Opened for play in 1979, the Kooralbyn Golf Course hosted the 48th edition of the Queensland Open two years after its unveiling. The event was won by Garry Doolan, holding off a strong field that included a future Major winner, Ian Baker-Finch.
The layout was designed by Desmond Muirhead, who worked for a time with Jack Nicklaus, and who was described by one commentator not as a golf course architect but as “a madman with a pencil”. A larger than life character, Desmond was, to many observers, a somewhat unorthodox eccentric.
Located near Beaudesert, just a 1-hour drive from either Brisbane or the Gold Coast, Kooralbyn introduced compulsory cart golf to Australia when it first opened and it was at the forefront of the resort golf revolution in Queensland during the 1980s.
The 6th edition of the Queen Sirikit Cup – officially titled the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Golf Team Championship – was held at Kooralbyn Valley in 1984, with first-time participants New Zealand winning the 12-team event.
Holes are routed through and over a series of valleys and hills, offering lots of interesting elevation changes along the way. A number of the original Muirhead-designed holes have been softened in recent times to improve playability for resort guests.
Changes in ownership have not helped matters. Having been developed by the Australian Guarantee Corporation, the business was sold to Towa Khomuto of Tokyo in 1987 before changing hands another couple of times in advance of the global financial meltdown of 2008.
Peter Huang, founder of the Yong Real Estate group, purchased and re-opened the golf course and the resort in 2016. All of the greens were rebuilt and the bunkers refurbished, with a new irrigation system also installed.