Whilst Pelican Waters is situated a few kilometres inland at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, it definitely is not lacking in the beauty that the coastal region is renowned for. Designed by Greg Norman and Bob Harrison, in what must surely rank up there with the best of this duo’s collaborative efforts, it is one of the most challenging (but still enjoyable) courses on the Sunshine Coast. Opened in 2000, the course design integrates the natural landscape and cleverly constructed wetlands.
Whilst the course features a number of challenging long holes, Pelican Waters’ real specialties are its short par 4s. The 2nd hole has water running across the tee and up the right side and may tempt the gutsier golfer to take a bit of a risk. The longer the club, the more the fairway pinches in with penal bunkering, water and scrubland. If successful, a far easier pitch is achieved to an angled green, with its series of left side bunkers impeding only those who chose the safer, shorter tee shot.
The other notable par 4 is the 12th hole, which Harrison reportedly rates as one of the premium short 4s the team has ever constructed. With plenty of width off the tee, and a slightly hidden, sharply contoured green, you’ll find yourself in trouble if you approached from the wrong side of the fairway. Back hole placements are especially difficult to get near unless the tee shot can hug the left-side fairway traps, which are particularly penal. Like the 2nd, if you take a gutsy approach with your drive, you will be rewarded with the perfect approach shot and a chance at birdie.
The final 4 holes of the round are played back through dense bushland. This stretch begins with an intimidating dead straight par 4 with a generous fairway framed by scrubland hazards on each side., you end up on a narrow, but deep green superbly enclosed by bunkering and bushland. The par 5 16th twists and turns through tall gums and a narrowing fairway, and although it’s the shortest of the par 5s, it is probably the most difficult green to approach. The 17th dogleg par 4 is quite long, and if you think you’ll catch a break on the 18th, be prepared to be met with one of the toughest closing holes in Queensland. A long dogleg left with strategic left side fairway bunkering, the second shot always plays longer than it appears to a contoured and challenging putting surface. A par 4 here would be a satisfying conclusion!