North Lakes Resort Golf Club

North Lakes, 3rd hole – ‘your drive must clear three lakes’, Brendan James

Good course designers have tricks up their sleeves when it comes to spurring golfers to rise to the challenge. They can visually intimidate you with large schemes of bunkers or water hazards encroaching on the best playing lines. Yet often it is what you cannot see that proves most effective. Shaping the land with hollows and hummocks, the good course designer weaves in an element of deception, forcing you to second-guess your judgement of distance, or to search for the safest line away from trouble. Some designers are better at this than others – and Graham Marsh counts among the masters.

North Lakes, 45 minutes north of Brisbane’s CBD, opened for play in 2003. As the centrepiece of a new residential community that sprung up out of the ground, it was important that this par-72 be playable by everyone. Measuring 6455 metres from the back tips, it poses a stern test for the good amateur or professional, while at the same time remaining an enjoyable outing for part timers or beginners from the forward tees. No matter what tee you play from, you are sure to encounter Marsh’s trickery along your 18-hole journey.

At the 375-metre, par-four 2nd a bunker left of the fairway is within range, so your tee shot should favour the right side. Marsh has ensured the front of the green rises slightly from the fairway, meaning any approach shot landing short of the green will hold up. Carefully check your distance and the wind to guarantee your approach carries all the way to the flag.

The following hole, a 330-metre par-four, is one of the most interesting at North Lakes. Prodigious hitters can smash a drive of 290 metres, as the crow flies, from the back markers and land their ball in the centre of the green. The trouble is your drive must clear three lakes along the way. Bunkers litter the sharp dogleg-right fairway, but there is actually more room to land your tee shot than you can see from the tee. A long iron to the right half of the fairway puts you a short iron away from the green. The finishing holes at North Lakes will leave you wanting more, even if the par-four 17th is the kind of hole you’ll either love or hate. Long hitters will have no trouble clearing the crest of the hill with their drive on this 387-metre hole. Shorter hitters will be faced with a blind second shot to a long green protected by two deep traps, and when the cup is cut towards the back right quarter, that shot must carry both bunkers to get anywhere near the flag.

Marsh has left the hardest, and finest, hole till last. At 420 metres, the 18th is the longest of the par-fours here. If your drive fails to find the fairway you are unlikely to get a lie that will let you advance your second shot remotely close to the green. Find the fairway and you have to be wary that the green sits diagonally right to left, and that the approach shot required is not so long as the sprinkler-head distances would have you believe. The quality of Marsh’s design is complemented by beautifully manicured bermuda tifeagle greens. North Lakes was the first course in Australia to use this fine-leaf grass, which provides a fantastic putting surface.

Memorable holes

2nd, 3rd, 5th, 11th, 15th, 17th and 18th

Where to go

Bridgeport Dr, North Lakes, Queensland 4539

Book a round

(07) 3480 9200

Where to stay

Downtown Brisbane, 45 minutes away, has accommodation styles to suit all needs and budget

Before/after your round

Picturesque South Bank is Brisbane’s inner-city playground, its man-made lagoons and white sandy beaches set against a backdrop of skyscrapers and riverboats. It is also home to the Wheel of Brisbane, which offers breathtaking views across the city.

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