Newcastle is located at the coastal outlet of the Hunter River, two hours drive north of Sydney. Its provenance is steel mining and shipping and the town retains its industrial demeanour. With heavy industries of the 19th century came Celtic miners with a yearing for golf and it is thought that a group of them formed the Newcastle Golf Club in 1905. Details are uncertain due to a catastrophic fire that razed the clubhouse in 1969 and with it most of the club’s records.
The steady expansion of Newcastle’s industries in the early part of the 20th century forced the local golf clubs to relocate. Newcastle Golf Club moved across the Hunter River to Stockton, then only accessible by ferry. Work on a nine hole golf course began in 1913 and was completed in 1915… The club struggled financially through its early years… It was therefore a decision of great courage to expand the golf course to 18 holes in 1935 when the Hunter Valley area was still in the grip of Depression.
Given its manifest qualities and historical significance, Newcastle Golf Club is somewhat of an anomaly. Compared with Victoria, the state of NSW is not well endowed with great historical golf courses, so Newcastle’s history, from the financially dicey early years to its settled maturity today, has taken place in a form of splendid isolation. The club celebrated its centenary in 2005. Credit is certainly due to decisions of committee after committee to preserve the original layout and bunkering as much as possible from Eric Apperly’s handsome design completed in 1930.
The above passage on Newcastle Golf Club is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
In February 2021, Bob Harrison told us that he
has been working with Newcastle Golf Club for the last five years. The club
is selling four holes for housing on the strip of land that stretches along the
main road. Bob said: “These holes lie on the least desirable flattish part of
the course. Seven new holes will be built on rolling, sandy land closer to the
beach (more than four to make the geometry of the final course work). They are
also going to remodel the remaining holes. Newcastle is already ranked highly,
and the changes should push it a lot higher still.”
The Coal town. Beautiful beaches and restaurants occupy this lovely town.The golf course here is a hidden gem within Australia and is just as excellent as the beaches 10min away.
It has couch fairways that are a pleasure to hit off, rolling and undulating in this former dune area that is now a championship course. Natural bushland surrounds the course.
The best run of holes here are the 5-7th.
The 5th is world class and is seen as one of the very best Par 4's in the country and it's clear to see why when you play it, especially for the first time as I did. the 6th is an outstanding Par 4 wrapped around a hill as a dogleg left and then up toward the green to the right.
The best hole is the world class Par 3 7th.
This course I could certainly be a member at and I must get back to play it and update my photos soon!
I love the clubs emblem as well, it reminds of the kiwi fern.
15th in the nation is about right for Newcastle. This is an extremely good golf course. I played it twice this week, on both occasions in at least a 3 club breeze. It is difficult - precision driving and precision iron play will be rewarded with good scores. I struggled with the poa greens, and wonder about a couple of design features ( the trees which obscure the fairway on 14, the blindness of the tee shot on 15) but each and every hole to that point is strong, with no weak shots anywhere. The stretch of 4 through 11 is I think as good as anything in Australia. 5 might just be in the top 3 or 4 holes in the country. The front 9 in particular is just really good golf, if a little quirky at times. I'm not fussed about conditioning - golf courses don't need to be outstandingly manicured to be great ( I suspect there might even be an inverse relationship).
The only think keeping this course from being right among the very elite of Australian golf is holes 16 and 17 and maybe 18. This will be dealt with when/if they go ahead with a major renovation after releasing the land that 16 and 17 and 18 sit on for commercial use. If the land they are opening up at the back of the property for new holes is as good as the land that 4-14 sit on and if the new holes are as good as those existing holes, then Newcastle has every chance to enter the very elite of Australian golf. It should be wonderful. I look forward to coming back to see it.
Played Newcastle again today whilst on holidays on the NSW coast. It reinforced my earlier review but with one additional comment. The bulk of this course is built on truly great golf land. Having played RMW and Peninsula North in recent weeks, the bulk of this course loses very, very little to those two - both usually regarded as being built on the best golf land in the country. most of NGC is in the same class. It is just fabulous. Good to see some work on the clubhouse too, but it's the course which is the real star of this regional gem. terrific to be back again.