Links Lady Bay Resort

The 1st hole at Links Lady Bay, Brendan James

‘A pleasurable golf course,’ Dr Alister MacKenzie once wrote, ‘is not necessarily one that appeals at first sight, but rather one that grows on a player like good music, good painting, or good anything else.’ Then he added: ‘There are many bad golf courses made in an attempt to eliminate the element of luck – a mistake surely. Luck is the zest of life, as well as of golf.’

The Links Lady Bay certainly does not fall into the great designer’s category of bad courses. The design team of Jack Newton, Graeme Grant and John Spencer created a wonderful links layout that matches MacKenzie’s definition of ‘pleasurable’ and is true to the traditions of the great courses of Britain and Ireland. Two loops of nine holes head out in opposite directions from beneath the clubhouse. Each hole runs in a different direction to the previous one, challenging the golfer to become a keen judge of breeze from all points of the compass.

The element of luck – be it good or bad – is present on every hole. Mounds and bunkers are strategically placed, and the bounce of the ball is heavily dictated by the lie of the land. It makes for an enjoyable course and a rich variety of lies, calling on your full repertoire of shots. Located 70 kilometres south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Lady Bay is a testing 6400 metres from the tournament course (blue) markers. The medal course (white markers) is shorter, at 6020 metres, and better suited to the longer handicapper. Wedged between rolling hills and the waters of the Gulf of St Vincent, this coastal plain was an ideal platform for Newton, Grant and Spencer to make their 18-hole design debut. The opening hole eases you into your round. At 356 metres there is nothing brutal about this par-four. A dogleg-right fairway offers you ample space to land your drive, with the ideal position being on the higher plateau to the left.

This gives you the best view for your approach to the green, which is set in a hollow surrounded by large dunes, and slopes from right to left. The 339-metre, par-four 4th is one of the best early holes. Flanked by steep, sloping hills, it crosses over the front nine’s highest terrain and offers fabulous views of both the course and the gulf. After playing a blind drive over a gentle rise, you are left with an interesting approach shot to an L-shaped green. When the cup is placed near the back of the putting surface, accuracy is crucial, for the green narrows considerably. When the pin is forward, it is club selection that becomes paramount, with a creek and a bunker coming into play at the front. The 10th, a 330-metre par-four, is another picturesque hole of large bunkers and seemingly endless mounds. The green is cut midway up a gentle rise. To reach it from the valley, a short iron or pitch is all that is needed, but getting your ball close is tough. Bunkers lurk short and a ridge runs through the green. Anyone putting from the wrong side of it will need the touch of a brain surgeon to walk away after fewer than three putts.

Memorable holes

1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 17th

Where to go

St Andrews Blvd, Normanville, SA 5204

Book a round

(08) 8558 2220,

Where to stay

Links Lady Bay Resort comprises various styles of accommodation. The Grand Mercure has luxury suites overlooking the course, and self-contained townhouses with golf-course frontage are also available.

Before/after your round

McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula are home to some of South Australia’s fi nest produce and vineyards. More than 70 cellar doors are within close proximity of Lady Bay, including the likes of Rosemount Estate, d’Arenberg, Wirra Wirra and Leconfi eld Wines.

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