I had the pleasure of spending 6 wonderful days at the jewel in Adelaide’s crown that is Royal Adelaide. I was fortunate that Nathan Bennett and his staff were putting the finishing touches to prep work for the ISPS Handa Australian Ladies Open, which was to take place 7 days after my departure. This ensured great conditioning in abundance, while also an element of green keepers revenge with some pretty funky pin positions which I learned to avoid as the additional rounds were navigated.
The first and second holes provide a gentle ’ish’ start to ease you into your Seaton Sandbelt adventure. As with many of the courses in the upper echelons of Australian golf, Alister MacKenzie’s fair hand touched the property during his now famous Australia trip in 1926. The short bunkerless 3rd hole is a fitting homage to the great man. Your semi-blind drive must bisect a narrow tree lined chute, with native areas to either side. It’s driveable, however you really need to hug the right side if this is your intent, so you really don’t want to stray too far from the centreline of a semi blind cresting fairway. The exquisite long and narrow screams ‘attack me’. But be warned it’s slick up there and also slightly offset to the playing line. Straying too far in either direction could spell disaster as the fairway dune ridge runs up the right hand side of the green while a grassy mound awaits anything tweaked a bit left. This hole is without doubt one of the best short fours that I have had the privilege of playing.
The par 3’s at Royal Adelaide as a collective deserve special mention (7th,12th, 16th & 19th), the 7th is another Dr. MacKenzie influenced hole with a severely pitched green surrounded by 8 sentinel like bunkers. Word of warning, don’t hit it is the hole long left (no dice!). The 12th at 201m is index 3 on the card for good reason. The correct miss is likely on the right if you fancy getting your 3. The tabletop green on 16 is a fitting beginning to your run for home and a tough one to hit and hold this up turned saucer green.
Final mention must go to my favourite holes (which also includes the 3rd referenced above), namely 11 and 14. The 11th plays uphill initially to a plateau and cresting fairway, keep right to avoid the cavernous bunker to the left. Once you reach the top of the hill you are greeted with one of the best views in Australian golf. The green is nestled below you in a natural sand capped amphitheatre. Don’t hit it left as a bunker and unwelcoming native areas will leave a very difficult up and down.
The 14th, a left to right dogleg ratchets up the drama, bunkers guard the inside of the dog leg with the fairway pitching away from you. Your job is only beginning however, your second, to a raised green requires a drawn longer iron to a raised and crowned green. Four is a good score here and move on.
No trip to Adelaide would be sated without at least one or two spins around Royal Adelaide. The course and the welcome afforded by the membership is truly world class.
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