Mere throwing distance from the shores where Captain James Cook first discovered our fair nation sits a golf course that makes full use of its extraordinary location. The La Perouse headland combined with the design nous of Dr Alister MacKenzie yielded an 18-hole feast for the senses. With the waves crashing in the distance, the wind rifling across the fairways and the sun (hopefully) on your back, New South Wales Golf Club is an emblem in Australian golf.
The course displays an oft-used yet important tenet of design with the par 3 and par 5 holes running to each point on the compass. It’s a trait that’s easily overlooked at the time, one often realised only upon reflection. It allows each wind direction to be experienced on these eight holes throughout a round. And wind can be your friend or foe throughout the journey, usually dictating golfers’ fortunes. New South Wales on a calm day is entirely playable but MacKenzie’s layout can turn into a beast. Its lone Australian Open, in 2009, was halted because of the ferocity of the wind charging across Botany Bay. Members of New South Wales know the old girl is impulsive, the layout capable of changing its personality on a whim.
No golfer forgets the first time they climb to the crest of the hill on the par-5 fifth hole. Standing on the only plateau along the steeply canted fairway, peering into the distance towards the entry to Botany Bay and with the majestic sixth hole beyond the fifth green, there is no more perfect sight in Australian golf.
New South Wales Golf Club
Ranking in 2020: 5th
Prior rankings: 5th (2018), 4th (2016), 5th (2014), 5th (2012), 2nd (2010), 2nd (2008), 2nd (2006), 3rd (2004), 3rd (2002), 3rd (2000), 4th (1998), 4th (1996), 5th (1994), 9th (1991), 9th (1989), First Ten (1986)
Where: Henry Head Lane, La Perouse NSW 2036
Phone: (02) 9661 4455
Photo by Gary Lisbon