Blog 121 – Royal Adelaide

Course 21 for 2021 – Royal Adelaide SA

This is what it’s all about

Nomadic_golfer : April 2021

Par 72, 6143m (white), green fee variable, Slope 129

3 par 3s from 148-201m, 12 par 4s from 265-393m, 3 par 5s from 449-482m

Standing at the top of the practice range, looking westward across the width of this revered patch of land, you can’t help but thinking that this is why you play golf, this is what it’s all about. The gentle undulations; the exposure to mother nature’s elements; the uncomplicated mixture of sandy wasteland with sparse & scattered low-lying bush; enveloping brilliant, bouncing, rolling fairways and hard, slick greens; an elevated green here; a row of trees there; the stark contrast of the large but understated clubhouse to the left, the railway line in the foreground and the background of a lone man-made rotunda near the 7th & 12th tees .

I get a bit carried away when I visit this place, coined by a spicy-food eating Mexican mate of mine as ‘my happy place’. It was special the first time, but the heart seems to pump quicker and quicker with each visit, it has the senses on full alert.

Kooyonga the day before was excellent, but this is another level again. The Autumn condition was superb: firm and bouncing; rewarding the good shots and punishing the bad, highlighted by the very firm and super-slick putting surfaces that get your knees trembling when you have a putting stroke like mine!

If Kooyonga’s strengths are it’s 3s and 5s, Royal Adelaide is all about the 4s, and there are 12 of them. The oft talked about 260m 3rd is iconic and addictive, and I love the stretch of 4s from 10 through 14. This stretch of 4 par 4s (broken up by the 201m par 3 12th) has such variety and asks so much of you if you seek to make 4 pars or better. It promotes a right hander’s fade off the tee on 10 and 14 versus a draw on 13, requires precise distance control with the approaches on 10 (short-iron) and 14 (mid-long iron), demands a precise line on your approach to 11, needs you to keep the ball below the hole on 10 & 13, and has great aesthetic appeal, highlighted by the approach to the ‘green in the crater setting’ on 11. Having said that, there are safe routes on each of these holes for the bogey golfer to not feel out of it.

I always seem to play well here, even when coming in with poor lead-up form, which adds to my theory that you play better on courses you love. But perhaps I have too much respect – something always reaches out and grabs me to add a couple of shots to the card and prevent me from having that ‘special score’.