The following is an edited extract from Remarkable Golf Courses by Iain Spragg:
“A resort town established in 1978, Matarangi has a resident population of just 350 people for most of the year but between the summer months of December and February that number swells to more than 7,000. Many of them head directly to The Dunes to enjoy a round on the sandy Coromandel Peninsula.
Laid out against the stunning backdrop of Whangapou Harbour, the white sand of Mataragi beach and Castle Rock, The Dunes was designed by Bob Charles, and although it only stretches to a modest 6,162 metres because of the restricted space on the panoramic peninsula, it is nonetheless a par 73 challenge.
The course’s signature hole is the 1st, a par four which affords uninterrupted views of Mercury Bay from the tee. The 3rd through to the 8th holes all feature water to varying degrees, the par three 7th is the pick of the bunch with its prolonged carry over a substantial manmade lake.
The mystery of how such a seemingly short course in terms of yardage can be rated a par 73 is solved on the back nine. The 10th is the first of a quartet of par fives on the way home and although The Dunes finishes with a par three, it is all about the distance on the closing holes on the very furthest tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.”