James Melrose Road,
South Australia 5040,
- +61 (0) 8 8295 5274
5 miles W of Adelaide city centre
Cargie Rymill, Vern Morcom, Neil Crafter
First used in 1927, the course at Glenelg Golf Club has been developed in three main phases. Mr Herbie (Cargie) Rymill originally laid Glenelg out upon sandy marshland with nine holes in play but this course was quickly doubled in size within twelve months of opening.
The layout was redesigned by Vern Morcom in 1947 – due to the loss of some land for the new Adelaide Airport – and this configuration served the members well for the following half a century before a major makeover was instigated in 1998.
Architect Neil Crafter, ably assisted by Glenelg member Bob Tuohy, embarked on a seven year scheme to remodel bunkers, create new tee boxes, modify fairways, enhance or replace green sites and upgrade irrigation throughout the course using sand already on site.
Today’s Glenelg course has been completely transformed to keep pace with the demands of the modern game and the set of holes around the turn – where Pine Hill features prominently in the routing between the 8th and 13th holes – are probably the strongest of any on the scorecard.
A lovely parkland members course in suburban Adelaide, situated just over a kilometre from the sea but blessed with a rolling sandy base that allows elements of links golf to feature. A tee time was reasonably easy to organise as a visiting members guest on a weekday, although the club reportedly has a strong membership so it's recommended to book ahead and be flexible. The value was excellent.
Some of the land was relatively flat, with a central rise used very effectively on some of the holes, but even those holes without the benefit of undulating terrain were shaped and routed well. Bunkers were numerous, but sensibly located and didn't detract from the design, rather they were a constant feature that required thought but not endless negotiation. The turf had a links like spring to it and the conditioning though the green was excellent.
My favourite holes were the par 3 11th with some daunting front bunkers, the downhill par 5 12th to a spectacular greensite and the relatively short, but dog-legged par 4 15th. The routing flowed well and whilst the overall site could be considered quite tight, it didn't feel constrained.
After a week of golf in and around Adelaide, I'd say the magnificent Royal Adelaide and the thrill-ride that is Grange (East), were better courses than this, with Grange (West) just slightly behind. However you look at it, the golfers of Adelaide are spoilt for choice.
Had a trip to remember so far on our January holiday from Canberra to Adelaide, visiting and playing in Regional NSW, VIC & S. A Having already played / ticked off some more Top 100 listed courses. It was the beginning of a simply superb week of golf on "The Red Belt " Adelaide's version of the famed Victorian Sandbelt. Glenelg GC. The fairways are the best I've played on for some time and the conditioning of the course was of a very high standard despite the weather they've had in the last 12 months the greenkeepers said. Typically tight (ST always plays off the black or Championship Tee boxes) British Isle inspired tee boxes generally open up to wide fairways. Amazing bunkers are a big feature of not only this course but all the Redbelt, both pot and greenside are aesthetically pleasing on the golfer's eye, but it is where Glenelg falls behind those ranked inside the Top 20 ranked courses at the moment and requires some TLC. I loved the layout and the routing.
Glenelg Golf Club was formed in 1926. Cargie Rymill laid out 9 holes in sandy marshland which opened for play in 1927. A year later a further 9 holes were added.
In 1947 the loss of some land to the new Adelaide airport caused the club to reconfigure the course and Vern Morcom was appointed to redesign it.
In 1998 Neil Crafter and Bob Tuohy commenced a remodelling program which took many years, and changed the look and feel of Glenelg completely. Crafter and Tuohy cleaned out excessive foliage, modified or replaced greens, added new tees, and completely overhauled the bunkering introducing revetted faces on many, but not all of the 'pots'.
Glenelg is now a busy private club with a strong membership. The fact that a high percentage of those members are lower handicap golfers probably says something about the course. Glenelg is not overly long, but it can be demanding!
The routing ensures that the golfer is met with wind from different quarters, and kept on his toes. While the course is sand based, a number of the holes are framed by pine trees and others more linksy in feel. However the bunkering is a constant throughout the course.
Some quibble that the bunker styling varies throughout the course- which it does- but I don't have an issue with it. Crafter and Tuohy were simply ahead of their time in using the appropriate bunker type for the lay of the land. Turnberry in Scotland has just been through a spectacular renovation in anticipation of another Open Championship, and has taken a similar path with bunker variation.
In fact I think the bunkering at Glenelg is outstanding, both in placement and style- and adds to the challenge of playing Glenelg.
Glenelg largely flies under the radar, but is one of my favourite golfing venues in Australia. We rate Glenelg a Travelling Golfer "must play!"
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.