The frequently travelled road between Adelaide and Victor Harbour features the gorgeous Fleurieu Peninsula, the McLaren Vale wine region and countless tourist destinations. Just off this highway lies Mount Compass Golf Club, about 45 minutes’ drive south of the Adelaide CBD.
The 6,116-metre, Neil Crafter-designed par 72 course is a delight to play, and whilst Mount Compass is not widely known, it has progressed steadily upward in each of the last 4 bi-annual Golf Digest rankings. It is maintained by a relatively small green staff, but despite this, the conditioning of the course is excellent. Usually courses of this quality employ 2 or 3 times more staff and yet will not achieve the presentation excellence of Mount Compass.
The course has a very natural sense to the holes and utilises the flowing terrain beautifully. The greens are creatively varied in size and are nuanced to enable much variation in pin placement – always the sign of a designer that plays and has a significant understanding of the game.
Presented with such an amazing sand base, Crafter encountered the almost perfect blank canvas with which to express his creativity in designing bunkers at Mount Compass. Of the 89 bunkers littered across the property, most are clearly reminiscent of links in Great Britain. Edging of natural roughness abounds. Perhaps the best examples being the considerable trap behind the 6th green and to the right of the 1st fairway.
In keeping with the Northern Hemisphere links theme, strategically hidden pot bunkers are also a feature, deep with copious sand at the bases, a sideways escape is usually all that can be achieved from one of these coffins!
Holes worthy of mention amongst a very solid bunch are the par 4 6th very short but with a daunting expanse of wasteland that must be carried. The bending Par 5 10th can be accessed in 2 blows by the bold and accurate but can be played in multiple fashions to suit one’s appetite for aggression. Most will agree the 173-metre par 3 12th is the most memorable, the slightly raised green requires water carry the whole way. Those less practised or a bit apprehensive can bail out to the left and will rely on deft short game skills to secure a coveted par.
Situated just an hour’s drive south of Adelaide city centre on the Fleurieu Peninsula, The Links Lady Bay makes an excellent addition to any Adelaide golf holiday, but is also a great golf destination in its own right. The course, which is ranked No. 57 in Australia’s Top 100 (Golf Digest), is a championship links test with ever present wind and magnificent views over Lady Bay. Strong enough from the back tees to test the best golfers, yet fair enough to be enjoyed by the average player, The Links Lady Bay also features short holes that would grace any of the most famous links courses in the world – most notably the Par 3 17th. The resort facilities, comprising golf course, accommodation, restaurant and spa are full of charm and quality, reflecting the unique character of the Southern Fleurieu. Escape the bustle of Adelaide – add a day (and overnight) trip to The Links Lady Bay to your Adelaide golf holiday itinerary.
The Grange Golf Club is one of South Australia’s foremost sporting venues with two internationally rated 18-hole courses. The West Course was redesigned by Michael Clayton with the redevelopment completed in 2007. The East Course was reconstructed by Greg Norman Golf Course Design. The project was completed in 2012 and has produced a championship layout that will challenge and reward players of all skills. The new East course is receiving many plaudits from both members and visitors and is set to be recognised as one of Australia’s leading golf courses. The Grange Golf Club was proud to host the 2016 Ladies Australian Open which was a great success and showcased the club’s quality courses and facilities.
Recognised as one of Australia’s premier golfing facilities, Glenelg Golf Club offers a world class challenge. The course complexity is envied by many rival clubs, while its strategic design elements, impeccable turf quality and coastal aspects provide for a truly memorable day of golf. Traditional links characteristics add to the golfing experience and architects have utilised the topography of the site to place a premium on a golfer’s shot making ability. Natural sand dunes and native vegetation abound; indeed the club has taken great care in restoring much of the golf course back to its original landscape. Glenelg Golf Club sits comfortably in the top echelon of classic Australian courses.
Kooyonga is one of Australia’s top courses and has hosted many National and State Championships over the years. The challenging layout and sensational playing surfaces provide you with the ultimate golfing experience. The layout is testing but fair. Native trees define the narrow, undulating fairways culminating in well protected greens whose speed and subtle slopes require skill and demand respect. Peter Thomson described Kooyonga from the player’s point of view when he said ‘It needs to be played with the head as much as the hands’. Complimented by its modern, but traditional-feeling clubhouse, Kooyonga is a ‘must play’ course for any golfer visiting Adelaide.
Best in Adelaide, best in State, No. 14 in Australia (Golf Digest), a regular in the World’s Top 100 – Royal Adelaide is a well decorated masterpiece, tweaked in its design by several prominent architects over the years, including the venerable Dr. Alister Mackenzie. This true championship course plays very much as an inland links in the manner of Australia’s famed Sandbelt courses. The firm, true and beautiful surfaces are a pleasure to play on, and the impeccable standards are carried over into the clubhouse and the club’s service levels. Royal Adelaide is a joy to visit for any golfer.