"So I jump ship in Hong Kong, make my way over to The Dunes golf links."
Most golfers in Melbourne have ventured down to the Mornington Peninsula to play golf.
It's a most of the day trip that takes you from the suburbs to a place that is just made for golf.
One of the standouts in this area is The Dunes.
Opened in 1995, the 27 hole layout of this complex is open to the public, but still has membership available. The complex has a nine hole course named "The Cups", which is perfect for those golfers who just want a quick nine or are learning the game and want a golf course that sets up a little easier. The holes are shorter, the rough is lower and the bunkers are not as deep. Not the world's best nine hole course, but still worth having a hit on.
The other course here is the magnificent "Dunes" course. When you think of the term "links golf", you think of a golf course that has just been made from the existing wind swept, by the ocean, natural land, without much done to it in terms of building. Greens just seem to be put in places and the golf course flows from one to the next without much man-made interference. This is what The Dunes is.
The rise and fall of the holes is as natural looking as you will get down in this part of the Peninsula. The surrounding sand dunes push long par 5's and par 4's through them with ease and at the high points of the golf course, reveal some spectacular views. There are many holes on this course that will test your game and every aspect of it. Tee shots call for blind faith, perfect placement and crossed fingers when the wind is up. To score well, you will need an all round game and a lot of luck.
Some of the best holes at The Dunes are:
1st - From the Tombstone tees you will need to flirt your drive with the fairways bunkers on the right to give yourself a shorter way home to this uphill par 4. The green is tough to navigate as well and shots towards the back will leave a very fast putt back down the hill.
3rd - This short par 3 is at one of the highest points of the course and the wind will determine how you play it. Only 148m from the back tees, but another sloping green means this is no push over. Be happy with par.
4th - Club choice from this elevated tee is what makes this hole tough. Take the driver and you risk getting too close to the green to stop your second, short of the fairway bunker is the play. It leaves you with a full wedge in. Trouble abounds over the back and right of this tight green.
5th - There is a big white rock on the hill in front of you and this is the perfect line to drive your ball. Make sure the group in front is out of range first though. This par 5 can be reached in 2, but make sure you have plenty of club. The false front to this green will roll your ball back to your feet from 50 out.
8th - Take out the driver and try to shape your shot around the fairway bunkers short left. If you can, you will have a shot at the green, if not you may be too far back to reach it. Do not leave your second shot out to the right as it will fall away to an area you may not find it in.
11th - Another one of those holes where you have little confidence in the line or the club off the tee. If you blaze driver, you will have to aim further right, but left will leave you much further in. Take your medicine or go for it? This hole is a ripper.
12th - This 537 meter par 5 is an absolute monster. Most of the time it plays into the wind and after getting a drive onto the fairway the hard part begins. A huge sand dune to your left and waste areas to your right means you have to thread a long fairway wood perfectly to have a chance at getting there in 3 shots. As usual, the green is tough as well, so par here is well earned.
14th - This par 4 back up the hill has a tombstone tee set well back into the dune. You may be thinking this hole is a little shorter than most, but after coming off the tough 13th, you may be looking for a birdie? The blind second shot will test your metal. Make sure you do not go long as you will most likely not find your ball.
16th - Another par 5 that needs perfect accuracy from the tee and after your second. There is more room right off the tee than you think and keep away from the left throughout the entire hole. The green is full of lumps and bumps so take the 2 putt with joy and move on.
18th - Another blind faith shot from the tee. Over the hill your ball will go, but keep it way from the right and the left. Balls hit too far right will really take some finding and the re-load is suggested. The second shot requires a little more club than you think as it is severely uphill. This hole can really ruin a round right at the death. Good luck!
Of course, we could've gone through just about every hole on this golf course and praised them one by one, but you get the picture don't you? It doesn't matter what hole you pick from the 18 on The Dunes layout, you will find a great golf hole that is a tough test. You will also really enjoy the bunkering around this layout. They are deep, but they are fair and they frame some of the greens and fairways beautifully.
19th Hole 12/15
Perhaps the best time to play here is the first Tuesday of every month. This is when The "The Tombstone Challenge" is run and golfers play off the stick from the very back plates on every hole. If you like a challenge, this one will really test you. It's pure public access and it's pure bliss at The Dunes. Make a tee time and go play it!