The Grange Golf Club (East Course)
Vern Morcom was working on the final changes to The Grange’s West course redesign when the club announced plans for a second course. Morcom was asked to design it, on 150 acres of adjoining land, and the East course opened for play in May 1967. Although it is generally regarded as slightly inferior to the West course, it is undoubtedly more famous, thanks to it being the subject of a classic sports trivia question: on which course did Greg Norman win his first professional title?
To this day, Norman rates that victory in the 1976 West Lakes Classic as one of the most important of his career. It was the first event of the season, attracting all of Australia’s top golfers: Graham, Crampton, Devlin, Marsh, Newton, Shearer. Norman was a 21-year-old trainee pro. Promoter Bob Tuohy invited him to play on a hunch that ‘the blond kid might do OK’. He shot an eightunder 64 in the opening round and held his lead for the next three days. Two years later another Queenslander, Wayne Grady, collected his first tournament win in the same event. In 1992 Stuart Appleby won the Australian Amateur title here.
It is a testament to the quality of Morcom’s original layout that it produced such a high standard of champion so early in its life. But, as happened at the West course, more than four decades of growth eventually narrowed the playing lines. Mike Clayton, who’d completed his West course redesign, was commissioned to make ongoing changes to its next-door neighbour.
The East course opens with a strong, dogleg-right parfour that pays homage to Norman. The hole is named after him, not for any spectacular shot he engineered here, but simply because it was the first hole he played in his first professional win. And the name is apt, for at 402 metres this hole demands a long straight drive – the Shark’s forte – into the right half of the fairway to set up a clear approach. It is a long second shot into a big green, where a massive bunker cuts into the right edge and catches the slightest mishit.
The first of the par-fives, the 466-metre 4th, is a gem. Although short by modern standards, it can prove a tough proposition for players who attack too hard or don’t execute their shots accurately enough. An extensive wetland, added to the hole in recent years, runs all the way down the right side, from the edge of the driving area to the green. Long hitters can certainly reach the green in two blows, but anything less than pinpoint accuracy will bring the wetland or one of three large bunkers into play.
Most of the East course covers relatively flat, rolling terrain, but there are several holes on which the land rises and falls dramatically, adding to the variety of shots that confront you. The 369-metre, par-four 12th is a wonderful hole on the course’s most undulating ground. A new tee, lengthening the hole by about 30 metres, forces all players to follow the dogleg-left fairway, rather than cutting the corner with a drive over some trees. This brings the far side of the fairway into play if your tee shot is too long. Most players will need a mid-iron to reach the big green which, like so many greens here, has a bunker cutting into its right fringe. The Grange is a private club. Limited tee times are available on both courses for visitors who contact the general manager.
1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 12th and 17th
Where to go
White Sands Dr, Seaton, SA 5023
Book a round
(08) 8355 7100
Where to stay
The Links Hotel has affordable single and queen rooms, as well as a bar and bistro.
Before/after your round
Check out Adelaide Zoo, located in the centre of the city, and two of its biggest attractions: giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi. The zoo is also within walking distance of the Botanic Gardens and the National Wine Centre.comments powered by Disqus