The location of La Perouse on the northern cliff-top side of Botany Bay is to Sydney what Pebble is to Carmel, California. Old world Sydney meets striking sea views are de rigeur here. The expansive and often epic views afforded to the golfer on the par 5, 5th with a blind crested drive and fairway tumbling towards the Pacific and the equally menacing and beautiful par 3, 6th that navigates a craggy sea worn inlet to a now Doak repositioned will get all the headlines.
However, remove these holes from their location and the wow factor is surely significantly diminished, it is for this reason that I would like to speak about the truly world class stretch of holes from the 13th to 15th. These are the holes that would keep me coming back to NSW.
The 13th is a sweeping right to left dogleg cut through a corridor of native bush. The hole requires a teeshot that ideally has a hint of draw to take advantage of the natural camber of the fairways as it sweeps around and the down towards the ocean. Having negotiated the dogleg the golfer is then faced with a slightly uphill approach to a generous infinity style green perched atop the bluff guarded by three bunkers.
The 14th, a shortish par 4, continues the journey along the seaward side of the property with the golfer faced with a drive over a deep ravine to an offset significantly cambered fairway with disaster lurking short and indeed left. The large ripples in the fairway juxtapose the waves in the ocean quite evocatively as you sweep around to the left towards the green. The severely pitched, bunkerless green ‘welcomes’ second shots like Donald Trump welcomes GOP presidential hopefuls.
The best comes last, in this three hole stretch, the 15th (index 1) is one of the hardest driving holes in Australia, as the prevailing wind is generally directly into the golfers face. From a raised tee the golfer must hit it long and straight to negotiate the narrow saddled fairway which pinches in right where a well struck drive would land. Anything tugged left or pushed right is likely dead as native bush flanks the ribbon-like fairway. Once again the rippled land is in evidence as you right over the saddle to be greeted by a picture perfect symmetrical green flanked by 1 bunker on each side.
Tom Doak is currently working with the club to reinstate some of the original MacKenzie playing corridors in addition to amending all of the Norman and Harrison work, carried out on the 1st and 18th holes some years ago. Time will tell how much additional sparkle the man from Traverse City, MI and his associates can cook up. New South Wales is right at the top of the surprisingly meagre architecturally significant offerings on the Sydney golf scene. You will not be disappointed by a day spent in it’s warm embrace.
For more information on my Australian golfing adventure, please click the following link: The Long Road to Van Diemen's Land
Date: September 22, 2020