Golf is one of those things that’s easy to enjoy but hard to master. Half of the fun comes from all the prestige and camaraderie that comes with the principle of golf. The other half, is the views. A well-designed, well maintained golf course is truly a sight to behold, and Tasmania happens to boast some of the most scenic golf courses in the world.
The cascading green hills of Tasmania, interspersed with rolling fields and coated in a cool coastal gust make Tasmania a true far cry from the more hostile climes associated with mainland Australia. This makes it an ideal location to craft the perfect golf course, integrating a man made vision with an accommodating natural setting.
This tiny island has a big stake in global golfing culture with two of our best known courses – Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm – appearing in the world’s top 100 golf courses. With tens of thousands of golf courses around the world, that’s no mean feat. But what exactly makes a great golf course and how does Tasmania fare against other pristine courses around the world?
What makes a great golf course?
Golf is a big deal nowadays and more mainstream than ever. Once a pastime reserved for the cultured elite, it is now every man ankd woman’s game. The popularity of golf has spurned on many derivatives of the sport. These include driving ranges and “putt putt” mini golf parks. Golf is also responsible for creating a booming industry which is home to the world’s second richest athlete by career earnings, Tiger Woods.
All that said, what exactly makes golf great?
When it comes to the course, looking good is just a minor factor. You also have to consider a few other things.
The first thing you’ll look at is reputation. Playing on a course with a high rating and heritage of excellence will definitely grant you a top golfing experience. Searching online or visiting golfing forums will set you in the right direction. Some of the more established legacy courses have strict membership policies. Outside of this, it’s easy enough to find a list of the top public access courses in the world, but that brings us to the second factor: cost.
Golf is by no means a cheap sport, especially if you’re planning on making it a permanent fixture in your lifestyle routine. So when it comes to cost, always try find a course that works for your budget but also provides a quality round. The more reputed courses will more than likely have a hefty fee attached to them as well as an obligatory club membership in some cases. Suss out what what works for your budget and what the experience means to you.
The next thing you’ll want to look at is challenge. Golf is a game, and no game is rewarding without challenge. At the same time, a challenge too steep is no fun either. For a seasoned golfer, it’s nothing more than par 3 holes will do, but if you’re just starting out, try par 5 until you get in the swing of things (pun intended). Challenge is also determined by the number of holes with 18 holes being the most you’ll find as well as the terrain and layout.
When it comes to golfing in Tasmania, all these factors come into play, providing some of Australia’s, if not the world’s best golf. Let’s delve into the world of Tasmanian golf.
4 of Tasmania’s best golf courses
Nestled in Bridport, Barnbougle Dunes is the crown of Tasmania’s golfing heritage. Surprisingly, in spite of its reputation and the horde of accolades it possesses, this course is relatively new in golfing terms. Established in 2004, Barnbougle Dunes has only been in full swing (again, pun intended) for 15 years as of writing. It was voted Australia’s finest in 2016 by Golf Course Guide.
The Dunes, as its more affectionately known, was designed by golf architect Tom Doak and course designer Mike Clayton, transforming this piece of land from a potato field to a pro golf links.
The design and vision for Barnbougle Dunes harks back to the Scottish heritage of the sport. This, along with its cool coastal climate and undulating terrain creates the perfect foundation to etch out a true to spirit golfing paradise.
Barnbougle Lost Farm.
Adjacent to The Dunes is what is often considered its baby cousin. Barnbougle Lost Farm, although smaller, has found itself just as highly regarded in the international golfing arena. Sitting pretty as the 3rd in a top 100 list of best golf links in Australia, The Lost Farm is a prideful playscape. The Lost Farm also ranks highly on global rankings, sitting at #23 out of 100
Despite having the same family name and heritage, The Lost Farm is its own situation. It is remarkably different from The Dunes. For one, The Dunes has a more gradual interplay between the coastal sand dunes and the course while The Lost Farm sports more dramatic gradients, boasting a 20 hole experience.
Both The Lost Farm and The Dunes create a dynamic duo of prestigious golfing, caped off with an elegant estate and clubhouse. All we can say is if you play one, you have to play the other.
Cape Wickham Links.
Tucked away in Wickham, on King Island, the aptly named Cape Wickham Links is regarded one of Australia’s best public access golf courses. The sounds and scenery of an isolated golfing paradise add to the allure.
You’ll be surprised to find out that this links is barely 3 years old, having been completed in late 2015. This however speaks very little for the majesty of this course. In just over 3 years, Cape Wickham Links has become one of the worlds most curious golfing adventures.
Aside from your typical golfing shenanigans, Cape Wickham offers a full holiday experience. 16 guest rooms overlook the links as it encroaches the dazzling coast line. The clubhouse provides a gourmet assortment of good dining for your pleasure. Other amenities include car rental and of course, the enchanting sandy beaches of King Island.
The course was designed by Mike DeVries from the United States and Australian local Darius Oliver. The two set out to conquer the elements and create an out of this world golf course. We can’t really say they failed.
If you’re looking for the ultimate King Island golf experience, check out our 4-day Barnbougle & King Island Golf Adventure.
Ocean Dunes Golf Course.
Another native links to the secluded King island is Ocean Dunes. Situated south of the famous Cape Wickham Links, Ocean Dunes is even newer, having only been established in 2016. This hasn’t hindered its appeal whatsoever, making it the 4th ranked Australian course in its 3rd year of existence. This has allowed the entire island of King Island to become somewhat of a legendary achievement. The remoteness of the island and its natural beauty while sporting two world-class links has an undeniable allure about it.
The course is the brainchild of esteemed golf architect Graeme Grant, who in collaboration with the seasoned Bernie McMahon brought Ocean Dunes to life. The assortment of holes and their placement both inland and closer to the coast provide a dynamic, non repetitive challenge with a royal view.
Unlike Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm, Ocean Dunes and Cape Wickham bear no allegiance. This encourages each respective course to continue improving the experience on offer. The two kings of King Island are an authentic bucket list excursion for enthusiasts and casuals alike.
Although a relatively new culture in Tasmania, Golf has taken off and in a very big way! In under 2 decades, Tasmania’s golfing scene now stands toe to toe with some of the world’s legacy links and is set to maintain a notable position in the consciousness of world golf.
The secluded nature of Tasmania’s geography also lends to the intrigue and mystique of golfing on such a far out land. It’s as emotionally charging just knowing that fact as it is to play on these epic greens and fairways.
Beyond quality golfing, Tasmania boasts some truly extravagant viticulture experiences. The same rolling terrain and cool coastal climates that give Tasmanian golf courses their unique foundation also provide ideal conditions for Tasmania’s iconic wine making heritage. So why not stop for a quick, quality tipple before teeing off on this majestic island haven?
With all this, it’s clear to see that Tasmanian golf is an opportunity not to be missed. Is it the world’s golfing capital? We can’t say it is yet… with “yet” being the operative term.