Bowen Golf Club
Resting onshore from the postcard-worthy Whitsundays, Bowen Golf Club lies in a tropical paradise. We were on our way to Townsville, about 200 kilometers north, when we stopped to discover the collection of idyllic islands scattered off the coast of central Queensland.
Just like the rest of this coastline, Bowen has a friendly laidback vibe. It was a peaceful early Monday morning, and there wasn’t another soul around when we pulled into Bowen Golf Club. We got out of Putu, our campervan, and had a wander around. The beautiful clubhouse was closed, so we walked the 20 or so steps to the beach.
Passing palm trees, we kicked off our golf shoes and felt the coolness of the morning sand on our feet. The turquoise ocean in front of us was calm, and a soothing breeze was gently blowing. We have been to many beautiful places in our golf travels, but there is something magical about Queensland. And occupying a little slice of this paradise is Bowen Golf Club.
Built in 1928, Bowen is a 9-hole course that has 2 sets of tees that allows you to play 18. The front plays 3191-yards, par 35, while the back is 3087-yards par 35, totaling 6278-yards par 70 for 18 from the back Men’s tees. The Women’s tee is 2631-yards on the front, and 2664 on the back, for a total of 5295-yards with the same par.
Dusting the beach sand off our feet, we put on our shoes, slid our $20 for 9 holes into the honesty box, took a few warm-up swings, and went straight to the first tee.
A Wonderful Start
With palm trees hugging the beach, and the calm warm Pacific Ocean just a couple of steps away, I ripped one down the middle of the fairway on the beautiful 464-yard opening par 4. We had recently spent a lot of hours driving up the coast of Queensland, and it felt refreshing to see nicely maintained fairways again.
Opting for a closer look at the incredible view, Menekse found the right side of the fairway that runs parallel to the coastline and then nutted a 3-wood that came to a rest just short of the green. Her pitch ran past the pin, but she gave herself a chance for par. We had only played the opening hole, but already were in love with the golf course!
The 314-yard second hole moves from left to right. But, with the ocean, the beach, and a large draping tree guarding the right side, left off the tee is the best play. From a great angle to the green, I hit a 50-degree wedge just left of the pin, which left me a solid chance for a birdie. From just under 15 feet, I left my slightly uphill putt one frustrating roll short.
A Long Par 3
Turning around and now playing back towards the clubhouse, the 233-yard third is a monster of a par 3! What little breeze there was, was now with us, and I tried to muscle a 4-iron. With greenside bunkers defending each side of the green, I flushed it, but was just a couple of yards short. A long hole also from the Women’s tee, Menekse banged a driver. Starting left of the greenside bunker, her shot swung from left to right, also coming to a halt short, just a few feet from my shot.
A Great Par 5
The water that stands in front of the tee on the number 1 handicap 549-yard par 5 eighth doesn’t come into play. Or it shouldn’t. But the water that does come into play will be noticed on your second swing. While the hole is fairly straight, it is best to favor the left side. We noticed a small estuary area when we walked down the fifth hole that also comes into play on eight. And since it is connected to the ocean, there is probably even more water during high tide. From the estuary, the water then cuts across the fairway, offering options on how to play the remainder of the hole.
There is a yellow walking bridge on the left side of the green that made a great target for my second shot. Never giving “go for it” a thought, I played it safe and hit a 5-iron that left me a perfect distance for my 54-degree wedge. My approach landed about 12 feet from the pin, but I missed another birdie chance short.
And a Beautiful Finish
With a small greenside bunker left, and the ocean in the background, the 148-yard par 3 finishing hole is another gorgeous golf hole. Somewhat blocking the view is a small shrub that rests halfway between the tee and green. The wind had picked up ever so slightly, but I hit a solid feeling knock-down 9-iron that found the middle of the smallish green.
Continuing her inspired play, Menekse’s 6-iron sailed high from left to right. We both thought it was headed for the bunker, but it landed just beyond the sand. However, it must have hit something, because it took a big bounce and rolled all the way to the left side of the green.
A Tropical Paradise
We played Bowen Golf Club in mid-August 2020. After months of covid uncertainly, it felt wonderful to play a fun golf course again. Especially wearing shorts in the perfect Queensland weather! The warm sun made the body feel young and led to free swings and untested confidence.
The picturesque opening three holes at Bowen Golf Club were absolutely wonderful! The overall maintenance of the golf course, from the fairways to the greens, was great. The greens were smallish, without a lot of undulations, and very similar to what I grew up playing. The speed of the greens wasn’t fast, but they definitely weren’t slow either. And for some reason, probably from our lack of recent play, we tended to leave a lot of putts short.
Bowen has a great clubhouse! In the distinct Queenslander style, it would be a great place to sit back, enjoy a couple of coldies, and let life slowly pass by. We played on a Monday, and unfortunately, the clubhouse was closed.
We were understandably rusty, but both of us had surprisingly hit some quality golf shots, even after not playing or being able to practice for months. Bowen is a somewhat short course, but it could easily become difficult with some wind. But today’s winds were calm, and the palm trees barely made a whisper. With some interest-piquing holes, and located in a tropical paradise, Bowen Golf Club is a golf course that we could be happy calling our home course!
Bown Golf Club Contacts
Bowen Golf Club
Golf Links Road
Bowen, 4805, Queensland
Phone: +61 (07) 4785 1206
Green Fee: $20.00 AUD for 9 holes, $30.00 AUD for 18 holes
9 Holes, 3191 yards (2918 meters), par 35
This Post Has 2 Comments
Sounds like a fun little course but an opening 464 yard 1st hole is not what I want to start my round 😂!
Thank you Jon!
Bowen is definitely a fun track! The opening three holes are a stern test of golf, and it is especially easy to get distracted by the views!
Yours in golf and travel,
Menekse and James