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Matthew Mollica

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Lord Howe Island Golf
« on: January 21, 2012, 08:25:16 AM »
I mentioned Lord Howe in another thread tonight, and for the benefit of those who don't know where it is, or have not been, the folowing review I penned a while back will fill in the gaps.

Lord Howe Island Golf Course



570 kilometres east of Coffs Harbour, a little patch of paradise sits in the Tasman Sea. Lord Howe Island is a tropical wonderland, home to hundreds of species of birds, plants, and fish. It is surrounded by the southernmost coral reef in the world. No wonder the entire island is World Heritage listed.

Lord Howe Island is a two hour flight from either Brisbane or Sydney. Most visitors and locals get around on bikes. There are almost no cars on the island, and the speed limit is 25 km/hr! The island is around 11 kilometres long, and just over 2 kilometres wide at its widest point. Around 80% of the island is protected in much the same way as a national park. The crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches lined with palm trees are never crowded. Official policy restricts the number of guests and residents on the island at any time.

Visitors to Lord Howe snorkel or scuba to see the coral, take bushwalks, sail, or just laze on the beach. The island is also home to a short, fun, well-kept and incredibly scenic nine-hole golf course. It's hard to imagine more enjoyable golf.  The course sits close to the shore, in an undulating sandy valley, in the shadows of the once-volcanic peaks Mt.Lidgbird (771m) and Mt.Gower (875m).



The relaxed holiday atmosphere is evident from the moment you reach the clubhouse. It's usually unmanned, with an honesty box there for your green fee. PGF hire clubs are available (both right and left handed). A natty little vending machine issues golf balls for $1. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the gumball machines kids find outside supermarkets.



From the back marks, the course is just under 1900m long, with a par of 31. There are five par 3s and four par 4s - no par 5s! Alternate tees are used to make a round of 18 holes. The well-kept Bermuda greens are small, undulating, firm and quick. There are few bunkers. Wind can come from any point on the compass, and can be quite strong. Locals spout that Lord Howe Island is the second windiest location in Australia.

Just as some Scottish courses feature meandering burns, tiny mountain streams snake obliquely through the Lord Howe Island course. Alas they were dry when I visited. The course features several memorable holes.  The opening hole is a 344m par 4, and plays to a generous fairway. The first approach shot is a challenging iron played between stands of native trees, to an oblique, raised green. The fifth hole is an uphill 199m par 4. The hole slightly doglegs to the left. The small shelf green, narrow fairway and a steep fall away on the left side will not be enough to deter some from having a crack at driving the green. Even with the hire clubs and $1 balls!

The seventh hole is another par 4, with the drive traversing a tiny, diagonal mountain stream. The approach plays uphill to a semi-blind, undulating green with the coral lagoon forming the backdrop. Approaches are better played from the left side of the fairway, yet this necessitates a longer driver and greater carry.

Despite the number of par 3s on the course, there is sufficient variety in their length, greens and design, to remain enjoyable and individual. The short, drop-shot second hole and the uphill third both require accurate tee shots. Yet it is the 8th hole (pictured below) which is the undisputed gem on the course. Running parallel to the beach, this hole often has strong easterly winds blowing across it. Greenside bunkers on the left, and the beach (staked as OOB) on the right make this 163m hole testing, beautiful and enjoyable.



Golf on holidays can be many things to many people. On Lord Howe it is clearly not the main priority. For those who can't go a week without picking up the sticks, a quick, casual relaxed 9 holes while holidaying on idyllic Lord Howe Island is as much fun and enjoyment as one could ever wish for.

MatthewM
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

Mark Bourgeois

Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 08:47:08 AM »
Matthew

There's a man's journey!

Alas, I was thwarted by the flight schedules out of Brisbane. Clearly I'm no Cook.

Will you next mount a challenge to Tristan de Cunha? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0amoW2Ess20

Don't ruin that fantasy for me, too!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 10:40:18 AM by Mark Bourgeois »

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 11:08:52 AM »
Matthew, that looks like a place I would love to visit.  I had never heard of the place.  What are the accommodations like?
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Matthew Mollica

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 03:40:32 PM »
Tommy, there's capacity for 360 or so guests on the entire Island.

There's real scope in accomodation.
Some stay in tents, some in humble digs, and some stay in upmarket but small resorts.

The latter will have you paying close to $1000 per night for a couple with meals included.
These include Arajilla and Capella.

The island is a truly magical place.

MM
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

Bob_Huntley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 04:30:31 PM »
Matthew,

And you are coming all the way to Pebble when you have a beaut just like that at home?

I'll see you in April.

Bob

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 06:14:30 PM »
Amazing thank you Matthew. 


I have long had a little dream of Lord Howe Island.


I earn my crust providing interior plants and landscaping to the corporate world in England. Many of the meals Iíve put on my table have been through sales of the Kentia Palm, proper name Howea Forsteriana.   This is the most common indoor palm, popular since Victorian days for it's toughness and elegance.  However it has always resisted being cultivated worldwide, so all of them are grown from seeds gathered on this Island where conditions for the palm are perfect.


In my mind when I have more time and finally make it to the southern hemisphere, I will visit Lord Howe Island.  Now I have two reasons to go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howea_forsteriana
Let's make GCA grate again!

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 06:54:14 PM »
Tommy, there's capacity for 360 or so guests on the entire Island.

There's real scope in accomodation.
Some stay in tents, some in humble digs, and some stay in upmarket but small resorts.

The latter will have you paying close to $1000 per night for a couple with meals included.
These include Arajilla and Capella.

The island is a truly magical place.

MM

I can spend money but $1000 a night is really steep. 
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Mark Bourgeois

Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 10:05:09 AM »
And if you go that far, Tony, it's a relatively short journey to take in another entry from that region in the botanical history books: Araucaria heterophylla.

Hmm, we have a Cook's tour; you can pioneer a (Joseph) Banks tour!

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 03:31:01 PM »
And if you go that far, Tony, it's a relatively short journey to take in another entry from that region in the botanical history books: Araucaria heterophylla. Hmm, we have a Cook's tour; you can pioneer a (Joseph) Banks tour!

Never liked them.  Get Red Spider Mite, keep me awake at night and cost me money.  Bah!
Let's make GCA grate again!

Geoffrey_Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Lord Howe Island Golf
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2023, 09:43:03 PM »
Just discovered this magical nine holer in the southern hemisphere.  I need to end up there at some point...


https://lordhoweisland.info/


https://www.lhi.golf/

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