The origins of Hobart Golf Club – it was granted royal distinction in 1925 – can be traced back to 1901 when members played on a site now occupied by the University of Tasmania, though organized golf in the area had actually been established by members of Newlands Golf Club five years before that date. Unfortunately, this particular Newlands Golf Club is no longer active.
The founding members of Royal Hobart Golf Club played on a course at Sandy Bay (which played, incredibly, to a par of 89, including four par sixes and one par seven hole) under the watchful eye of the first Tasmanian professional, a Scotsman named James Hunter.
The club relocated to Rosny in 1915 and it remained there for over forty years before finally settling at Seven Mile Beach on a sand-based 175-acre site beside Hobart airport where course architect Vern Morcom laid out the 18 holes, which were officially opened in 1963 by the Governor of Tasmania, Sir Charles Gairdner.
There’s no easing into a round on this tight, tree-lined parkland track as the 440-yard 1st hole is ranked stroke index 1 on the scorecard. Back-to-back par fives precede the toughest hole on the back nine, the 432-yard left doglegged 14th, where the tee shot is threatened by water to the left of the fairway.
The course at Royal Hobart Golf Club is renowned for the quality of its bunkers and the club has hosted many Tasmanian Opens and national Amateur championships. Perhaps its crowning glory came in 1971 when Jack Nicklaus claimed the third of his six Australian Opens here.
I played Royal Hobart on a driving and golf trip to lovely Tasmania and had a great day. Unlike some other Royal courses I could name, they were were very welcoming to an individual visitor sorting me out with clubs and a playing partner. This was helpful since this is a difficult course, and best lines of play weren't always obvious. When I return to Tasmania to play the new big name courses I'll definitely return to Royal Hobart.
As a new member at RHGC you'll be pleased to know that the club has some grand plans to modernise the course and facilities. The refurbished interiors of the clubhouse have opened it up and provide a modern looking contemporary design. To the course...although the land is quite flat it offers a great opportunity to do something great with the course (I would love to see on open links style course, open to the elements). Currently the tree removal program is much needed to return the course to its original intent. Being sand based and only a 5 iron form the sea it has the potential to be a really good links style course but that would take some tough decisions by the management. The greens are relatively small and in the summer are hard and fast. The majority of the bunkers have just been re-sanded and to be honest a lot of them are now obsolete due to how far the ball goes. RH is a good members course that would benefit from a total redesign to bring to Hobart a world class course like the one to the north of the state. Note the course record is held by Jason Day (62).