The Glades Golf & Spa

Desert bunker at The Glades, par-three 5th, Brendan James

Ask Greg Norman’s former chief designer Bob Harrison to name one course that makes him feel proud when he sees the final result, and chances are he’ll say The Glades. Upon joining the Gold Coast golfing landscape in 2000, The Glades was instantly touted as one of Queensland’s best courses. It was an incredible claim – considering that the land had previously been a mixture of dairy farm and unusable floodplain.

‘We raised that course out of the floodplain and turned the land into something special,’ says Harrison. ‘It was a hard course to design because there really wasn’t anything there to work with. When you look at it today, it’s difficult to imagine what it was like. Before we could get started on building it we had to come up with a design the local council would approve of. Because we were planning to develop on a floodplain, we had to show that the course would have the same capacity for storing floodwater.’ Huge lakes and vast tracts of wetland were excavated. The fill from them was used to shape the golf course and to build up areas for proposed residential properties. When Norman and Harrison viewed the finished product they saw nine hectares of scattered wetlands. Today the course is home to dozens of species of birdlife and waterfowl. The Glades is a fine example of how golf courses can actually be good for the environment. A decade on from its opening, it is still amazing to see how everything on the course is man-made. It has matured into a wonderful layout and one of the Gold Coast’s most popular, thanks to the challenging Norman– Harrison design and the impeccable conditioning. The routing, through the wetlands, is memorable. Undulating fairways present you with uphill, downhill and side-hill lies, requiring you to produce all manner of shots during the course of a round. The bunkers, as with all Norman–Harrison bunkers, are visually striking and help dictate your strategy on most holes.

Ninety-eight bunkers are spread across the entire layout. None is bigger than the desert beside the 173-metre, parthree 5th. From each of the three teeing grounds, this 90-metre-long bunker runs along the left edge of the fairway and green, separating the playing line from the wetlands. Another lone bunker has been placed short and right of the putting surface to catch the overly cautious player who tries to avoid the water and sand. Closely trimmed slopes around the edges of the target feed any less than perfect tee shots away from the green.

The best holes at The Glades are those where the wetlands crowd in close to the ideal playing lines. A perfect example of this is the closing hole, a 417-metre parfour, where the fairway turns gradually around an expansive wetland on the left. Most players hitting well right of the water will find it nearly impossible to reach the green in two shots. Even if you can, with a fairway metal, the green is a tough one to hold. Conversely, the player who drives aggressively and skirts the edge of the water is duly rewarded with a shorter, easier approach. Complementing the acclaimed design is the excellent condition of the course, particularly its greens. The Glades is the only course in Queensland with creeping bent-grass greens, which are always smooth-rolling and widely regarded as a superior putting surface to the bermuda grass found on most golf courses in warm climates.

Memorable holes

2nd, 5th, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th and 18th

Where to go

Riverwalk Way, Robina, Queensland 4230

Book a round

(07) 5569 1900

Where to stay

Radisson Resort Gold Coast is 5 km north via the Gold Coast Motorway. The resort offers play-and-stay packages for a range of Gold Coast courses, including The Glades.

Before/after your round

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 20 minutes south of The Glades, lets you view hundreds of native Australian animals in bushland and rainforest surroundings.

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