses — particularly our greens — are kept in spectacular shape. A lot of people come off the course, talking about the nice roll that the ball has on the green. There aren’t too many forced carries over water, but the few hazards that we do have, and all the bunkers, will challenge golfers, no matter how well they play.”

The course’s most notable hole comes off of the Black Bear. Hole #4 on this stretch of nine is Bear Trap’s signature hole. “The Black Bear gives golfers a more complex group to play on,” Painter noted, “and hole #4 is the one they are talking about the most. It has an undulated green complex with an incredible backdrop. It’s an enjoyable par-5 that sets up for very good risk reward. Off the tee, you come out of a chute if you open with a solid drive. It can sit up nicely on a bumpy fairway, and with six or seven possible hole locations, the green makes the wedge approach an important one, too. It has a Pine Valley look to it, too.”

For more information about Bear Trap Dunes, including scheduling a tee time, call the pro shop at (302) 537-5600.