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St Clair

Dunedin, Otago
Dunedin, Otago
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Established in 1905, St Clair Golf Club sits high on the cliffs on the southern edge of Dunedin, towering over the Pacific Ocean, and the stretch of St Clair and St Kilda beaches. Approximately speaking, ten of those original holes survive, although arguably the best stretch of holes on the current course (11 to 15) only came into being in the course’s third and remaining incarnation, in 1962. In the club’s history book, there is no mention of any individual taking credit for the design at any stage in its evolution, although it's documented elsewhere that Charles Redhead was involved in shaping the layout that's in play today.

The 1970s was St Clair Golf Club’s golden era, as it hosted the televised Otago Charity Classic for nine years from 1970. Many of the greats of golf played in the event – including Sam Snead, Peter Thomson, Billy Casper and Johnny Miller, and a certain Severiano Ballesteros set the 72-hole record in 1977. The 1979 New Zealand Open was also held here, won by Stewart Ginn.

The course itself cuts a rolling path through some huge pine trees, many of them over 100 feet tall. Several of the holes come close to the Pacific, and although the ocean never comes into play, some of the views down the coastline (particularly from the 14th green and 15th tee) are breathtaking. St Clair is a little on the short side by modern standards, and the front nine can be a little defenseless on a calm day. However, the back nine is a different story – it features some cracking holes, is much stronger from an architectural standpoint, and cannot be bullied, particularly from the tips.

Throughout the course, the greens are a constant challenge – there is scarcely a flat putt to be found. Contours are heavily in evidence, with numerous opportunities for devilish pin placements. Without much in the way of deep rough, these surfaces are the course’s primary defence, and understanding them is the key to a low score.

Established in 1905, St Clair Golf Club sits high on the cliffs on the southern edge of Dunedin, towering over the Pacific Ocean, and the stretch of St Clair and St Kilda beaches. Approximately speaking, ten of those original holes survive, although arguably the best stretch of holes on the current course (11 to 15) only came into being in the course’s third and remaining incarnation, in 1962. In the club’s history book, there is no mention of any individual taking credit for the design at any stage in its evolution, although it's documented elsewhere that Charles Redhead was involved in shaping the layout that's in play today.

The 1970s was St Clair Golf Club’s golden era, as it hosted the televised Otago Charity Classic for nine years from 1970. Many of the greats of golf played in the event – including Sam Snead, Peter Thomson, Billy Casper and Johnny Miller, and a certain Severiano Ballesteros set the 72-hole record in 1977. The 1979 New Zealand Open was also held here, won by Stewart Ginn.

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Course Architect

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Charles Redhead

It has been claimed that by 1937, there were not more than four courses of note in the whole of New Zealand that had not been remodelled or bunkered by Charles Redhead.

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