Kooindah Waters Golf & Spa Resort

The 1st hole at Kooindah Waters, Brendan James

Throughout his playing career, Craig Parry has won tournaments around the world thanks to a mix of sound strategy, good ball-striking and a first-class short game. He brought those same key elements – golfing brains over brawn – to the design table when he collaborated with Ross Watson to build Kooindah Waters, near Wyong, on New South Wales’s Central Coast. Parry’s input and Watson’s creative skill have made for a challenging and highly enjoyable layout.

Few if any constraints restricted the pair when they got down to work on the flat and featureless landscape. ‘It was a blank canvas,’ says Parry. ‘There was nothing we had to incorporate, no special feature that needed inclusion. And because of that we were able to create a very good course that tests the strategy of every golfer, no matter how good, or bad, they are at the game.’ At 6083 metres from the championship markers, Kooindah Waters is not a long course by modern standards. Length was never an issue for the design team, who did not set out to devise a brutal test of the game. ‘One philosophy we had about Kooindah from day one was that it had to be user-friendly,’ says Parry. ‘The last thing you want to do, especially with a public access course, is scare people away after one round because it’s too hard.’

Although it is not a links layout, Watson and Parry’s knowledge of links golf resulted in them incorporating elements of the seaside game into Kooindah Waters. Many greens have a wide opening, enabling you to bounce your approach on to the putting surface. Deep greenside bunkering is another feature, as are the railwaysleeper retaining walls in selected bunkers.

The back nine, with its great variety of holes, is particularly memorable. Two of the best are two of theshortest. The 298-metre, par-four 14th is a terrific hole where danger lurks only a few footsteps from the edge of the fairway. Yet the temptation to attack from the tee is too much for some, despite the obvious dramas a miscued drive can cause. Fifteen metres right of the fairway, stretching all the way to the green, is an out-of-bounds fence. Wetlands – exposed during construction, to the surprise of Watson and Parry – lie less than five metres from the left edge. The fairway is wide, but it narrows dramatically the closer you get to the green, which has massive bunkers staggered left and right. Today’s long hitters can comfortably make the green from the tee. But they know their line must be perfect. The final par-three – the 126-metre 17th – is a gem. A semi-island green is the outstanding feature here, with water wrapping around the front and right of the putting surface. A lone bunker protects the front left edge. The size of the green means you must get your club selection right, even on such a short hole as this.

Heading for the sanctuary of the clubhouse, the dogleg-left 18th throws up the round’s toughest challenge. A 397-metre par-four, it is flanked by wetlands to the left. About 80 metres short of the putting surface, water cuts the fairway in two. Bunkers and more water surround the green, ensuring that a par made here will be remembered and a birdie treasured . . . until the next round.

Memorable holes

2nd, 4th, 8th, 14th, 17th and 18th

Where to go

40 Kooindah Blvd, Wyong, NSW 2259

Book a round

(02) 4351 0700

www. kooindahwatersgolf.com.au

Where to stay

Mercure Kooindah Waters Resort is on-site and offers luxury hotel rooms, suites and three-bedroom villas overlooking the course. Stay-and-play packages are available.

Before/after your round

Kooindah Waters is also home to an Endota Day Spa. If your golfi ng muscles are feeling the strain, book in for a massage or a range of body treatments, including facials, scrubs and wraps.

Nearby Golf Activities

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