By Dean Lenertz
The New South Wales Golf Club is located in Sydney Australia, approximately 20 minutes
drive from the Central Business District. It is located in the Sydney suburb of La Perouse.
The course is set amongst the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean. NSW GC ranks among
the top 50 golf courses in the world and currently ranks as no. 5 in Australia.
It was in 1926 when the famed architect Dr Alistair Mackenzie visited the site and was very
excited about the location that he was presented with. Mackenzie mapped the original routing
of the course, but some of the routing was changed due to the army claiming land for World
War II. NSW GC has been tinkered with over the years, but in more recent times Greg Norman
Golf Design has made changes - mostly to green sites.
By todays standard, NSW is not very long - measuring 6829 yards (6245 meters) from the
championship tees. Being a coastal course, NSW’s biggest defense against scoring is the
weather. It’s very rare to play the course on a calm day with no wind. All of the par 3’s and
par 5’s run in different directions which makes it extremely challenging.
The course is Bermuda fairways, tee’s and green surrounds. Up until 3 years ago the greens
were predominantly Poa Annua. It was around this time that the club had decided to re-surface
all of the greens with bent grass. In the 1990’s the club gradually converted all bunkers to the
turf revetted sod face - keeping up with proper links tradition.
The course has hosted several major Australian Tournaments including 5 Australian PGA’s
and in recent times the 2009 Australian Open won by Adam Scott. Due to the remote location
(situated in Botany Bay National Park) and restricted room, it's a challenge to stage large
championship events at New South Wales.
The opening hole is a very short par 4 - 320 yards - rated the easiest on the course. Most
players will hit an iron into the fairway with a short iron into the green. Missing the fairway
to the left is dead and missing right will find sand.
If you attempt to have a go with the driver, the green is elevated with two deep pot bunkers
on the right.
The second hole is a tough par 3 at 201 yards, playing into a strong wind from the south.
There may be times where you may need a fairway wood or even the big stick to get home.
This green is hard to hold especially when it's firm and fast.
The second green with the clubhouse in the background
The third hole is a hard dogleg left par 4 - 416 yards. The tee shot is blind and you need a
right to left ball flight to find the fairway. The approach shot is to an elevated green with
two bunkers guarding the right side.
The fourth hole is a straight away par 4 - 428 yards. It was re-constructed in 2011 by Greg
Norman Golf Design to alleviate the blind second shot from the fairway. The green is one of the
largest on the course with a deep bunker right of the green.
One of the greatest Par 5’s in golf, measuring only 512 yards. This par 5 can play completely
different depending on the wind direction. Playing downwind, a good tee shot over the rise will
have you only needing only a wedge into the green. If playing into the wind, you will need a good
drive just to get to the top of the hill . . . and will play as a conventional three shotter. When you
reach the top of the hill the views are some of the best you will ever see.
The view from the top of the hill on the fifth
The sixth hole is the signature hole at New South Wales Golf Club - measuring 193 yards from the
island tee. Being right on the ocean the wind can really affect how the hole plays.
The seventh hole measures at 411 yards. The tee is elevated into a narrow fairway lined with
trees on both sides of the fairway.
The seventh green is undulated and anything that comes up short will funnel back off the
putting surface and down the slope.
The Par 5 - eighth heads back towards the clubhouse and measures 552 yards. The drive needs
to be straight, laying up before the hill that splits the fairway. The second shot is blind over the
hill into the lay up zone of the fairway. For big hitters having a go in two is very difficult as two
large bunkers guard the front of the elevated green.
Eighth green viewed from top of the hill
Eighth front bunker
The ninth hole is a short Par 4 measuring just 372 yards. The fairway splits, and the ideal play
is hitting a long iron/hybrid into the fairway landing zone, leaving a short iron into the green.
Avoid the front left pot bunker at all costs.
The tenth is a par 4 playing slightly uphill measuring 394 yards. One of the few holes where
you have an open tee shot. The second shot plays into a small green with three bunkers on the
right and two on the left.
The eleventh hole is a short par 3 played from an elevated tee, measuring 169 yards. This is
one of the highest points on the golf course . . . another hole where the wind tends to be a
The twelfth hole is a par 5 measuring 527 yards. A tee shot over the hill will make this hole
reachable in two. If you lay up, you need to avoid the long grass hazard before the green.
A closer view of the approach to one of the smallest greens on the course . . . the four small
greenside bunkers will collect any wayward approach.
This is the start of the “Amen Corner” at NSW, with the next four holes playing extremely tough
when the wind is a factor. The thirteenth hole is a dogleg left par 4 measuring 411 yards. If you
hit the driver and don’t shape the ball right to left, you can run out of fairway. Most players will
hit a 3 wood or maybe a hybrid into the fairway, leaving a short iron into the green.
The approach to the 13th
The fourteenth hole is a classic bunkerless short par 4 measuring 353 yards. The tee shot is
across a ravine needing a carry of about 170 yards. For the longer hitters who want to have a go
at the green they can, but it’s a difficult shot to pull off. Most players will hit over the hill into the
catchment area leaving a wedge into the green. The putting surface is well undulated and
anything long is trouble.
Uphill approach to the fourteenth.
The fifteenth hole is rated the hardest hole on the course - measuring 407 yards. The tee shot is
into a narrow chute, and is extremely challenging when it plays into the wind. Playing the proper
tee box, a drive to the top of the hill is ideal.
The sixteenth hole is a dogleg left par 4 measuring 441 yards. A good drive into the corner
of the dogleg is essential for the correct angle into the small green. The green is guarded by
three small bunkers on the left.
The seventeenth hole is a short par 3 measuring 167 yards. This hole is another high point on the
course that’s exposed to the wind. The green has steep embankments on both sides, which makes
it very difficult to get it up and down. The best spot to miss the green here is short.
The eighteenth hole is the longest on the course measuring 554 yards. The green is reachable in
two when playing downwind, but you need to avoid the five fairway bunkers that line the border
of each fairway. The green is long and narrow guarded with five bunkers.
Dean Lenertz is the Asst. Superintendent at New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney, Australia and
is a special contributor to LinksNation.com