Survey names Coolum’s iconic 18th
Hyatt Regency Coolum’s head teaching professional for the past 22 years, Peter Heiniger, agrees with a recent survey that named the 18th at Coolum as one of the iconic 18 holes of Australian golf.
However, Heiniger took the rating one step further. He says it the greatest finishing hole in Australian golf.
Iconic: Hyatt Coolum’s 18th Hole
The home of the Australian PGA championship for the past nine years has witnessed great rounds unravel and major moves made, and most of the drama has centered on the 385-metre par four 18th.
“The tournament is never over until the guys have played the 18th,” said Heiniger.
“Just last year Andre Stolz needed birdie to win and hit his drive in the water. The year before Adam Scott did the same – twice – while in the hunt, and took eight.
“It is a beautiful, scenic hole, and with the crowd gathered around the green the atmosphere is enormous. But always lurking is that water on the left.”
The lake on the 18th at Coolum is probably most famous for being the recipient of John Daly’s putter in 2002. The then portly American – nicknamed Wild Thing – threw his ball and putter in the lake after a second round 78, which included a triple bogey seven on 18.
Paid big appearance money, Daly failed to make the cut, walked off the course without signing his card and was disqualified. A diver retrieved the putter and ball, and they are now framed and hanging in the bar behind the 18th green.
However, not all PGA combatants have tales of woe about the 18th at Coolum.
Just last December veteran Peter Senior rolled in a three-metre birdie putt to force a play-off with Geoff Ogilvy, then parred it as the second play-off hole to beat Ogilvy’s bogey to win at 51 years of age.
“I hit my two best shots of the day both on the 18th hole,” he said.
And Daley’s disaster at the 18th in 2002 was not shared by Peter Lonard, who bombed ‘the longest putt I have ever sunk’ on the same hole to force a play-off with Jarrod Moseley. Bad light forced their play-off to be abandoned and the title was shared.
Nick O’Hern is another to claim bragging rights at 18 when he holed out for birdie from the bunker behind the green to win in a play-off in 2006, while in 2005 Robert Allenby set up victory with an eight-iron to within one metre.
“And that’s the thing about the 18th at Coolum – sometimes it can be eight iron, other times it might be three wood,” says Heiniger.
“The prevailing wind is the south-easter, which is behind the players. That is what Robert (Allenby) had when he hit that majestic eight iron and sank the putt.
“But when the wind turns around, and comes straight into their faces, it can be an absolute brute of a hole.”
But Heiniger says there is always a saving grace for those playing the iconic 18th hole at Coolum.
“A golfer can be having his worst round ever, but if he pars the 18th that’s all he will remember,” he said.