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Where We Play: The Vintage, NSW Hunter Valley - Australian Golf Digest Where We Play: The Vintage, NSW Hunter Valley - Australian Golf Digest

One of the aspects of The Vintage Golf Club we’ve always liked is how the entire place was ready on that January day 20 years ago when it first opened. Often, new courses will send golfers onto their virgin fairways and deal with constructing a clubhouse later. Not at The Vintage. Every facet of the course, practice range, clubhouse, restaurant and clubhouse precinct – even a chapel – was ready to go on Day One. However, plenty of growth has happened since, including the addition of the Chateau Elan hotel, Grand Mercure apartments and the expansion of the residential estate, along with a few course refinements.

There’s an elan to the course, where the bold features intertwine with mild undulations to provide a hearty challenge, all in a setting that oozes Hunter Valley charm – neighbouring vineyards and hills, plus distant mountains. One minute, the course asks you to thread a drive down a tight fairway, like at the skinny second hole, then later it calls for a heroic carry over water, such as at the eighth, 10th or 17th. Sprinkled in between are more pulse-quickening shots, often played to voluptuous greens that tease and tantalise. It’s a shot-maker’s golf course, yet one where cavalier and cautious golfers can ride side-by-side.

Afterwards, there are few better places to deconstruct a round over a meal, a few drinks – or both – than the outdoor deck area overlooking the 18th green and later the restaurant inside. We’ve toured The Vintage in the height of a scorching summer and the bowels of a frosty winter. While autumn and spring are arguably best, there’s no question it’s a place for all seasons.

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 Photos by Nick wall