Show­case Golf

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Con­tents - BY GREG BAR­TON

Show­cas­ing the top eight pub­lic golf cour­ses in Ocea­nia

For golfers, few things are more sat­is­fy­ing than tak­ing vis­i­tors to a lo­cal course that truly ex­presses the essence of your home. To that end, we’ve gath­ered a Top Eight of our favourite pub­lic-ac­cess Ocea­nia cour­ses that per­fectly show­case the best each re­gion has to of­fer.

1. BARN­BOUGLE DUNES, TAS­MA­NIA Rolling hills and patch­work fields off­set by blasted cliff-side drives and panoramic coastal views – you’d be for­given for think­ing you were in Scot­land. So, in keep­ing with the finest tra­di­tion of links cour­ses, Barn­bougle Dunes in Tas­ma­nia abounds with un­du­lat­ing dunes, dev­il­ish sea breezes and no trees to mar the ethe­real feel of the place. Con­sis­tently named as

Aus­tralia’s No. 1 pub­lic ac­cess course, its stun­ning views over Bass Strait are enough to stir the soul.

2. PAR­ADISE PALMS, QUEENS­LAND Sand­wiched be­tween two World Her­itage–listed won­ders – the an­cient Dain­tree Rain­for­est and the Great Bar­rier Reef – this trop­i­cal golfer’s par­adise will chal­lenge play­ers of all abil­i­ties. But if you’re af­ter an even more quintessen­tially Queens­land ex­pe­ri­ence, the Palmer Sea Reef golf course fur­ther north of­fers one more great Aus­tralian at­trac­tion to wow its vis­i­tors: croc­o­diles! Sur­rounded by wet­lands, it’s not un­com­mon to see crocs bask­ing in the sun, and vis­i­tors are warned to give the beasts a wide berth and play at their own risk.

3. JACK’S POINT, NEW ZEALAND Al­though only a few min­utes from Queen­stown air­port, Jack’s Point in the foothills of the Re­mark­ables could be ripped right from the pages of the Lord of the Rings. The still wa­ters of Lake Wakatipu form one spec­tac­u­lar boundary, while steep bluffs, lush wet­lands and na­tive bush re­serves will keep un­wary golfers well oc­cu­pied. And for true LOTR fans, his­toric Ar­row­town, gate­way to the film­ing lo­ca­tion of Riven­dell’s Ford of Bru­inen, is just a short drive away.

4. MAR­GARET RIVER GC, WEST­ERN AUS­TRALIA Vis­i­tors to south­west WA come for two rea­sons: big surf and great wine. Mar­garet River GC, nestled in the heart of this glo­ri­ous re­gion, has both cov­ered. It’s less than two min­utes’ drive from world-fa­mous surf beaches, and roughly ten min­utes to the cel­lar doors of Voy­ager Es­tate, Leeuwin Es­tate and more. The course it­self backs onto pretty vine­yards, and it’s not un­usual to be shar­ing your round with dozens of cu­ri­ous kan­ga­roos.

5. MA­RINA BAY GC, SIN­GA­PORE Sin­ga­pore’s very first 18-hole pub­li­cac­cess cham­pi­onship golf course – and the only course in the city-state to boast a whop­ping par-6 hole – Ma­rina Bay GC truly is a show­case for the re­gion. The city sky­line cre­ates a mem­o­rable back­drop for this course that is only min­utes from the heart of the CBD. Yet ocean breezes, deep bunkers, man­i­cured greens and fair­ways and a mul­ti­tude of spot­lights

for evening golfers all work to cre­ate a bliss­ful is­land oa­sis. But don’t leave it too late to ex­pe­ri­ence; to make way for fur­ther devel­op­ment, the club’s lease will not be re­newed be­yond 2024 and the course will be phased out. Play it now be­fore you miss your chance.

6. BER­JAYA HILLS, MALAYSIA Art­fully de­signed to take full ad­van­tage of the splen­dour of one of the most an­cient rain­forests on Earth, Ber­jaya Hills is a mix of pre­cip­i­tous in­clines, jun­gle-filled ravines and tow­er­ing ridges. Just 45 min­utes north­east of Kuala Lumpur and at 1000 me­tres above sea level, it’s a true high­land course in a re­gion fa­mous for moun­tains and rain­forests – some of which are es­ti­mated at around 130 mil­lion years old.

7. BONVILLE GOLF RE­SORT, NSW Vis­i­tors to Aus­tralia with a mis­con­cep­tion that the na­tion is an arid colo­nial out­post need only ex­plore the lush sur­rounds of Bonville to be dis­abused of that no­tion. Pro­tected by a breath­tak­ing ex­panse of tow­er­ing, cathe­dra­lesque gum trees – home to their fair share of koalas, goan­nas, wa­ter drag­ons and other na­tive crit­ters – the course is reg­u­larly hailed as Aus­tralia’s most beau­ti­ful, and its clos­est ri­val to hal­lowed Au­gusta. With each hole

com­pletely iso­lated from the next by thick for­est and long wind­ing cart trails, your round be­comes as much a peace­ful drive through the for­est as it is about the golf.

8. HAMIL­TON IS­LAND GC, QUEENS­LAND You haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced is­land golf un­til you’ve paused mid-shot to watch a hump­back whale breach­ing just a cou­ple of hun­dred me­tres away. Such sights are com­mon­place – es­pe­cially from June to Septem­ber dur­ing the whale mi­gra­tion sea­son – from the fair­ways of Hamil­ton Is­land GC in the Whit­sun­days. Aus­tralia’s only 18-hole cham­pi­onship course housed on its own is­land, the lay­out boasts ar­guably the best views of any in the coun­try, with vir­tu­ally unim­peded 360-de­gree panoramic out­looks over the Whit­sun­days and Great Bar­rier Reef from ev­ery hole.

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Kan­ga­roos on course? How very Aus­tralian …

Be­come lord of the fair­ways at New Zealand’s Jack’s Point

Beau­ti­ful Bonville wows vis­i­tors to NSW

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