The Cut Golf Club

The Cut, 12th hole – ‘bucketloads of wow’, Brendan James

There was a time not long ago when golfers could be forgiven for thinking there was little chance of any new links courses being built on the Australian coastline. That was before the post-2000 building boom kicked in and world-class links layouts such as Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania, and The National and Moonah Links in Victoria, opened for play. Western Australia’s own offering opened soon after, in 2005, with the launch of The Cut. Laid on and around sand dunes at Port Bouvard, south of Mandurah and about 80 minutes’ drive from Perth’s CBD, The Cut is the centrepiece of a massive residential and resort development wedged between the Indian Ocean and the picturesque Peel Inlet estuary. A par-72, it was the first 18-hole design of Sydney-based James Wilcher, who’d worked on Greg Norman’s design team for a decade.

Wilcher had two contrasting landscapes with which to work. The opening hole leads straight from the clubhouse to the ocean, and the following three holes run parallel to the beach across gently undulating land. The 2nd and 3rd holes are terrific short par-fours where a narrow strip of dense native scrub is all that separates the fairway from the beach. The views are worth every cent of a million dollars and can easily distract you from the task of making par.

The 5th, a 508-metre par-five, is the first of five consecutive holes winding between sections of residential development. This is not the most memorable run of holes here, although Wilcher’s work will be appreciated more and more in the years to come as a green barrier of native flora matures between the homes and the course. Heading to the 10th tee, past the multi-million dollar clubhouse, first-timers at The Cut should feel their excitement build: they are about to tackle one of the best nine-hole stretches in Australia.

The back nine is more undulating than the front nine. Thick walls of native shrubs border each hole, while on some holes high dunes also play a significant part. A combination of rough, natural bunkering and more manicured sand traps punctuate strategic points between tee and green. Opening proceedings is a 419-metre parfour and a blind tee shot down to a valley enclosed by peppermint trees. A well-struck drive should find the valley floor, leaving a long-iron approach to a slightly elevated green guarded by two huge bunkers short and right. Undoubtedly the highlight of the back nine is the 400-metre, par-four 12th. The tee perches high above the beach, offering panoramic ocean views and a glimpse of the green, which is parked on another high dune off in the distance. The fairway drops quickly from the tee, cutting through rugged sand dunes before reaching the corner of the dogleg and the flat driving zone. It then turns right and heads uphill, past sandy wasteland and mounding to the right. This hole has bucketloads of ‘wow’ and is worth the price of your green fee on its own.

Wilcher has a flair for designing challenging short parfours. The 293-metre 17th is arguably the best of them. Leave your driver in the bag here and aim instead for the middle of the fairway saddle, about 180 metres from the tee, as any drive over the saddle risks flying into a deep ravine or one of the large bunkers at the end of the dogleg-right fairway. A consortium of members bought the course in December 2009. They have invested significant funds to improve the playing surfaces beyond their already high standard of presentation.

Memorable holes

2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 17th

Where to go

Country Club Dr, Dawesville, WA 6210

Book a round

(08) 9582 4444

Where to stay

The Links at Port Bouvard are luxury, self-contained three and four-bedroom villas, a few minutes’ walk from the clubhouse.

Before/after your round

Mandurah, with its hundreds of kilometres of protected inland waterways, is a water-ski and wake-boarding wonderland. You can scuba dive on shipwrecks or carve up the swell on a jet ski.

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