GOLF COUR­SES

THE GOLD COAST HAS MORE GOLF COUR­SES PER CAPITA THAN ANY­WHERE ELSE IN AUS­TRALIA, BUT WHERE IS THE GRASS GREEN­EST? EMILY SEL­LECK HAS THE TOP 10 AS VOTED BY YOU

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE FEATURE -

PALM MEAD­OWS 1 Palm Mead­ows Drive, Car­rara Fi­nan­cial con­troller Chad Shep­pard (pic­tured right) says Palm Mead­ows was the first re­sort golf course built on the Gold Coast and it’s ever-evolv­ing.

“We’ve been here since the late 1980s so there’s a lot of his­tory,” he says.

“It was man­aged by a Ja­panese com­pany for about 20 years un­til 2010 when we came in with a dif­fer­ent struc­ture.

“Pre­vi­ously they were try­ing to engage the in­ter­state and over­seas mar­ket, but af­ter the GFC (global fi­nan­cial cri­sis) we had to bring the price point down to meet the lo­cal mar­ket.”

Chad says the course hosted “mil­lion-dol­lar com­pe­ti­tions” in the ‘80s. “Back then it was to­tally un­heard of,” he says. “To­day we of­fer a great prod­uct at an af­ford­able rate for mem­bers and the gen­eral pub­lic.

“We cover such a vast area, we have one loop around the south­ern side and an­other around the north­ern side.

“We also have our world-fa­mous 18th hole, which wraps around a big lake, so you have the choice to take on as much water as you want.” Chad says they are cur­rently mak­ing im­prove­ments. “We’ve re­done our bunkers where we’re re­do­ing the grainage and putting new sand in, which I’m sure the mem­bers will be re­ally happy with.”

The club also boasts a bistro over­look­ing the 10th and 18th holes. “It’s the per­fect place to pon­der how much bet­ter you could have played,” Chad laughs. “It’s a beau­ti­ful set­ting.”

“WE ALSO HAVE OUR WORLD FA­MOUS 18TH HOLE, WHICH WRAPS AROUND A BIG LAKE, SO YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO TAKE ON AS MUCH WATER AS YOU WANT.

2 THE GRAND GOLF CLUB 364 Gil­ston Rd, Gil­ston

The Grand Golf Club cel­e­brates its 20th an­niver­sary in De­cem­ber — and those two decades have been any­thing but bor­ing. At the height of his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, Greg Nor­man de­signed the $30 mil­lion course. With only 555 mem­ber­ships avail­able, gen­eral man­ager Michelle Bow­ers says The Grand has main­tained its pure “mem­bers only” agenda. “Be­cause we’re so pri­vate, mem­bers can come and go at any time – it’s ac­tu­ally quite rare to run into some­one else on the course. About half of all our mem­bers are from in­ter­state or over­seas. We’re open 364 days a year and have no def­i­nite clos­ing time.”

3 SOUTH­PORT GOLF COURSE Slatyer Ave, South­port

Gen­eral man­ager Nik Robin­son says the South­port Golf Course is lo­cated on prime real estate. “We’re so cen­tral with a beau­ti­ful view of the Surfers sky­line over the green,” he says. “The course it­self is also ex­tremely well main­tained. We are a premium pri­vate club, but we’re open to the pub­lic in terms of food and bev­er­age of­fer­ings. We have a re­fresh­ment cart, a sports bar and a la carte of­fer­ings made by our highly skilled chef, which is pretty unique for a golf course these days. “We also have spe­cial nine-hole com­pe­ti­tions for guests to come and play and live en­ter­tain­ment on the week­ends.”

4 EMER­ALD LAKES GOLF CLUB Cnr Alabaster Drive & Nerang-Broad­beach Rd, Car­rara

At these flood­lit grounds you won’t have to cut the per­fect round short when you run out of sun­light. “Peo­ple can keep play­ing out there right un­til 10pm,” gen­eral man­ager Chris Ba­gley says. “It’s not as long as some of the cham­pi­onship cour­ses, but it’s chal­leng­ing and there’s plenty of water. We also have fa­cil­i­ties that add to the ex­pe­ri­ence like food and bev­er­age of­fer­ings and gam­ing.” The driv­ing range is also well­lit, ideal for af­ter-hours social golf or let­ting out pent-up ag­gres­sion af­ter a long, hard day at work – there’s no bet­ter stress re­lief than smack­ing a ball with a stick.

5 BOOMERANG FARM GOLF COURSE 55 Johns Rd, Mudgeer­aba

Re­gard­less of how well you’re play­ing, it’s hard not to feel serene in the tran­quil set­ting of Boomerang Farm Golf Course. “We’re such a unique course, you feel like you’ve gone back 100 years in time,” of­fice man­ager Cindy Lewsey says. “We’re very small and ca­sual with a small bistro and a re­ally strong mem­ber­ship base, but we al­low the pub­lic as well. Our grounds have also been used in moves and TV in­clud­ing

Mar­ried at First Sight and The In­be­tween­ers movie.” The full 18hole course is spread over 20 hectares of lush greens, pic­turesque dams and his­toric farm build­ings.

6 LINKS HOPE IS­LAND Hope Is­land Rd, Hope Is­land

Links Hope Is­land doesn’t just rate in the Gold Coast’s top 10 golf cour­ses – it’s been voted in the top cour­ses in Aus­tralia. De­signed by five times Bri­tish Open cham­pion Peter Thom­son and part­ner Mike Wolveridge, the course’s cur­rent re­place­ment cost is es­ti­mated at $25 mil­lion. There’s an aquatic-style driv­ing range, a putting and chip­ping green, a concierge bag drop and GPS carts. Gen­eral man­ager TraceyLea Ti­ley says the club of­fers the only links-style course on the Coast. “It’s very unique to us. We have 128 pot bunkers, they’re quite deep and in­di­vid­u­ally hand-raked every day.” 7 SANC­TU­ARY COVE GOLF AND COUN­TRY CLUB The Park­way, Hope Is­land Boast­ing two full golf cour­ses, Sanc­tu­ary Cove Golf and Coun­try Club is well known for its spa­cious­ness, ac­com­mo­da­tion of its play­ers and lux­ury. The first of the cour­ses is The Pines, Aus­tralia’s only course de­signed by late golf­ing leg­end Arnold Palmer, which re­flects his ide­ol­ogy that golf is “de­cep­tively sim­ple and end­lessly com­pli­cated.” The second is their Palms course, which un­der­went an $8.8 mil­lion re­vamp in 2011, rais­ing its pro­file to one of the best cour­ses in Aus­tralia.

8 LAKE­LANDS GOLF CLUB 100 Lake­lands Drive, Mer­ri­mac

PGA cham­pi­onship win­ner Jack Nick­laus de­signed the Lake­lands course, his first sig­na­ture course in Aus­tralia. It fea­tures cas­cad­ing greens, a wa­ter­fall and an 18 hole, 72 par course of in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship stan­dards. Head greenskeeper Phil Soe­gaard says the club changed their busi­ness model in July. “We no longer have a mem­ber­ship pro­gram, now peo­ple are ‘ac­cess hold­ers’ and they pay for a cer­tain amount of rounds. We’re cater­ing to more peo­ple ... but it’s the course con­di­tion­ing that keeps peo­ple com­ing back. Our na­tional golf course rank­ing is now 56, up from the mid-70s.”

9 THE GLADES GOLF CLUB 1 Glades Drive, Robina

Gen­eral man­ager Phil Baker says mem­ber­ships at The Glades are limited to “around the 100 mark” and the grass may in­deed be greener at this course. “Our mem­bers love that we have a small mem­ber base,” he says. “We also have a dif­fer­ent style of grass on our greens. It’s called creep­ing bent, which does cost a bit more to main­tain but it def­i­nitely is a point of dif­fer­ence.” Phil says the club’s res­tau­rant is open to the pub­lic seven days a week.

RACV ROYAL PINES 10 Ross St, Benowa

RACV is per­haps best known for host­ing the Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion Cham­pi­onships. The golf­ing tour­na­ment is held over four days and at­tracts many of the world’s best pro­fes­sion­als. Golf man­ager David Hog­ben says the club’s $11 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment in 2014 was a big draw­card too. “It’s made the course a lot more chal­leng­ing,” he says. “But we’re def­i­nitely a one-stop shop for ev­ery­thing – you can stay, play, dine and use the gym. We have a num­ber of dif­fer­ent din­ing op­tions, in­clud­ing Ja­panese, Italian and the seafood buf­fet.”

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