The South Australian Government has announced development authorisation had been granted to Kangaroo Island Links Pty Ltd for a revision to a previously approved golf development on pristine Kangaroo Island, which lies off the state’s southern coastline.
Known as The Cliffs, Kangaroo Island and constructed on a premium 250-hectare parcel of ocean front land in Pelican Lagoon, the 18-hole course takes full advantage of the area’s rolling sand dunes and sweeping coastal views. Much of the course is set atop 25-metre high cliffs and played directly adjacent the Southern Ocean.
Beyond golf, the project includes a luxury clubhouse/lodge and 180-bed hotel as well as scope for restaurants, conference facilities, and a luxury day spa and health club. There is also provision for a residential component with a select number of private dwellings. Each home site enjoys glorious elevated views across the golf course and along the island’s dramatic coastline.
The senior team responsible for delivering the project has significant experience in Golf Course Design and Construction with a group resume including Cape Wickham Links on King Island, recently ranked the 24th best golf course in the world (Golf Digest). Darius Oliver, publisher of Planet Golf and co-designer of Cape Wickham, is responsible for the design of The Cliffs, while Andrew Purchase is again in charge of the golf course construction. Like Cape Wickham, it was Purchase who first found this golf land, and Oliver who worked with the state government on approval for the revised golf course routing.
Designated by the South Australian Government as a Major Project, The Cliffs Kangaroo Island was initially planned by the Programmed Turnpoint Group in association with another golf design company and approved in February 2016. It was purchased by Kangaroo Island Links last July, and audited by Oliver soon after. Oliver’s task was to determine whether the site had world-class golf potential to match its breathtaking, natural setting. By pushing the golf holes closer to the cliffs and moving the clubhouse onto the coastal crown reserve, the project team believes they now have the potential to build for South Australia, and Kangaroo Island, one of the world’s most spectacular destination golf courses.
Beyond a more logical, walkable routing and what are undeniably more exciting golf holes, moving the clubhouse to a central location also enabled the residential allotments to be relocated out of a 40-hectare section of mallee woodland and onto cleared grasslands. Protecting an intact woodland, the move also provides enhanced vistas from the residential zone. Additional conservation benefits are achieved through the restoration of important native vegetation and the clearing of noxious weeds along the clifftops.
While considering the various resort amendments sought by Kangaroo Island Links, the golf and environmental upsides were deemed considerable by the South Australian Government and approval granted on the basis that a world-class golf experience on Kangaroo Island was critical to the sustainability of the development.
“This development will create an international tourist destination that brings visitors to Kangaroo Island to play golf on one of the world’s most spectacular courses and also experience the pristine natural environment,” deputy premier John Rau commented in approving the design variation. “The golf resort will build the attractiveness of the island as a holiday destination and complement existing drawcards, such as the Southern Ocean Lodge Resort and the new Wilderness Trail.”
As with other projects on Kangaroo Island, the golf course will benefit from an $18 million upgrade to the island’s airport, and recently announced direct Qantas flights from Melbourne and Adelaide starting in the summer.
Purchase says the Kangaroo Island project has similar potential to the much-vaunted Cape Wickham course.
“We acquired the site for The Cliffs because we knew how much potential it had,” Purchase says. “Course designer Darius Oliver has started from scratch to design what we believe will be a world-class destination golf course with a uniquely Australian character. We’ve taken full advantage of the dramatic coastal views, which are available across the site, and have seven holes wrapping directly around the clifftops as well as ensuring fantastic views from the hotel site and across the course.
“We would like to thank the SA Government agencies who have worked with us to get the project to this stage and we look forward to continuing to work together on the development.”
Oliver is equally buoyant about the golf course’s potential.
“Like on King Island, the golf site at Pelican Lagoon has tremendous natural potential and is ready made for great golf,” he says. “The vast majority of holes are just sitting there on the ground, and will require little more than clearing, grassing and some light shaping. While the golf along the cliffs is stunning, I believe the inland holes to be at least as good, and arguably the most interesting on the course. Being able to create such a fun layout on Kangaroo Island and along such a beautiful stretch of coastline is a real thrill. Golfers from all corners of the globe are going to fall in love with this place. There isn’t anything like Kangaroo Island anywhere in the world.”
Kangaroo Island Links is currently working with the South Australian Government to satisfy conditions on the development authorisation. The team hopes to confirm a construction schedule, and make further course design announcements in the near future.