Pacific Dunes is a highly rated course located at Port Stephens just north of Newcastle in NSW. It’s design is a triumph (by architect James Wilcher) of creating an exciting and memorable course from an essentially flat and unspectacular site. The front nine runs through native woodlands, where tree-lined fairways demand accuracy. The course opens up on the back nine with a more resort-style wetland setting with frequent watery graves to be avoided. The clever design is complemented by year-round championship-ready levels of course conditioning – the couch fairways are carpet-like and the bent grass greens are wonderful surfaces containing subtle breaks. Pacific Dunes Golf & Country Club is a terrific addition to any NSW Central Coast / Hunter Valley golf holiday itinerary.
Consistently ranked inside the Top 20 courses in Australia, Newcastle Golf Club is a classic course that features 18 memorable and strong holes, a few of which are regarded as truly world-class – notably holes 5, 6, 7 & 10. The balance of the course keeps the pressure on the player to stay in position throughout the round – any drive that is not straight and true can result in a blind or semi-blind approach. Newcastle Golf Club is an incredibly natural course, rolling across the sand dunes and through the native bush that was present long before the course was routed (initially in 1915, then completed in 1932). The site is home to an immense variety of bird life and other flora and fauna. Newcastle Golf Club is only 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney and is a unique, traditional and charming Australian golf experience.
Hunter Valley Golf Club is a spectacular 18-hole championship course set amongst the world-famous vineyards of the region. The par 71 course features impressive mountain range views, an expansive lake, rolling hills and tree-lined fairways that add to the course’s natural beauty, while providing extra challenges for all golfers. The course, the on-site facilities and the warm, friendly service make a day’s golf at Hunter Valley Golf a very enjoyable one.
Since its opening in 1992, Cypress Lakes Golf Course has grown its reputation as one of the country’s leading golf resorts. Recent investment has rejuvenated the course, back to the levels of its heyday when it hosted numerous professional events. Each tee and green offers stunning panoramic views of the Hunter Valley’s famous vineyards and the surrounding Brokenback mountain range. The Championship layout boasts dramatic fairway shapes and elevation changes, 60 strategically located bunkers and generous greens that are in superb condition year-round. And If you’re up for a challenge, try playing the new-look Cypress Lakes off the championship tees – it has the highest course slope rating in the country at 150. Good luck!
The Vintage Golf Course is one of Australia’s premier resort courses and the golfing jewel of the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales. Designed by Greg Norman, the course has a great combination of long, short, dogleg and straight holes that demand precision. The bold bunkering has been revamped recently, but the fairways, approaches and greens remain as pristine as ever. The green complexes offer a mixture of challenging and forgiving hole positions. Water hazards have been used sparingly, but to good effect – most notably on the par 3 8th hole where a lake guards the front and right edges of the green. Some of the most memorable holes run parallel to the vines of neighbouring wineries and offer spectacular backdrops.
Kooindah Waters Golf Club, situated on the beautiful New South Wales Central Coast, is a par 72 championship course that is climbing Australia’s Top 100 rankings on the back of immaculate conditioning and a challenging, interesting layout. Completed in 2006, Kooindah Waters golf course was designed by Ross Watson and champion Australian golfer Craig Parry and is built on natural wetlands in a stunning bushland setting. It is a thinking golfer’s course, but offers a fierce challenge to players of all levels. Not only will a player need to avoid water hazards on all 18 holes but also the 84 fairway and green side bunkers – some of which have railway sleeper walls. Once these hazards are cleared, golfers cannot fail to be impressed by the tour-level couch fairways and superb bent greens that roll fast and true. A gem.
Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club is the Central Coast’s top ranked course (No 23 in Australia, Golf Digest). It is built on coastal dunes and opened for play in 2006. It was once a brutally tough course with very little margin for error despite almost ever-present wind. It has softened a little recently with areas of coastal scrub removed so that errant balls can at least be found. The turf and greens are exceptional and the rugged bunker style helps the course to feel very natural. Magenta Shores possesses some thrilling holes, but it’s the variety of challenge that elevates it into a top course. By way of example, the 4 par 3’s all play in different directions and vary in length from 124m to 186m.
The Moonah Links Legends Course is a tribute to champion golfers and each hole is named after a Legend of the game. It is an immensely enjoyable course with friendly fairways and firm and true greens set in a captivating, sandy landscape. The variety of holes is what makes The Legends Course so much fun from the 1st tee shot to the final putt on 18. The on-site Peppers Moonah Links Resort is one of the options that The Golf Travel Agency recommend for Mornington Peninsula golf holidays and offers first class accommodation, restaurant and spa with consistently excellent service.
The Moonah Links Golf Resort was built to be ‘The Home of Australian Golf’ and its Open course was conceived and constructed to host the national Open – which it did in 2003 & 2005. At 6,829m off the tips, The Open course is comfortably the longest highly-ranked golf course in Australia, but there are (thankfully) many other sets of tees from which to tackle this vast course. Length is not its only defence either, as the ever-present wind here varies greatly in direction and strength and affects the demands of each hole. Play The Open course at Moonah Links if you want a real taste of modern Championship golf.
The Moonah course at the National Golf Club was designed by Greg Norman and represents some of his best work. The Moonah is a vastly different test to its sister, The Old Course, as it is located in front of the stunning clubhouse among the rolling dunes of the The Cups region rather than on the wooded hillside behind it. It is a stern challenge (especially from the black tees at 6,600m) despite wide fairways and semi-rough. The greens typically have multiple sections to them – just make sure you hit the right section to two-putt the hole!