Australian golf at its finest, the course at Cape Wickham, designed by Mike DeVries and Darius Oliver, is a masterclass in links golf design. The playing corridors at Cape Wickham are rather generous in width – and they need to be given the Roaring Forties (strong westerly trade winds) reach 30 kilometres per hour on most days.
The wide fairways bring strategy into play as the holes change in character depending on the line of approach and position of the flagstick. The first three holes play around Cape Farewell and the rocky outcrops on the foreshore are quite mesmerising. The routing moves inland as holes six to nine take on a different character through coastal dunes.
The ripping downhill par-4 10th returns to the ocean and more spacious settings. The par-3 11th is a delightful pitch alongside the ocean and the 12th is a driveable par 4 on the clifftop with the Roaring Forties screaming off the left. The 13th turns back towards the clubhouse, accentuating the sensible design feature of making the downwind holes measure longer than those playing upwind into the westerly sea breezes.
The five closing holes reach out and back to Cape Wickham Lighthouse. The devilish par-4 16th plays back into the prevailing wind towards a smallish green concealed beautifully like a pocket square into a blazer. The short 17th is simply wonderful. And the par-4 18th features the most glorious natural setting of any finishing hole in Australia. The tee shot calls for a drive across Victoria Cove as the hole doglegs right to a green perched on a plateau.