I’m writing this from the 16th floor of the Reef View Hotel enjoying the view on this fine morning. Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure of playing on Dent Island which is a short 10 minute ferry ride from the marina on Hamilton Island. This course was exquisite and is literally carved into the sides of the island. It offers incredible views and a playing experience like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Afterward I made my way to for something a little different, an oyster and champagne pairing.
The was opened in 2009 and designed by Peter Thomson who is a five time British Open winner. I got insanely lucky as it was basically a perfect day for golf considering we’re in the tropics and the weather can be unpredictable. There is usually quite a bit of wind making this already difficult course a real challenge. The course record is a 68, only three under par…
Everyone told me the back nine was the most beautiful section and I found that hard to believe until I got there. There is this one hole where you’re standing on the fairway and you have a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, a surreal experience I won’t soon forget. Seriously, every hole is picturesque and I wasn’t sure if I was there for a photo tour or a round of golf, it was a real hybrid of the two.
The course is very difficult if you don’t hit the fairways. Most of the holes have tall grass that starts right off the edge of fairways and if you hit your ball in there, it’s considered out of bounds. Not only is out of bounds but you’ll never find it so just take a penalty and play on. Once the neatly manicured fairways end it becomes rugged terrain to give you an idea of what the whole island was like before the course.
I started the round out well hitting the fairway and missing a par putt by a few inches. This went on for a few holes and I started thinking this course wasn’t so difficult. It’s always important to have a decent tee shot but it was somewhat paramount here. If you messed up your tee shot, it often lead to big and scary numbers as this course is firm and fair but definitely not forgiving.
I managed to shoot four pars, eight bogeys and 6 absolutely gruesome others. That said, it was a sunny day with a slight wind; can only imagine this course on a windy one. I think that clever club selection is the secret to scoring low(ish) here. It’s not an aggressive play for the pin but a real lesson in the benefits of risk management and leaving that three-wood in the bag.
I told someone this yesterday and I’ll mention it now, this course isn’t so much a round of golf but an experience. I’ve played countless courses around the world and I’ve yet to see anything like this. The novelty of an island dedicated to a golf course, the ferry ride over and the absolutely incredible views of the Whitsunday islands make it a very unique experience.
After the round I joined a gent from the golf course for lunch and noticed it was quite packed. The clubhouse also has great views of the surrounding area and it’s a popular spot to enjoy a special lunch with a spectacular view. Many people who come for the lunch also take a tour of the golf course as it has sights that can be appreciated by anyone whether they play golf or not.
After lunch I returned back to the hotel before heading off to qualia for a champagne and oyster pairing. is the luxury resort which is located on the northern end of the island and completely separate from the rest. When you make your way through the main gates, feels like you’re entering another world. It’s also 18+ so as you can imagine, it’s mainly couples.
I found the pairing quite informative and now know considerably more about both champagne and oysters as well as the pairing of them. I’m not a big oyster fan to be honest but I did enjoy the experience thoroughly. It also piqued my interest in other such courses as I’m quite curious how I could better pair what’s in my glass with lobster as it’s quite often on my plate.
This concludes my coverage here from Hamilton Island, what an trip its been… In a few hours I’m catching a flight to Brisbane and driving up the Sunshine Coast for much more of the same. In closing, I’d like to thank and for their hospitality; these last few days have been incredible!
P.S: I don’t want to leave but the show must go on.