The Dunes Golf Links opened in 1997 amongst the pristine sandhills of The Mornington Peninsula. It was designed by local architect, Tony Cashmore, who spent years reshaping and reconfiguring the course that was previously known as Limestone Valley. Mr Cashmore’s skill and tireless devotion to the project is largely responsible for turning the course into one of Australia’s most popular public golf courses.
Very rarely will a public access course reach the lofty standards of The Dunes. Consistently ranked in the top 20 golf courses in Australia, it has helped influence significant change to the golfing narrative in this country. Without doubt one of the most significant layouts constructed in the last 20 years, it fully seizes the rare qualities of true links golf. The ongoing success and popularity of The Dunes is testament to the quality of the layout. At its longest the course measures 6,459 metres and cleverly, it manages to provide sufficient challenge to better players without being too intimidating and punishing for the higher handicapped.
The Dunes has 18 truly enjoyable holes. Even the previously unlikable 6th hole on the old layout, which now joins the ranks thanks to a raised tee and a reachable green, it is a 208-metre par 3 that needs an accurate running shot to hit the mark. Two other significant changes at The Dunes since the course opening are to the 15th and 16th holes. The par 5 16th is the longest hole at 505 metres and is a stunning example of risk reward. Oddly, it plays to the old 16th green but is approached from an entirely different angle having been newly developed from a neighbouring property.
Across The Dunes layout, it is very hard to single out holes for praise, as they all hold elements of attraction. To quote Tony Cashmore, this was due to the fact the land either “yielded natural golf vistas or was deliberately fashioned to excite the golfer’s eye from the moment he or she sets on the tee”. The back nine par 3s provide stunning shots at the 160-metre 13th and 179-metre 17th holes, and another clear stand-out is the short but challenging par 4 4th – only 310 metres but fraught with danger for the overly aggressive. The par 5 5th – unreachable in 2 and features a partially blind tee shot further complicated by a dangerous collection of bunkers; the sweeping left and escalating 8th; and alluring approaches to the 10th and 18th are also worth a mention.
After playing the Dunes, settle in for a nice beverage and then perhaps avail yourselves of the 9-hole Cups Course on site to settle any bets!
Accolades include being ranked among the Top 20 courses in Australia for the past 15 years. The Dunes consistently ranks as Victoria’s #1 public access course and must be part of any golfing itinerary to the region.