It is of­ten said “you are only ever 20 min­utes from any­where in the city of churches”. Here, we ex­pand that perime­ter to show­case the Top-12 Cour­ses you will find within a 45-minute drive of Ade­laide’s city cen­tre.

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS -

Here, we show­case the Top-12 Cour­ses you will find within a 45-minute drive of Ade­laide’s city cen­tre.


Royal Ade­laide’s fin­ish at No.1 here is con­fir­ma­tion of the long-held view that the Seaton links is the South Aus­tralian cap­i­tal’s pre­mier course.

There have been plenty of al­ter­ations made to the lay­out since the course orig­i­nally opened for play in 1906, but it has re­tained its dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter of be­ing an open links course, which is a rare find in Aus­tralia.

The host for nine Aus­tralian Opens and, more re­cently, the 2017 Women’s Aus­tralian Open is still un­der­go­ing some de­sign changes un­der the guid­ance of min­i­mal­ist Amer­i­can course ar­chi­tect Tom Doak. His changes – which have in­cluded al­ter­ing some fair­way mow­ing lines, clear­ing some over­grown ar­eas of trees and scrub and the re­fur­bish­ment of some bunker­ing – while seem­ingly small, have had a great ef­fect on the qual­ity of the lay­out and the golf­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it of­fers. Doak’s re­mod­elling work has been car­ried out us­ing plans sub­mit­ted by Dr Alis­ter MacKen­zie dur­ing his Aus­tralian visit in 1926 as a ref­er­ence.

Even the iconic short par-4 3rd hole has been tweaked with more room cre­ated to the left of the sharp dog­leg right fair­way. The 266-me­tre two-shot­ter is part of the Doc­tor’s de­sign and, although these days it is far more eas­ily reached from the tee by longer hit­ters, it re­mains one of Aus­tralia’s best short par-4s. The drive is blind over the crest of a hill to a fair­way that is now slightly wider be­tween rough left and a high grass-cov­ered sand dune to the right. The green is an odd shape and has been re­ferred to as re­sem­bling a “leg of mut­ton”, which is fairly ac­cu­rate. The green lies be­tween a small ridge on its edge to the left and a knoll to the right. The beauty of this hole is that if you are brave, and long enough, to go for the green from the tee, you can make any­thing from an ea­gle two to a dou­ble or triple bo­gey.

The de­sign changes aside, the qual­ity of Royal Ade­laide’s play­ing sur­faces con­tin­ues to im­prove year-on-year and it is now clearly one of the best-pre­sented cour­ses in the na­tion. Green fees – $275 (non-af­fil­i­ated Golf Aus­tralia mem­bers), $225 (af­fil­i­ated play­ers).


Kooyonga is a think­ing player’s golf course.

One of the game’s great­est strate­gists dur­ing the past 70 years – as a player then course de­signer – was Peter Thom­son. Hav­ing just won the 1972 Aus­tralian Open around the Ade­laide lay­out, Thom­son gave an in­sight into what was re­quired to play well at Kooyonga.

“It needs to be played with the head as much as the hands,” Thom­son said.

Orig­i­nally cre­ated by Her­bert ‘Cargie’ Rymill and opened for play in 1922, Kooyonga has been re-worked in re­cent times by the Golf Course Strate­gies de­sign team of Neil Crafter and Paul Mog­ford.

Crafter, a life­long mem­ber of the club, and Mog­ford re­shaped some of the greens and cleared out the veg­e­ta­tion that was start­ing to en­croach on the play­ing lines. As was seen dur­ing the Women’s Aus­tralian Open ear­lier this year, Kooyonga now o‘ers sev­eral play­ing op­tions on each hole with its wider av­enues ask­ing you to find the right po­si­tion to make your ap­proach into the greens.

It was these changes that en­thused Golf Aus­tralia’s Top-100 judges and helped earn Kooyonga a spot at No.25 in the bi­en­nial rank­ing pub­lished in Jan­uary this year.

Kooyonga packs plenty of punch for a lay­out that doesn’t cover a large par­cel of land. The creative rout­ing, va­ri­ety of holes and out­stand­ing pre­sen­ta­tion makes Kooyonga a ‘must play’ course for any golfer vis­it­ing Ade­laide. Green fees – $220 (Golflink card hold­ers).

3 THE GRANGE GC (West course)

It’s a decade since de­signer Mike Clay­ton over­saw the re­place­ment of all 18 greens, the re­shap­ing of sev­eral fair­ways and the clear­ing of trees and scrub to open up the play­ing lines on many holes.

With more width avail­able o‘ the tee, there are ques­tions asked of the golfer at al­most ev­ery turn, which was clearly ev­i­dent when the course hosted the Women’s Aus­tralian Open two years ago.

Head­ing into a round, the first of Clay­ton’s dra­matic changes can be seen at the 423-me­tre par-4 3rd hole. Apart from be­ing length­ened, the dog­leg right fair­way was opened up sig­nif­i­cantly by the re­moval of trees, which has ex­posed a spec­tac­u­lar sandy waste­land that was for­merly used as a site for min­ing sand. A long bunker cuts into the right side of the driv­ing zone but there is sušcient fair­way to the left for the cau­tious hit­ter to find. A deep bunker short and left of the green en­sures any player that skirts the right side fair­way bunker is re­warded with a clear ap­proach to the flag.

All of Clay­ton’s de­signs boast a qual­ity short par-4 and here he ac­tu­ally short­ened an ex­ist­ing par-4, the 7th, to cre­ate a more mem­o­rable hole. With the green ly­ing 285 me­tres from the tee, some play­ers have a real chance of reach­ing the green with their drive in the right wind con­di­tions. For those play­ers who lay back with an iron from the tee, the pin po­si­tion will dic­tate the best side of the fair­way to ap­proach the green from. Green fees – $200 (man­ager in­tro­duced), $75 (mem­bers’ guest).


Glenelg Golf Club was ranked No.30 in Aus­tralia’s Top-100 Cour­ses ear­lier this year – and for good rea­son, too.

The out­stand­ing con­di­tion­ing of its couch fair­ways and bent­grass greens com­pli­ment the chal­leng­ing par-71 track, which re­wards pre­ci­sion over power.

Like any good golf course, Glenelg o ers mul­ti­ple play­ing lines from the tee, which could see ev­ery mem­ber of your group se­lect­ing di er­ent clubs. Again, accuracy is a ne­ces­sity around this lay­out, with 90 well-placed bunkers ea­ger to swal­low any­thing slightly oine.

The par-3s at Glenelg are a real high­light. Each o er a unique and ex­cit­ing test and will have play­ers reach­ing for all man­ner of clubs. The 166-me­tre 11th is the tough­est of the one-shot­ters, play­ing up­hill and into the pre­vail­ing wind, but it is also one of the best holes on the course.

An­other high­light at Glenelg is the main­te­nance of the rough sur­round­ing its bunkers. The grass is cut to a length that keeps to the orig­i­nal de­sign of the course, al­low­ing the bunkers to come into play as they were in­tended.

The 12th hole is a very get­table 459-me­tre par-5 and is ranked 18 on the card.

Take a mo­ment here to ap­pre­ci­ate the en­tire prop­erty from high­est point of the Ade­laide plains. Green fees – $190 (man­ager in­tro­duced), $80 (mem­bers’ guest).

5 THE GRANGE GOLF CLUB (East course)

Greg Nor­man was com­mis­sioned to re­design this orig­i­nal Vern Mor­com cre­ation in 2012, nearly 36 years af­ter win­ning his first pro­fes­sional around the lay­out.

Nor­man’s redo of the East course rep­re­sented a $3 mil­lion ex­er­cise and al­lowed the club to achieve two key goals. One was to re­place the greens, many of which were still orig­i­nal sur­faces, and the other in­volved in­cor­po­rat­ing a Wet­land and Aquifer Stor­age and Re­cov­ery Scheme, a first in Aus­tralia. Cov­er­ing the east­ern edge of the East course, this fea­ture se­cured the club’s fu­ture water sup­ply but re­quired sen­si­tive and sen­si­ble in­cor­po­ra­tion within the lay­out. Nor­man’s team pulled it o with aplomb, ac­tu­ally adding holes in the process. Space that ini­tially housed just two holes mor­phed into three, a short and middle-dis­tance par-4 at the 4th and 6th with a long par-3 nes­tled in be­tween.

The par-3 5th is a beauty. Mea­sur­ing 155 me­tres, the green is a clas­sic ‘Redan’ that sits di­ag­o­nally from right-to-left to your ap­proach, and slopes from front to back. All the left side pin po­si­tions here are guarded by two deep bunkers, while a false front to the green can com­pli­cate get­ting up-and-down if your tee shot falls short. Green fees – $200 (man­ager in­tro­duced), $75 (mem­bers’ guest).


Set in the foothills of the Ade­laide Hills, Tea Tree Gully has evolved from a nine-hole scrapes course in the early 1950s to a chal­leng­ing par-71 that now ranks among Ade­laide’s finest lay­outs.

A host of de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Sloan Mor­peth (Com­mon­wealth GC, Mel­bourne) as well as Kel Na­gle and Mike Cooper (Forster Tun­curry GC) have played a role over the years in the cre­ation of the lay­out that can be played to­day.

Tea Tree Gully is a tight lay­out where you have to drive the ball straight and en­sure your misses are in the right spots or you will be pe­nalised harshly.

One hole where it pays to be straight, with the right club in your hand, is the short 7th hole – a dog­leg left par-4 of 338 me­tres with four large bunkers squeez­ing the edges of the fair­way at the turn. The fair­way also fea­tures a slight right-toleft cam­ber that can see balls roll into the fur­thest

of the left traps. A large bunker short right of the putting sur­face is best avoided. Green fees – Tee times are avail­able for vis­i­tors. Green fees – $35.


The Vines Golf Club of Reynella be­gan as the Marino Golf Club in 1925 be­fore mov­ing from the city to the Ade­laide Hills in the early 1960s.

While the lo­ca­tion cho­sen among na­tive bush re­serves was seen as ideal to build the course, it lacked the most valu­able re­source of all, water. Five dams have been built and water har­vest­ing in­tro­duced in a series of ma­jor projects over the past 30 years, all of which pro­vides 100 me­gal­itres of ir­ri­ga­tion to sup­port the course’s very good play­ing sur­faces.

The Santa Ana fair­ways are ter­rific to hit oˆ, while the pure bent­grass greens are gen­er­ally re­garded as some of the best you will find out­side Ade­laide’s Sand­belt.

While the con­di­tion­ing will im­press, you will also en­joy the qual­ity of the chal­lenge. The Vines’ col­lec­tion of par-3s is mem­o­rable with the first of them, the 149-me­tre par-3 3rd hole, fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful 100-year-plus red gums sur­round­ing the green. The canopy of the sur­round­ing trees does come into play if you ven­ture oˆ line with your tee shot so accuracy is vi­tal here.

The two back nine par-3s both play to el­e­vated greens. The 145-me­tre 10th leads away from the club­house to a green where most of the front edge is guarded by a cav­ernous bunker. Club se­lec­tion here is im­por­tant as out-of-bounds is di­rectly be­hind the green, so try­ing to avoid the bunker with a longer club could prove trou­ble­some.

The short­est of the one-shot­ters is the up­hill 14th. At 129-me­tres, its not a hole where length is the con­cern but with two bunkers ei­ther side of the en­trance into the rel­a­tively small putting sur­face, it still pays to be straight. Green fees – Tee times are avail­able for vis­i­tors. Green fees – $45.


With fa­mous neigh­bours like Royal Ade­laide and The Grange, it is not sur­pris­ing that West Lakes Golf Club is the hid­den gem of the Ade­laide Sand­belt – at least to golfers out­side the South Aus­tralian cap­i­tal.

West Lakes, for­merly River­side Golf Club, has un­der­gone sig­nif­i­cant changes over the past few years in­clud­ing a name change in 2011, club­house

ren­o­va­tions and ex­ten­sive course im­prove­ments.

This Neil Crafter and Paul Mog­ford-de­signed course is now one of the most en­joy­able lay­outs to be found in Ade­laide’s sub­urbs.

West Lakes is short by modern stan­dards – mea­sur­ing 5,636 me­tres – but the par-70 lay­out is chal­leng­ing, and by no means a pushover. The tree-lined fair­ways are well man­i­cured and are pre­dom­i­nantly cov­ered with couch grass as the club con­tin­ues with a pro­gram to erad­i­cate the ex­ist­ing kikuyu.

One of the real up­sides to West Lakes is its rout­ing. Three points of the com­pass are cov­ered within the first quar­tet of holes, elim­i­nat­ing the pre­dictabil­ity of wind di­rec­tion, while each of the open­ing three holes of­fer va­ri­ety by play­ing to dif­fer­ent pars.

The large, modern club­house oc­cu­pies a prime po­si­tion – over­look­ing the tees of the 1st and 10th holes, as well as the 18th green – and its nat­u­ral lo­ca­tion at­tracts a plethora of wildlife.

The par-5 1st hole is 17th on the stroke in­dex and does ex­actly as it should, eas­ing you into your round at 455 me­tres and of­fer­ing an early scor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

The green com­plexes are rel­a­tively flat, but they are beau­ti­fully main­tained with true, bent­grass sur­faces and trimmed col­lars. Green fees – $40 (mem­ber’s guest).


Mt Osmond is one of the old­est in the Ade­laide Hills hav­ing been formed in 1927. With Ed­ward Holden – founder of Holden cars – at the helm as the in­au­gu­ral club pres­i­dent, Mt Osmond es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion among Ade­laide so­ci­ety as the per­fect week­end get­away to a coun­try club.

To­day, Mt Osmond is a well-man­i­cured chal­lenge hav­ing been ex­ten­sively re­designed by Tony Cash­more, who has cre­ated high rank­ing lay­outs like Thir­teenth Beach and the Hen­ley course at The Her­itage in Mel­bourne. The re­con­struc­tion of the course was com­pleted in 1997, with large rolling putting sur­faces and visu­ally im­pos­ing bunker­ing el­e­vat­ing the test and en­joy­ment on of­fer.

Mt Osmond, by na­ture of its lo­ca­tion, mixes holes with dra­matic el­e­va­tion changes with sev­eral eas­ier walk­ing holes that have been ter­raced into the edge of the slop­ing ter­rain.

The trio of holes that com­plete the front nine are mem­o­rable for their visual ap­peal as well as the chal­lenge they present. The 275-me­tre par-4 7th holds no sur­prises as the tee sits high above the wide fair­way. But be wary of the two bunkers left and right of the slight dog­leg left that are dif­fi­cult to es­cape from and en­sure a bo­gey is a good score.

The 7th hole plays along­side one side of a mas­sive water stor­age dam, while the 8th hole leads you back in the op­po­site di­rec­tion,

dog­leg­ging to the right passed the edge of the same water haz­ard. The hole plays longer than the 342 me­tres on the score­card by virtue of the steady climb to the green, which is an­gled slightly front left to back right. Three bunkers – two short left and right and a sneaky pot bunker back left – com­bine with mounds and hol­lows to place a pre­mium on hit­ting a straight ap­proach to avoid a dicult up-and-down to save par. It’s eas­ier said than done too, as the fair­way cam­bers down to­ward the stor­age dam leav­ing a right han­der with a shot where the ball lies be­low the feet.

The 8th hole is in­dex No.5 on the Mt Osmond score­card, while the front half rounds out with the fourth most dicult. At 359 me­tres from the tips, the par-4 9th hole is a nar­row driv­ing hole but any com­pli­ca­tions you have en route to the green are all but for­got­ten as you stand on the huge putting sur­face and as you soak in the view of Ade­laide and the ocean be­yond. It is one of the finest panoramic views you will ex­pe­ri­ence in South Aus­tralia. Green fees – $55 (week­days), $60 (week­ends). 10


Thaxted Park’s first few decades af­ter open­ing in 1964 were a con­stant bat­tle for water. But four on course dams and an agree­ment with the lo­cal coun­cil pro­vides enough water these days to en­sure the play­ing sur­faces are first class.

All the fair­ways have been grad­u­ally been con­verted to Santa Ana couch, which thrives in this area. The bent­grass greens are also very good. The stan­dard of pre­sen­ta­tion is be­ing com­pli­mented by an im­proved lay­out with the re­de­vel­op­ment of the front nine.

Course ar­chi­tects Neil Crafter and Paul Mog­ford of Golf Strate­gies have come up with a mas­ter­plan for the course, which has pre­dom­i­nantly in­volved widen­ing fair­ways, cre­at­ing new fair­way bunkers, mov­ing and re­mod­elling greens as well as some tees.

The new holes have cer­tainly raised the bar but one of Thaxted Park’s most pic­turesque and

mem­o­rable holes comes late in the round. The 15th hole is a lit­tle more than 100 me­tres from the el­e­vated tee down to the rel­a­tively small green that lies just be­yond a creek bed. There is a bunker long of the green that comes into play more of­ten than you might ex­pect, while the real beauty of this hole is the am­phithe­atre set­ting of the green and the gum trees that sur­round it. Green fees – $32 (week­days); $37 (week­ends).


The Vern Mor­com-de­signed Black­wood course cov­ers won­der­ful un­du­lat­ing ter­rain in the Ade­laide Hills. Opened for play on the cur­rent site in 1963, Black­wood has un­der­gone many changes from Mor­com’s orig­i­nal work. Com­bined with the ma­tur­ing over more than 50 years of hun­dreds of trees, Black­wood has evolved into a tight driv­ing lay­out where a pre­mium is placed on accuracy.

The rolling land­scape com­bines well with the heav­ily tree-lined fair­ways to pro­vide a pic­turesque set­ting for an en­joy­able and chal­leng­ing round. Green fees – $40.

12 ADE­LAIDE SHORES (Patawalonga Course)

The Patawalonga Course at Ade­laide Shores has gone from strength to strength since be­ing re­designed by Neil Crafter and Paul Mog­ford and has hosted the last seven SA PGA Se­niors Cham­pi­onships.

From the well-man­i­cured kikuyu fair­ways and mas­sive bent­grass greens – av­er­ag­ing 750 square me­tres – to the beau­ti­ful red sand found in each of its bunkers, Patawalonga is a joy to play for any level of player.

Its four par-3s are per­haps the most mem­o­rable and en­joy­able as­pect; the long­est of which (No.12) mea­sures 167 me­tres from the tips.

The par-72 lay­out stretches to 5,913 me­tres. But it can play much longer, de­pend­ing on the di­rec­tion of the coastal winds. Green fees – $29 (week­days); $38 (week­ends).



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