White Sands Drive,
- +61 (0) 883 557 100
7 km W of Adelaide city centre
Members and their guests only
The Grange Golf Club lies to the south of West Lakes, an area that was once an enormous sandy swamp prior to its reclamation and development as an Adelaide suburb. Golf is recorded as being played here as far back as 1910 when the McCoy family owned the “Pinery” estate and their house formed part of the original clubhouse.
The Grange Golf Club was founded in 1926 and a Cargie Rymill-designed course was brought into play the following year. After World War II, a number of changes were made to the layout before Vern Morcom was called in to carry out modifications but it took a further nine years until the revised course was ready for play in 1965. It became known as the East course when the Morcom-designed West course debuted in 1967.
Both are championship golf courses that have held a number of professional tournaments over the years, thanks in no small measure to the man responsible for most of the early conditioning of the courses at Grange – head greenkeeper Frank Neighbour, who was in the post for over twenty years.
Mike Clayton was brought in to remodel the layout before the Gents and Ladies World Amateur Team Championships – won by Scotland and Sweden, respectively – in 2008, and he replaced all the greens, removed a large number of trees and reshaped several fairways.
The West course measures 6,840 yards from the back markers and it plays to every inch of its length. It begins with a relatively easy par five and concludes with a closing stretch of four testing par four holes. In between, there are some delightful, tree-lined holes to be played over what is a lovely, traditional parkland track.
I am a bit surprised that this course has not been reviewed in recent times. It is a really good golf experience and, in my opinion, the third best in Adelaide after Kooyonga and Royal Adelaide and not by a long way either.
Grange members are lucky to have 2 very good tracks to choose from: both were designed by Vern Morcom initially. In more recent times they have both been given a [much needed] facelift, The East by Greg Norman and The West by Mike Clayton. More on the East in a later review.
Now it must be admitted that I am not always a fan of Clayton’s work but he has done a great job here, as has the club itself in trusting him because the improvements were pretty extreme but necessary. As a result trees were removed, huge amounts of overgrown shrubbery torn out, greens relaid and fairways opened up and reshaped. That The Handa Australian Women’s Open is played here is testament to the quality of ‘The West’ today.
So, to the course itself:
It is probably the closest of all of the Adelaide ‘Sandbelt’ courses to the sea and lies on, generally, flat ground apart from a small dune in the latter parts of the round but not a ‘Links’ course. As mentioned in the previous article, it plays long off the Championship tees, some 6,400 metres or 7,000 yards. The routing is good, fairways always in good condition and the greens are pure, often fast with some challenging reads.
My best holes are:
No.1. Shortish par 5. Great risk/reward hole - gentle dogleg L to R, sandy waste all along the right. Quite a small green. Excellent starter.
No.3. Longish par 4 again bends right. Often down wind but always a challenge.
No.7. Lovely short par 4. No need for driver from the tee, placement is everything.
No.8. Short, gorgeous par 3. Aren't well thought out and designed short holes a thing of beauty?
No.11. Medium length par 4 dogleg right. Plays slightly uphill then gently down to the green. Again placement of the drive is important.
No’s 15, 16, 17. All long and challenging par 4’s
The last 4 holes are hard! SI 9,1,3,7 just to give you an idea.
Whatever your favourite tipple, it will be well-earned afterwards.
The Clubhouse is big with some great views out over both courses and all of the staff are good.
In finishing a disclaimer. I am a proud member of Kooyonga so, perhaps, I am being a touch harsh. Grange West is a good and challenging course and it is a privilege to play it. It has a couple of weakish holes and just not quite the ‘wow’ factor of the previously mentioned clubs but don’t take my word for it. Come and play it [and The East] and judge for yourself.
4.5 brand new TP5’s