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Black Bull Golf Club: Feels like home - Australian Golf Digest Black Bull Golf Club: Feels like home - Australian Golf Digest

The opening of the Sebel resort combined with travelling golfers seeking different adventures has seen a raft of Australians visiting Black Bull for the first time, with some choosing to relocate permanently.

Australian golfers are forging a three-pronged relationship with Black Bull Golf Club on the Murray River. While some opt to visit just long enough to tour the 18-hole golf course that’s ranked 68th in the country, others are making a holiday of it by staying on-site at the Sebel Yarrawonga Silverwoods, which opened last November. Then you have an all-together different set choosing to relocate for a ‘river change’ and moving into the burgeoning Silverwoods residential precinct.

These pillars of ‘Live, Stay, Play’ have carried Black Bull, the Sebel, Silverwoods and the entire Murray region to a whole new echelon as a place to holiday or live.

“Combined with the golf course, it will become the premium leisure precinct in north-east Victoria,” says Daniel Smith, general manager of Lotus Living, developer of Silverwoods Golf and Lifestyle Resort. “The Sebel Yarrawonga has brought a new prestige level of accommodation and conferencing facilities to the entire region. A variety of flexible spaces will offer exceptional venues for those golf trips, weddings and corporate events, no matter how big or small the group.”

It truly is the best of both worlds. You’re squarely in a rural setting yet you’re right beside the water with Lake Mulwala as a backdrop. And it’s a place that’s easy to reach from Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. However, the region’s drawing power heightened significantly a year ago with the opening of the Sebel. General manager Jason Cooley says the addition of the hotel and resort has been a tremendous union for the existing facilities at Black Bull and Silverwoods.

“The beauty of the Sebel is it carries a quality brand,” Cooley says, “and this was the vision for the Sebel and Black Bull, to have it as a resort-style golf experience.”

Cooley adds that the offering is now complete, with the ability for guests to play and stay as well as soak up the on-site bonuses of the accommodation, spa, restaurant and, of course, golf course. A typical day might begin with a morning 18 holes followed by a sports or remedial massage in the afternoon and end with a world-class meal before retiring to a hotel room or apartment. “This is the experience we wanted to create – something of quality that the region can hang its hat on,” he says.

Cleverly designed with a true sense of synergy between space, functionality and quality, the Sebel is sleek, modern and sophisticated yet has that beautiful, rustic and earthy signature, engendering feelings of cosiness and comfort, perfectly fusing practicality with prestige. Offering high-end luxury yet remaining humble, it is the very best of all worlds by a country mile.

Where the welcome is warm

The time to escape is now. More than ever, this is the ideal time to recharge, disconnect from the real world and re-connect with family, friends and yourself. Begin to unwind in the stunning surrounds and facilities of the hotel and take your time deciding what to do next. There’s plenty on offer.

Among the highlights at the Sebel Yarrawonga Silverwoods is the range of culinary excursions guests can experience during a stay.

Inspired by the overland stockmen that crossed the Murray River over the Yarrawonga stock bridge and historical pubs of the region, Stock & Barrel provides a ‘bistronomy’ experience of fresh, locally foraged flavours. Bespoke spirits, craft beer and regional wines complement contemporary casual dining, which can be enjoyed sitting by the fireplace or on the terrace overlooking the lake in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

For a different pace, Sunset poolside bar is truly an oasis on the lake. Enjoy lazy days in the sun and sit back and relax with a signature cocktail and some chilled tunes, soaking up the ambience of the stunning infinity pool and lake views.

There’s also a place to find a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life: SOL Wellness. SOL staff offer guidance in integrating good health, organic and clinical treatments – essential grooming, facials, hydrotherapy, massage and spa cuisine in your own spa suite with private enclosed gardens. Enjoy spa time alone, together or as a group.

Meanwhile, just a 30-minute drive from Silverwoods Yarrawonga is the wine region of Rutherglen, acclaimed as one of the truly great wine tourism destinations in Australia and home to many winemakers and boutique vineyards. In the middle of the Victoria’s renowned ‘food bowl’, with the Murray River’s rich and fertile soils, abundance of sunshine and plentiful river water supply, the Yarrawonga region and surrounds is a delight for food and wine lovers.

The complete package

In terms of people buying land or houses or relocating to the Yarrawonga region, the border region is proving popular for those buying property as a second dwelling, as there’s a security to having another home that’s a certain distance away yet still in the same state. An extra factor is at play, too.

“My view on it is: people aren’t going to be travelling overseas for some time and almost reverting to the, ‘Let’s have a holiday place somewhere where we go on our weekends and we can get away’, approach,” says James McCully, Black Bull’s director of golf. “Rather than doing one or two big trips a year overseas, I think they’re going to be doing more shorter, sharper stays.”

It’s a similar situation for golfers journeying to play Black Bull. With overseas golf trips off the table for the past couple of years – and some states in Australia also inaccessible at times – many golfers have recalibrated their travel plans and chosen to venture to places they haven’t been before. As such, Black Bull and the Murray River area has seen a surprising number of first-time visitors.

“We have seen a huge amount of new faces,” McCully says. “I would say the past 18 months, we’ve seen upwards of probably 50 percent of people who have never been to Yarrawonga before. It’s definitely had a large exposure to new clientele, new faces, and I think that’s a derivative of people only being able to travel internally rather than overseas. And from golf participation, when we’ve been able to open with full noise, look, I wish I had another 18 holes. That’s where we’ve been – at that point. Looking at the future, as soon as the shackles are off, it’s going to go absolutely bonkers again, I do believe.”

But what about the golf course, the final one of Peter Thomson’s illustrious design portfolio? Well it continues to thrive – and evolve. The ever-changing landscape of the residential precinct means several holes look different to the way they appeared even just a year or two ago. McCully singles out the par-5 seventh hole, which is lined by water along the left side but is still one of the best birdie chances on the course, as one where the surrounding view is constantly changing as more residences pop up. Another is the closing hole, also a par 5 and a scoring opportunity. With Lake Mulwala in the distance as well as the Sebel and clubhouse, it’s a signature moment as the round concludes.

Of course, there’s also the ‘Bull Ring’ trio of holes – the par-3 fourth, par-4 fifth and par-4 sixth – in the opposite corner of the golf course that gets the adrenaline flowing. Adorned with ‘Charlie’, a moveable statue of a huge Angus bull that McCully and his staff position in different parts of the property, it’s more than just a savvy bit of marketing. Playing these three holes well is frequently the cornerstone to carding a good score.

So come for the golf, stay for the Sebel and perhaps pave the way to live there. Black Bull has changed golf on the Murray River and the game in Australia is thankful for it. 

The details

Black Bull Golf Club

Where: Silverwoods Boulevard, Yarrawonga VIC 3730

Phone: (03) 5744 0044

Web: blackbullgc.com.au

E-mail: golf@blackbull.com.au