AS A fast bowler for Australia in 27 Tests, one of Ryan Harris’ greatest qualities was his patience.

Like Glenn McGrath before him, Harris made an artform of just nibbling away at or just outside off stump until he lulled the batsman into an error. His line and length rarely varied but as Brisbane Golf Club underwent a dramatic transformation a few years ago, that patience that stood up to the most intense pressure that international Test cricket can put on a player was tested.

The layout will be a complete test for the Queensland Open field this month.
The layout will be a complete test for the Queensland Open field this month.

Having learned his golf with his father Jim growing up in Adelaide, Harris moved to Brisbane in 2008 and after a short stint at Keperra moved across to the Yeerongpilly layout at the invitation of the friend of his brother. But within 18 months of joining, the club began the complete overhaul of their greens and other course alterations. Like many members Harris contemplated leaving, only to be convinced that the short-term pain would result in a much greater long-term gain.

“Going through the renos was a frightening time because I thought the course was beautiful the way it was,” Harris told Australian Golf Digest ahead of another busy summer as a member of the Cricket Australia coaching staff.

“I started to get a bit sick of it, as most members did, and I contemplated moving again but I got talking to one of the pros there, Reece McRae. He said to me that the course would be outstanding in a few years and that it would be worth hanging around. Fast forward a couple of years and I miss not being able to go out there more often because when it is in the condition that they’ve got it now, it’s such a good course to play.

“I speak to a lot of the boys that play out there and they can’t believe the roll of the ball on the greens, it’s just fantastic. For me that’s the best thing, you get this true, consistent roll. It’s tough but it’s such a fantastic place to play golf.”

A six-marker who has since become a club ambassador, Harris is representative of the vast majority of members at the club who now have some of the finest putting surfaces in the country as their playthings.

Former Test cricketer Ryan Harris likes  what he sees at Brisbane Golf Club.
Former Test cricketer Ryan Harris likes what he sees at Brisbane Golf Club.

Having seen the success that such luminary facilities as Pinehurst in the United States had enjoyed using a new strain of ultra dwarf Bermuda grass for their greens, Brisbane made the bold decision to be the first club in Australia to trial Champion turf for their greens. The trials were a raging success and two years ago the conversion of the final three holes were completed, leaving not only members but participants in the Isuzu Queensland Open no excuse other than poor execution for their missed putts.

The club hosted the first in its three-year deal to hold the Queensland Open last year and while the pros raved about the greens, Brisbane-based professional Matthew Guyatt says they will be even better when the 2017 tournament takes place from October 26 to 29. Guyatt played the course in August as part of a corporate golf day and said the surfaces that were firm last year have now matured beautifully.

“They’re going to present something that’s a lot better product this year, having all of the greens with an extra 12 months to come in,” Guyatt said. “It was really enjoyable to putt on them in August when I played. They were certainly really nice to putt on and a good speed. I imagine they’ll be quick for the Queensland Open, but the coverage is going to be heaps better this year and a lot more user-friendly. I think it will be great.”

Different Ways To The Dancefloor

Of course, putting on pure surfaces is only half the fun of golf at any level and Brisbane Golf Club is a layout that not only provides a thorough examination of skill but also of strategy.

Jack Wilson finished tied for 18th in his first look last year and is similarly excited to get back this month armed with the knowledge that comes with playing a course for the first time.

Only 10 players finished the four-round tournament under par in 2016 and, according to Wilson, a win by a player the quality of Brett Coletta is a reflection of the quality of the golf course.

“There were some tricky holes that made you think, plenty of holes that could trick you up and bring you undone but you had the driveable par-4 15th and a couple of easier, gettable par 5s that would allow you to get ahead or get back any shots if you had made a mistake earlier. I think that’s all you can ask of a golf course,” Wilson said.

Brisbane Golf Club
Converting to Champion turf proved to be a masterstroke for Brisbane Golf Club.

“The cream rises a lot of the time when courses like that come up on the schedule. You have a star player win that week and a lot of good players in contention, particularly the younger guys. Brett Coletta’s an incredible player and that was the event he won and Lucas Herbert made a run there and he can play, too. I think it’s a great golf course and it was presented fantastically.”

As he scales back on his time playing on tour Guyatt is going to adopt a more aggressive approach for this year’s tournament and see if the risk-reward elements the course offers can deliver more pleasure than pain. Let off the leash at the corporate day in August, Guyatt took driver at every opportunity, blasting it over corners and attacking doglegs. That experience has convinced him that long hitters who play well can give themselves plenty of opportunities to make birdies.

“It was really interesting to play it in a different way and some of the guys do that, they really attack it,” said Guyatt, who was first introduced to Brisbane when his father joined the club after the family moved down from Townsville when he was 11 years old.

“There were some tricky holes that made you think, plenty of holes
that could trick you up and bring you undone … I think that’s
all you can ask of a golf course”
 – Jack Wilson

“It’s good from that perspective as a golf course because it does create variety and options for the longer hitter particularly. If you want to take those risks on – and it is a risk, no question – and you’re on song with your driver, you can leave yourself a little pitch shot for your second on a lot of holes.

“You’ve got to go low around Brisbane so for me I’ll take a few more calculated gambles and push a bit more and I’m sure that’s what the guys who did well last year were doing. From where I saw them hitting their second shots from they were certainly taking different lines to what I was doing.”


Brisbane Golf Club
70 Tennyson Memorial Ave, Yeerongpilly QLD 4105
(07) 3848 1008