A gull swoops by as you place the tee. Waves crash on the shore below – so close. Focus, don’t get distracted. Pause, take a deep breath of fresh salty air and swing…
Tasmania has some of the most scenic and quirky golf courses in the country. There are courses perched on the edge of dramatic coastlines, holes scattered throughout sand dunes, and others surrounded by paddocks dotted with grazing sheep. In fact, Tasmania has four of the top 13 golf courses in Australian Golf Digest’s 2020 Australian Top 100, and features the top four public-access courses in Australia in the Golf Course Guide’s 2020 list.
Cape Wickham Links
Cape Wickham on King Island is one of the most distinctive golf courses in the world. Located on the rugged northern tip of the island, the holes are positioned around the magnificent Cape Wickham Lighthouse, built in 1861 and the tallest in the southern hemisphere. The coastal holes all lean gently towards Bass Strait and golfers enjoy panoramic views from every hole - the 11th hole is almost in the sea and the 18th is located above Victoria Cove. It’s hard not to be distracted by surfers, whales breaching and seals sunbaking on the rocks.
Fronting the Southern Ocean on the west coast of King Island, Ocean Dunes offers a golf experience worth travelling for, with undulating terrain, crashing waves and the onslaught of the Roaring Forties. According to Australian Golf Digest, “in places, Ocean Dunes resembles extreme golf, like a wild rollercoaster ride in an amusement park”. The course is fashioned after Scotland’s great links courses. A handy “stay and play” package includes car hire, accommodation and all-day golf.
Barnbougle - The Dunes and Lost Farm
Experience a true golfing adventure at neighbouring Top 10 links courses at Barnbougle on the north-east coast.
Golfers come from around the world to stroll among the coastal dunes on the 18-hole traditional links course, The Dunes. This course was designed to complement rather than detract from the landscape and it has earned a reputation as a top public-access course in Australia.
The newer 20-hole course at Lost Farm has been built on steeper dunes adjacent to The Dunes course and across the Great Forester River. This is an exciting and challenging course with strategic bunkering, undulating greens and wide fairways. Barnbougle has accommodation on site, including a luxury lodge, a restaurant perched on top of a sand dune overlooking Bass Strait, and a day spa.
Across the island
There are more than 65 courses in Tasmania so you’re never far from a fairway. If you’re heading to the Tasman Peninsula, the Tasman Club near Port Arthur is worth a visit. There is a tee shot to a pocket-handkerchief green on the far side of a deep chasm where sea cliffs plummet into the ocean.
Located an hour’s drive north of Hobart in the central highlands is Australia’s oldest golf course, Ratho Farm, which was built by homesick Scots in 1830. Tee off from square putting greens and skirt the resident sheep busy maintaining the fairway. The Australasian Golf Museum is on site and has an impressive collection of memorabilia.
Other top courses include Royal Hobart, Tasmania Golf Club, Kingston Beach and Claremont in the south, Launceston Country Club in the north, and Devonport and Ulverstone in the north-west.