Maui is unique to the rest of Hawaii because it is actually made up of the remains of two volcanoes linked together by a valley or isthmus formed by the receding sea. Hence the name “Valley Isle.” The Dunes is the only golf course in Hawaii built on naturally occurring dune terrain.
Minimal earth-moving occurred when The Dunes was designed, which was a departure from the modern-day American course architecture that has ruled for much of the last century.
Instead, its architect, Robin Nelson, used the land itself as inspiration for the course’s design. It is, in many ways, a throwback to the way courses were made centuries ago; only in this instance The Dunes enjoys the advantages of today’s technologies, like irrigation. It is the perfect blend of old- and new-world ingredients!
“I remember when I first saw it,” Nelson said of the land on which The Dunes is built. “You’re lucky if you get one of these sites in a lifetime.”
Nelson’s greatest contribution was his ability to see the land for what it is, to shape the holes according to what he was given by nature, and to afford special consideration to preserving cultural areas in the landscape. Therein lies Nelson’s wisdom and rigid desire to leave the ancient land unspoiled, and link the past to the present.