Indooroopilly Golf Club sits on the banks of the Brisbane River, a short distance south west of the Queensland state capital, and golfers have played in this riverside location since the 1920s.
Modern day club members are in the very fortunate position of having a 36-hole golf complex at their disposal and the four nines can be interchanged to provide six different 18-hole configurations.
The East course (using the Green and Blue nines) is public, allowing visitors to pay and play whilst the West course (designated by the Gold and Red nines) is a member only layout.
Architect Ross Watson extensively redesigned the West course in recent times, adding three new holes and remodeling thirteen of the old holes. Ross kindly provided us with the following comments in March 2010:
There are a number of composite courses combining the four nines into various permutations at Indooroopilly. Each of the four nines has a colour coding; the West course is Red and Gold and the East course is Blue and Green. In June 2006 the Committee of the day resolved to upgrade the West Course to a standard capable of staging the Australian Open or equivalent major professional golf tournament.
As well, the brief called for the architect to re-route a part of the layout to accommodate potential future real estate development areas, maximize river frontage holes and introduce water storage lakes to provide insurance against potential irrigation water shortages in the future. The first challenge was to review not only the West course but also areas of the East course as the future real estate areas impacted both.
A Master Plan was agreed and by late 2006 the first stage of the West course upgrade, comprising the 5th, 6th and 7th holes, got underway. Stage 2 followed in 2007 with holes 9, 17 and 18 including associated lake-works and improvements to the adjacent practice range. Other stages of works have followed and the final two holes should be completed in 2011 bringing to an end the West course upgrade.
A feature of the West Course is the sub-tropical landscape comprising many large flowering trees with huge canopies. The flashed white sand bunker faces provide a strong contrast and highlight the play lines on each hole. The finishing holes are strategically intertwined with the new lake system calling for some serious risk and reward shot-making options. Gradually the membership has come to embrace the different challenges of the new look West course and now look forward eagerly to its completion in 2011.
Being situated close to the Tropic of Capricorn, the city of Brisbane doesn't really have a traditional winter, so golf can be played very comfortably all year round. I played here in late autumn and the course was in superb condition, the weather was straight out the tourism brochure: 'beautiful one day, perfect the next' and the club staff and members I played with were hospitable and happy. It all created a wonderful atmosphere, probably helped by the excellent west course, which feels more like a stroll in a botanical garden then a traditional golf course.
But it wasn't just the conditioning and aesthetics that were impressive; the design was interesting and sufficiently challenging, making excellent use of the riverside location, without actually using the river in any way.
An unusual hazard can be found near the 2nd green / 3rd tee, where some local crows perch in a tree and knowing that golfers carry snacks with them, will take any opportunity to swoop down and closely investigate golf bags or golf carts, whilst the players aren't nearby. As one of the most intelligent avian species, the members tell me they've even learnt to open zips on golf bags, so have a partner keep an eye out when you've got your head down putting on the second!
The second 18 holes at Indooroopilly (East course) is much more of an afterthought and whilst a pleasant walk, is probably a 3-ball course.
Indooroopilly Golf Club dates from 1925 when Dan Soutar designed a course on what is now the site of the St Lucia Links. The club opted to move to its current site in 1964, leaving the St Lucia site as a public access course. The new site originally began with 18 holes designed by Al Howard, but in more recent times Ross Watson has been employed in an ongoing role to develop the site to its full potential. Watson has had a significant impact, and the site now has 36 holes- four loops of nine holes.
The Red and Gold nines comprise the championship course at Indooroopilly- the blue and green nines are a little shorter, but also quality golf- making Indooroopilly a golf destination in its own right.
The varied vegetation on the site forms a beautiful backdrop to the course, and the routing uses the natural terrain - lakes, valleys, and elevation change to advantage, without ever seeming forced.
Every Travelling Golfer should aspire to play Indooroopilly- it's a quality course and is just a nice place to play the game.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Played the excellent and private Indooroopilly Golf Club, with the West course played in the afternoon after lunch and a shower, having played the East course in the morning.
36 holes here, made up of 4 distinctive 9 hole loops.
The West course is made up of the Red and Gold loops. This course marked the 83rd played from The Australian Golf Digest rankings list.
It is certainly tighter off the tee than the East course, especially on the longer par 4 and 5's.
This course has heavy bunkering, which is very typical of a Ross Watson designed course, some people hate it and think it's overkill and other's enjoy the challenge like myself. More water is found on the West course, and presents strategic shot making to curb damage to the scorecard!
It's a very peaceful and quiet area for a golf course given the CBD is in close proximity in the leafy suburb of it's namesake. The parkland style course features minimal water, though the Brisbane river runs beside it and has forced closures and reworks here before.
I'd certainly play here again, all staff and members were fantastic!