One of the more high-profile resorts in Australia, Sanctuary Cove on Queensland’s Gold Coast is home to two golf courses, the Pines by Arnold Palmer’s company and the Palms, recently redesigned by local architect Ross Watson.
Prior to the Watson redesign, the Palms was considered the poor cousin at Sanctuary Cove and was only busy because the Pines course was off-limits to non-members and important resort guests. It was originally designed by Fred Bolton, but management threw $8 million plus at the project and allowed Watson to completely rearrange the entire layout, in the hope it would ease some of the pressure on the Pines and became a serious attraction for visiting players.
Watson’s work was completed in 2011, and the next year the Palms debuted on the Golf Digest Australia’s Top 100 courses list. Essentially the entire course is new, with some of the routing remaining in place but the tees, greens and bunkers completely overhauled. Watson, who lives a few minutes from the resort, is said to have spent more time on this project than any of the previous 70 courses he has built. Despite a modest and relatively flat base for his layout, the designer has proclaimed it his best work and believes it a real risk-reward test. The most notable feature of the new resort course, is the rugged edge bunkering and its off colour sand, which is unique for this part of the world.
We plan to review The Palms at Sanctuary Cove in full shortly.