Horsham Golf Club was founded in 1898, moving
twice before settling on the current location at Haven on the southwestern edge
of Horsham. Victorian architect Sam Berriman designed today’s course in 1946 – a few years earlier he
also fashioned the highly acclaimed course at
An underrated course where the holes have been carved through tall timbers, Horsham Golf Club is a delightful parkland layout – extending to a modest 6,274 yards with a par of 71 – with a variety of well bunkered holes that reward golfers who can play the ball straight rather than long.
The course once had the reputation as a tight track with tall, mature pine trees lining the secluded fairways but a fire in February 2009 destroyed many of the trees, resulting in fairway fringes that are not nearly as dense as before. The clubhouse also went up in flames but golfers were undeterred, striding the fairways again within weeks of the disaster.
Some of the best holes appear around the turn. The tough par four 8th measures a little more than 400 metres from the back tees and it doglegs left to a narrow, sloping green guarded by three bunkers. Two enticing back-to-back par fives soon follow at holes 12 and 13 before the challenging 403-metre 16th is played to a fairway that doglegs left towards a back-to-front sloping green that's protected by deep bunker on the right.
Crafter and Mogford Golf Strategies have been working with the club for a number of years to implement a master plan to elevate the Victorian layout, which now bears little resemblance to the tree-lined course that the members enjoyed prior to the devastating fire.
With only 3.5 men on the maintenance crew Horsham is in astoundingly good shape with all playing surfaces pristine. The sandy base no doubt helps, and the course plays like a true links. The bunkering is crisp and strategic and there is a nice mix of long and short holes.
Overall it is not a long course, and could be overpowered by the longer hitters, but for most it is challenging enough. And I thought the short holes, some of the par 3's and short par 4's, were the most interesting on the course.
Notable holes include: #1 – the opening hole is a short dogleg par 4 with the inside of the dogleg protected by an imposing gum tree, a cluster of crisp white bunkers AND a water hazard. #5 – a mid length par 4 where the tee shot is challenged by trees left and right, and the approach to an elevated green is protected by bunkers and water. #14 – a short par 4 with a smallish elevated green protected by two large bunkers at the front. Your short iron needs to be accurate because anything short will roll back into a grassy hollow. #15 – the 'signature hole' at Horsham is this par 3 which requires a mid iron tee shot to fly a sandy wasteland to a green with more bunkers left and right.
Horsham GC is a pleasure to play, and is a course that you will likely want to play over. And if the Master Plan ever gets the nod, its fame will spread.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.