Glenelg Golf Club

The 18th hole at Glenelg, Glenelg Golf Club

Glenelg is to Adelaide what Bondi is to Sydney – the city’s most popular beach suburb. The terminus for the City to Bay tram, a Glenelg icon, can be found where Jetty Rd meets the beach, where you will also find cafes, restaurants and bars. One thing you won’t find in Glenelg is the golf club. It lies instead in the adjoining suburb of Novar Gardens and opened for play in 1926, having been crafted by Herbert ‘Cargie’ Rymill, the man behind the creation of the nearby Kooyonga course.

Adelaide Airport’s expansion after World War II led to the course being redone under the supervision of designer Vern Morcom. His work went relatively unchanged for 50 years. In 1998 the club commissioned course architect Neil Crafter and Bob Tuohy – a long-time Glenelg member, top amateur and tournament promoter – to rejuvenate the layout, which over the years had come to feel cluttered.

One of their goals was to give the course a more open, links-style feel. Vast slabs of ti-tree and other bushes were removed and replaced with indigenous trees and plants. This had the effect on several holes of opening up previously unknown views and playing lines. The redesign took almost seven years. The course was re-routed, most bunkers were rebuilt and the drainage was improved. The kikuyu grass fairways and surrounds were converted to Santa Ana couch, and the greens are now smoothrolling bent-grass.

The changes to the bunkers, in particular, breathed new life into the course. Crafter and Tuohy incorporated a revetted, sod-stacked bunkering style – similar to that found in Scotland – to heighten the links look and feel. More than 100 bunkers now cover the terrain, from small pot bunkers to sprawling, sandbelt-style sand traps. On some holes, lying side by side, are both varieties.

The short 4th, a 315-metre par-four, is one such hole. Trees and bushes were removed from both sides of the fairway, which now feels more open, tempting long hitters to blaze away with their driver. A penal pot bunker lies 25 metres short of a much larger fairway trap to the right of the lay-up area, so accuracy must accompany caution from the tee here. Five more bunkers and some mounding surround the large putting surface.

The bunkering on a couple of the back nine par-threes, in particular, is a memorable highlight of any round at Glenelg these days. The 168-metre 11th hole usually plays into the teeth of a south-westerly, making the narrow and elevated green a tough target. Complicating the task is a huge scheme of three bunkers right of the green, which slopes markedly from back to front.

The 164-metre 14th, beautifully framed by native vegetation, calls for a well-struck mid-iron to find the green. Scattered round its edges are five bunkers – three left and two right. When the wind is blowing into the face a running approach can work here, but it must be shaped left to right to avoid a sixth bunker 20 metres short of the putting surface. Complementing Crafter and Tuohy’s redesign is the condition of the course. The fairways are impeccable and the greens fast and firm underfoot, making scoring well here that little bit trickier.

Memorable holes

2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 16th and 18th

Where to go

James Melrose Rd, Novar Gardens, SA 5040

Book a round

(08) 8295 5274

Where to stay

The course is a short drive from the centre of Glenelg and its many accommodation options. For a touch of luxury, suites at the Stamford Grand Adelaide offer views of the ocean and the majestic Adelaide Hills.

Before/after your round

Take a tour of Haigh’s Chocolates, Australia’s oldest handmade chocolate manufacturer, and choose from more than 250 products in the factory shop.

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