The Vines Resort helped put Western Australia on the golf map. Graham Marsh and Ross Watson’s 36-hole creation in the Swan Valley north-east of Perth drew the international spotlight to Perth through the original Vines Classic (later the Heineken Classic), the Johnnie Walker Classic and Lexus Cup. The Lakes and Ellenbrook courses offer complementing layouts that utilise the stunning WA flora (and fauna) to great effect in a pair of layouts that make a great starting point for any assault on the state’s best courses. An easy half-hour drive from Perth Airport, The Vines was originally an outpost within the city limits but now suburbia is catching up, making the resort and country club a neat oasis.
A concerted effort in recent years to trim back the surrounding vegetation to let the two courses ‘breathe’ a little has aided The Vines’ playability and visual appeal. They remain a challenging duo, just a little less brutal for novice golfers. Tee to green, both layouts are in truly commendable condition, with attention to detail evident throughout. The huge, undulating greens are the hallmark – some stretching 50 metres or longer in depth, which alters the strategy simply through the changing pin positions.
The waterlogged stretch of holes to close the round on the Lakes course is familiar to golfers who have viewed tournament action through the years, although one of the most exemplary holes falls earlier, at the fifth. The dogleg-right par 4 calls for a right-turning tee shot on its way towards an ingenious, U-shaped green. Carved through the native bush and often dotted with kangaroos, it is a quintessentially West Australian golf hole. Over on the Ellenbrook course, we challenge anyone to make a straightforward par at the ‘short’ 13th – a par 3 measuring a beefy 229 metres from the back markers.
If the 36-hole smorgasbord at The Vines isn’t enough to sate you, there are plenty of gastronomic delights to quench the appetite throughout the Swan Valley, in the shape of wineries, restaurants, distilleries, cheese factories and more. It’s the sort of place where you could come for a few hours and wind up spending two or three days and think nothing of it.
The Vines Resort
Where: Verdelho Drive, The Vines WA 6069
Phone: (08) 9297 3000