Hamilton Island Resort dates from the 1980's.
Like a number of other island Queensland's island getaways, Hamilton Island had a turbulent history until Bob Oatley purchased it in 2003 and steadied the ship.
Since then it has consolidated it's position as one of Australia's favourite holiday destinations.
With regular flights from the major cities, and a spectacular golf course, Hamilton Island offers a relaxed holiday experience for both golfers and families
The Hamilton Island Golf Course was designed by Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett and opened in 2009.
It is located on Dent Island, just a 10 minute dedicated ferry ride from Hamilton Island Marina.
Dent Island is not occupied and not the sort of site one would consider suitable for golf- it's steep, rocky, and heavily vegetated.
But Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett have carved out a course that demands your attention.
Purists will say that the distances between green and tee are excessive. And that the course is not walkable. Perhaps that the course is too penal..
On the other hand most would agree that there are a number of exhilirating holes, that the views are to die for, and a round here is always memorable.
Over the years I have played a number of clifftop courses around the world- Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria, Old Head in Ireland, Cape Kidnappers & Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand, Cape Wickham in Australia, Quivira in Mexico...
These spectacular courses attract us because of the glorious landscapes and the exhiliration of playing in such a setting.
None of these courses was designed for regular club competition golf.
The are designed for resort guests and carts are the expected mode of movement around the course, giving architects licence to connect holes in terrain that is not easily walkable.
And yes the courses are penal, but the spectacular terrain dictates that is shall be so.
Having said that, I still think there are areas on this course where the land is just too unforgiving.
There are places where a ball just missing the target area will hit fairways or green fringes and bound into the rough and be lost.
With wind always a factor, lost balls are inevitable at Hamilton Island..
Notable holes include:
- hole 1, a delightful par 4 starter with an elevated tee the perfect platform to take in the hole ahead. The hole is carved out of the thick jungle like vegetation that no man should visit. It takes two good shots to hit the elevated green.
- hole 4, a mid length par 3 requiring a carry over a heavily vegetated ravine to an angled and exposed green. Club selection and ball flight are vital as the winds buffet the ball. The background view to the Whitsundays Islands is superb (see pic top of page)
- hole 7, a shorter par 3 over a valley. The pretty green setting is relatively protected from the winds compared to the rest of the course
- hole 9, a standout par 4 which requires a tee shot to position short of the hazard, and then an approach over water to an angled green
- hole 14, a striking par 3 with green set on it's own raised peninsula surrounded by bunkers and drop offs to the trees below. This hole is particularly exposed to the wind, and the views are gorgeous. But miss the green and bunkers and you will likely kiss your ball goodbye
- hole 15, a strong downhill par 4 with magic views of the surrounding islands
- hole 16, a stunning par 3 on the clifftops- perhaps the most memorable hole on a memorable course
- hole 18, an exhilirating closing par 4 from an extremely elevated tee. It's a hoot to hit the tee shot out into the wind. A quality hole.
I recently hosted a large group event at Hamilton Island. The group consisted of keen club golfers from Victoria.
We had a spread of men and women, low and higher handicappers.
The group really enjoyed their Hamilton Island experience, with a few days in a warmer climate, some decent restaurants and bars, and a spectacular golf course
Over two days the group lost 283 balls (averaging 5 balls per person per round), but all had a great time.
Hamilton Island is a resort course in a dramatic island setting.
I'd go back anytime!
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to suit your group.
For suggested destinations see: Golf Destinations- Queensland
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