By Steve Keipert
Our nation’s capital endures a challenging climate: searing heat in summer, bone-chilling cold in winter and only brief ‘shoulder’ seasons in between. It might sound decidedly anti-golf in nature, yet one of the country’s best layouts is in the heart of Canberra. The recently reinvigorated Westbourne course at Royal Canberra Golf Club, comprising holes 1 to 18 of the 27-hole club, represents a magnificent layout in a wooded, lakeside setting.
Carefully and thoughtfully reimagined by the Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead architectural firm, the Westbourne course now feels less claustrophobic while also being less taxing from an agronomy perspective. The course flows across the gentle ripples of the site beside Lake Burley Griffin, regularly returning to various points beside the water. A portion of the lake is in play on the new-look 14th hole [pictured], which features an enormously wide fairway with the water on the right and a smattering of bunkers to complicate the lines. The illusion of space can draw unsuspecting golfers into a false sense of security, a clever architectural trick on show several times at Royal Canberra.
Royal Canberra Golf Club
Ranking in 2018: 29th
Prior rankings: N/R (2016), 49th (2014), 37th (2012), 27th (2010), 18th (2008), 12th (2006), 15th (2004), 12th (2002), 9th (2000), 14th (1998), 12th (1996), 10th (1994), 5th (1991), 6th (1989), First Ten (1986)
Where: Bentham St, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6282 7000