When you cross the three-mile-long causeway to Sanibel Island and The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, you leave the mainland behind and enter the relaxing island realm of a course that will surprise and wow you. The golf course is the headline amenity of a vibrant club that sits in an upscale residential community. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club is proof positive that a golf course can be well under 6,000 yards and still provide as much fun and thrills as any level of player could ask for on any course. Set in a wildlife preserve, the layout is an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary that teems with birdlife and native flora. Play started here in 1973 when the first nine holes debuted. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club expanded to 18 holes in 1984, but the current layout dates back to 1995 when Mark McCumber, winner of the PGA Tour s 1988 Players Championship, completely redesigned the layout. You may wonder where the course is, because there s water everywhere and it s in play on every single hole. On a couple of the holes you ll play on a narrow spit of turf that is flanked on both sides by water all the way from tee to green. From the tips, The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club measures 5,606 yards and plays to a par of 70. The back nine is the longer and tougher portion of the playing field, but throughout the routing, one charming hole follows another here. Just be sure to bring plenty of extra golf balls. You ll have to make good swings and precise contact on your shots. The fairways are narrow and the greens are small. Only about 20 bunkers dot The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club but they are large and positioned in strategic locations. While there s a tendency to get distracted en route by the picture postcard setting, by the time you make it onto the predominantly flat and minimally undulating putting surfaces, you may feel like you can drain your putts. Smooth greens and meticulous course conditioning are hallmarks of the club. Befitting the water-everywhere theme of The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, you warm up on the facility s aquatic driving range by hitting floating golf balls. After your round the patio of the remodeled Dunes clubhouse, located right by the 18th green, is a glorious spot to enjoy delicious food as you replay your round. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club may be short in yardage, but it will be long on memories as you revel in a fun game that presents all the challenges of much bigger courses.