Situated close to Mount Warning National Park, the course at Murwillumbah Golf Club opened in November 1959 with a 9-hole layout designed by Fred Ashby, the professional at Toowoomba's Middle Range Golf Club. Al Howard then added a further nine and the official opening of the 18-hole course took place in August 1962.
The club has been operating in recent years under the watchful eye of architect Richard Chamberlain, who drew up a master plan in 2012. This plan has been used as a guide by club superintendent Brian Cox for all of the upgrading work that has been carried out since then.
The signature hole at Murwillumbah is actually the 359-metre 1st (“The Bunker”), which doglegs slightly right to the green. Sand to the right and water to the left of the fairway will hamper big hitters off the tee but successfully taking these hazards on leaves an easy wedge approach shot. The toughest hole on the card is the 372-metre 15th (The Scrub”), where the narrow fairway veers left to an offset green, with trees down the left side of the hole blocking the approach if the tee shot has been under-hit.
Murwillumbah Golf Course is set in rolling terrain perfect for golf, with views of the Rous River and Mount Warning National Park an impressive backdrop.
Like many of the courses in northern NSW, the clubhouse was constructed on a hill in the middle of the site (it does rain a lot around here)
Consequently the first and tenth tees , and the 9th and 18th greens are on high ground. The rest of the course winds around the site without too much elevation change.
The fairways are framed by large trees- some of which are indigenous to the area, but many of which are not- and the autumn colours were out in full bloom at the time we visited
It is not a long course, but plays it's full length. Accuracy is rewarded here as the fairways are narrow in places.
No two holes are alike. The first time player is constantly wondering what to expect when they step on a tee box- and are pleasantly surprised!
It is an easy and most enjoyable walk. Murwillumbah is a course I would happily play on repeat
Notable holes include:
- hole 1, a delightful opening par 4 from an elevated tee requiring two accurate shots
- hole 2, a mid length par 3 well protected by bunkering across the front left of the green
- hole 5, a longish par 5 with a raised green that is quite challenging to hit
- hole 10, a classy par 3 with a world class backdrop
- hole 12, a pictureque and challenging longer par 4
- hole 13, a short par 4 to a green with canefield left and water right
- hole 15, a super tight par 4 which requires accuracy off the tee
- hole 17, a lovely par running parallel to the Rous River
Murwillumbah is a delight to play, and is my favourite of the courses in the Byron Bay area. It is nicely maintained, looks great and will test your abiility to position your ball off the tee. Highly recommended!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.