The late Norman van Nida (three-time Australian Open Champion in the 1950s) may have been in his late 70s when the 18 holes opened here in 1992 but he was still capable of recognizing a good course when he saw one so he was quick to endorse the opinion of many that Arundel Hills was – and still is – one of the premier golf venues on the Gold Coast.
The golf course at Arundel Hills is part of an extensive leisure complex that includes the requisite sporting facilities like swimming pool, gymnasium and tennis courts but for golfers, the main activity here takes place out on the fairways. Many of these are long and tight with plenty of water to contend with – in particular, at the evenly spaced holes at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18.
The signature hole is the 182-yard 15th, the shortest of the four par threes on the scorecard. Played downhill from the tee, the green is protected by water to the front and left with a putting surface that slopes markedly from back to front.
Arundel Hills is a parkland-style members course on the northern end of the Gold Coast that, whilst a fine course, could easily be mistaken for many of the other resort courses in the area. It was nice enough in terms of design elements, with slight doglegs and water hazards prominent and elevation changes on a couple of the holes, but nothing really outstanding. It reminded me of other courses like the Palmer courses nearby, North Lakes or in NSW the two courses at Riverside Oaks. It was certainly not in what I would consider the top tier of courses around the Gold Coast and Brisbane, due to some repetitive holes and fairly standard conditioning. However all staff and members were welcoming to me as a visitor and the cafe bar downstairs was bubbling with a nice crowd after a members competition.
My favourite holes were the thread-the-needle style short par 4 sixth, the 'hero' par 5 finishing holes on each nine, the downhill par 3 15th and the long par 4 16th which is index 1 and a hole that I need to go back and play again, to try and remedy the damage it did to my score. (although this sounds obvious for potentially every hole: positioning off the tee and a well struck second shot must surely be the only way to make par on this hole).
I've played 23 of the 30 best in state rankings for Queensland and concur with Arundel Hills being placed in the middle of the 30 (currently 16/30 in 2018). If I was visiting the Gold Coast area and could only play one or two courses I'd be heading for Lakelands, The Glades or Hope Island. The corollary of course is that all those courses have green fees twice as much as at Arundel Hills...