Work underway at Ocean Dunes


Work underway at Ocean Dunes
Sean Dudley

The plans for a new Ocean Dunes links course on King Island in Australia are well underway.

Following planning approval, the first stages of development are taking place on the island, which lies in the Bass Strait between North West Tasmania and the Australian mainland.

The course has been designed by Graeme Grant Golf Design and will be constructed by McMahons. The project will be based on a ‘stay and play’ model, which has been successful at the Barnbougle Dunes facility in Tasmania.

Golf course architect Graeme Grant and construction boss Bernie McMahon are founding directors of the consortium behind the project. Grant has spent 35 years as a golf architect, firstly working with Jack Newton and John Spencer, but has been running his own design firm for the past decade. Among his design credits is the Links Lady Bay course in South Australia.

With a particularly windy climate on King Island, the fairways have been designed to be deliberately wide, and penal rough will be limited. The location of the greens will also have to account for the problematic winds players may face, and have been selected based on the minimal changes necessary to the surface beyond the rudimental positive surface drainage.

The natural undulations, dunes and burn negate the need for bunkering in some cases on the site, and have been incorporated strategically into the design. Water views will adorn all but one hole, and the course will feature two kilometres of coastline.

“It’s unique, and our success is sure to open up King Island’s linksland coast to others in the golf industry,” said Grant. “Before long this could become an Australian golf destination like no other.”

Some work has already been done at the site, with fairway shapes mown out and soil and water testing commenced.

The site lies only five-minutes drive from the airport at Currie on King Island, and it is hoped that, alongside another new development on the north side of the island and an existing nine-hole course in Currie, Ocean Dunes will enable King Island to become an established hub of Australian golf.