The sun was setting as a bloke in a Holden Kingswood sedan drove up the fairway, stopped and pulled a mower off the back seat to start attending to a green. That’s what there is to love about Australian golf. Proud volunteer members rolling up their sleeves to get things done. This nine-hole course was a country golf club at heart; but a little different in that this was rolling dunes land on the ocean and next to the town of Currie on King Island in Bass Strait –the notoriously wild stretch of sea that separates Victoria and Tasmania… – Harley Kruse
Exciting journey around the Cape
That day in Currie I was with Andrew Purchase who knew a thing or two about building links courses (National GC – Dunes + Moonah Courses and Moonah Links). Andrew originally came to King Island to escape the hordes of Mornington Peninsula tourists and to find a patch to go fishing and surfing with his sons.
Andrew knew he’d found something special. Added to that, off Cape Wickham is a massive surf break that is known to the world’s best surfers and brilliant for beach fishing.
Fast forward and the 18 holes at Cape Wickham has made a stunning debut, ranked in US Golf Digest’s top 25 Courses in the World, with No.3 ranking in Australia. (It won’t be surprising to see RMGC and Kingston Heath displaced by Cape Wickham.)
The story of Cape Wickham is worthy of a more detailed piece, but when golf course consultant Darius Oliver was introduced to Andrew, the story would then unfold with an introduction to golf course owner and connoisseur Duncan Andrews, the acquisition of more stunning coastal land, and the engagement of US course architect Mike DeVries (pictured on Hole 11 right).
Mike, Duncan and Darius would rigorously discuss and develop the best possible routing over the best golf land in Australia. Mike and Darius would do much of the design decisions in the field together. Talented shaper Lindsay Ritcher would bring much of the design to reality, along with the turf skills of John Geary, as these stunning photos show.
Ocean Dunes adds to the mix
Ocean Dunes, north of Currie,is another brilliant 18-hole links course that helps bring a most important critical mass of 36 holes for visitors. Unlike Cape Wickham, where several design minds would come together, this course is largely the indulgence of one talented and passionate man in Graeme Grant. He would work daily to bring his vision and design into reality, with his years of construction and turf skills coming to the fore.
It is a course with stunning holes on the ocean. New Superintendent, Martin Rose, is bringing the course into great condition. As these photos show, both courses are a worthy reason for King Island to be one of the world’s must-do golf destinations.
Oh, and don’t forget to find some time to have some fun playing the local Currie course. The locals have every reason to be proud of it, and will thank you for making a visit!