King Island Golf and Bowling Club

King Island Golf and Bowling Club

World’s best 9-holer? Come and find out- King Island Golf and Bowling Club website boldly proclaims. When you’re traveling the world playing golf, how can you resist a statement like that?

Home to a couple of the most incredible golf courses, the rugged King Island is now on every intrepid golfer’s bucket list. But this wasn’t always the case. Opened for play in 1932, King Island Golf Club was the island’s only golf course until 2015.

Located off Tasmania, King Island is now home to three amazing golf courses: KIG&BC, Cape Wickham, and Ocean Dunes. Unexpectedly, we received an email from our mate Mr. Greg Ramsay asking us if we had plans for the weekend. Greg is the engaging and entertaining host of Ratho Farm, the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, and we had met him after our incredible day there. He said that he and his friend Rod were heading to King Island for the weekend and wanted to know if we would like to join.

Playing the world’s best 9-holer was on our bucket list, so of course, we wanted to join!!!

Yes, King Island Golf is a 9-hole course. But, with 17 tees, 12 greens, and 10 fairways, it can also play 18. Green fees are a modest 40 dollars for 9, and an incredible 50 dollars for all-day play! Measuring 5989-yards from the back Blue tees, and 4980 from the forward Yellow tees, the course plays to a par of 72. We played the 2993-yard par 36 front nine.

As you make your way up to the awesome first hole, there is a sign that says No bucket No golf. We couldn’t help but finish the melody with ♪ “Oh little darling, don’t shed no tears, no bucket no golf!” ♪

King Island Golf and Bowling Club
King Island Golf and Bowling Club

Back-to-Back Great Golf Holes

The Second at King Island Golf Club

Standing on the tee, we could tell that the 353-yard par 4 second was going to be something special. Starting off, the dogleg left tee shot is fantastic! The slightly downhill fairway slopes from right to left, which exaggerates the dogleg. And with nothing but grouse left, miss it too much down that side and it’s a lost ball. Hooking the ball is my nemesis, so I took aim down the right side of the fairway. True to form, I turned it over. Catching the slope, my tee shot landed down the left side of the fairway, thankfully coming to rest in the first cut of rough. From there, I had an uphill approach to a somewhat hidden green.

The second tee at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The second tee at King Island Golf and Bowling Club

Menekse meanwhile played the hole down the right side of the fairway. With a deep bunker left, and into the wind, she over clubbed her approach, and we watched it roll up the back slope behind the green.

Approaching the second at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Approaching the second at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Looking back down the second at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Looking back down the second at King Island Golf and Bowling Club

The Third at King Island Golf Club

With the great Southern Ocean as the backdrop, the picturesque downhill 166-yard par 3 third is a beautiful golf hole. Mesmerized by the view of the ocean from the tee, it would be easy to not notice the pot bunkers that surround the green. So be warned! Menekse ripped driver off the tee, which landed on, but it didn’t stop before it ran into the long but narrow bunker long.

The picturesque third at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The picturesque third at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Pot bunkers protect the third
Pot bunkers protect the third at King Island Golf and Bowling Club

With an eight-iron, I landed on the green, just to the left of the pin. The greens had recently been cored or plugged as we say in the States, and as a result, I left my birdie putt well short. The third is a brilliant golf hole and, depending on the wind, we could envision having to hit anything from wedge to driver off the tee.

The third hole at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The third hole at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Birdie putt on three at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Birdie putt on three at King Island Golf and Bowling Club

A Shorter Version of Pebble Beach’s Famous Eighteenth

Wrapping around the beach, the dogleg left 289-yard par 4 fifth tempts you to take off as much as you dare. The view reminded us of a shorter version of the finishing hole at Pebble Beach. The wind picked up slightly, so I teed my tee ball low. Maybe it was teed too low because I pushed a sky ball well out to the right. But I consoled myself with the fact that at least it was dry. And I also reminded myself that blocked my tee shot dry on the famous eighteenth at Pebble! Menekse found the middle left of the fairway and then proceeded to rip a 3-wood that came to rest a club short of the small green.

The dogleg left fifth at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The dogleg left fifth at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Teed too low on five at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Teed too low on five at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The fifth fairway wraps around the ocean
The fifth fairway wraps around the ocean

The Eighth at King Island Golf Club

The number one handicap 362-yard par 4 eighth has another fairway that looks narrow from the tee. With nothing but scrub down the right side, the fairway is uphill and bends slightly to the right, which makes the tee shot look more intimidating than it really is. In the distance is a lone picturesque cypress tree that guards the right side of the green. I used that as my target, trusting that I could turn over my tee shot. With plenty of room left, I flew the brush, cutting the corner, and found the left-center of the fairway.

Teeing off on eight at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Teeing off on eight at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Menekse teeing off
Menekse teeing off

From the left side of the fairway, it was all uphill to the green. Beyond the putting surface, the slope continues to rise up towards the ninth tee and leads the green an amphitheater look. Between clubs, I grabbed an eight-iron hoping that gravity would help should I go long.  I struck the approach shot well, and it carried the pin that was in the back. But I got the help that I was hoping for. My ball rolled up and then back down the slope, coming to a stop a foot short of the green, and leaving me an easy up and down for par.

The amphitheater eighth green
The amphitheater eighth green
Lone cypress guarding the eighth green
Lone cypress guarding the eighth green

One of the World’s Greatest 9-Hole Golf Courses

It was a Friday evening when we played, and the clubhouse was full of locals. Bowling Clubs aren’t popular in the US, so we had fun exploring the Clubhouse. The bowling green was luxurious, and we would have loved to have putted on it!

The bowling green at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
The bowling green at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Bowling balls
Bowling balls

Afterward, we enjoyed dinner while watching the last golfers of the day play their final holes as the sun set over the Southern Ocean, a scene that was equal to the amazing golf of the day. Whatever you order, be sure to include the baked brie, and pair it with local Tasmanian wine- delicious!

Clubhouse view at King Island Golf and Bowling Club
Clubhouse view at King Island Golf and Bowling Club

So, is King Island Golf and Bowling Club one of the world’s greatest 9-hole golf courses?

That is a fair question. There is not a weak hole on the golf course. The seventh hole probably wasn’t our favorite, but all the others were wonderful. With views of the ocean on every hole, and a routing that traverses up and down a terrain that has a very true link feeling, the golf course was an absolute blast to play. The second and especially the third holes are a couple of the greatest holes we’ve played in Australia. While the course might have been rough in spots, the entire experience was a throwback to the type of golf that I grew up playing.

King Island Golf and Bowling Club is a must-play when you make it to King Island!

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