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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 253
D R ALISTER MacKenzie might turn in his grave if he knew the great qualities of links golf – wind, uneven lies, firm greens and the ability to use all 14 clubs in the bag around the green – are now available in the tropics. In MacKenzie’s day, tropical grasses were too coarse to even entertain the idea of building a championship layout in an area like far north Queensland. Add to the fact that grasses from cooler climes simply would not survive the heat and humidity, and it is hardly surprising that tropical regions the world over have few quality courses dating back before the 1960s. Major technological advancements in agronomy as well as course construction equipment during the past 40 years have opened new frontiers and landscapes for developers and course designers. One course designer who never swayed from a tough assignment was Mike Wolveridge. Before forming a design partnership with Peter Thomson in the 1980s, the Englishman had faced, and overcame, many design challenges including building a layout on the side of a mountain in Japan, another in the crater of a dormant volcano in Indonesia and several in swamplands in South-East Asia. So turning 73-hectares of sugar cane plantation, just south of Port Douglas, into a tropical links layout was always going to be a challenge Wolveridge could handle. Now known as Palmer Sea Reef, the layout opened for play in 2000 and has since matured into one of the finest courses in north Queensland.
GA Express 252
GA Express 254