Located a few miles from Surfers Paradise, between the beaches on the Gold Coast and the inland rainforests, Lakelands Golf Club is promoted as Australia's first Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. It supposedly took twenty five years looking for the perfect location for Jack’s first Australian design project before the Golden Bear Construction team discovered the Lakelands site.
Lakelands is certainly one of the best presented public courses in the country and is immaculately conditioned throughout – with a fair number of trademark Nicklaus bunkers strategically situated along the way. Greens have been sown with tifdwarf Bermuda grass as it is highly adapted to heat and heavy traffic, allowing all year round play in very hot summer temperatures.
The course can be set up to a monstrous 7,138 yards in length though with five tee settings per hole, the handicap golfer can play a more comfortable yardage. Both the front nine and the back nine are configured in classic fashion, with two par fives, two par threes and five par fours on each half of the course. The inward half is the more daunting of the two, with not one of the par fours measuring less than 400 yards in length.
A word of warning when visiting Lakelands. If you expect to walk the course, you will have to purchase the “Signature Caddie” service, where guests are allowed to walk the fairways – “a privilege exclusively enjoyed by members only” – leaving the caddie to look after the clubs, otherwise you will be playing cart golf.
This parkland cartball resort course is well kept, has plenty of bunkers and water hazards that are regularly visible off the tee (it is called Lakelands after all) but which don't really come into play as often as you'd expect. It markets itself as a high-end course on the Gold Coast and charges a slight premium to the green fee. The designers name is certainly mentioned at every possible opportunity, although I have no special love for Nicklaus courses, generally finding them of mediocre design. So, whilst it was a very nice course that was in great, but probably overly damp condition when I played, it just didn't seem to have the extra edge in any respect to differentiate itself from the very best Gold Coast resort courses. In fact I struggled to recall most of the holes a week after the round, but do remember that they put some little waterfalls in to try and 'pretty it up' but they had nothing to do with the golf. Perhaps that says it all.
Lakelands Golf Club is the first Jack Nicklaus golf course is Australia, it's a beautifully manicured course up on the Gold Coast in QLD. A very good test for all golfers, featuring some excellent bunkering work, and great use of water. This course is where I had my second best round ever with and 84 off the stick. A 60-foot birdie on the 3rd helped!
This wonderful course can be played all year round which is great for us southerners!
Sad news recently with the course likely to go away from it's private status and turn to a public course, hopefully this doesn't ruin the Windsor green fairways!
Having my in laws live in the Gold Coast area means I'll definitely be back to play here