The port of Fremantle, serving the state capital of Perth, lies at the mouth of the Swan River, where it empties into the Indian Ocean. Over a hundred years ago, on a government owned tract of land to the west of the town centre, the golf club managed to obtain an initial 15-year lease for the purpose of operating a golf course.
Designed by Arthur Oliphant, the first Club Captain, and Peter Anderson, the 1893 Amateur Champion at Prestwick, the original 9-hole course was officially opened on 4 June 1907 by Governor Sir Fredrick Bedford. Within two years, another nine holes had been added, making it the first 18-hole layout in Western Australia.
The club made an application for the royal title in 1929, supported by both the State Governor and the Prime Minister. King George V acceded to the request in a letter dated 9 May 1930, granting the royal prefix which meant the club became the first in the state and the fourth in Australia to gain the royal title from the British monarchy.In more recent times, the club was forced to give up land on its western side to a 9-hole public development at the end of the 1960s, resulting in the loss of both the old 16th and 17th holes. Tommy Howard and Sloan Morpeth were called in to reconfigure the layout and the revamped course reopened to widespread acclaim in 1970.
Royal Freo is a mature tree-lined parkland course set on broad undulating land a couple of kilometres inland from Fremantle harbour. Most holes have uphill or downhill aspect with dog-legs; unless my memory is failing me there were almost no straight holes other than par 3's, which called for shaping the ball for best positioning. However, there's no doubting that this is a classic course rather than a more modern and architecturally adventurous design. The rough and undergrowth was mostly minimised off the fairways, probably to keep the members happier and make for a quicker game, but the difficulties were in the tight pin positions. My favourite hole was probably the short, downhill par 4 5th with a dog-leg left about three-quarters of the way down the fairway. You could try to cut the corner and shoot for the green or close to it, but it's a high risk shot if you leave the ball in the trees and have to scramble to get back onto the green.
Quite open and welcoming for a generally private club and I had no problems calling up and asking to join in one of the weekly members competitions as a visitor (as long as I had an official golf club handicap).
Royal Fremantle is one of the better courses in the greater Perth area. The day I played here it was 42 degrees!
R. F has excellent and well presented tee boxes, Kikuyu fairways and greens, certainly one of it's best assets.
What an amazing view it is looking down the first at R. F!
Some funky holes here include the Par 5 2nd hole with a late dogleg that can be reached in two, but if you're like me you'll need to lay up!
The 11th will always be my favourite hole here with a 60m chip in birdie happening right in front of 3 members who were on the next tee box!
The signature hole - 15th is a beautiful hole uphill, with a large water hazard on the front right for the 2nd shot in.
I met some wonderful members at Royal Fremantle who were very accommodating and I couldn't say enough good things about this course and their staff!