Situated on the lower north coast in the Port Stephens area of New South Wales, the 18-hole Pacific Dunes course is the focal point of a multi-million dollar golf and residential development.
Architect James Wilcher, a former member of the Greg Norman design team, laid out the Pacific Dunes course and it opened in 2005, around the same time as another of his acclaimed creations, The Cut in Dawesville, Western Australia.
With fairways built on land that was used to mine sand ten years previously, the regeneration of the property has been of major environmental benefit to the area – and with such excellent drainage, golfers enjoy a course that is in play whatever the weather.
The holes at Pacific Dunes are laid out in two distinct 9-hole circuits with the opening holes winding through Angophora and Swamp Mahogany trees and the back nine playing around a stunning lake and wetland setting.
The short par four 3rd hole is a favourite of many. Measuring 330 yards, it’s a right dogleg played to a small raised green fronted by a deceptive fairway swale. Water appears at all but one of the holes on the inward half so be prepared to lose a few golf balls if you stray from the fairway.
James Wilcher course architect commented as follows:
Pacific Dunes a pure golf course cut out of native scrub land as well as an area that was formally a sand mine. It has a wonderful range of holes including some spectacular par threes and some much admired short par fours.
The course has been set up to encourage a range of risk and reward opportunities but at all times ensuring there is an easier alternative for those less daring or not on their game.
The amount of repeat business is testament to the fact that we have achieved a golf course that is 'tough but fair' and certainly one that is in wonderful condition with first class playing surfaces from first to last.
As a former resident of Port Stephens I've had the good fortune to play Pacific Dunes a number of times over the years, from shortly after it opened up to most recently last year. I've had a number of lessons there and that definitely included using the driving range and adjacent practice bunker!
It's a surprisingly good course that opened following four years of development. It uses some of the old (mid-90's) sand mined bushland bordered by Medowie Rd. There are two different halves, with the front nine following narrow paths through the regrowth and a back nine that winds through man-made lakes. The fairways, significant number of bunkers and greens have always been in excellent condition. As it has matured it has become a more interesting challenge, although more and more houses do appear along the periphery every time I head back.
Both nines open with short par 4's, but neither of them play easily due to presence of hazards. The theme continues, with the treelines mandating accuracy on the front nine and water hazards adjacent to the line of play the key problem to manage on the back nine.
A golfing trip to the Port Stephens region that took in Newcastle GC, here, Nelson Bay and Horizons would be a great way to spend a few days.
My first post on top 100 courses with mixed reviews of the course and big questions on the golf courses top 100 ranking. Overall I had a enjoyable 18holes, with a tight front 9 knocking my 3 iron of the tee 5 of the 9 holes. Some well placed fairway bunkers with plenty of wild life about. Back 9 the water was a welcome addition and the ability to get the big stick out and not be afraid of the woods. I acknowledge the nice layout and setting of the course, but the greens and tee boxes are generally terrible and puts the ranking of this golf course into question . Having just played Bonville and St Michaels, the dunes greens were thick couch greens, slow and almost as bad as my backgarden lawn. This course should not be ranked anywhere close to where it is until it takes its greens seriously. All of the greens should be dug up and replaced. No practise bunker or range, all felt very basic for a course in the aus top 100.
This course is a little beauty :) Great course layout with plenty natural bushland surrounding the course that is inside a housing estate on the central coast of NSW.
Tree lined most of the way around the front 9 with excellent bunkering and great sand to hit out of should your ball make it in them. Water hazards occur on some holes throughout the back 9 which is more a wetlands type 9. The greens are true and quick here at P.D.
This course was the first I'd get to play with my brother in-law and I'll always remember this course for the fact he is no longer with us. Thankfully this day I purchased a pink P. D golf shirt and I think of him when I play in it.
Port Stephens region of NSW is a truly great place to take the family for a holiday or short break if you live in Sydney town.