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New golf course on Hamilton Island
June 28, 2010

Hamilton Island Golf Club (, which opened in September 2009, has been described by the editor of Australian Golf Digest, Steve Keipert* as “an exceptionally beautiful place to play golf’ and a course “that will appeal to the scratch-handicap player and once-a-year holidaying golfer alike”.

The 6,120 metre, par 71, 18-hole championship course is located on Dent Island, a five minute boat ride from Hamilton Island in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. It is the only golf course in Australia that can be accessed by both boat and helicopter.

The course, created by five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson who heads up renowned British golf course architectural firm, Thomson Perrett & Clubb (, is gaining a reputation as one of the world’s top courses not least because of the stunning Whitsunday views from each hole.

The course was designed to make the most of the island’s natural and rugged beauty. As well as some of the best views in the world, golfers get to play holes across steep valleys and over lakes, trees and natural boulders. As a result the course yields several design quirks. According to Steve Keipert “One minute you’re scaling a steep hill to a plateau tee and the next you’re asked to drive a ball from high above the fairway to the strip of green snaking below. It’s a roller-coaster ride without the seatbelts and queues.”

To ensure a great game for all levels of golfer, three tee positions are offered for each hole, taking their name from indigenous trees on the island. The changes in course elevation, restricted landing areas and the ever-present breezes provide a definite challenge from the back ‘Hoop Pine’ tees. Meanwhile, resort golfers can enjoy an easier time of it from the forward marks of the ‘Grass Tree’ tees. For the middle ground, there are the ‘Pandanus’.

The crowning glory of the course is the Chris Beckingham-designed clubhouse, ideally perched to take in the fantastic views of Passage Peak and the Coral Sea. The clubhouse offers an idyllic spot for non-golfing partners to relax over a laid-back lunch or for golfers to take stock of the day’s game over a cold beer.

Guests wishing to brush up on their golfing skills can enlist the support of the resident golf-pro, Cherie Byrnes. Cherie, a professional for nine years, has been Tournament Director for the 2002 and 2003 Australian Ladies Professional Golf Players Championship, as well as assisting with the 2004 Men’s ANZ Championship.

Sandy Oatley, chairman of Hamilton Island, commented, “The opening of the Golf Club is part of our ongoing commitment to develop and maintain Hamilton Island as a leading world-class holiday destination.

“Since we purchased it in 2003 we have invested over AUD$300 million (approx £155 million) in the Island. This has included the development of qualia, the 60 pavilion luxury resort on the northern most point of the Island and, most recently, the building of the iconic Yacht Club.”

Fact Box - Green fees are AUD$150 for 18 holes and AUD$100 for nine holes and include use of an electric golf buggy on-course and return ferry transfers from Hamilton Island. First tee off time is 7am, last tee off for 18 holes is 1pm and for nine holes is 3.30pm. Callaway clubs can be hired from the Clubhouse which includes a restaurant, bar and Pro Shop, and is open from 6.30am for light refreshments and 11am for lunch.

A number of packages are also available including ‘Golf in Paradise’ and ‘Golf and Spa in Paradise’. Guests can enjoy three or four nights’ accommodation on Hamilton Island to include a round of golf and an optional spa treatment from AUD$628 per person.

qualia* guests can benefit from preferential tee times on the course and, in the near future, luxury golfing packages will be offered, to include accommodation at qualia and helicopter transfers to the course.

Hamilton Island is located off the Queensland coast of Australia, within the Whitsunday Islands and at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Here visitors can experience everything that is great about Australia – natural landscapes, calm turquoise waters, secluded beaches, beautiful weather, fascinating coral reefs, diverse flora and fauna.

Hamilton Island offers a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants, bars, pools and shops, not to mention over 40 activities and all within a short direct flight from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Cairns. There are also great connections from other Australian cities.

qualia*, Australia's world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef located on the secluded northern-most point of Hamilton Island, has 60 one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, each set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue, green waters of the Whitsundays. There are also two superb restaurants and Spa qualia catering exclusively to guests. Hamilton Island can be accessed directly from all east coast international gateway cities in under three hours.

Steve Keipert* is the editor of Australian Golf Digest magazine and his comments were taken from a feature he wrote for REEF Magazine – Issue 2 called ‘Teeing Off’

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