By Evin Priest
WESTERN Sydney has always been underestimated.
From politics to education, infrastructure and sport, the home to almost 10 per cent of Australia’s population has never got the credit it truly deserves.
Golf is no different – so often, the western side of the Harbour City is overlooked as one of Australia’s great golfing regions.
But does that bother the staff at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club? Not a chance. Instead, forward thinkers at this Luddenham venue have been busy building something special for the golf industry.
Not that it isn’t already – drive 45 minutes from Sydney’s CBD down the M4 motorway and you’ll discover a Graham Marsh-designed layout ranked No.73 on the Australian Golf Digest Top 100 Courses. Even better, it’s set in a beautiful location amongst authentic Australian bushland.
But by 2019, Twin Creeks plans to add a 300-room, 5-Star resort overlooking the stunning ceremonial courtyard and 18th hole to cater for the influx of visitors arriving five kilometres down the road at Badgerys Creek Airport – reportedly set to rival America’s JFK Airport in size when operational in 2025.
Realising such potential was a consortium of high profile Asian businesspeople – the Australia International Golf Association –that purchased this growing empire last year. The group plans to use a wealth of business knowledge to guide Twin Creeks through a developmental period. This is how…
Twin Creeks’ Nepean Valley setting is so tranquil and secluded it’s easy to forget you’re playing golf in Sydney. Perhaps this sanctuary feel is what enticed sporting celebrities such as former NRL star Wendell Sailor to take a membership.
For renowned course architect Graham Marsh, the natural bushland foundation certainly attracted the visionary behind Terrey Hills, The Vines and Paradise Palms.
The bunkering at this 6,444-metre layout is a signature of Marsh; large, sprawling complexes add a ruggedness to Twin Creeks’ appeal. Some bunker areas and mounds hide bailout zones, while others dissect the hole into conservative and aggressive lines. This is evident at the driveable par-4 12th, with its split fairway and heavy bunkering tempting and terrifying the golfer simultaneously.
Sand is certainly the star attraction at Twin Creeks, yet several bunkers on the longer holes appear to be a surplus to requirements. However, the club has responded with haste and scheduled upgrades to the bunkers, tees and greens for the near future.
A common trait of good design is to force the golfer to use every club in the bag, and this variety is another highlight at Twin Creeks. From length to contouring and undulation, as well as tasteful water hazards and punishing bushland, no two holes are alike. There is a good mix of short par 4s and 3s, while a series of long par 5s and genuine two-shot par 4s defend its par of 72. The signature hole is the stunning, uphill par-3 14th, but the par-4 18th is also a magnificent dogleg finisher which wraps elegantly around a water hazard.
After hanging up the boots following a successful cross-code career in rugby league and union, Sailor has found more time for his love of golf. In between commentating commitments and hosting corporate events, ‘Big Dell’ looks forward to teeing it up at Twin Creeks regularly.
“I’ve been at Twin Creeks for about six years now and I love it. The course is challenging but a really enjoyable track at the same time,” Sailor tells Australian Golf Digest.
“I’ve taken everyone from Test cricketer David Warner to (former NRL star) Steve Menzies and they’ve all rated it as one of Sydney’s best. They can’t believe how easy it is to get to. Davey (Warner) was particularly happy when he shot a 76 there recently off his 11 handicap. It’s a tough course that rewards good play, and that’s hard to find.”
A personal favourite for this writer were the green complexes. Dramatic contouring allows the greens staff to transform any given hole with only a pin placement, forcing the golfer to think backwards from green to tee. Once on the putting surfaces, you’ll struggle to find a truer roll in Greater Western Sydney.
A Decade of Dominance
It’s been 10 years since Twin Creeks opened its doors to the golf industry. Though hopes were high for an 850-acre property surrounding Cosgrove and South Creeks, few could have realised how valuable the project would become.
Approximately two million people reside in Greater Western Sydney and major infrastructure projects are planned to transform this region into the engine room of New South Wales.
“Our aim is to be Western Sydney’s No.1 golf course and entertainment venue,” says chief executive Grant Martin.
“It’s exciting for us to see a lot of investment going into Western Sydney, so close to our front gate.”
To guide the club through a period of rapid growth, a consortium of high-profile Asian businesspeople formed the Australia International Golf Association and purchased the controlling interests of Twin Creeks in July 2015.
“They’re successful businesspeople from China, Hong Kong, and Macau and they share a love of golf. They’re going to use their business experience to make Twin Creeks the pinnacle of Western Sydney golf.
“To do that, we’re looking at upgrading the golf course, the clubhouse and the existing facilities for members and guests. With our 5-star hotel aimed to be finished in 2019, along with conference and function facilities, there won’t be anything like Twin Creeks in Sydney.”
Helping the cause is the construction of Badgerys Creek Airport five kilometres away, which will be operational by 2025.
In a boost to golf tourism in Western Sydney, the 3.7km runway will be able to land both domestic and international flights.
Mixing Business With Pleasure
Many courses in Sydney are competing for the lion’s share of the corporate golf day market, but Twin Creeks takes the cake for convenience. Few courses in the New South Wales capital can offer a Top-100 layout just two roads from a major motorway.
The club can cater for groups with as little as 16 golfers up to fields of 144. Clients are given a complete corporate day itinerary, as well as complimentary access to the practice facilities and Twin Creeks’ stylish, modern clubhouse.
“We get excellent feedback from corporate clients about how easy it is for them,” says Martin. “We take care of absolutely everything from guest arrival to day’s end, including bag drops and registration to breakfast and golf.”
Membership and Clubhouse
Twin Creeks recently launched a new membership program in a bid to bolster its footing in Western Sydney golf. With memberships available from $31 a week, it is one of Sydney’s best value golf club subscriptions.
Particularly when you take into account a 270m full-turf driving range, bunker complex and chipping green and a 500 square-metre practice putting surface.
The clubhouse is also something to marvel. It has to be among the most attractive interiors in Sydney, with a stylish sports bar and lounge almost as inviting as the golf course. For foodies, the Paperbark Restaurant serves up tantalising modern Australian cuisine – overlooking the picturesque 18th hole and offers a stunning woodlands backdrop.
TV presenter, corporate MC & Australian Golf Digest Columnist
“I love taking friends and family to play Twin Creeks for the surprise they get on their first outing. It’s an excellent test of golf and in great condition with some terrific members.”
Former NRL star, commentator & corporate MC
“I MC a lot of corporate events and Twin Creeks is always one of my first choices for clients because
Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club
Twin Creeks Drive,
Luddenham NSW 2745
Phone: (02) 9670 8888