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Lake Karrinyup (Championship)

Lake Karrinyup (Championship)

Karrinyup, Western Australia
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Karrinyup, Western Australia

Australian Open winners at Lake Karrinyup Country Club:

Gary Player (SA) 1974,
Jack Nicklaus (USA) 1968,
Bruce Devlin (Aus) 1960,
Norman von Nida (Aus) 1952.

Designed by Alex Russell, the 1924 Australian Open Champion and business partner of legendary course designer Dr Alister MacKenzie, Lake Karrinyup was constructed in the main by sixty Italian labourers who withstood sandflies in the scrub and leeches in the lake to fashion 18 holes out of some inhospitable territory to the north of Perth city centre.

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Keith Barker, a founder member, wrote the story in 1969 of how the Lake Karrinyup course came into being forty years before and it makes fascinating reading. Available as a link on the club website, it tells of dragging old tree stumps together to form the base of the 12th green and even burying a dead workhorse in a bunker by the 10th green!

In Sep 2014, BG contacted us and commented as follows: “Not exactly true that Karrinyup means place where kangaroos graze. In fact it means nothing, as it is not a real word. The original name of the area was Careniup, but the founding committee in the late 20s didn’t like the way that sounded and so over a couple of beers, made up the word Karrinyup and also dictated that the Y was to be silent. Such was the influence of the membership, that eventually the Dept of Lands changed the name of the region to match that of the Club." In December 2016, John contacted us to say that: "Careniup is a Noongar name for a nearby swamp, which translates to 'the place where bush kangaroos graze'." Who knows?

Karrinyup, “the place where the bush kangaroos graze”, has held the Australian Open four times. Norman von Nida won it in 1952, Bruce Devlin claimed the title in 1960 then Jack Nicklaus walked off with the top prize in 1968 before Gary Player held the Stonehaven Cup aloft in 1974. Lake Karrinyup also hosted the prestigious Johnnie Walker Classic in 2002 and 2003 when Retief Goosen and Ernie Els overcame strong international fields to win. On his way to victory in 2003, The Big Easy shot an incredible 29 under par, the lowest score to par in European Tour history.

The lake is an obvious focal point on the course and it can be viewed from no fewer than seventeen holes. The wonderful bush setting is home to an abundance of native flora and fauna and more than fifty species of birds have been identified in the wetlands around the huge natural lake while kangaroos abound amongst the eucalyptus trees and shrubs.

The signature hole on the Championship course at Lake Karrinyup is the 220-yard, par three, 8th hole played over water to an elevated green, protected by deep bunkers to the front. Over club and the tee shot will run away down the bank at the back of the putting surface. It goes without saying that a three on the card is a very good score at this difficult short hole.

Mike Clayton was called in to upgrade the layout in 2007 and – over two years – he lengthened some holes (like the 3rd, 11th, 13th and 14th), shortened others (such as the 12th and 18th), and rebuilt every green and bunker in a major overhaul of the course.

The club also has a short nine-hole layout called the North course, which was built many years after the Championship course debuted. The North is an original Michael Wolveridge design before he joined Peter Thompson and measures a modest 1,700 metres with par set at 31.

After a three-year gap, the European Tour returned to Australia and Lake Karrinyup Country Club for the 2012 Perth International Golf Championship, a new event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia. Bo Van Pelt won the tournament by two shots, claiming his first European Tour victory after an all-US battle with Jason Dufner.

A play-off decided the 2013 Perth International when Korea’s Jin Jeong beat England’s Ross Fisher after both players finished on ten under. Thorbjørn Olesen won the title in 2014, beating Victor Dubuisson by three shots. There was no tournament in 2015 before Louis Oosthuisen came out on top in the 2016 event, winning by one shot from Alexander Levy.

In February 2017 Lake Karrinyup hosted the inaugural World Super 6 Perth, a new-look tournament, which is part of a drive to reverse the decline in the number of people playing the sport. The event combines 54 holes of traditional stroke play across the first three days, with an exciting six-hole knockout match play format for the fourth and final round.

Local hero Brett Rumford dominated the 2017 tournament - he led after the three days of stroke play and then sealed four match play wins to claim the title. Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat James Nitties in the final of the 2018 event despite the Thai being a late entrant and not playing any practice rounds prior to the tournament. New Zealander Ryan Fox won the 2019 event with a 3&2 win against Adrián Otaegui in the final of the competition.


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Course Architect

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Mike Clayton

Playing on Melbourne’s sand belt courses as a young man sparked an early interest in golf course architecture for Mike Clayton so it was a natural progression for him to form his own design practice.

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