Links Hope Island
Located 25 minutes from Surfers Paradise, Links Hope Island is one of south-east Queensland’s most spectacular golf courses.
Designed by one of the masters of links, five-time Open champion Peter Thomson, it provides one of the best links golf experiences in the state, with its eye-catching, challenging layout making it a beautiful round for all golfers.
Since its opening in 1993, Links Hope Island has consistently ranked in Australia’s top 10 resort courses as well as appearing frequently in the top 30 courses in the country, according to Golf Digest.
THE STORY BEHIND LINKS HOPE ISLAND
Links Hope Island came about through the idea of a prominent Japanese client, Mr Isutani who bought the land. He hired Peter Thomson and his partner, Mike Wolveridge, following their success creating a subtropical links course at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.
The Hope Island project was enormous. The land was poor, so the entire 50-hectare site was raised two metres to protect the course from flooding. Moreover, 1.2 million cubic metres of clay was then mined to build the hard-running fairways, leaving behind a 20-metre deep lake.
When Links Hope Island opened in 1993, Australian golfers had yet to experience a course like it. In 1994, it was ranked 8th in Australia and in 1997, it hosted the European Tour event, the Johnnie Walker Classic.
In the 2000s, the hype wore out and the course struggled to handle maintenance issues. A change of ownership resolved all that. All eighteen greens were re-surfaced with Bermuda grass, making them some of the best in the Coast.
THE LINKS HOPE ISLAND COURSE
Whilst it may not be a true links style course, there are plenty of features that pay homage to the Scottish and Irish seaside layouts. These include its fast, undulating fairways, and natural, and man-made, hazards.
Speaking of hazards, Thomson’s signature bunkering is the highlight. All 128 pot bunkers at Links Hope Island play a role in how you play the course. One good example is on the short par-4s where the sand traps make the length of the hole irrelevant.
The highlight holes include the par-5 2nd hole where you’ll be faced with a stern test that runs over 500 metres. The hazards dictate a playing line to the right, but the closer you get to the hole, the smaller the landing spot gets with bunkers protecting the green.
The 13th is even trickier as it doglegs around water and has bunkers placed left, right and centre. Whatever you decide to do is dangerous. Play short and the second shot will test you. Try to take on the bunkers, and fail, and you’ll end up in the sand or even the drink.
The 18th is a fabulous finisher. It is visually spectacular with the hinterland reflecting off the water on the left and the majestic Mediterranean-style clubhouse at the end. Don’t get too complacent, it will be a long journey home with plenty of hazards out to get you.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
The signature 17th hole is the perfect way to cap off a fantastic day at Links Hope Island. While on the scorecard it’s a par-3, it spans 230 metres from the back tees playing over water and usually into a headwind.
If you’re daring enough you can go for the green but if you come up short you’re either in the water or caught in one of three bunkers. Alternatively, you can play it safe with a skinny fairway riding up the right side.
May fortune favour the brave.
DID YOU KNOW
At the 1997 Johnnie Walker Classic, Links Hope Island hosted one of the best fields of golfers an Australian golf tournament has ever seen.
It was won by Ernie Els, and included other major winners like Faldo, Langer, Daly and Couples; future major winners like Westwood, Harrington, Clarke and Singh; as well as Aussie legends like Baker-Finch, Grady, Senior and Campbell.
Hosted golf tournament: