On the Road >> Hamilton Island

Island Adventures in the Sunshine Sate

When it comes to playing golf in Australia, destinations like the Melbourne Sandbelt, King Island and Tasmania are the first that come to mind for great golfing adventures. Queensland is definitely not rated as one of the best states for golfing in Australia but we do have a couple of gems that I have had the pleasure of playing.

A short 1 hour and 45 minute flight north from the Sunshine Coast lies the beautiful Whitsunday’s and among the many islands is Hamilton Island. As soon as we step off the plane we were greeted by the warm breeze and the sight of palm trees swaying gently in the wind. The excitement of our adventure building as we catch a glimpse of Dent Island across from us, where lies the challenging 18 hole, par 71 Championship Golf Course that promised a unique golfing adventure unlike an other.


The Golf

An early morning start to catch the ferry, the air is still and the rest of the island is fast sleep. The 10 minute ferry ride across to the golf course was not merely a mode of transportation but a precursor to the adventure that awaited us.

Whilst on the ferry the Golf Course comes into view; strung along the ridges and steep valleys of Dent Island. Designed by legendary Australian golfer Peter Thomson, along with Ross Perrett, the Hamilton Island Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course that challenges golfers of all skill levels.

As you step onto the first tee box, the opening trio of holes are all cut into a ridge on the north side of the clubhouse and ease you into the round. Then it is most definitely ‘game on’ when you reach the par-3 4th played across a scrub-filled valley to a large, undulating green that is more exposed to the wind than any other hole on the front nine.

There are two distinctly different 9-hole circuits, both of which return to the central Clubhouse which offers spectacular views over Dent Passage and the Whitsundays. The outward holes have a more compact layout, and the inward are strung out along the ridges to the south.

The layout takes full advantage of the island’s natural contours and features undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and stunning ocean vistas from almost every hole. As you make your way through the course, you’ll encounter a variety of unique challenges that test your accuracy, strategy, and decision-making skills.

On the back 9 a couple of standout holes present themselves, the 15th a long downhill par 4 which stretches out towards the ocean and the downhill 16th par-3 played from an elevated tee box. Perched high above the waters of the Whitsundays Passage to the right, the smallish green has been carved out of a steep hill to the left and only those tee shots that finish short or on the putting surface will provide the opportunity of making a par.

The 17th hole, called the “Valley of the Giants,” is another memorable experience. Here, you’ll find yourself hitting your tee shot from an elevated position, surrounded by towering eucalyptus trees that frame the fairway, creating a sense of seclusion and tranquility.

No matter what the scorecard looks like at the conclusion of your round at Hamilton Island, you will have had a great time. There are some fun shots and holes, there are also plenty of tough ones thrown into the mix. But there is also the sensory overload of visually striking views, the smell of the sea and feel of the tropical sun that guarantees any day on the course at Hamilton Island is bound to be a memorable one.

Best time to visit: May to November – particularly during the Victorian or the NSW winter. The wet season is from January to March, but you still get the island breeze when hot.

Best non-golf amenities: Snorkelling, hiking on the Island or and a day trip by boat around the Whitsundays.

There’s plenty to do during your stay on Hamilton Island. You can enjoy a wide selection of bars and restaurants, an abundance of water sports and activities – and that’s just the start, the Wildlife park is a favourite for families and for adrenalin junkies take an off-road adventure tour, lounge by one of the many island pools or indulge in a massage or spa treatment.


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