Blog 8 – Royal Adelaide

Course no. 8 – Royal Adelaide

What a track this is, my favourite golf course in the world. If you are lucky enough to play it when they have it conditioned for a professional event, it’s an absolute treat. Iconic holes everywhere, the Alistair McKenzie design is absolutely brilliant and has been ranked as high as no. 2 in Australia.

Nomadic_golfer : January 2020

Par 72, 6557m blue/ 6121m white, slope 134/ 130, green fee variable

3 par 3s from 145 – 201m, 12 par 4s from 263 – 393m, 3 par 5s from 449 – 464m (white tee yardages)

A mid January tee time at Royal Adelaide a month before the Women’s Australian Open was scheduled is as good as it gets, despite the company of Messrs Flower and Currie! It didn’t disappoint, the condition was magnificent with tightly knit santa anna/ common couch fairways and beautiful (though not yet super-quick) large greens which are a mixture of 4 bent grass varieties. This McKenzie gem is built on a sandy base and has elements of links and other genre. It is my favourite course of the hundreds I’ve played and I’ve played it quite a bit, including Vardon events as a kid and Country Championships when living in Barmera (foursomes with Brian Frost was a highlight).

There are so many great holes to describe; some reviewers talk of it’s iconic par 3’s, but it’s the quality of the par 4’s that appeals to me. In the 3rd (main photo – 260m with a blind tee-shot over a brow to a diagonal green that is about as deep as your putter length, protected by a thick grassy mound and sandhills everywhere if you miss), and 11th (350m with a tee shot across grassy wasteland to an elevated fairway with thick sandy waste area right and scrub left, to a green in an ampitheatre setting that is one of the most photographed green complexes in Australia – photo below) you have 2 of the most iconic holes in Australian golf. Combine those with the long 4s in 6, 13 and 14 and you are seriously challenged. The 14th is a magnificent hole of over 400m from a tee positioned next to the railway line. It has a sea of bunkers right and the carpark on your left before turning right and requiring a long approach over a gully and between trees to an elevated green with steep drop-offs everywhere. The only disappointment for me is the newly designed 17th; just doesn’t fit with the rest of the course. I would play here at every opportunity, and know quite a few who travel interstate to do so.