IT IS estimated there are 50 million golfers in the world and now these golfers have a newly discovered destination for tee time, according to the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.
Tasmania has been named the ‘undiscovered golf destination of the year’ by over 200 of the world’s leading golf travel journalists across 36 countries.
It is not the first time Tasmania’s golf courses have received accolades, with Barnbougle Dunes (pictured) and Lost Farm courses rated in the World’s Top 25 courses by Golf Digest. Both courses feature dramatic dunes, following the contours of Tasmania’s north east coast in true links-course style. In fact both courses are leading courses in the Great Golf Courses of Australia.
The IAGTO Awards announcement caps off an impressive year for Tasmania’s trophy cabinet, with Travel + Leisure readers propelling Tasmania to the heights of world’s fourth best island, and Lonely Planet naming the island fourth most desirable region in the world to visit in 2015. Praising the island’s clean air, premium eats and drinks, friendly locals, and accessible wilds, Tasmania is now welcoming visitors in unprecedented numbers.
Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald said that this accolade from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators is a welcome acknowledgement of Tasmania’s growing world-class golf offering.
“Recent developments have certainly raised awareness of Tasmania as a golfing destination.
“However, I believe it is our incredible natural features, heritage, world-class produce, wines, beers and whiskies, and the welcoming and engaging nature of our people that have elevated our island’s status as a golfing destination that surpasses every serious golfer’s expectations”, he said.
IAGTO chief executive Peter Walton said: “Tasmania richly deserves being named Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year in the 2016 IAGTO Awards. To earn such an accolade is no mean feat. The winner is voted for by members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association, which is administered by IAGTO.
“There are more than 200 members in 36 countries around the world, and these are journalists who are at the cutting edge of golf tourism trends. Where they go, golf travellers follow, spurred on by the prospect of discovering a new gem after reading about it in respected golf publications or online.
“Tasmania is now well and truly on the global golfing map thanks to this award and I am sure it will result in an increase in golfers from other parts of the world wanting to play the lush fairways and greens of this pristine island,” he said.
Tasmania was announced as the World’s Undiscovered Golf Destination at the 2016 IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner on Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands, selected from over 60 international destinations. Judges based their decision on criteria including the extent of which the golfing destination is undiscovered, attractiveness of the region and courses, speed of play, climate and accessibility.
Tasmania’s windswept King Island is also positioning itself as a world-class golfing destination with the much anticipated Cape Wickham Golf Course due to open 30 October 2015, Cape Wickham is rumoured to become Australia’s most spectacular course, however with Ocean Dunes on the western coast of the island slated for launch a month later, golfers will decide the highlights of each once play is in full swing.
Ratho Links Course is another drawcard for Tasmania – one of Australia’s oldest golf courses – laid out by Scottish emigrants in 1822. Located in Bothwell, one of the country’s earliest inland settlements, a round on today’s course might include a trip to next door’s Nant Distillery and world-class trout fishing come evening.
As for accommodation, after 18 long holes golfers have ample options including Saffire Freycinet, recently named Best Australian Boutique Property, Villa or Lodge in Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List. Golf enthusiasts can expect an island not only boasting internationally-sought courses but with culinary experiences to match and high-end accommodation never far from the first tee.
Those who venture from the manicured grass will find ancient wilderness, rich heritage and may even be tempted with a dram of Sullivan’s Cove single malt, named the world’s best in 2015 in the World Whisky Awards. And with more than 67 golf courses across the State, you’re never far from a fairway.
IAGTO is the global trade association of the golf tourism industry and the IAGTO Awards are the industry’s annual accolades.
Travel to Tasmania
Travellers can fly to Tasmania on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tigerair, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).
For more information on Tasmania, visit www.discovertasmania.com.au.
PHOTO: Barnbougle is set on 200 acres of undulating coastal dunes and is the creative genius of famed golf architect Tom Doak and Australia’s Michael Clayton. Barnbougle, still only in its youth, continues to gain a reputation as one of the world’s top links golf courses. The breathtaking landscape upon which the course has been created mirrors the wild coastal links courses of Scotland and Ireland and as Barnbougle continues to develop with age it looks set to follow in the footsteps of these great courses.