The West course at Rich River Club is a Geoff and Ted Parslow co-design from the late 1970s. They then returned in the mid-1980s to complete a second 18-hole layout at the club, the East. In the new millennium, Ross Perrett has drawn up a Course Improvement Plan for the property, though the bulk of the work is scheduled for the East.
The West course extends to 5,897 metres so it plays around 350 metres shorter from the back markers than the East. Par on the West is 71, with only two par fives on the scorecard (at the 6th and 17th) and three par threes at holes 4, 8 and 16. Both courses are set out within a generous 320-acre property, serviced by a clubhouse located in the middle.
Highlight holes on the West include the left doglegging 5th, rated stroke index 1, and the par three 8th, featuring an attractive dam to the left of the sand-protected green. On the back nine, the 12th swings sharply right around a small lake on its way to the green, while the 168-metre 16th is the only short hole on a tough inward half.
After the recent changes made to both courses, i like the West more and the East a little less. The fairways and greens are very good all through. Two new greens (12th and 15th) are settling in and are very tricky to hold: knee-knocking pitches and putts on both: yes, even putts have found the water.
The changes on this course are much more positive in my view (as an aged mid-handicapper). The 12th has been shortened. Long hitters are challenged to hit their drives to the 280-odd metres over trees and lake. Fogeys like me are now much more likely to play a pitch over the water. in the past, the second shot was long and rarely worth the risk.
The previous 16th was a featureless short par-five. Now it is a short risk-reward par-four with water all the way down the right followed by a decent par-three, usually played into the wind.
The club is large and very busy. Meals, snacks, coffee, bars and accommodation are all available. it is well worth a two-round stopover.