A two-hour drive northwest of Adelaide, lies the top of the beautiful Yorke Peninsula and a most unlikely modern golf development known as The Dunes Port Hughes. Designed by Greg Norman, the 9-hole Copperclub course at Port Hughes was completed in 2012 and intended to be part of a larger 18-hole golf complex. Sadly, an overly ambitious developer and ill-conceived masterplan prevented the development from being successful, and left golfers in the area with only nine holes that they typically play twice.
The primary golf concern with The Dunes Port Hughes, was the set back of the golf course from what is an attractive South Australian coastline. The golf occupies a rectangle of land more than a kilometer from the coast in most places, and separated from the water by a series of housing precincts. It was clearly a mistake for a remote golf development like this to prioritise the residential land to such a degree over the golf. Additionally, the developers financial fundamentals here were apparently questionable, given the project was placed in receivership shortly after the first nine holes were completed. It seems unlikely that the remaining holes will ever be built, given the facility is now managed, at an apparent loss, by a reluctant local council.
Greg Norman is far from the first signature golf course designer to be involved in a failed development, but plans for 2,000 home sites on a compromised and remote piece of land probably should have raised alarm bells. His design here at The Dunes Port Hughes is somewhat uninspired, although likely to have been hampered by a client with limited, and shrinking, resources. The holes essentially run up and back along the narrow property with shaping done to create faux-dunes on the otherwise flat landscape. Although the couch fairways and Bentgrass greens are typically well maintained, from a design standpoint the most memorable feature is the double green at the 2nd and 5th separated by a shared, central bunker.