Located between Maroochydore and Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, the Coolum course first opened for play in 1988. Robert Trent Jones Jnr was the man responsible for the design of this resort course, one of only five layouts he has been involved with in Australia – the others being Joondalup, Meadow Springs, Cape Schanck and the National (Old).
Visually stunning, the Coolum golf course utilises about a third of the resort property, with a mix of links-like holes on the stretch running along the Pacific Ocean beach and parkland holes further inland among the native melaleuca and eucalyptus groves.
The Palmer Coolum Resort has hosted the Australian PGA Championship since 2002. Before then , the PGA had been played all over the country with a wide variety of winners. The man with most victories, Kel Nagle, has won the tournament six times – between 1949 and 1968 – and he is one of the few to have triumphed in both matchplay and (post 1964) strokeplay formats.
Two par threes are worthy of mention, one on each nine. The 171-yard 6th hole is played to a green protected by a bunker front left and surrounded by dense scrub with Mount Coolum as a backdrop. The 205-yard 14th hole has water running diagonally right to left in front of the green with a large bunker at the back to catch over clubbed tee shots.
RTJII was recently involved in a major overhaul of his original design, constructing six new holes to replace half a dozen that were removed from the beach side of the property.
A championship resort course on the Sunshine Coast that makes heavy use of water hazards and bunkering. The hazards are almost always in play making any poor shots costly. The course was very wet and heavy making some fairway shots and many bunker shots more difficult. The design is quite tight and testing and many of the holes wind through lush vegetation with no view to the rest of the course. Former home of the Aust PGA tournament.
But... and one really does have to mention the elephant in the room, or the dinosaur in this case. Since it became a Palmer course you never really know whether the owner is going to blow up a green, or blow $10 million on upgrades and securing a championship. It was formerly a top 25 course in Australia but now sits comfortably in the lower 50. When I first played here in 2012 I'd say it was a strong 5 balls. Now, closer to 4. Maybe, just maybe, it could be returned to it's glory days.
The above review is spot on. Prior to the annexing of the facility by the current owner, the Coolum Resort Golf Course was, imho, the best public access course in Australia and richly deserved its top 25 ranking. From 1988 until 2004 when Barnbougle opened it was a large cut above anything else. Always in great condition and a privilege to visit.
Sadly, in more recent times 2 sectors of the course were sold off for housing - some 5 or 6 holes were lost from RTJ's original design and can't be retrieved. The maintenance can be problematic too.
I should admit that I haven't played the course in the last few years but my last experience there was very underwhelming. Whether it is even top 100 in Oz is debatable.
Too many maybes in the future. A great shame.
Ticked off another Australian Top 100 course today. Fairways and greens were in good enough condition but the rough was like Oakmont, and looks like it hasn't been "maintained" for some time.
The layout is actually great, with amazing elevation and directional change, and the holes are well designed using excellent natural terrain to it's advantage.
This is all I'll report on here, it's much the same as Capricorn Resort, a shadow of it's former self, and someone or group with the right intentions should buy it and bring it back to life.