I do enjoy a hit of golf. I’ve never been all that good at it, though this year I have been playing more frequently and have been getting better and even managed to win one of the Saturday competitions at the Pine Rivers Golf Club, which I have become a member of.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to play some fantastic golf courses and I thought that would be an interesting topic to write about.
Laguna Quays www.lagunawhitsundays.info
Located in the beautiful Whitsundays, Kylie and I holidayed at Laguna Quays many years ago, before we were married. I played golf each day, whilst Kylie lounged by the pool. In hindsight, I was probably lucky to keep Kylie after playing so much golf….. This is a fantastic course, with a couple of stand-out holes. The 13th, which is a par 3 of 148 metres from the whites, features a sheltered tee area which hits into an open seaside green – the wind can play havoc with that tee shot. My other favourite would be the 9th hole, which is 425m par 5 from the white tees, with a water hazard hugging the right hand side of the hole. This 9th hole also has a lot of condo’s looking out onto the fairway, having a couple of guests watching me play the approach shot is about as close as I will probably come to having a gallery.
Most memorable about this course was that I hit a 49 on one nine, which was the first time I had broken 50 for nine holes. Also memorable is aforementioned fortune to have played golf quite a few days in a row and for Kylie to have not been driven off…
Bel Air Country Club www.bel-aircc.org
In Beverly Hills baby! Having the opportunity to play “The Bel Air” is probably the greatest golfing experience I will ever enjoy. It’s a private club with a significant sign-up and then annual fee. The member we had take us around the course said something like “You don’t ask to join, you are asked to join”. The day we played we had an ex-NFL Quarterback playing in the group in front of us (who one of us, not me, nearly hit with a wayward shot), there was a famous fashion designer a couple of groups back from us and there were many famous Los Angelians in the clubhouse before and after we teed off.
The course is immaculate and you are accompanied by a caddy who makes club recommendations, rakes the bunkers, fetches drinks and entertains you as you play the course. “Chicago” was his nickname, I recommend him if you get to play there.
A couple of lasting memories from the day here are:
- in the locker room before teeing off, I sat down to put my shoes on and having done up the laces looked up and the name on the locker I was sitting in front of was G Norman. I kid you not!
- having completed the first nine holes, you get in your buggy to drive off to the 10th, which you need to get through a tunnel, which is deep underground. Part way along the tunnel the caddy says to stop, so you do. He says get in that lift and press the button to whatever floor (I cant remember what floor). So you do and when you get to the floor you are in the club house! amazing….
- having ridden the lift, you step out of the clubhouse and practically straight onto the 10th tee. The 10th tee has you hitting a par 3 (?) over a canyon, which has a suspension bridge to get you from one side to the other. The caddy is on the other side, with our buggies waiting for us….
- the caddy and our host pointing out and rattling off the names of famous people such as Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and many others who own houses overlooking parts of the course
I’d say my favourite hole on this course was the 1st, which is just awesome. You’re standing on the tee, driver in hand (which freaks me out a little ordinarily anyway) which looks out over Los Angeles, an ex-NFL Quarterback in the group in front of you, you’ve just put your shoes on in front of G Norman’s locker and your head is spinning a little from the whole experience…
Other favourites include the par 3 10th, which has you hitting over a canyon after riding a lift to the tee box and the 18th hole which comes in under the suspension bridge of the 10th and is just a beautiful way to finish a round of golf.
I have no photos, it didnt seem the thing to do to take photos, but click through to their site for a few big pics on the home page: www.bel-aircc.org
The Grand www.grandgolf.com.au
Another of Queensland’s beautiful golf courses and located just in behind the Gold Coast. I played The Grand with three golf journalists who I was hosting as part of their visit to Queensland, when my role at TQ was to host these type of visits. Talk about a good job.
The story of The Grand is pretty amazing. G Norman was commissioned by a consortium of Japanese to build the course, but after an investment of $30m, the course was completed and open for only one day as the owners did not have the funds to keep the course open. The course was left to become overgrown for 5 years before being bought by a group of Australian businessmen, who again commissioned G Norman to bring the course back to life. The course is a private course, with there being an initial offer 120 shares, of which you must own one to bring guests onto the course.
The day I played the course it absolutely poured with rain and we were the only players on the course. Someone was ferrying towels from the clubhouse to us, so we could try to stay dry. Wasn’t going to happen….
I don’t remember specifically the favourite holes (it was somewhere around 1997 or 1998), but I do remember a beautiful uphill par 4 with a large dead tree off on the right as you tee off.
Pauite Golf Las Vegas http://www.lvpaiutegolf.com
I thoroughly enjoyed playing this course. It’s set about an hour or so outside Las Vegas, NV, in the middle of the desert. The fairways are cut beautifully into a rocky landscape. The guys at the pro shop told us, if you hit your ball off the fairway, leave it. Apparently this is because of the snakes, but I part suspect that it might have been to increase the number of balls they collect and sell second hand.
Most treasured memories from this course were the appearance of a lone wolf who trotted across one of the fairways as we aimed up for our approach shots. Beautiful to see. The course was also “buzzed” (at high altitude) by some sort of fighter planes and also attack helicopters of some kind, there must be an air force base close by, which made for interesting viewing against the mountaineous background of the area.
My favourite hole on this course would be the 15th, which is a par 3 of 110 yards (off the white) where the green is an island. I had to hit a 9 iron in and missed the island on two attempts from the tee. This is the hole http://www.lvpaiutegolf.com/wolf_course_15.html#1
I have played on quite a few of the Gold Coast’s courses and will find time to update this list in the future.
Over time I will put together my top 10 courses I have played list (once I’ve played some more golf)