The Links Kennedy Bay lies on Western Australia’s coastline, 50kms south of Perth. Designed by Michael Coate and Roger Mackay in collaboration with Open Champion Ian Baker-Finch, Kennedy Bay does what many links courses outside of the UK aspire to do – it gives you the impression you are playing one of the great links of Britain or Ireland.
All the ingredients are present: fast running fairways, tight grass, small pot bunkers, large bunkers with severely riveted faces, raised greens, dramatic run-offs and unpredictable sloping. The manner in which the fairways merge into rough with no clear line of delineation is authentic, and the flow through the land is brilliantly done. The course is set some way back from the sea, but the fairways are sufficiently recessed so that you rarely see much of the other holes, only their stout flagpoles rippling in the breeze.
The opening stretch from the 1st to the tempting 285-metre par-4 7th will have you enthralled. Holes dubbed ‘Hell’ – the superb 520-metre par-5 4th – and the demanding 419-metre 5th, known as ‘Thread The Needle’, throw down the challenge early in the round.
And then there is the brilliantly designed 7th hole, called (for good reason), ‘Temptation’. In favorable conditions, longer hitters can back themselves here to reach the green with their tee shot but it is a gamble to avoid the staggered pot bunkers left and right, as well as the deep trap cut into the front of the putting surface. I was tempted and while I passed the first test and kept my ball away from the sand, a lazy pitch to the wrong side of the hole resulted in an easy three-putt bogey when a birdie was there for the offing.