The unpretentious little links layout at King Island
Golf & Bowling Club dates back to 1938 and it’s the perfect down-to-earth
accompaniment to the island’s two new 18-hole opportunists. The course comprises eighteen holes, with seventeen alternate tees and twelve greens on ten fairways, configured as three par threes, twelve par fours and three par fives over a distance of 5476 metres.
“The nine-hole 'townie' course on King Island reminds me of the Pacific Grove muni on the Monterey Peninsula,” remarked Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “a must-play venue to acclimate to the windy conditions you’ll encounter on the more famous courses you’re here for. However the King Island nine has much more topography than Pacific Grove.
The 1st, 2nd and 8th are all good par-4s, all of them better from the alternate 'back nine' tees. The par-3 3rd, played from a high tee with the Southern Ocean crashing on the rocks behind the green, is undoubtedly the great moment of the course, but the holes in the middle third lack distinction.”
I'm going to call this a 9-ish hole links course set along the coast at the edge of Currie township. 9-ish, due to the different tees, fairways and greens employed to provide a different challenge on the second time around. There are significant undulations on about half of the holes but the main factor about the course is the lack of space that sees holes overlapping and the general short nature of most holes (although the wind matters in this regard). It's not of any real detriment to the round and is more 'quirky' than problematic. Feature par 3 3rd is a spectacular ocean-backdrop short hole.
Interesting little course that is a bit of a throwback to small scale community golf of the past. Spend any time in rural Tasmania and it's something you'll find regularly. Long may it remain.
King Island Golf & Bowling Club was a great bonus en route from Cape Wickham to the airport for the short hop back to Launceston.
It's maintained by volunteer members who clearly know their course - I played in the height of Summer with a drying Easterly so some seaside fairways were a bit bare, but all of the holes were tremendous fun with echoes of classic holes from GB&I.
Greens were excellent, but a couple embarrassed me badly with wind and contour - I quickly went from playing under handicap after 4 to hoping to staunch the flow of shots by the end.
Extremely friendly, interested staff and members, and reading the local paper the recent medal (back page headline !) was won with 2 under net by a 6 handicap player in stronger winds than those that I experienced - chapeau !
Those that journey down to King Island for a few days or more may be tempted to play the King Island Golf & Bowling Club.
The nine-hole course has been sited in classic rolling linksland near Currie, and has been promoted in some circles as being possibly the best nine-hole course in the world. Although I don't quite rate it in such august company, it would certainly provide an ideal warm up to the main event – playing the two new courses.
King Island Golf & Bowling Club is a traditional links course, with natural fescue turf, and rolling terrain. With the ever-present wind a factor, it has a real Scottish feel. Notable holes include the short semi-blind par 4 opening hole, the picturesque par 3 third hole with ocean backdrop and the short par 4 fifth hole which doglegs around the beach but tempts the longer hitter to take the shortcut over the water.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.