Royal Adelaide - South Australia - Australia

Royal Adelaide Golf Club,
328 Tapleys Hill Road,
Seaton,
Adelaide,
South Australia 5023,
Australia


  • +61 (0)883 565 511

  • Andrew Gay

  • Dr Alister MacKenzie

  • Cameron Howell

Australian Open Golf TrophyAustralian Open winners at Royal Adelaide Golf Club:


Greg Chalmers (Aus) 1998,
Gary Player (SA) 1962,
Jim Ferrier (Aus) 1938,
Fergus McMahon (SA) 1935,
Mick Ryan (Aus) 1932,
Ivo Whitton (Aus) 1929,
Ivo Whitton (Aus) 1926,
Tom Howard (Aus) 1923,
Carnegie Clark (Aus) 1910.

The Royal Adelaide Golf Club has been based at the western suburb of Seaton since 1905, less than 20 minutes from Adelaide’s town centre and less than 2 kilometres from the coast. Although the present day course occupies the same land as the course that was first called Royal Adelaide, only eight of the modern day holes bear close resemblance to that layout.

Alister MacKenzie made a four day visit to South Australia in the middle of his Melbourne based assignments in 1926. The club was keen to canvass his views as to a possible re-routing of the holes as the Grange to Adelaide tram line which bisected the property was due to be electrified. Mackenzie, always quick to ferment his ideas, proposed an immediate crossing of the railway line between locker room and first tee so that the 1st was played west of the railway on a piece of land that was to occupy the first 13 holes. The club demurred on strong protest from the membership so the 1st retained its historical position.

MacKenzie was enthusiastic about the course’s potential, remarking that it offered “real links land, a delightful combination of sand dunes and fir trees, a most unusual combination, even at the best seaside courses” adding that, if his suggestions were acted upon, the resultant course would be “superior to most, if not all, English championship courses.” Rebuffed at the 1st, it is in the run of holes from the 3rd to the 8th that Mackenzie’s legacy is most clearly delineated. Somewhat analogous to the role played by the four hills that define the front nine of the West course at Royal Melbourne, Mackenzie’s plan made the most of the large sand dune positioned around the 3rd green.

News from Royal Adelaide Golf Club - Scotland Win Amateur World Title

Scotland completed an historic double by winning their first World Amateur Team Championship in Adelaide. Click here to read the full story.

Although the sea hasn’t bordered the course at The Royal Adelaide for some 10,000 years, it remains, like Royal Lytham & St Annes, more of a links course than an inland course. Royal Adelaide is a favourite golf course of many Australian golfers and it’s easy to see why.

The above passage is a brief edited extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for Royal Adelaide

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Although the sea hasn’t bordered the course at The Royal Adelaide for some 10,000 years, it remains, like Royal Lytham & St Annes, more a links than an inland course. Rating: 5 out of 6

After a week of island hopping including Tasmania and King Island I was back on the mainland and off to see the recently restored Royal Adelaide. Royal Adelaide had fallen from the glory of the World Top 100 according to Golf Magazine, however this was pre restoration and with Doak and his Renaissance Golf crew thoughtfully bringing back all the wonderful Royal Adelaide Golf Course - Photo by reviewer nuances of Alister MacKenzie my anticipation of this first visit was very high.

Fortunately, I was treated to a perfect day and the course was in impeccable shape given the next week the LPGA event was to be hosted there.

I can’t say much more than the fact that I simply loved the course. It deserves far more than a single play and far more is necessary to understand and utilize all the strategy necessary to play ones hcp on this great course.

My favorite holes were; the short par 4, 4th hole, with the semi-blind tee shot up over a hill to a great little green ticked into the corner of some dunes, the bunker surrounded par 3 7th hole and the short par 4 13th hole which plays to a slight dogleg left up over a waste area to a tricky green.

Our day was rather windy which certainly increased the challenge there. Not surprisingly for a MacKenzie design there is definitely not a weak hole on the course.

If Royal Adelaide wasn’t on the other side of the world I’d be a regular and if it was my local course it would certainly be the one I would have my heart set on joining.

It’s more than worth a special trip to Adelaide if you ever have any invite to play.

July 14, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Royal Adelaide Golf Club was founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest golf clubs in Australia. One of the things you notice immediately at Royal Adelaide is the Grange-to-Adelaide train line. It runs through the middle of the course including right by the clubhouse and first hole. Although not originally designed by Alister MacKenzie, he was brought into make changes. MacKenzie’s major contribution was to re-route the course through the dunes on the central part of the property. MacKenzie's re-routing eliminated the back and forth across railroad tracks. Aside from the back tee on the fourteenth, all holes now play on either one side or the other. MacKenzie said, "If the suggestions put forward for the reconstruction of the Royal Adelaide course are acted upon, it will be superior to most, if not all, English championship courses." He wasn't far off.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

November 09, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I played Royal Adelaide a couple of times as a member of another Adelaide club when RA had open day for Golf SA. It has some very good holes but I find it strange to have to avoid the railway line that remains in play (although really unplayable). The scrub areas (called waste areas in USA) are real hazards and should also be avoided as the long grass is tough to get out of. On the 2nd occasion we played in a strong northerly wind and my playing partner took 2 shots to overshoot the green on the 2nd which is a decent length par 5! I agree that the 1st is rather nondescript, but you start running into very good holes after that.
April 03, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
When you arrive at the club, you quickly feel like you belong there. It’s palpable how the members are proud of their club and its history. With such a low-key nature to the club, I quickly felt at home and all visitors are made extraordinarily welcome. With a rich history of hosting the Australian amateur championship and Australian open championships, this Alister MacKenzie layout has a lot going for it. The novelty of having an active train line running through the course didn’t disappoint as the train shuffled its way through the course on a number of occasions during our round. If only the passengers on that train were aware of how historic that stretch of railroad ties were that meandered through the golf course. When Dr. MacKenzie visited the club during the Golden Age, he re-routed many of the holes to take advantage of the natural sand dunes, much to the delight of the golfing population. Royal Adelaide Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThe short 3rd hole, barely 300 yards from the tips, is arguably amongst the short-list of greatest par 4s in the world without a bunker and is your first experience of playing through the dunes. The wise man will leave the driver in the bag. During the Open, the club grew the rough up along the dunes surrounding the green, which wreaks havoc with even the slightest of wayward tee shots. An honourable mention goes for the tee shot on number 4, the tee box was lowered and you play back through the dunes over a hill through a corridor of tall trees, with the landing area nowhere to be seen. It is quite a striking visual compared to the openness of so many other tee shots. On the front side, the 4th through the 6th are a very tough stretch of long par fours, especially the 6th hole, tipping out at 440 yards. With a wind in our faces, and a back pin, even the best of players would be proud to hit this green in regulation. Tom Doak has been working on a number of holes at Royal Adelaide over the past year. On the 6th hole, which mostly runs parallel to number 4, he joined a portion of the two fairways together so it’s one larger apron. Furthermore, there used to be a large bunker on the right side of number 6, which has now been filled in per consultation with Tom and his team. It was interesting to see old photographs of the 6th hole in the clubhouse to witness how it has evolved over time. In addition to number 3, the other signature hole on the front side is the spectacular par three 7th hole. The front of the green is surrounded by a ring of pot bunkers which is an impressive sight. The new blue tee is lower and back to the left of the old tee box, offering a new view of the hole over the sandy wasteland. Click the link to read Fergal’s full report on Royal Adelaide
April 28, 2014


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
​VIsiting RA is like stepping into a professional championship, the clubhouse has a grandiose aura about it and the conditions are immaculate. As you look out of the clubhouse window you see strips of green surrounded by raw, terracotta coloured, shrubbery wasteland. Unlike others I wouldn't say it's overly linksey, only a soft breeze with cute native flora and high trees lining the hole. The positive influence of MacKenzie is undeniable, sheeny rolling greens surrounded by swaling run-off areas, and large cavanous low-lipped bunkers like the type you see in the Masters. This is its definite strength and it is as much of a pleasure to walk as it is to play; the train track which bisect the course is also a quaint reminder of old-fashioned British golf. The course plays a good length, some good par 5s which require three shots and some long par 3s which play absolute brutes into the wind. However lots of the par 4s play a similar length and few shortish par 4s which you can 'get at', they all require strategic play off the tee due to clever fairway bunkering or challenging dog-legging. And to re-iterate, teasing design of the greens means there aren't many amiable pin positions. Negatives are certainly a lack of definition between the holes, you can easily walk and hit between fairways and some of the tee boxes are positioned awkwardly. There are some great fun holes on the front half but after 9 they start to feel a bit samey. Also as a first time player, there are some semi-blind tee shots which make it a bit confusing to which way the hole plays. But all in all as a travelling UK reciprocal member I loved it and would have no hesitation in recommending or revisiting the club, the course is a good test of golf and the arid conditions are a pleasure to play in comparison to damp meadow equivalents of UK inland courses. xxChoongy
March 30, 2014


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
It's an absolute joke that this course is rated so highly. Yes, it's a decent course, yes, it's a decent club, yes, it has a decent clubhouse. It is not, however, in the top 5, let alone top 10, golf courses in Australia. There are some quirky and interesting short holes, but there are also some extraordinarily bland streatches for a course ranked so highly (i.e. the first two holes). Good, but nothing more.
August 07, 2011


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
dwayne
December 24, 2011
Royal Adelaide is a great course. Greg Chalmers shot an even 288 to win the Australian Open some years back but the course is still as tough now as it was then. Do not pay attention to the above comment
A quirky course in so much as being a sort of inland links. Was wrecked by allowing Peter Thomson to do some redesign work but that is now being undone and the unerlying beauty starting to reappear. Fabulous layout over some of the best golfing land you will see - the only thing that stops it from being world class are dull and unimagtinative greens
June 28, 2008


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Tough fast running course enclosed within highways and housing estates. Whilst there maybe a little noise the challenge soon absorbs your concentration. The 3rd is a special short par 4 with a tiny green wedged into a bank of thick rough. At the classic 14th you hit over the railway to a narrow fairway flanked by deep traps, a long iron or spoon is left to a tight raised green, gem of a hole.
September 22, 2006


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review