Golf Gold - Hamilton Island Golf Club Posted by Reef Magazine - 15 August 2013 When the drive to the first tee of a golf course involves a small ferry ride and a chest full of fresh sea air, there’s really no excuse for not enjoying the day strolling the fairways. Surely that goes for all levels of golfers. And Hamilton Island Golf Club’s unique 18-hole layout on Dent Island, is among just a few special courses around the world that lay off-shore. Once again, this year it will host the PGA Professionals Championship, where 50 players will contest this national event. It’s a Pro-Am format over three days, where the professionals will be left to fight it out for top honours on the final day. Nathan King, the assistant professional at Manly Golf Club in NSW, is the defending champion after withstanding the tough conditions last year. The PGA of Australia was more than happy to return to Hamilton Island Golf Club after the 2012 event attracted plenty of praise. “It’s hard to imagine how they could have done a better job of making sure everything went smoothly,” says Nick Thornton, general manager commercial and marketing at the PGA of Australia. “There’s always a bit of the unknown when you go to a place for the first time, and particularly since we changed the format to a Pro-Am this year as well. “But honestly, we couldn’t have been happier with how things worked out. The whole week went seamlessly which is no mean feat for a tournament like this. “It’s a testament to the venue and their staff, as well as the PGA staff, that the tournament went off without a hitch.” “It was a great atmosphere and the course really tested all the players,” little wonder the tournament tested the players and not least because of the wind factor. Peter Thomson, five-time winner of the British Open Championship designed the course, and he knows how to set out a challenge. Mr Thomson, who’s ranked among the greats of the game, as recognised by the World Golf Hall of Fame, has with Ross Perrett crafted some special layouts. Royal Sydney, Moonah Links, The Capital and that’s just in Australia. The common theme in these designs is that they can provide for plenty of drama, if the player feels brave enough to take the course on, and the penalties are severe for those who are either too greedy or stray their shots. So that means Hamilton Island Golf Club is perfectly placed for the PGA Professionals Championship. As a course and as a location, you won’t find many professionals arguing against Hamilton Island Golf Club hosting the cream of the game. But the dreamy start to the day’s play, courtesy of that ferry ride, can quickly turn into a nightmare for those involved in the PGA Professionals Championship – but for all the right reasons. Stunning 360-degree views from the course’s highest point doesn’t come without a small trade-off – players will be exposed to the wind - they’ll want to make sure they keep their heads down and focus on the job. Placement will be crucial on some tight landing spots, where the slightest misguided tee-shot will see the rugged terrain consume their hopes of winning the championship. At 6120 metres (or 6692 yards) the course is not long by today’s standards, but it doesn’t need to be. There are some hearty undulating fairways and elevated greens. Those players who have a good feel for links golf and are able to play with a greater sense of creativity, coupled with moments of bravery, will find Hamilton Island Golf Club a profitable encounter. There is a real mixed bag of challenges on this course and as I mentioned the day can be full of drama thanks to its location and the design. A good round will feel like they have earned it and that’s the way it should be for professional players. Hamilton Island Golf Club stands out in Australia as a worthy host of a professional tournament. And let’s face it – if they haven’t played well, there’s always the ferry ride back to Hamilton Island. It’s a perfect tonic to either clear the mind from a round they’d rather forget or celebrate a great day’s golf. About the Author 'REEF Magazine – Hamilton Island & the Great Barrier Reef' is a magazine that showcases all that Hamilton Island has to offer, from events, to an exciting array of activities, attractions and more. You can pick up your complimentary copy of 'REEF Magazine' at any Hamilton Island hotel, and you can also access some of our feature articles right here on The Island Blog.