Ross Watson – with over a dozen Australian new designs and renovations in a growing portfolio – was the architect who laid out the links-like resort course at Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club, just south of the Wyrrabalong National Park on the New South Wales central coastline.
Located within a narrow spit of land between Lake Tuggerah and the Pacific Ocean, the fairways first saw golfing action in 2006 but Magenta Shores has quickly been recognized as one of the top tracks in the country, reflected in its current high ranking position in the Australian golf course listings.
Holes 1 to 7 were actually built on land that was formerly used as a rubbish dump so a fair amount of sandy soil was shifted during construction to cap that portion of the site, raising the profile of the fairways by over twenty feet.
Featuring a number of enormous, intimidating fairway and greenside bunkers, Magenta Shores is routed in two returning loops of nine. The outward half heads south from the clubhouse, returning at the toughest hole on the card, the monster 479-yard, par four 9th.
The challenge on the back nine continues in unrelenting fashion until the signature 15th hole is reached – a 135-yard par three, played to a tightly bunkered green. The turn for home then begins, culminating in a long par five finishing hole beside the clubhouse.
As Magenta Shores is a private course, visiting golfers must stay at the resort in order to play here.
This is a great links style course set beside the ocean on the Central Coast of NSW. Access is only available to members and resort guests so not as easy to get on as most 'public access' courses. Saying that, the on site accom was quite nice during a long weekend visit and not overly costly.
Magenta didn't have the absolutely perfect conditioning of the really special courses but was still very good and did everything expected with such a great site such as bold bunkering, blind shots, fairway undulations and usually fast and quite tricky greens. The fairways were bordered by coastal heath which was penal on errant shots. Also, although most international visitors have this apprehensive view that Australia is a place teeming with poisonous snakes and spiders, they're actually very rarely seen. However, I did see two decent sized snakes in the more isolated coastal vegetation on this course, so apply common sense.
I really enjoyed the holes between 11 and 16 which seemed to have the best of the rolling landforms and were well used with a mix of short par 4s at 11 and 13; a tricky short one shotter (only 122m) at 15, which was directly into the coastal breeze and had the pin tucked in behind the trio of ragged edged bunkers on the right of the green (there's actually space if you miss long so if playing into the prevailing coastal breeze, take at least an extra club); and a cunning cluster of fairway bunkers on the longer par 4 16th.
Highly recommended if on the Central Coast and also easily done as a day trip from Sydney.
I had been looking forward to playing this course for a while it's always on display in the Australian golfing magazines and they painted a very accurate picture of the quality of the course.
It's a links style course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean at times I wish it were more and is nestled amongst the dunes nicely. Great use of bunkers on this Ross Watson designed layout with plenty to avoid excellent use of the land and I'd dare say that not too much excavation was required as the course seemingly rolls through great natural golfing land.
The fairways and greens are undulating and a challenge enough for any level of golfer.
I found the course to be wide enough for all types of golfer in saying that there is 2 different tees to hit from so there should and is fun to be had on this course.
The stadium feel to the 18th is something out of the PGA Tour!
Natural bushland surrounds the course with plenty of wildlife and native plants calling Magenta home.
The clubhouse and staff were excellent all day and the for the rest of the week we stayed.
Perennially rated in Australia’s Top50 courses Magenta Shores is a must play when on the Central Coast of NSW. Magenta Shores is probably Ross Watson’s best design in his portfolio.
The golf course has gone through a transformation over time. When Magenta Shores first opened back in 2006 deep fescue grass surrounded a lot of its bunkers. Many golf balls either were lost or caught in the long grass and the windswept site made golfing very difficult.
Thankfully common sense prevailed and a lot of the fescue grass has been cut-back and/or removed completely making Magenta Shores immensurable more playable.
The F9 has been built on the top of an old tip site and plenty of sand was moved to create the dunes and “links like” feel too many of the holes. The first few holes provide some great ocean views before the 8th through 10th are cramped on a small parcel of land near the housing estate.
The B9 transitions into some very undulating property with the 13th through 15th being my favourite holes on the course adjacent to the National Park. The 16th through 18th are designed on open terrain and are routed in the same direction back towards the clubhouse.
The ownership of the resort has passed through different hands over the years but I can recommend the villa style accommodation for any travelling golfer and their family.