The Whitsundays, in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef, is world famous for sun, golden sands, and the turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. It seems fitting therefore, that the region’s premier golf course truly embodies the breathtaking beauty of this region. That course is Hamilton Island Golf Club.
A common piece of advice given to amateur golfers is ‘keep your head down’. At no other golf course in the world is following this advice more difficult than this incredible destination. Launching a white golf ball into the tropical blue sky, and seeing it come down onto lush green fairways, lined by crystal blue Whitsunday waters is an experience no golfer will ever forget.
Hamilton Island Golf Club is not actually located on Hamilton Island, but across a short channel on nearby Dent Island, which the golf course solely occupies. Access to Hamilton Island is available via the airport, or if you’re like me and wish to add a spectacular ferry trip across the seas and in between the world-famous Whitsunday Islands to your day, then the ferry services with Cruise Whitsundays are thoroughly recommended.
Included in your green fees is the boat ride from Hamilton Island to Dent Island. On this boat ride the anticipation of seeing more of the undulating fairways come into the view, really gets the heart racing. Arriving at Dent Island, you are taken to the magnificent clubhouse. The clubhouse is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or drink whilst gazing upon the views of the Coral Sea. Before your round, make sure you visit the Pro Shop and stock up on golf balls.
Designed by five-time British Open winner, Peter Thomson, Hamilton Island Golf Course is the ultimate golfing experience. The course layout is designed around maximising views of the surrounding ocean and islands, with many elevated tee boxes and greens. The fairways are lush, and although wide, place a premium of accuracy as any ball off the fairway is lost.
Accurate driving presents opportunities to attack the fast, yet soft greens that are guarded by deep bunkers. If you can draw your eyes away from the breathtaking views, reading and putting these greens is a dream.
To many golfer’s relief, the course is not particularly long, so Hamilton Island is perfectly playable for shorter hitters. Longer hitters, meanwhile, may can opt to use irons off the tee. I play off a handicap of 17, with a relatively long, but inaccurate driving game, solid iron play and putting, and have a respectable short game. I found the course challenging but not impossible, and good shots were certainly rewarded. Driving most Par 4’s would leave me either an easy wedge in or a lost ball and unwelcomed drop. After a few too many lost balls, I switched to my driving iron, which turned out to be a smart decision leaving me with mid irons onto the greens.
Each hole at Hamilton Island is a highlight and worthy of special mention, but holes 11 to 17 make for a particularly beautiful challenge as the fairways and greens loop around the southern end of Dent Island. Other highlights are the Par 3, 4th, 14th and 16th holes that are incredible beyond words. Each of these Par 3’s require a carry over deep ravines onto greens that are seemingly floating out on the ocean from the view from the tee box. These are true birdie or triple bogey holes.
At the end of 18 holes, I scored a 24 over par, 95. I set myself the goal of shooting under 100, so I was quite pleased, particularly with a birdie on the Par 5 11th. Playing golf on Hamilton Island is an experience I will never forget, and something every golfer must tick off their bucket list.
Hamilton Island Golf Club – www.hamiltonislandgolfclub.com.au/
This blog was written by Daniel Brown for Tourism Whitsundays.
Cover image credit: @hamiltonisland