Arriving on planet golf in 2005, The Cut has made a simply sensational entry into the world of top golfing venues in Australia. Named after the nearby Dawesville Channel which was cut into the narrow strip of land separating the Harvey Estuary from the Indian Ocean, the course is routed over some serious dune land with a back nine, in particular, that is visually stunning.
The Cut has been designed by Sydney-based James Wilcher – a member of the Greg Norman design team for ten years – who also worked on the acclaimed new Pacific Dunes course in New South Wales. James has worked with the likes of Nick Faldo and Graham Marsh and on projects all over Australia and Asia. It is fair to say his architectural stature has grown considerably with this course.
The opening holes take you away from the clubhouse, along the coast, with only a narrow strand of scrub separating fairways from Pyramid Beach and the Ocean. Holes 5 to 9 turn inland, playing through residential property, and this is the least attractive section of the course. So far, so good but the best is yet to come on the back nine.
Holes 10 to 18 are flanked by the same thick plantations of native shrubs that line many of the font nine fairways and they rise and fall over some gloriously undulating terrain on a nine-hole stretch that matches just about any other in Australia. The Cut every right to proclaim, “We just finished off what nature started.”
The signature hole is the 440-yard, par four, 12th at the furthest point from the clubhouse where the drive is played off a tee perched high above the shoreline. The fairway drops then narrows at the landing area before turning right and uphill to an elevated green protected by a clutch of bunkers short left – it is no exaggeration to say this hole is already being spoken of as one of the best in the country.
James Wilcher course architect commented as follows:
"The Cut is a true links course played over spectacular rolling dunes with dramatic views from many holes. Perhaps the only course in Australia that has better water views is New South Wales.
The course has a range of holes that play in various directions so that the predominant sou’easter doesn't unduly affect play.
The back nine in particular is spread over a large nature reserve that isolates many holes from one another. It's a true test of golf which is made far more difficult when the wind gets up."
On the drive down to the Cut you pass many better courses, the Cut is worth a visit but I would be surprised if you chose to return. It serves up links golf in spectacular scenery with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, but the course itself is fairly underwhelming. The sand dunes at Dawesville could make one of the best courses in Australia but it really doesn't live up to its potential.
The stand out holes are the par four 12th a good down and up that requires accuracy and nerves of steel and the final hole, the par five 18th. Perth has a glut of good links courses and the others in and around Mandurah are just better.
The Cut GC was designed by James Wilcher, and opened for play in 2005. The course is located in duneland on the coast near Dawesville in Western Australia. Previously Wilcher had worked for Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Graham Marsh – The Cut was his 'stepping out'.
The course is routed through some dramatic terrain, with large dunes, and a number of holes located right on the coastal cliffs. Straight away hole 1 takes you down and up through dunes to a ledge like green sitting on the frontal dune with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop.
Midway through the front nine the course turns inland and runs through a housing estate. Most would consider this a serious step down in ambience after the amazing start, but in reality each hole is well designed, and interesting to play.
On the back nine there are no houses to dampen your enthusiasm. Things start heating up with the short par 4 eleventh hole with the green significantly elevated on the frontal dune, and the approach up to the green quite severe and often into the prevailing winds.
Hole twelve is the signature hole at The Cut. With an elevated tee shot along the coast to a fairway winding between the dunes, players must ride the winds to find the fairway, and then gird the loins for the uphill approach from long range to a green perched high above. It's a fantastic golf hole!
Golfers appear divided on the merits of The Cut, but I like it. Yes, the holes in the front nine (5-9) in the houses lower the standard of the course, but I would argue that they were decent holes anyway, if not aesthetically pleasing. The bigger criticisms however are that there are too many blind shots, and the course is very exposed to coastal wind. Both these points are correct, but members would quickly learn where to place the ball, so really it is only the visitor that should suffer from the over exposure to blind shots.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
I had The Cut built up in my mind as being outstanding, it didn't quite live up to the expectation but it's still a funky course.
The opening holes roll along the coastline before heading inland to where a housing estate is situated.
The back nine starts out heading into the native Australian bushland before heading back to the coastline.
The better holes are on the back 9 including the well photographed 12th and blind tee at the 17th,11 is a sharp uphill par 4 generally into the prevailing wind, though the 3rd is interesting hole with the correct drive required.
It could be so much more this course, but again it's still a good public track.
I have never been so disappointed in terms of expectation vs reality as our trip to The Cut. From the reviews on this site and other images I thought it was going to be a treat, but from the opening hole with its daft rise up the hill to a green that would fit into Disneyworld, it doesn't get much better. So many badly designed holes, I cannot comprehend how a designer can make such a mess of a potentially great piece of golfing landscape. To make matters worse the staff are all miserable and clearly don't want to be there and don't want you there. Nothing available for breakfast and no-one managing a mix of 2,3 and 4 balls on the track including 3hr nine total beginners. Such a letdown and so many better courses and experiences in WA.