Bonnie Doon - New South Wales - Australia

Bonnie Doon Golf Club,
Banks Avenue,
NSW 2035,

  • +61 (0) 2 9349 2101

  • Golf Club Website

  • 7 miles S of Sydney city centre

  • Welcome at certain times, contact the Director of Golf in advance

  • Sam Howe

  • Prosper Ellis, Mike Clayton, Geoff Ogilvy

  • Glen Dick

The third oldest club in Sydney, Bonnie Doon began life as Marrickville Golf Club in 1897 when members played on a 12-hole course laid out in the Sydney suburb of Tempe.

Ten years later, the club moved to an 18-hole course at Arncliffe, changing its name in the process of decamping to a new location. Finally, in 1947, the expansion of the Sydney airport caused the club to move to its current sandy site at Pagewood.

Prosper Ellis originally designed the Pagewood course, which opened in 1949, then Ross Watson carried out an upgrade in 1995 when he built on the strength of the demanding par fours on the scorecard to fashion a formidable test of golf.

In 2011, the new design partners of Mike Clayton and Geoff Ogilvy began work on stage one of a four-phase extensive redesign that involved the removal of exotic trees, the introduction of two new holes, the reworking of the current first to fourth and eighth holes and the construction of a new practice facility.

The design company Ogilvy Clayton Cocking and Mead had this to say about the project: “Our design at Bonnie Doon looks to mimic the work of nature, with a mix of irregular undulations, wispy roughs and rugged bunker lips that appear to have been formed from years of wind and rain. There is an abundance of undulating sandy ground and some marvellous vegetation and both encourage the feeling of playing a very natural golf course.

The ridge between the practice fairway and right edge of the 14th fairway draws inspiration from the intimidating tee shot at Hoylake’s opening hole. The undulating and largely blind 13th green uses the principle of Kingston Heath’s 17th green. The ‘horseshoe’ green at the 14th replicated the 1st green at Riviera and MacKenzie’s original 9th green at Augusta.

Players are afforded an easier shot from the top of the hill on the new 10th hole. The shot is longer but they see more of the green from up there and the lie is more likely to be flatter. The shot into the 18th is easier from the left than the right. The new 8th will be best approached from high on the right side of the split fairway.”

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Description: The third oldest club in Sydney, Bonnie Doon began life as Marrickville Golf Club in 1897 when members played on a 12-hole course laid out in the Sydney suburb of Tempe. Rating: 6.3 out of 10 Reviews: 4
Clayto Jones

Bonnie Doon is a very fine golf course. The changes made in recent years have definitely improved it. i have played it a number of times in sunshine and heavy rain. it stood up to the latter very well.

it is surprisingly hilly in a district that appears to be very flat. thus there are some nice elevation changes to take into account along with sydney's variable breezes/winds.

The fairways are generous and the bunkering well-placed but rarely overdone; a possible exception is the long string of traps coming in on the left side of the long 14th. The par threes are nicely varied; one steeply uphill, another to a blind green over shrubbery (but with a generous green - generous in size and trickery!). there is a good mix of long and short par-fours.

The greens roll very well and take more than my level of skill to read well.

All up, Bonnie Doon is a treat to play. Cricket fans will find quite a few "identities" out playing often!

May 28, 2021
8 / 10
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Shane Derby

The OCCM reimagining has elevated this sand based beauty to both regional and national prominence. I had not played the layout prior to getting 50 holes in here over two days. The abiding memory is of generally expansive playing corridors which provide a number of strategic choices from the tee. Little acknowledgments to the origins of the game, such as punchbowl greens, a number of blind approaches, heroic carries and most delightfully a number of short par 4’s ensures that the interest level is maintained throughout.

The course is on a compact piece of land, separated by a busy road, which must be negotiated on two occasions, as you move to and from the main paddock. My favourite holes include the short second , the 8th with its split fairway, the visually imposing par 5 14th and the short ultra strategic 16th.

Boundary issues and an unsympathetic council have forced the designers OCCM to create the 5th a hole that mixes opinion, effectively a layup is required from the tee with a long second to a semi-blind green, protected with bunkers to its rear. I really like the questions this holes asks of the golfer, however, I understand that this view is not universally shared amongst members. Notwithstanding the above, Bonnie Doon represents a welcome return to the best in sand based Australian golf with a bit of welcome quirk thrown in to spice things up. A golfing visit to Sydney would not be complete without ticking this one off your list.

For more information on my Australian golfing adventure, please click the following link: The Long Road to Van Diemen's Land

September 22, 2020
7 / 10
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Tyson Flynn

Founded in 1897 Bonnie Doon is a private golf club in and around two other outstanding courses, located in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Bonnie Doon GC is a quality track and once all the upgrades are done you will return to the Top 25 courses in Australia no question. The team led by Michael Clayton has been operating here with the 'refurb for a few years now and the course is almost fully completed. The course plays over rolling sand dunes and features large undulating greens similar to what was done at Royal Canberra. The new wasteland look to the course is outstanding and certainly enhances the course in the memorability category.

Views of the city and neighbouring courses can now be seen through tree removal which the course well and truly required. There won't be too many occurrences where a lost ball will occur now that shrub and bush like plants have made way to showcase the true sand dune area it was born to have.

Decent elevation occurs at Bonnie Doon given the sand dune base, as well as good routing for a course that isn't too long at 5909m


May 30, 2018
6 / 10
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Craig Redford
I last played Bonnie Doon 25 years ago and she is somewhat changed from what I remember. That could simply be the passage of time playing tricks with my memory I thought at first, but no I was reassured to find out that in fact there was an extensive reworking of the course underway. Whilst works are not currently being undertaken, quite some works have been completed and more are yet to come I believe. In my opinion the course layout suffers somewhat from having thirteen of its holes playing almost exactly North-South, each being gun-barrel straight and therefore parallel to one another. The variety is provided by playing Bonnie Doon Golf Course - Photo by reviewerup and down over quite distinct rises and falls in the fairways. You do not want to arrive with an uncontrolled snap hook as the first three holes all run away from the clubhouse with a boundary fence hard on your left-hand side. What I perceive to be the original holes are extremely t tight and hemmed in by ti-tree and other scrub whilst there are other holes which have a more open links like feel to them. Some of these more open holes also play diagonally across the rises and falls of the fairways rather than just up and over which make them more attractive. The members tees at 5627 metres against a par of 71 appears short on the card but seems to play longer, probably because you are often playing uphill to the greens. The card is slightly lopsided with a par of 37 on the front nine and only 34 on the back. It seems almost unfair to rate the course at the moment, as some of the new holes are still very immature in their conditioning and there is quite understandably, some disconnect between what has been done and what might yet be changed. A 3 to 4 Ball course at the moment but as conditioning improves and changes are bedded In I expect a solid 4 Ball or maybe more.
February 01, 2016
4 / 10
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