Part of a huge residential development of nearly 500 homes built by Medallist Developments and Stevens Group, The Vintage course is one of five Australian courses run by the American company, Troon Golf Management.
The course at Vintage Golf Club borders the Beggars Bridge and Bimbadgen vineyards in the fertile Hunter Valley, near Cessnock and opened in 2003. Measuring 6,940 yards, with a par of 71, this Greg Norman designed course is laid out over gently undulating countryside, incorporating all manner of natural features including ravines, creeks, ridges and wetlands.
The front nine play clockwise away from the clubhouse, made up of half a dozen strong par fours, a couple of interesting par threes and a demanding par five – the 565-yard 7th hole where vineyards and out of bounds run all the way down the left of the fairway. The tee shot has a large expanse of bush to carry uphill to the fairway then from the landing area at the top of the hill, the fairway runs downhill before rising again to a green perched on a ridge.
The back nine play anti-clockwise, completing the routing of a figure of eight. Starting with the mammoth 618-yard, par five, 10th hole – which plays to a green on the top of a small cliff at the far end of a lake – and concluding with the 411-yard, par four 18th hole – played to an undulating, heavily protected, raised green, these holes will test how well you can play to your handicap.
The Vintage is the best course accessible to the general public in the Hunter Valley of NSW. A Greg Norman & Bob Harrison design it has a lot of their usual features: bold bunkering, use of natural features and a strong variety and collection of holes.
There are plenty of elevation changes throughout the layout with the F9 being the tighter of the two. The B9 at The Vintage is more open and has a wetlands feel to it.
The 7th is a P5 is flanked by a vineyard on the left hand side the full length of the hole. The 8th is a strong P3 across water with numerous tees to choose from to suit your ability.
There is plenty of water on the B9 at The Vintage with the uphill slight dogleg right P4 18th the only hole without a lateral or water hazard on it.
Chateau Elan at the resort has different accommodation types including hotel rooms and villas overlooking the course and vineyards.
I can recommend a game at The Vintage when in the famous wine district of the Hunter Valley.