Sometimes referred to as the Art Capital of Australia because of the many Aboriginal art galleries that grace the town, Alice Springs lies in the Northern Territory near the geographical centre of Australia, a welcoming oasis within an enormous arid expanse to the north of the MacDonnell Ranges.
The layout at Alice Springs Golf Club is regarded as one of the best desert courses in the Southern Hemisphere and it was officially opened in 1985 with a match play exhibition game between Greg Norman and Johnnie Miller – with the Great White Shark defeating his old American adversary to uphold national honour.
Salt water-tolerant paspalum grass fairways are routed around a rather flat, barren landscape featuring small rocky outcrops and occasional clusters of trees with welcoming water hazards to the left of the 10th fairway and front left of the 17th green adding further definition to the layout.
The course description may sound pretty bleak but in truth, Alice Springs is one of the most charming courses you could ever hope to play and with an ongoing program of eucalyptus tree planting in progress, the need for accuracy around Alice Springs will become ever more essential as the arboreal features develop.
There's a lot to like about Alice Springs GC: for a start, it's unexpected to find a course like this in what is a fairly small country town in regional Australia. There's also the desert nature of the course, again something fairly unique in the country. Courses like Alice Springs are common around the US, but I can't think of anything else of the same style and quality in Australia. (Kalgoorlie in WA has the excellent course in an outback setting, but doesn't have the setting amongst the rock outcroppings)
It is parkland in style, but the key thing is the contrast of the red rock of the hills with the green of the fairways winding through the outcroppings. Further contrasted with the blue of the (most often cloudless) sky. Well worth playing.