King Island primed for golfing boom

With two new golf courses nearing completion, the world is about to sit up and take notice of a small dot in Bass Strait, midway between Victoria and Tasmania named King Island.

Experts are tipping the area will “boom” when Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes, two marvellous 18-hole layouts lapping the oceans around King Island, complete their layouts and open their doors to the public.

With internationally-acclaimed Tasmanian ‘neighbours’ Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm already drawing tourists from all over the globe, King Island is about to join the party.

Ocean Dunes, on the west coast of the island, unveiled its front nine last month, which coincided with the 18-hole opening of Cape Wickham, on the northern tip of the island.

Cape Wickham 17th Hole Cape Wickham’s stunning seaside 17th hole (Credit: Cape Wickham)

Ocean Dunes director and course architect Graeme Grant has compared King Island’s new courses to the famous layouts on California’s Monterey Peninsula.

“I think we’ve got the opportunity to produce something like Cypress Point and Pebble Beach in the two courses down here,” said Grant.

“With such spectacular links land and the opportunity to play so close to the coast, we have something reminiscent of what I’ve seen and played on over there.”

Certainly Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said the flow-on effect from King Island’s emergence as a golf hotspot would be felt nationally.

“I think they will be absolutely must-play destinations and I think that’s important in terms of golf tourism,” Pitt said.

“I think it offers benefits for the whole country.”

“Often those top-end courses are the hook that gets people over but they play a whole range of courses while they’re here.”

Grant agrees: “Maybe it won’t happen in my lifetime, but this has got to open up and become some sort of a mecca for links golf in this country,” he said.

“As people come down here and see the dunes, they’ve got to be encouraged to do something with them.”

“I’ve been involved in golf for more than 50 years and came down here about four and a half years ago.”

“When I got off the plane, all I could see was Scottish and Irish links land and it just kept going and it goes from the northwest tip to the southwest tip of the island.”

“It really is incredible to think that people in Australia know so little about the potential of it for golf.”