Built on the edge of the Southern Ocean, Ocean Dunes Golf Course feels more like it is on the edge of the world! Located on Australia’s King Island, just getting here isn’t the easiest of efforts.
But in our travels, we have found the places that take the most effort are almost always the most memorable. We have learned to trust our instincts and follow the seemingly unpromising roads. Going the extra mile that it takes to get to that great coffee shop that you’ve heard so much about. Arriving at that perfectly secluded beach that was so far out of the way. Or searching that back alley to finally find the delicious noodle house that you still tell your friends about. Because it is always in those places that we have been rewarded with the most unforgettable experiences. Our journey to Ocean Dunes was exactly like that!
We made the trip with Mr. Greg Ramey, the owner of the wonderful Ratho Farm, and the heart and soul of Barnbougle. He and his great mate Rod had invited us to join them for a weekend of golf on King Island.
King Island is a small island of Tasmania, which is an island off Australia. An island off an island, off an island you might say. It doesn’t get much more edge of the world than that! We told you it isn’t an easy place to get to!
A Perfect Day for Golf
With an afternoon return flight back to Tasmania, we had an early morning tee time. It was cool but similar to our previous day’s round at Cape Wickham Golf Links, we arrived to find calm conditions. This part of the world lies on what is known as the Roaring Forties, the strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere.
But our day couldn’t have been calmer! Armed with light jackets to protect us from the early morning cool, the morning sun was just beginning to rise, and the colors of the day were already brilliant! The dark ominous clouds of the edge of the world provided a beautiful contrast to the stunning background.
Ocean Dunes measures 6946-yards from the back Black tees, and 5410 from the forward Red tees. Too much golf for me, I settle on the 6565-yard White tees. Par is 72 at Ocean Dunes.
The Front Nine at Ocean Dunes
Dunluce is the name of the dogleg right 539-yard par 5 opening hole. Reminiscent of the famous Himalaya bunker found at St. Enodoc Golf Club, the right-side fairway bunker on the opening hole at Ocean Dunes is one of the biggest bunkers we have ever seen! Ensure you do everything to avoid it! Menekse smartly played up on the left side of the fairway. Following her lead, I also approached the green from the left, avoiding the ball-grabbing bunkers short.
Old Track is the incredibly long and difficult 477-yard par 4 number one handicap third hole. With the ocean on your right, this is an intimidating tee shot, especially so early in the round. Being a slight dogleg right, it is possible to take an aggressive line down the right side. Assuming you reach the crest in the fairway, your approach is downhill to a well-protected green. Making par here is something you could feel immensely proud about!
The Greatest Golf Hole at Ocean Dunes
Named Disphyma, the 143-yard par 3 fourth hole is the signature hole at Ocean Dunes. The pin was placed on the left half of the green, away from the ocean, but directly over a deep pot bunker. Grabbing a nine iron, I swung with hope and exhaled with relief when it safely landed on the left side of the green.
With the ocean crashing everywhere, Menekse absolutely nutted a driver. While it may not be the longest par three, Disphyma is simply breathtaking, and we’ve placed it in our list of greatest holes of the world.
The Back Nine at Ocean Dunes
If you think that you are ready for the back-nine at Ocean Dunes, Bay, the 223-yard par 3 tenth will certainly test your readiness! Menekse ripped another tee shot over the Southern Ocean, avoiding the treacherous bunkers on the right.
Kelpers is the 387-yard par 4 eleventh. With intimidating bunkers that divide the fairway, Greg said the best angle to the green is to play left of the bunkers. Swinging with much more confidence than the day prior at Cape Wickham, I zeroed in on his line. Once we reached the fairway bunkers, we noticed that there is more room in the fairway than it looks from the tee.
Greg pointed out an aggressive line up the right side of Pin Rushes, the uphill 296-yard par 4 thirteenth. I followed his advice with one of my best tee shots of the day, hitting my driver directly on his mark, just right of the fairway bunkers. From there, I bumped a little wedge close to the pin and set myself up for my second birdie of the day. Pin Rushes infinity green is bigger than it looks.
Look Out is the aptly named 138-yard par 3 fourteenth. From one of the higher vantage points of the golf course, the two-tiered green looks tiny at the bottom of the hill and is surrounded by nothing but trouble. Even though it is just a half wedge, a big score can bite you on a short hole.
A Win for the Ages
Like my round at Cape Wickham the day prior, I hit the ball very well but continued my sloppy play around the greens. I was, however, able to learn from the previous round and selected the shorter club on approach shots whenever I was in doubt.
Menekse played well, struggled in the fairways, but like yesterday she made some clutch putts when they counted. Like every golfer, we’re both still searching for that elusive round where we manage to put everything together. However, she managed to shave a full 7 strokes off her score from the previous day, while I shaved 11!
We again had great hosts in Greg and Rod who were an absolute joy to play with. They always gave us the perfect line; we just wish we were able to better follow directions! We played the same teams as yesterday, Greg and Menekse against Rod and me. But today Rod and I managed to win the match, which squared us up for the weekend.
Golf that Exceeds Expectations
We were completely blown away by the beauty and quality of golf at Ocean Dunes. Ranked 15th in Golf Australia magazine’s Top 100 Courses in 2020, this was by far the most underrated golf course we have ever played! It seemingly receives some digs for blind shots, but we weren’t once put off. In fact, we have played plenty of blind shots in our golf travels and have come to enjoy them.
Another knock is that the distances from green to tee on many holes would be a long walk, so taking a buggy is advisable here. But when you are surrounded by beauty, the added advantage of the cart is that you can sit and just enjoy the views.
The greens rolled pure; all we needed to do was to get it on line and give it enough speed. Overly fast greens would make the golf course too difficult to play, as there would be no way to hold putts. The fairways were manicured to perfection, and the fescue grass played firm and fast. We especially appreciate being able to play golf shots on the ground.
Ocean Dunes was on our bucket list and is easily one of the most beautiful golf courses that we have ever played. The entire golf course offers stunning views that are a postcard photographer’s dream. Everywhere we looked, the views just seemed to get better. The par 3’s at Ocean Dunes are amazing. And there are some par 4’s that are unforgettable!
Ocean Dunes Golf Course exceeded our high expectations and is worth that extra effort that it takes to get here! And once you make it, we can promise you that it will be the golf course that you will brag about to your mates for years to come!