Lakelands Golf Club

Lakelands, 5th hole – ‘it’s easy to get distracted by the beauty’, Brendan James

As a player, Jack Nicklaus was a regular visitor to Australia for more than two decades. He won six Australian Opens and inspired a generation of young Australians to take up golf. When his playing career began winding down he concentrated more on designing golf courses, and it was around this time that Queensland’s Gold Coast found a golf course boom happening in its midst. The Japanese owners of the proposed Lakelands development commissioned the Golden Bear to create his first signature course in Australia.

To realise what an incredible job Nicklaus did at Lakelands is to understand what the terrain he had to work with was like. This land was once a flat, seasonal floodplain, with water run-off from surrounding pastures covering the area where the course now lies. It is a tribute to the construction team working with Nicklaus that Lakelands has since proved one of the region’s bestdraining layouts. As for the course itself, like most Nicklausdesigned courses, it challenges the finest players while ensuring novices can have an enjoyable round as well. Nicklaus provides five sets of tees to choose from, giving golfers of all levels the chance to experience his course without feeling like they have been hit in the head with a nine-iron. Even so, you don’t realise how hard some of the holes are until you have encountered trouble en route to the green.

Most of the Windsor Green couch fairways have generously wide landing areas; they also, usually, have large bunkers, trees or water on either side. The greens, too, are oversized targets, but stray approach shots invariably end up in a sandy grave. The task of getting up and down successfully becomes a tricky one, with the shoulders of many of the greenside bunkers sloping towards the centre of the green and away from the hole. The tifdwarf bermuda putting surfaces, meanwhile, are not only big and undulating but impeccably true. They can be kneetrembling quick. The back nine is marginally harder, and it begins with one of the toughest parfour driving holes in Queensland. From the championship markers the green is 384 metres away, and a strong, straight drive is needed to the right centre of the fairway. Don’t even think about flirting with the water lining the fairway’s left edge, as a steep bank from the short grass down to the canal will grab even the slightest deviation from the perfect line. Hitting to the right of the fairway leaves you facing a longer and more difficult approach shot – but that’s better than taking a penalty drop for a lost ball. The 14th, a 133-metre par-three, is not only the prettiest hole on the course but one of the trickiest when it comes to choosing the right club. It’s easy to get distracted by the beauty of the lake that greets you from the tee, not to mention the cascading waterfall beside a deep green, which sits diagonally to your approach. There is about a fourclub difference between the back and front of the green. A swirling breeze often blows here and must also be considered carefully.

Walking away from the 18th green at Lakelands, you will agree that Nicklaus has created a beautiful course, one that brings both enjoyment and its fair share of lost balls. Like the man behind the design, it will give you many golfing moments to treasure . . . at least until your next visit.

Memorable holes

6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 17th

Where to go

Gooding Dr, Merrimac, Queensland 4226

Book a round

(07) 5510 6507


Where to stay

Radisson Resort Gold Coast is across the road from the course entrance. It offers play-and-stay packages for a range of Gold Coast courses, including Lakelands.

Before/after your round

Travel to the top of the Q1 tower, pausing at the 235-metre-high QDeck – Australia’s only beachside observation deck. Less than 10 minutes’ drive from the course, it towers above Surfers Paradise.

comments powered by Disqus