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The Links Kennedy Bay

The Links Kennedy Bay

Port Kennedy, Western Australia
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Port Kennedy, Western Australia
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  • AddressLot 199 Port Kennedy Dr, Port Kennedy WA 6172, Australia

The Links at Kennedy Bay lies on Western Australia’s coastline, 50kms south of Perth. Opened in 1999 and then re-launched in 2001 with a new management structure and some course modifications, it is a worthy contender for the title of best public course in Australia.

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Michael Coate, in conjunction with the late Roger Mackay and Ian Baker-Finch, has created a wonderful modern links course. While the rough tends to resemble the grasses and gorse of Scotland, closer inspection reveals that this rough is largely made up of native bush. Although there is some subtle landscaping around the tees this course is a thoroughly traditional affair.

All the ingredients are present: fast running fairways, tight grass, small pot bunkers, large bunkers with severely riveted faces, raised greens, dramatic run-offs and unpredictable sloping. The manner in which the fairways merge into rough with no clear line of delineation is authentic, and the flow through the land is brilliantly done. The course is set some way back from the sea, but the fairways are sufficiently recessed so that you rarely see much of the other holes, only their stout flagpoles rippling in the breeze.

Whilst the facilities around the course are still being developed, this matters little, as it’s the course that is the star here. The best recommendation that can be given is that as soon as you finish playing this course, you will want to come back and play it again.

The above passage is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.

The following article was written by course architect Michael Coate and is an extract from Volume Four of Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective. Reproduced with kind permission. To obtain a copy, email Paul Daley: [email protected]

For any golf architect the chance to design and create a golf course on a true links site is almost a sacred opportunity.

In 1994, I was given the opportunity with the late Roger Macay to do just that. The golf course was to be the first of two proposed courses at Port Kennedy, alongside the Indian Ocean south of Perth in Western Australia.

The Kennedy Bay site is part of an area formed of sands deposited in the last 6,500 years, known as the Quindalup Dunes. These sands advanced across the landscape to form progressive dune ridges and valleys roughly parallel to the shoreline. The deposition of these sands and the formation of the dune landscape occurred in almost the identical timeframe as the deposition of the sandy beaches and shorelines that form the basis of the storied United Kingdom links.

The successful creation of Kennedy Bay, is due, in no small measure, to the contribution of Construction Supervisor and Course Superintendent, Trevor Strachan. His experience, skill and understanding proved invaluable. Mention must also be made of the shaping team led by Bill McKenzie and Terry Foster. Bill is a Scot and like his namesake, Alister, he has a wonderful feeling for golf course shapes. He could often be seen at the end of a long day looking at the effects of the shadows playing on the shapes he had been working. His contribution was marvellous and a major factor in the final result that is Kennedy Bay today.

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