The Links, Hope Island

Hope Island, par-three 3rd, Brendan James

When Hope Island opened for play in 1993 it was a unique addition to Australia’s golfing landscape. Here was a links-style layout seemingly uprooted from Scotland and transplanted on to the sunny northern outskirts of Queensland’s Gold Coast. Hope Island was like nothing Australian golfers had experienced before, and it became an instant hit.

Problems with conditioning in the late ’90s saw its star fade briefly. These were addressed nearly a decade ago, with the original bent-grass greens replaced with hardier Bermuda 328 grass, which is more suitable to warmer climates. Since then the layout, designed by Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge, has re-established itself as a must-play Gold Coast course.

Hope Island is a strategist’s course. Thomson’s trademark, borrowing heavily from the great designers like Dr Alister MacKenzie, is to present a series of routes on each hole. And yet, to reap the biggest reward, what is most required is a precise angle of attack into the green. Consequently, and especially on some of the short parfours, the length of a hole hardly matters. What does matter at Hope Island, more than most courses, is making the correct club selection on the tee, choosing the right line and executing accordingly.

As if the game of golf were not tough enough already, Thomson puts further uncertainty into the minds of golfers on the tee. Like MacKenzie, he makes clever use of fairway bunkers, leaving you confused as to their distance and size. It is quite a deception: some bunkers you’d swear you couldn’t reach with your best shot, yet a merely average blow lands you in it. The opposite applies just as often.

At the 501-metre, par-five 2nd, a lone pot bunker on the left edge of the fairway dictates that you hit your tee shot to the right. Only the longest of hitters can reach the green in two, so finding a suitable lay-up position is important. The closer you hit towards the green with your second shot, the smaller the landing area – between five pot bunkers – becomes. A wiser strategy is to play well short of these sandy hazards, leaving yourself a full wedge or short iron to a slightly raised putting surface. Bunkers also have a narrowing effect on the driving zone at the 9th, a 368-metre par-four. Two cavernous pots left of the fairway and three staggered traps along the right edge leave little room for longer hitters to err. If you can squeeze between the bunkers a short-iron approach is all that is left. But find the sand and a bogey is the best result you will walk away with here. Perhaps Hope Island’s finest hole is the 369-metre, par-four 13th, known as ‘Wetlands’. It doglegs left round a lake and towards the green, where a ridge runs right through the middle. Yet the dominant features of this hole are the fairway bunkers: round, crater-like pits that have become synonymous with Thomson designs. Position your drive as close to the water as you dare to provide the shortest and most forgiving route to the flag – over three more deep, greenside pot bunkers.

Hope Island has for many years been the Gold Coast’s premier course. In recent times, under new ownership, the club has moved closer to becoming a private members’ course. Limited tee times are still available for the public but it is recommended you arrange them well in advance.

Memorable holes

2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th and 18th

Where to go

Hope Island Rd, Hope Island, Queensland 4212

Book a round

(07) 5530 9000,

Where to stay

Azzura Greens, within the Hope Island resort precinct, is a luxurious, low-rise, fivestar resort with 159 luxury apartments offering lagoon pool or garden views.

Before/after your round

If you have trouble fi nding the fairway with your drives, try some real off-road driving. The WRX Experience, at nearby Pimpama, lets you get behind the wheel of a race-ready, adrenalin pumping Subaru WRX rally car.

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