For a Great Dunes Tee Time, You'll Have to Wait (88 Days); the Historic Short Course Is Closed for Maintenance during Non-Peak Months

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Byline: MIKE MORRISON

JEKYLL ISLAND - The historic Great Dunes golf course, a relic of the millionaire era of this barrier island off Brunswick, has been closed temporarily.

The course will remain closed during a period of low demand but will reopen on Oct. 1, said Eric Garvey, director of marketing for Jekyll Island State Park.

"Great Dunes has been put in a rotation with the adjacent Oleander course, and we're not going to keep it open during the hot summer." Garvey said. "We will take Oleander out of play on Nov. 1."

Both courses will be open during times of high demand, including the month of October and March through May.

This is the first year of the rotation plan, which Garvey said is not related to the controversial development plans for the island.

"The demand for all of our golf drops off significantly as we roll into the traditional summer vacation season," Garvey said.

Most summer activities are related to the beach, but golf play picks up toward the end of September, he said.

The down time also will facilitate maintenance on the two courses and reduce the demand on the overtaxed well used to irrigate them, Garvey said.

Some people think the closure means Great Dunes is in the cross-hairs of developers.

"I think they've got their eyes on it," said Rudy Zocchi, an island resident and former volunteer worker at Great Dunes.

Great Dunes, with views of the ocean, is the state park's only nine-hole course. Golfers who wish to play nine holes can do so at any of the three 18-hole courses. Harry Kicklighter, Jekyll Island's director of golf, said he's heard no negative comments since Great Dunes closed at the end of May.

"During the winter, it would be an issue," he said. "Too many people come here in the winter to play all of the courses."

Zocchi said it's an issue already.

"It's a shame that it's closed because of the people who used it," he said. "Elderly people played it because of the shorter holes, and parents played with their children there. …