A golfing holiday to Western Australia is one of delectable variety. Australia’s largest state offers an even bigger mix of world-class golf courses and architects, landscapes and holiday styles. North of Perth’s CBD, resorts such as Joondalup and The Vines await the golfer in search of inland, parklands-style layouts. For those with an urge for coastal links golf, the Golden State’s southern regions are home to renowned ocean courses like The Cut, Links Kennedy Bay and Meadow Springs. Throw in acclaimed wine regions – from the Swan Valley down to the Margaret River – and you’ve got one of the most diverse and enjoyable Aussie golf holidays on offer.
LAKE KARRINYUP COUNTRY CLUB [above]
Playing the course which came in at No.9 on the AUSTRALIAN GOLF DIGEST Top 100 Courses is a fantastic start to your WA golf adventure. Karrinyup’s aura stems from its designer Alex Russell – a business partner of the legendary golf architect Dr Alister MacKenzie. The lake is the centrepiece of the course and features in 17 of the holes. Its layout resembles Augusta National with wide, sweeping fairways carved out of eucalyptus trees and native shrubs, as well as exciting changes in elevation. Karrinyup’s signature hole is the 200-metre par-3 eighth hole, which demands a carry over water to a green protected by deep front bunkers. Record a three here, and you’ve survived a par 3 which has tested even the great Jack Nicklaus during its four Australian Open stagings.
Lake Karrinyup Country Club
North Beach Rd, Karrinyup WA 6018
Phone: (08) 9422 8222
LINKS KENNEDY BAY
Beware the pot bunkers at the Links Kennedy Bay, located just 40 minutes south of Perth. This gorgeous layout offers a genuine British seaside links golf experience – complete with undulating couch fairways, imposing sand dunes, perched bentgrass green complexes and the soothing sound of crashing Indian Ocean waves nearby. The 115 pot bunkers are the standout feature of Australia’s No.23-ranked course – not just because they resemble the deep traps of British Open venues, but for how strategically they are placed within driving zones and around the greens. The hard, fast-running fairways provide a distance boost to well-placed drives, while bringing the bunkers more into play for errant tee shots. The par 4s are short and strategic, while the par 5s can all be attacked with two good shots. But the most enjoyable holes here are the par 3s – particularly the stunning sixth. This 179-metre gem features a heart-shaped, elevated green guarded by five bunkers and steep run-offs. Designers Michael Coate and the late Roger Mackay hired 1991 British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch as a design consultant and his Claret Jug-winning expertise is evident in the delightful ‘less is more’ feel of Links Kennedy Bay.
The Links Kennedy Bay
Lot 199 Port Kennedy Drive, Port Kennedy WA 6172.
Phone: (08) 9524 5991
SUN CITY COUNTRY CLUB [above]
The members here are revelling in Sun City’s nine re-designed holes, and rightly so. Geoff Ogilvy and Mike Clayton’s design team have added their touch to the second, third and eighth holes, as well as holes 10–12 and 13–15. Now Sun City plays more like a links-style layout, with less trees and more roll to the fairways. The standout hole is the 330m, par-4 13th, where a fairway barranca tempts longer hitters to take on a 230m carry off the tee for a short approach to a two-tiered green. While you’re here, take a camera to get some rare snaps of kangaroos and emus up close and personal.
Sun City Country Club
144 St Andrews Dr, Yanchep WA 6035
Phone: (08) 9561 1148
THE VINES RESORT [above]
The only three reasons you need to visit The Vines Resort are the finishing trio of holes on the Lakes course, which just snuck into the Top 100 Courses at No.93. A Graham Marsh and Ross Watson design, the Lakes’ closing nine holes are the back nine of the composite tournament course and this tempts the golfer to continually take on the hazards. The closing stretch starts with the 174-metre, par-3 16th hole. The championship pin placement is back right, requiring a mid to long iron carry over two bunkers with water looming to the right. Then comes the awfully tempting par-4 17th – this penultimate hole measures 369m and invites the longer hitters to carry the water hazard (260m) left for a wedge in. The shorter hitters can take the safe route along the fairway while battling bunkers 230m from the tee. The par-5 18th is short at 451m, but water guards the left and right-hand side of the hole, as well as front left of the green.
While the Lakes course is better of the two, Ellenbrook still contributes holes one, two and 12–18 to the composite course played by some of the world’s best golfers during the Heineken and Johnnie Walker classics. This relaxed, resort-style parklands course features generous driving zones, as well as strategic water hazards and bunkers. Outside of the prized composite holes, the eighth hole is the star of Ellenbrook. This 161m par 3 has a beautifully wide and undulating green guarded by five bunkers.
The location of The Vines Resort couldn’t be anymore ideal in the beautiful Swan Valley wine region. Only a year after The Vines celebrated its 25-year anniversary, a $4 million refurbishment was completed in April, and it’s a win for golf guests. All 91 rooms and 12 suites of the Novotel guest rooms have had a total makeover, so be sure to book at least a night to give yourself a rest between playing both enjoyable layouts.
The Vines Resort
Verdelho Drive, The Vines WA 6069
Phone: (08) 9297 3000
JOONDALUP RESORT & COUNTRY CLUB [above]
Stunning changes in elevation and formidable conditioning first greet the golfer, then comes an appreciation for the intelligent design of Robert Trent Jones Jr’s 27-hole championship course. The Dune and Quarry nines combined to form Australia’s No.17 course, and the star holes of the Dune begin with the par-4 fourth – a memorable short hole [above] with a dogleg right and a magnificent rock wall, which doubles as an aesthetic feature and hazard for approach shots from the bottom shelf of the fairway. Then comes the par-5 fifth, which starts from an elevated tee and winds between two sand dunes before confronting the golfer with an uphill approach shot over a large tree. The par-3 seventh completes the Dune’s trifecta with its 120m carry over an intimidating gorge. But the postcard hole of either nine is undoubtedly the fourth hole of the Quarry course, which is mentioned among Australia’s greatest modern par 5s. Its signature flat fairway bunker, placed beneath a large rock wall, has brought many golfers to their knees.
Joondalup Resort & Country Club
Country Club Boulevard, Connolly WA 6027
Phone: (08) 9400 8888
THE CUT GOLF COURSE [above]
Few locations in Australia offer aesthetic wow-factor like The Cut, situated 84 kilometres from Perth in Dawesville (south of Mandurah). This layout is ranked No.35 in Australia and for good reason – the spectacular Indian Ocean views available from 14 holes, heavily undulating fairways carved out of beautiful coastal sand dunes and well-placed bunkers and large greens. But the hole you’ll talk about well after post-round drinks is the 400m, par-4 12th. The signature hole starts from an elevated tee, hitting to a fairway that funnels down into a valley nestled between two sand dunes. An uphill approach is then played to a deceptively large green, which challenges the golfer to putt without being distracted by the soundtrack of waves breaking just metres away.
The Cut Golf Course
Country Club Drive, Dawesville, WA 6211
Phone: (08) 9582 4444
ARALUEN GOLF RESORT
Araluen’s tranquil forest setting is vastly different to the many sand dune-based links courses in WA. Steep changes in elevation, large greens and secluded, tree-lined holes give Australia’s No.86 course an Augusta feel, but with the Aussie touch of couch fairways and rugged bunkering. The jewel in Araluen’s crown is the par-4 ninth, a picturesque, resort-style hole measuring 380m. Here, a spectacular blind tee shot demands distance to reach the bottom shelf 120m from the green, where approach shots must carry the daunting water hazard. The double dogleg, par-5 eighth hole is reminiscent of Augusta’s eighth hole, while the signature par-3 16th is another great design. The enormous statue of the late Roger Mackay near the clubhouse is a wonderful tribute.
Araluen Golf Resort
144 St Andrews Drive, Yanchep, WA 6035
Phone: (08) 9561 1148
MEADOW SPRINGS GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB [above]
Robert Trent Jones Jr is renowned for designing golf courses offering a true test of golf, and this coastal gem is no exception. Trent Jones Jr – architect of The National (Old Course) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and US Open venue Chambers Bay – crafted Australia’s 70th-ranked course from undulating natural bushland and gigantic, 200 year-old tuart trees. The conditioning of its santa ana couch fairways and bent grass greens is excellent, helped by world-class drainage that allows the course to be highly playable in all weather conditions. Located 50 minutes south of Perth, Meadow Springs [above] is a parklands course demanding strategy instead of brut length, particularly on the signature par-4 17th hole. Only short at 330m, the 17th features a gentle dogleg and an uphill approach to a triple-tiered green, guarded by signature Trent Jones Jr bunkering. Other highlights include the 400m, par-4 ninth – the hardest hole on the course. While you’re here, be sure to check out the beautiful resort town of Mandurah.
Meadow Springs Golf and Country Club
Meadow Springs Drive, Mandurah WA 6210
Phone: (08) 9581 6002
HILLVIEW GOLF COURSE [above]
This 27-hole championship course is set in the picturesque foothills of Perth, 20 minutes from the CBD. Hillview is comprised of the Classic, Lakeside and Heritage nine-hole courses. Tree-lined fairways and large greens place a premium on straight driving and accurate iron play, particularly the signature par-5 ninth. Here, a giant lake guarding the right side of the fairway ensures only the bravest will go for the green in two.
Hillview Golf Course
350 Kalamunda Rd, High Wycombe WA 6057
Phone: (08) 9454 5554
WEMBLY GOLF COURSE
Its proximity to Perth CBD and the airport is the first drawcard, then comes the delightful Old and Tuart courses at Wembley. Both are both set in an undulating landscape of tuart and banksia trees. Located 1km from City Beach, wind comes into play each afternoon when the sea breeze arrives. Aside from the two enjoyable parklands layouts, Wembley is also famous for its automated driving range. Refine your swing while aiming directly at Perth’s skyscrapers.
Wembley Golf Course
200 The Blvd, Wembley Downs WA 6019
Phone: (08) 9484 2500
Travel, play and stay in WA
Don’t know your way around WA? Fairways Travel has you sorted with its ‘Best of the West’ tour. Tee it up at some of WA’s best layouts before staying at the luxurious Joondalup resort and the Quality Suites Crest in Mandurah. Enjoy rounds at Joondalup, The Vines, The Cut, Links Kennedy Bay and Meadow Springs, and immerse yourself in WA culture with sightseeing tours of Perth and Fremantle. fairwaystravel.com.au
Keep the costs down during your trip west with Perth Golf Network’s voucher book. For just $34.95, enjoy more than $4,000 in savings across 70 pages of discounts, including driving ranges, family golf activities, play and stay packages, resort course discounts, golf tours and more. perthgolfnetwork.com.au
Want a true WA golf experience? Look no further than a trip to the historic city of Kalgoorlie. Once known for its gold, serious golfers now make the trip east for the beautiful Graham Marsh-designed Kalgoorlie golf course. If you’re travelling by plane, it’s only a one-hour flight and Qantas and Virgin Australia operate daily services. If you’re getting the picturesque TransWA train, be sure to stay the Quality Inn Railway Motel – directly opposite Kalgoorlie train station. railwaymotel.com.au
When you’re not enjoying WA’s finest layouts, a 30-minute drive to Fremantle is well worth the visit to this vibrant port city. You may think AFL heavyweights the Dockers are its star attraction, but ‘Freo’ is also home to the famous cappuccino strip. Within this alfresco dining precinct you’ll find delicious, barista-made coffee at a host of cafes and a range of outstanding restaurants, pubs and breweries all offering entertainment daily. While you’re here, a visit to the Little Creatures brewery is essential. This Fremantle drop has taken the Aussie craft beer market by storm and you can enjoy a pint of its many renowned pale ales while looking out over the port.
Geographe Bay Golf
This 90km stretch of stunning coastline may be famous for its whale watching, but several great ocean layouts steal the show for tourists in search of golf outside Perth and its surrounds. Geographe Bay starts at the port city of Bunbury (170km south of Perth) and stretches down to Cape Naturaliste. Start your golfing expedition at the historic Capel Golf Club, which has maintained its Stratham location since 1964. While this 18-hole championship course has fairly flat foundations, the abundance of tuart, jarrah, banksia and peppermint trees, as well as the many kangaroos and native birds, make a round at Capel a true interaction with Mother Nature. Further down sits Busselton Golf Club – the home course of veteran Aussie golfer Stephen Leaney. A 13-times winner on the European and Australasian tours, Leaney’s home track was designed by Murray Dawson and is fully reticulated by recycled town water. The layout is carved from beautiful woodlands, with towering redgums and peppermint trees a standout feature of the course. After Busselton, it’s on to Dunsborough Lakes Golf Course, which is close to the secluded beaches of Geographe Bay and Yallingup surf beach. Dunsborough Lakes prides itself on course conditioning, generous fairways, lakes and water features boasting strategic and aesthetic appeal, as well as a wide variety of native bird life. To top off your trip, Dunsborough happens to be the northern tip of the world-renowned Margaret River wine region. Several vineyards and wineries are just a short drive away. Enjoy!
Western Australia can lay claim to some of our nation’s best golfers, past and present. Most notably Royal Fremantle golf club, which has produced household names Craig Parry [below] and Greg Chalmers, as well as rising LPGA Tour superstar Minjee Lee. At nearby Melville Glades, reigning Australian Golf Digest Coach of the Year Ritchie Smith has used his Perth Golf Academy to develop the games of Lee and 2014 Masters silver medallist Oliver Goss. Look out for emerging Perth young guns Hannah Green, Jarryd Felton and Lee’s younger brother, Min Woo.