Brookwater Golf & Country Club

The par-three 5th at Brookwater, Brendan James

Brookwater opened to considerable fanfare in 2002, with many observers quick to draw comparisons with Augusta National, venerable home of the US Masters. The varied terrain, inventive bunkering and undulating putting surfaces do indeed bear a slight resemblance to certain parts of Augusta. The fact that Greg Norman was responsible for creating them, in collaboration with his then design chief Bob Harrison, added weight to the theory. The truth is that this par-72 in Brisbane’s south-western suburbs is an original. There is an overwhelmingly Australian feel about its tall eucalypts, long wild grasses and occasional kangaroos bounding across fairways. One of Australia’s most spectacular inland layouts, Brookwater has been ranked the best course in Queensland for the past five years.

It commands your respect before you have even hit a ball. From the black championship markers the 1st hole is a 380-metre par-four, and your tee shot must cross a deep valley to find the fairway rising up the other side. A drive of about 220 metres will leave you standing on the crest of a hill, with the fairway veering and cambering left past spectacular fairway bunkers, before descending towards a green nestled between tall timbers and a couple more bunkers.

At 6497 metres, Brookwater is among the ten longest courses in the country. But as Norman and Harrison have shown with some of their other Australian designs – including The National’s Moonah course and The Vintage in New South Wales – a long course still allows scope for several good short par-fours. The development of hightech clubs and balls does not mean every par-four has to be more than 400 metres, as Harrison points out. ‘A good short par-four,’ he says, ‘is always a pleasure to play.’ The first of these at Brookwater is the 358-metre 3rd. (Some may argue 358 metres is not all that short; but from the gold tee, where the majority of players will test their skill, it is only 336 metres.) The fairway is designed to reward anyone who flirts with the trees lining the left. Drive your ball on to the plateau in the left half of the fairway and you might have a simple wedge or nine-iron to the green. Land in the right half of the fairway and you are faced with a steep uphill lie and a seven or eight-iron to the green. It’s a brilliant par-four design.

Leaving this beauty behind, stand on the next tee and try telling yourself you have ever played a more daunting par-five. Staring at you from the elevated back tee are 551 metres of rollercoaster fairway, culminating in a green cut high into a hill some two valleys away. It is an awesome hole, with bunkers placed strategically at intervals along the fairway and around the green. Pars are rare here; birdies are wishful thinking.

Some of the finest examples of Norman and Harrison’s bunkering work can be found along this 4th hole. The pair’s trademark bunkers are deep, sandy hazards of varying sizes and shapes, where balls feed to a firm, flat bottom. Their deft placement is designed to deceive players into second-guessing their club selection.

Several bunkers adorn every hole at Brookwater, with one exception. The 399-metre, par-four 15th is bunker-free – but, to be frank, this hole doesn’t need sand to stiffen its challenge. The tee is set amid dense subtropical rainforest. Your drive must carry thick undergrowth before finding the relatively flat fairway, which turns about 75 degrees between a tree-covered hill on the right and the banks of Possum Creek to the left. Approach shots fired at the green must then clear wild grass and small native bushes, a little tongue of rough.

Memorable holes

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 15th, 17th and 18th

Where to go

1 Tournament Dr, Brookwater, Queensland 4300

Book a round

(07) 3814 5500,

Where to stay

Brookwater is a 40-minute drive from downtown Brisbane, where a wide range of accommodation is available.

Before/after your round

Picturesque Brisbane River runs through the heart of the capital and there is no better way to experience it than on a well-catered cruise with Brisbane Cruises, who have been operating along the river for more than two decades.

comments powered by Disqus