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QLD's Top 10 Courses


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#1 BuggeraCup

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:37 AM

After trawling through some really old topics in this section I thought it would be good to start and get some discussion and debate going like there used to be in the old days in this section. So to get started, here is Murph's list of the top 10 courses in Queensland, feel free to shoot me down, agree or put up your own list. I feel like I'm well positioned to debate this as I think I've played most of the top courses in the state (except for Sanctuary Cove Pines perhaps) and have a passion for golf course architecture. To me a course should be strategic (meaning challenging hazards for the reward of an easier next shot but also the option to play conservatively) without being penal (unrecoverable hazards or hazards on both sides of the playing lines) with plenty of options and be equally challenging (and fun) for good players and hackers alike. Conditioning carries some weight but its more about the overall setting, memorability and how fun the course is to make you want to play again. So here's my list: 1. Brookwater - Awesome design on a striking piece of land. Great bunkering and brilliant green complexes with a good mix of holes including some great short par 4. Looks tight and penal off the tee but there is often more room than it looks. 2. Royal Queensland - I never got to play the old course but Mike Clayton's redeign is awesome on a boring piece of land. Wide open with heaps of options of the tee but all about the right angles into the greens if you want to score. Wind plays havoc as well and the green complexes are again great. 3. Pacific Harbour - Great course on windy Bribie Island. I love the bunkering and the raggedness of the course. There are a few holes with hazards on both sides of the fairway which can border on penal rather than strategic especially with the wind. For the most part though there is ample room and plenty of options of the tee and wild greens. 4. Glades - Different to most Gold Coast resort courses. Not completely flat and water not as predominant as other courses creating a strategic challenge. Again, with most Norman courses, great bunkering and interesting green complexes. They persist with bent grass greens though which means heaps of water needed to keep them alive and thus can be a little soft at times. 5. Hope Island - I don't normally like TWP courses but this one is very good. The bunkering works well on this property and there is heaps of room with heaps of options for all level of players (except the 17th). 6. Laguna Whitsundays - I'll probably cop some flack for this one, (based on current conditions and whether it is even open for play?) but I have played it several times but not since early 2006. Each hole is individual and carved through scrub but still plenty of room and options. The holes on the coast really make this course. I'm surprised that David Graham didn't get more involved in golf course design after this effort because it is very good. 7. Capricorn Old - Great natural course in a unique Australian bush setting. Very tough course and can be a little penal in places but there is usually enough room to keep out of major trouble. 8. Paradise Palms - This course is tough, carved through rainforest which makes it an awesome setting. Still gives you the option to play conservatively and make easy bogies though. The greens can be diabolical, especially if you miss them on the wrong side. 9. Tweed/Coolangatta River - Again I might get flack because I guess it is technically in NSW but it does at least have Cooly in its name. Great members course with striking bunkering. Not very long, but very strategic although it could do with a little tree clearing in places. 10. The Grand - Walked this in the '01 Open and got to play it right after the event. No way was it the best venue for the pro's but it is a good course on undulating property. Good mix of holes and a little quirky in places (like trees in the fairway) but an interesting course. Other contenders in my list included (in order); Hyatt Coolum (I haven't played the 6 new holes though), Indooroopilly West, Club Pelican, Bribie Island, Robina Woods and Kooralbyn (before it shut obviously). Looking forward to the comments and debate.....

#2 2Brag

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 09:09 PM

Big fan of Brookwater, played there on a corporate golf day. Was amused at the tractor painting the greens green prior to play. Thought it was very unforgiving off the tee if you couldnt hit dead straight and really tested your 'ball higher/lower than feet' play. On a side note, thought putting on the practice green to be amusing when putting from the bottom (towards 18th green) back up the hill and missing the cup but the ball rolls another 5m around and down and into another cup. Great practice facility (dual ended). Some very lethal drop aways on green edges. The glades; i didnt get to play completely due to an injury forcing me to exit after 11 but found the course a little too similar to the Sunshine Coasts 'Club Pelican' - It was over 12 months ago I played it and nothing really sticks in mind like with Brookwater. Any place for Twin Waters? I have only played once but thought it was a beautiful course with plenty of challenges without being too over the top. Bribie Island I thought was great fun, wouldnt really put it up there with some of the other names in lights but as far as a social round goes with pricing in mind, it is right up there. Prior to playing there I did not understand the commotion over staying away from the sides of the fairway. Oh and another for the 'shadow list' North Lakes

#3 BuggeraCup

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:33 AM

Big fan of Brookwater, played there on a corporate golf day. Was amused at the tractor painting the greens green prior to play. Thought it was very unforgiving off the tee if you couldnt hit dead straight and really tested your ‘ball higher/lower than feet’ play.

On a side note, thought putting on the practice green to be amusing when putting from the bottom (towards 18th green) back up the hill and missing the cup but the ball rolls another 5m around and down and into another cup.

Great practice facility (dual ended). Some very lethal drop aways on green edges.

The glades; i didnt get to play completely due to an injury forcing me to exit after 11 but found the course a little too similar to the Sunshine Coasts ‘Club Pelican’ – It was over 12 months ago I played it and nothing really sticks in mind like with Brookwater.

Any place for Twin Waters? I have only played once but thought it was a beautiful course with plenty of challenges without being too over the top.

Bribie Island I thought was great fun, wouldnt really put it up there with some of the other names in lights but as far as a social round goes with pricing in mind, it is right up there. Prior to playing there I did not understand the commotion over staying away from the sides of the fairway.

Oh and another for the ‘shadow list’ North Lakes

Certainly there are some visually intimidating holes, particularly on the front nine at Brookwater but in most cases there is actually more room in the landing area then it seems. Agree that the elevation changes really make it visually spectacular, interesting and adds to the shotmaking element as, like you say, you rarely have a perfectly flat lie. The greens can be downright diabolical if you miss them in the wrong spots or leave yourself a down hiller (not just the practice green). I guess both the Glades and Club Pelican are Greg Norman courses so thats where the similarities probably come from. Pelican is probably a fair bit tighter than Glades though and probably doesn't quite have the variety of holes in my opinion. I don't really agree with you about Twin Waters or North Lakes though. I thought Twin Waters didn't really have a lot of variety, the bunkering was poor and the green complexes were quite boring. I find North Lakes to be very poor routing with a quite a few holes that appear and feel almost identical. Some of the bunkering and encroaching scrub can also make the course more penal than it needs to be. Both courses always seems to be in top nick though, and probably deserve to be listed somewhere with the also ran's. Have you had the opportunity to play or walk any of the other courses listed?

#4 BuggeraCup

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:43 AM

After trawling through some really old topics in this section I thought it would be good to start and get some discussion and debate going like there used to be in the old days in this section.

So to get started, here is Murph’s list of the top 10 courses in Queensland, feel free to shoot me down, agree or put up your own list. I feel like I’m well positioned to debate this as I think I’ve played most of the top courses in the state (except for Sanctuary Cove Pines perhaps) and have a passion for golf course architecture. To me a course should be strategic (meaning challenging hazards for the reward of an easier next shot but also the option to play conservatively) without being penal (unrecoverable hazards or hazards on both sides of the playing lines) with plenty of options and be equally challenging (and fun) for good players and hackers alike. Conditioning carries some weight but its more about the overall setting, memorability and how fun the course is to make you want to play again. So here’s my list:

1. Brookwater – Awesome design on a striking piece of land. Great bunkering and brilliant green complexes with a good mix of holes including some great short par 4. Looks tight and penal off the tee but there is often more room than it looks.

2. Royal Queensland – I never got to play the old course but Mike Clayton’s redeign is awesome on a boring piece of land. Wide open with heaps of options of the tee but all about the right angles into the greens if you want to score. Wind plays havoc as well and the green complexes are again great.

3. Pacific Harbour – Great course on windy Bribie Island. I love the bunkering and the raggedness of the course. There are a few holes with hazards on both sides of the fairway which can border on penal rather than strategic especially with the wind. For the most part though there is ample room and plenty of options of the tee and wild greens.

4. Glades – Different to most Gold Coast resort courses. Not completely flat and water not as predominant as other courses creating a strategic challenge. Again, with most Norman courses, great bunkering and interesting green complexes. They persist with bent grass greens though which means heaps of water needed to keep them alive and thus can be a little soft at times.

5. Hope Island – I don’t normally like TWP courses but this one is very good. The bunkering works well on this property and there is heaps of room with heaps of options for all level of players (except the 17th).

6. Laguna Whitsundays – I’ll probably cop some flack for this one, (based on current conditions and whether it is even open for play?) but I have played it several times but not since early 2006. Each hole is individual and carved through scrub but still plenty of room and options. The holes on the coast really make this course. I’m surprised that David Graham didn’t get more involved in golf course design after this effort because it is very good.

7. Capricorn Old – Great natural course in a unique Australian bush setting. Very tough course and can be a little penal in places but there is usually enough room to keep out of major trouble.

8. Paradise Palms – This course is tough, carved through rainforest which makes it an awesome setting. Still gives you the option to play conservatively and make easy bogies though. The greens can be diabolical, especially if you miss them on the wrong side.

9. Tweed/Coolangatta River – Again I might get flack because I guess it is technically in NSW but it does at least have Cooly in its name. Great members course with striking bunkering. Not very long, but very strategic although it could do with a little tree clearing in places.

10. The Grand – Walked this in the ‘01 Open and got to play it right after the event. No way was it the best venue for the pro’s but it is a good course on undulating property. Good mix of holes and a little quirky in places (like trees in the fairway) but an interesting course.

Other contenders in my list included (in order); Hyatt Coolum (I haven’t played the 6 new holes though), Indooroopilly West, Club Pelican, Bribie Island, Robina Woods and Kooralbyn (before it shut obviously).

Looking forward to the comments and debate…..

A slight amendment to my list; No. 7 should read the Capricorn Championship course. I think that is the correct moniker these days, I think they used to be called the old and the new course. Either way I mean the longer course designed by Karl Litten not the one designed by Peter Thompson.

#5 BuggeraCup

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:25 AM

I probably forgot to add Arundel Hills to my list of other contenders that are just outside the top 10. I only played it once a couple of years but remember it to be a very good course in a similar vain to Robina Woods. Very challenging and in great nick.

#6 Daves

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:26 AM

I can only comment on a couple of the courses you have mentioned BuggeraCup. Have yet to play quite a few but I am working on it!. Brookwater I really enjoy Brookie, some great holes and some great vistas along the way. No two holes adjoin, so it quite an interesting trip around. I played to when it first opened and found it very penal, any ball off the fairway was gone, never to be seen again!. They have "de-clawed" it a bit since and it is not quite so bad, the rough has been thinned out and some of the landing areas enlarged. The 1st and the 18th are probably my favorites. A couple of average holes in the mix, I don't like 9 and 10, too much reliance of elevation to make the hole. Great bunkering, particular the fairway bunkers, and most of the greens have character. Brookie has 5 sets of tee positions, so lots of variety. Off the blacks it is a very tough course (CCR is usually around 76 I hear), off the Golds it is only a touch over 6,000 metres and much more enjoyable for the average golfer. Brookie is a fairly protected course, so I have never found the wind to have a huge influence. Pacific Harbour I have only played it once and keen to get back there. Another with a great opening and a great finishing hole IMO. Pac Harbour is reasonably open to the prevailing sea breezes and that adds lost of character to many holes. Great bunkering and super fine sand ( like castor sugar!). Unfortunately most of the greens were disease ridden when I played it so hard to judge them, but they were notable for lots of steps, shapes and slopes from what I saw. Really need to play it again to assess the holes, but outside the 1st and 18, the long 17th par 3 was also very memorable, not least for one of the longest bunkers I have seen, from the front of the tees blocks to behind the green! Club Pelican I have played this a couple of times and quite enjoyed it. Reasonably open to the wind and lots of bunkering particularly the fairways, so requires good course management strategy to avoid trouble. The lateral hazard rough that borders it most of the way around is quite penal and you are lucky if you find your ball if your stray off the short stuff. Club Pelican rewards the accurate driver, put your drive in the mayors office and you usually have a reasonably easy 2nd shot. We played off both the blue and the black tees and there wasn't a huge difference IMO. It is not an overly long course, but you need to be reasonably accurate and cautious to score well. Memorable holes for me were 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, & 18. Bribie Island I have only played it once but keen to get back there. Quite a tricky, tight little course, get off the short stuff and you are more than likely hitting off a very sandy lie. Was in great condition when I played it, but you also notice how tight most lies are. No spongy thick fairway lies here, so you ball striking is tested. Not overly long ,but plenty of character, a little bit linkish in the terrain etc but with plenty of trees etc to keep you busy. Robina Woods A long time since I have played there but recall enjoying the course the few times I played it. A fairly tight above average woodlands style course is my main memory.

#7 BuggeraCup

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:46 PM

I can only comment on a couple of the courses you have mentioned BuggeraCup. Have yet to play quite a few but I am working on it!.

Brookwater
I really enjoy Brookie, some great holes and some great vistas along the way. No two holes adjoin, so it quite an interesting trip around. I played to when it first opened and found it very penal, any ball off the fairway was gone, never to be seen again!. They have “de-clawed” it a bit since and it is not quite so bad, the rough has been thinned out and some of the landing areas enlarged. The 1st and the 18th are probably my favorites. A couple of average holes in the mix, I don’t like 9 and 10, too much reliance of elevation to make the hole. Great bunkering, particular the fairway bunkers, and most of the greens have character. Brookie has 5 sets of tee positions, so lots of variety. Off the blacks it is a very tough course (CCR is usually around 76 I hear), off the Golds it is only a touch over 6,000 metres and much more enjoyable for the average golfer. Brookie is a fairly protected course, so I have never found the wind to have a huge influence.

Pacific Harbour
I have only played it once and keen to get back there. Another with a great opening and a great finishing hole IMO. Pac Harbour is reasonably open to the prevailing sea breezes and that adds lost of character to many holes. Great bunkering and super fine sand ( like castor sugar!). Unfortunately most of the greens were disease ridden when I played it so hard to judge them, but they were notable for lots of steps, shapes and slopes from what I saw. Really need to play it again to assess the holes, but outside the 1st and 18, the long 17th par 3 was also very memorable, not least for one of the longest bunkers I have seen, from the front of the tees blocks to behind the green!

Club Pelican
I have played this a couple of times and quite enjoyed it. Reasonably open to the wind and lots of bunkering particularly the fairways, so requires good course management strategy to avoid trouble. The lateral hazard rough that borders it most of the way around is quite penal and you are lucky if you find your ball if your stray off the short stuff. Club Pelican rewards the accurate driver, put your drive in the mayors office and you usually have a reasonably easy 2nd shot. We played off both the blue and the black tees and there wasn’t a huge difference IMO. It is not an overly long course, but you need to be reasonably accurate and cautious to score well. Memorable holes for me were 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, & 18.

Bribie Island

I have only played it once but keen to get back there. Quite a tricky, tight little course, get off the short stuff and you are more than likely hitting off a very sandy lie. Was in great condition when I played it, but you also notice how tight most lies are. No spongy thick fairway lies here, so you ball striking is tested. Not overly long ,but plenty of character, a little bit linkish in the terrain etc but with plenty of trees etc to keep you busy.

Robina Woods

A long time since I have played there but recall enjoying the course the few times I played it. A fairly tight above average woodlands style course is my main memory.

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Some great points there Daves, good comments. I agree that they have definitely cleaned out some of the underbrush and excess trees at Brookwater. At least now you have a chance of finding your ball and getting back to the fairway if you find the tree line. Obviously this work will need to be a continual process to maintain the playability of the course for all level of players. I don't mind the 9th at Brooky, it has a nice flow to it and a great green complex. It is somewhat quirky though in that the deep fairway traps on the left don't actually guard the ideal landing area for the hole. With a green that sits on an angle to the fairway and deep traps and a drop off on the left hand side of the green, the ideal fairway position is actually as far to the right as you can get it. Not sure if the fairway traps were put there to create confusion for the player on the tee, to hide the preferred landing area by players thinking that they have to challenge these traps or whether they are purely for aesethics. Either way I quite like the hole and it will provide some major challenges especially if you miss that green. The 10th however is a little disappointing, with the elevation change perhaps almost too excessive. The hole is short but the landing area is actually way too small to provide many options of the tee. Currently, taking driver off that tee is madness because the landing area is tiny. If you miss that small area your approach to the green will be hindered by trees. As a rule, in most circumstances I don't like it when trees interfere with the lines of play, I think it would benefit with some clearing to provide options off the tee (with the added benefit of improving the conditioning of the fairway which struggles because it is always in shade). The green contours on this hole are perhaps too excessive as well with the landing areas on the greens (depending on the day's hole location) even smaller than the tee shot shot landing area. Definitely one of the weaker holes on the course, my favourite holes are 1, 3, 4, 11, 13, 16 and 17. It's a shame the conditioning of Pacific Harbour let you down a bit but it is a great course with some memorable holes as you mentioned. Hazards on both sides of the fairways at times can be a bit penal especially in the frequent winds but for the most part there is ample room to provide plenty of options. Very interesting green complexes and contouring and the bunkering is superb. Club Pelican could be very, very good if some of the scrub and underbrush was cleared. The fact that they play these areas as a lateral hazard should be an indication that it is too penal with no hope of recovery. The houses are also encroaching too close in many areas these days but there are a great mix of holes and standard Norman bunkering and green complexes. Definitely agree with you about Bribie, a great members course that you would be more than happy to play every day. Simple, yet challenging and surprisingly good conditioning. Robina Woods is good fun, not too long and different to most normal Gold Coast courses. The greens are very interesting and usually very quick placing an importance on course management. Any courses that you think I've neglected to include for discussion in this list?

#8 Daves

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 07:46 PM

Any courses that you think I’ve neglected to include for discussion in this list?
I would add Redcliffe as another well above average members course, but not really a Qld Top 10 in terms of out outright challenge, probably a Brisbane Top tenner though. Quality all the way round, but not terribly penal,so very good for the average player. Was in a great condition when I last played it. I have not yet played it but from what I hear on balance Pacific would have to be considered in the list of top Brissy courses. It has its detractors though. One for me to try out in the new year, but they tell me it is a very hot course to play in summer. I played Oxley for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it is a tough course for the most part. Some great holes and a couple of disappointing ones as well. It was fairly dry and the pin positions were very tough when I played it, so course management was crucial. Another very hot course though, take plenty of sunscreen and water!.

#9 waffle_iron

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 07:49 PM

No Redland Bay Dave ? For enjoyability and memorability I would rate your track. A few ordinary holes, but many beauties. Also both Sanctuary Cove courses, esp Pines, Hope Is and the over the road 9 at Royal Pines, I too enjoyed Robina Woods many moons ago.

#10 Daves

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 08:01 PM

No Redland Bay Dave ? For enjoyability and memorability I would rate your track. A few ordinary holes, but many beauties. Also both Sanctuary Cove courses, esp Pines, Hope Is and the over the road 9 at Royal Pines, I too enjoyed Robina Woods many moons ago.

the greatest game ever played

Reddy Bay is somewhat similar to Redcliffe I guess Waffle, but as a member I am too close to it and therefore will leave it to others to rate it. Certainly not a Qld Top 10, Brissy 10 maybe.

#11 waffle_iron

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 08:12 PM

Fair enough mate, though I would rather play RB than most of the $100 + tracks down here...

#12 BuggeraCup

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 02:00 AM

I agree with Redcliffe easily being in the top 10 in Brisbane (maybe not the state) - it is a fun, challenging members course that is very well maintained. I have never had the pleasure of swinging the sticks at Redland Bay though.

#13 BuggeraCup

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 02:10 AM

No Redland Bay Dave ? For enjoyability and memorability I would rate your track. A few ordinary holes, but many beauties. Also both Sanctuary Cove courses, esp Pines, Hope Is and the over the road 9 at Royal Pines, I too enjoyed Robina Woods many moons ago.

the greatest game ever played

As I stated, I am yet to have the pleasure of playing Sanctuary Cove Pines. I hear that it may be worthy of pushing its way onto this list, and I understand it can be a real beast of a course as well - ACR of 76 or something like that. Difficulty is rarely correlated with being a great course but Pines is highly regarded. Aren't they also remodelling the Palms course out at Santuary Cove as well at the moment? It will be interesting how that turns out. Waffle, I agree about the holes across the road at Royal Pines, definitely more interesting and challenging. The rest of the holes there though are pretty boring with big, flat dull green complexes.

#14 waffle_iron

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 02:25 AM

Spot on Murph, the over the road holes are special. And you have to stay at Sanctuary Cove to play the Pines which is an expensive proposition. Would highly recommend RB.

#15 BuggeraCup

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 03:28 AM

Here are the latest Golf Australia rankings which have just been released. Obviously ranking lists are only subjective, just like mine, and biased by personal preference and opinion (just like mine) but it still makes interesting reading. Also it would be interesting how much of this is just marketing - like can course's "buy" there way onto the list? 1.Royal Melbourne (West) 2. Kingston Heath 3. Barnbougle Dunes 4. New South Wales 5. Royal Melbourne (East) 6. The National (Moonah) 7. Royal Adelaide 8. Metropolitan 9. Victoria 10. St Andrews Beach 11. Newcastle 12. Kooyonga 13. Woodlands 14. Kennedy Bay 15. Commonwealth 16. The Lakes 17. 13th Beach (Beach Course) 18. Lake Karrinyup 19. Peninsula (North Course) 20. Royal Sydney 21. The National (old Course) 22. Barwon Heads 23. Moonah Links (Legends) 24. The Dunes 25. Magenta Shores 26. Peninsula (South) 27. Brookwater 28. The Australian 29. Yarra Yarra 30. Royal Queensland 31. The National (Ocean Course) 32. Joondalup 33. The Glades 34. Portsea 35. The Cut 36. Royal Canberra (1-18) 37. Grange (West Course) 38. Elanora 39. Moonah Links (Open) 40. Settlers Run 41. Port Fairy 42. Amstel (Ranfurlie) 43. The Vines (Lakes Course) 44. Club Pelican 45. The Vintage 46. The Grand 47. Huntingdale 48. Hope Island 49. Hyatt Regancy Coolum 50. Concord Brookwater is the top ranked course in QLD followed by Royal QLD. Surprised though that there was no room for Pacific Harbour within the top 50. Also a couple of my 'also rans' rate quite highly on this list.




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