As Australia rejoices in Adam Scott's long-awaited Masters triumph Monday, I'm recalling a week I spent playing golf around his backyard in the state of Queensland back in 2010.
In terms of a golf destination, Queensland, dubbed by many Aussies as the 'Vacation State' isn't as internationally-reputed as the courses to the south around Melbourne, New South Wales and more recently the island of Tasmania.
But Queensland is a top spot on Australia tours particularly for what's off-shore: the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands. Resorts on these islands are lavish, just be sure to keep your balcony's sliding door closed or else your mini bar will be raided by cockatoos. Hamilton Island, one such Whitsunday destination famous for its boat races, used an entire nearby island to built a golf course in 2009, Hamilton island Golf Club, which makes for one one of the country's most dramatic settings for the game.
Every hole is a postcard at Hamilton Island Golf Club in the Whitsunday Islands.
Back on the mainland, the Australian PGA has been hosted for the past decade at the Coolom Golf Club, a scenic loop with ever-present birdlife and 'roos outside your guest room. The resort is within a short drive of the beach, where you can head to watch windsurfing (or try yourself if you dare mix it up with the local crowd) or just get some grub at a fish shop.
Closer to Brisbane is Gold Coast, where Scott spent most of his younger years and is a well-known golf destination among vacationing Aussies and Asians. With scores of golf and residential developments to go with resorts of all standards, you get the feeling as an American the Aussies view this destination a bit like the South Carolina Lowcountry. I visited one resort here, 36-hole Sanctuary Cove, which was highlighted by a flock of Kangaroos who seemed to follow me around:
Golf on the Pines Course at Sanctuary Cove in Queensland comes with many spectators.
Queensland's courses don't make the World Top 100 like the courses to the south. But if you're in Australia for a couple weeks touring the whole country, the Whitsunday Islands and great Barrier Reef are a must, and there's always good golf nearby.