Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club

Magenta Shores, 2nd hole – ‘one of the best par-fives in New South Wales’, Brendan James

There is something truly inspiring about a golf course – whatever the quality of its playing surfaces – that offers the smells and sounds of the ocean. This is perhaps what first persuaded the Scots to use seaside land for golf. And when the course is up to the high standards of Magenta Shores, an unforgettable golfing adventure awaits. Magenta Shores, which opened for play in 2006, is an impressive layout that will keep getting better as the playing surfaces mature and the course set-up is tweaked to get it just right. Located a few minutes’ drive north of The Entrance, on the New South Wales Central Coast, the land where the first seven holes now lie was once a rubbish dump. To turn it into a rolling, sand-based, linksstyle layout – complete with dunes, mounds and bunkers – the construction team, under the guidance of Ross Watson, raised the land profile nearly eight metres to bring the Pacific Ocean into view. Millions of cubic metres of sandy fill were pushed and piled to form a seemingly natural dunescape: the foundation of Watson’s finest achievement in an already glittering career.

Once the dunes were in place, the construction team had to work quickly before the ever-present sea breezes moved the sand. The dunes were then sprayed with grass seed covered in a glue-like substance so that it would stick to the sand. Now, four years on, the dunes look as if they have been in existence on this stretch of coastline for decades, if not centuries. The sandy base was ideal for growing fine-quality playing surfaces and crafting bunker schemes that are usually the handiwork of Mother Nature. In this instance, Watson had almost a blank canvas on which to strategically scatter his sandy hazards. The course, a par-72, is dominated by some excellent long holes, including two of the best par-fives in New South Wales: the 523-metre 2nd and the downhill 8th, which measures 474 metres from the championship markers. The 2nd fairway flanks the scrub separating the course from Magenta Beach and gives players a wonderful view south, towards The Entrance, as they snake between bunkers and dunes to reach the green. There are plenty more sand traps to avoid on the 8th, but Watson offers players willing to chance their arm the chance of a birdie. These are memorable holes – though Watson suggests the highlight of a round at Magenta could be the four par-threes.

‘They really possess that “wow” factor,’ he says, ‘and I modestly suggest that, given time, they could be recognised as the best collection of par-threes anywhere in Australia. In my view, they’re that good. Each faces a different direction, which adds so much to their collective appeal.’ It’s hard to disagree. All four parthrees demand different shots, clubs and strategies. Arguably the best of them is the shortest. Most days, the 124-metre 15th calls for merely a well-struck short iron to find the smallish green. But when the wind shifts to the south-east and starts blowing hard off the sea, a much longer club is needed to cover the distance, as you strive all the while to avoid the deep bunkers left, right and short.

Magenta Shores is a private members’ course but access is available for guests staying at the resort.  

Memorable holes

2nd, 4th, 8th, 13th, 14th and 15th

Where to go

1 Magenta Dr, Magenta, NSW 2261

Book a round

(02) 4352 8145

www.magentagolf.com.au

Where to stay

The five-star Quay West Resort, featuring villas and studio apartments, overlooks several holes.

Before/after your round

Magenta Shores is a few minutes north of The Entrance, one of the prettiest towns on the Central Coast and an area known for its huge pelican population. Every day at 3:30pm the pelicans gather en masse to be fed at a special ramp beside a bridge crossing the estuary, where Tuggerah Lake meets the sea.

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