The Castle Hill Country Club in the northwest Sydney suburb of Baulkham Hills lies a 40-minute drive from the centre of the Harbour City and the 18-hole layout here is a high calibre private member's course, designed in 1951 by Eric Apperly.
Set out on a rolling 167-acre site that measures 6,805 yards from the back markers, this well manicured course plays to a par of 72 with holes routed in two returning loops of nine. Water hazards come into play either off the tee or around the green on a number of holes and there are more than 60 bunkers in various shapes and sizes sprinkled around the course.
The par three 2nd hole – with water to the right, sand and out of bounds to the left – is a challenging hole played early in the round. The short par four 6th is another tough hole – despite a benign stroke index – where the green is protected by sand to the front and water to the back of the putting surface.
On the back nine, “Waterfall,” the 187-yard 11th is a very picturesque short hole but the signature par five 18th is probably the hole that remains in the memory of many. With water threatening the first two shots on the final hole, a good round can easily come to grief here.
The club embarked on a renovation programme in the summer of 2018, with architect Bob Harrison overseeing remedial work that included the rebuilding of bunkers with a bitumen-like layer, the construction of three new greens and the installation of a creek system to assist with course drainage.
Castle Hill GC is wonderful value for such a quality layout. Players here must play very strategic approach shots due to large bunkers and numerous water hazards - yes I found both! Worth a visit if you're in the neighbourhood