Gary Koch reflects on Mystic Dunes


Sean Dudley

Like fine wine, a golf course sometimes needs time to mature into the great final product that was envisioned when the first seed was planted. Small tweaks are made in the formative years. Trees mature. Mowing habits change. And finally, after a few years of trial and error, and with the helping hand of Mother Nature, a golf course settles into its final stage.

The true test comes when the designer returns to play the course after all of these changes have occurred. And that was the case for Mystic Dunes Golf Club recently when architect, PGA Senior Tour player and NBC golf commentator Gary Koch teed it up on the course he created almost eight years before.

”I am very pleased with how things turned out,” said Koch, reflecting on the visit. “Mystic Dunes does a good job of keeping the course maintained. It is in fine shape.”

Koch was given an unusual assignment when he signed on with Tempus Resorts to design Mystic Dunes. His charge was to create a unique layout for the Orlando area, and to make it a layout that would send people away buzzing about what they had seen.

“It was a luxury to design,” he said. “It was a unique opportunity, as the owners wanted something that people would talk about. I'd say we accomplished that.”

When asked about the maturity of the course Koch said: “The course has matured well. Mystic Dunes management had to compromise some design features to accommodate changes, such as losing a tree that was left intentionally in the layout, but again, the staff did a great job in working with these factors.”

Koch also had positive comments about the golf experience being served up by the Mystic Dunes staff. “The level of service is great,” he said. “The staff does a great job of making an impression on guests, and there is a keen level of ownership pride. Overall the playability, the fun factor, and the service were great.”