Review: Hamilton Island Golf Club Posted by Brendan James - 5 February 2021 An island that was once home to little more than “two goats and a lighthouse”, is today the spectacular setting for one of Australia’s best golf courses. There are few, if any, more beautiful settings on the planet to play golf than in the heart of Queensland’s world-famous Whitsunday Islands at the Hamilton Island Golf Club. Dating back to the late 80s, there were plenty of people who could see the potential for a world-class golf course on Dent Island, Hamilton Island’s closest neighbour. All that was needed was significant funding as well as a willingness to move heaven and earth to bring the layout to life. That was the year wine export pioneer and world-renowned yachtsman, Bob Oatley, purchased Hamilton Island for $200 million and the six years that followed he invested another $300 million into the upgrade of the resort isle. A significant part of that investment included the construction of the Hamilton Island course on Dent Island, which, according to Ross Perrett, was one of the hardest sites he and Peter Thomson ever designed a course on. “The course looks beautiful and serene now … I can tell you it wasn’t before it was built,” Perrett said. “It was a hard build because it was rocky … very rocky. Before the golf course, Dent Island had two goats and a lighthouse and that was about it.” Dent Island is a tropical tree and scrub-covered monolith that rises steeply, to about 145 metres at its highest point, from the aquamarine waters of the Coral Sea below. The course can only be reached by ferry from the Hamilton Island marina and as you cross the Dent Island passage there is little to suggest a golf course lies on the ridges and cliff-tops high above. It only takes a few holes into the round to really appreciate what an incredible feat of engineering, course design and construction it was to create a layout across such dramatic and rugged terrain. Perrett recalls the first visit he and Thomson made to Dent Island to “get a feel” for what lay ahead during construction. “We couldn’t find any flat land to start with,” Perrett laughs. It was early 2006 and Thomson was already in his late 70s. But his excitement for the job ahead could not be dented, despite the difficulties that lay ahead. “Peter astounded me with his enthusiasm to walk around the site,” Perrett recalls. “He was dodging rocks bigger than footballs that were hidden in the high grass. But he was so keen to see how the course was going to take shape.” To read the full review visit Golf Australia magazine here. About the Author Brendan James has been the Editor of Golf Australia magazine for 25 years and during that time has played, photographed and written about more than 1,200 courses in Australia and around the world.