The Australian Golf Club, founded in 1882 and set in the centre of Sydney’s busiest industrial area, is the oldest golf club still in existence in Australia. It moved to its present location at Kensington in 1903 and Dr Alister MacKenzie was commissioned to update the Australian layout. Sloan Morpeth performed further revisions and then Jack Nicklaus completely redesigned the course under the finance of Kerry Packer in 1976 to what is now the current championship livery.
In the 1940s the club struggled financially and during the early war years the clubhouse was commandeered by the US armed forces, and in 1944 was requisitioned by the American Red Cross. Fire eventually razed the ill fated clubhouse to the ground in 1982 and the Australian Golf Club now has a wonderful new clubhouse with panoramic views.
Sloan Morpeth added further modifications and nine extra holes in 1967. The course is set in a large, often windswept, sandy basin. With few trees on the property, the Australian is reminiscent of a concave Walton Heath with elevated plateaux greens and cavernous bunkers.
Host to no fewer than nineteen Australians Opens, the first and inaugural Australian Open was played here in 1904 and most recently in 2015. The Australian is a championship venue that’s as hard-as-nails and the course will no doubt be utilised for tournament golf for many years to come.
Heading North up the eastern coastline, golf in the Sydney area doesn’t have the same level of attraction as that of Melbourne or Tasmania. I did play The Australian Golf Club and made a welcome return journey to New South Wales Golf Club.
The Australian is a prestigious club with a pleasant golf course. Water comes into play on at least nine holes, but it’s still an easy walk on a relativity tame piece of land with little to no traces of Alister MacKenzie’s original design. We all know that Jack got his hands on this place 30+ years ago and the writing was on the wall from then on. I can’t imagine rushing back from an architecture perspective, but for general member play or if looking for a good game while in the area, it’s certainly a great day out.
I had the honor of playing this amazing course during my last visit to OZ a few weeks ago. I played 12 of the top 15 courses and this one was my favorite. It's a tough and beautiful course. I had to take a another look when standing on the 5th hole after hitting a huge and rather risking drive successfully over the bunker in front of the dogleg. I was about 287 meters from the pin which was not in view but around the corner to the left. There is a plaque in the ground that says Greg Norman - Albatross 19? Australian open. He hit a 287 meter 3 wood to a blind thin green surrounded by bunkers and sunk it....I decided to lay up! Anyhow the course if far too low in this list of courses....