Downunder Golf -1st Leg

Some 10 years ago two golf buddies who wished to explore linksland of the first order headed out to Ireland for a tour.  One early morning at Royal Port Rush- foggy, chilly, & golflike we walked out to tee off on the first.  Being guests of the membership, we were ontime.  As we approached the 1st tee, two other men awaited their turn.  With a smile, one said, “Are you a twosome, Mate?”   We were, and off our new group went thereafter, a foursome to match pace with the Member foursome in front. 

 It became a full 18, perfect weather, competition, some good shots, some not so good.  “Hit it, find it, hit it again”, it goes. Both from Melbourne, Australia, they were on a tour of their own.  At the 19th there was a brief celebration of an American victory, more slowly was the enjoyment of a living and friendly pint o’ Guinness, The friendship became fast.

Trey  Chris  Andrew  John 
Trey Chris Andrew John

 Over the term, we connected again.  There was Whistling Straights in Wisconsin, and later in New Orleans.  It became time for meeting Downunder.  The Southern Cross awaited us.  (all the stars, however many.)    


The Americans landed in Sydney on the same day on a February summer morning and were met on time by our mates from Melbourne. 

From the airport in Sydney, off we went directly to New South Wales Golf Club, some 20 Km to the South on a spit of land at the entrance to Botany Bay.  Your history lesson:  Captain Cook sailed to Australia tired, worn, storm whipped.  There he found a narrow (<1/2 mile) entrance to what seemed salvation.  It was.  He entered to find a bay miles and miles wide-secure, safe and wonderful for his ships and crew.

(It’s time to download Google Earth and Search for New South Wales Golf Club, Sydney, AU.)

 On the 4th, there it was- a marvel.  A scene better than PB #18 ………Yes, there is life beyond. 

Up through the Dunes the Course winds.  An Alister MacKenzie design completed in 1926.

The next puts the heroic shot at Cyprus Point’s 16th in mind, in fact the entire place smacks of Monterey. 

Waves Crashing at Your Back 

              Waves Crashing at Your Back

Here is a sweeping left Par 4, back into the prevailing wind.  The entrance to Botany Bay, Capt’n Cook’s salvation in 1770 discovering Australia for the Queen, is there before you.  One sobers, when after the best tee shot, it takes a 4 Iron to get home. 

This hole caught my fancy. 

                                           This hole caught my fancy.

Next comes the #1 Handicap. How about this tee shot? Severely uphill, narrow, between native Tea trees, as thick as gource, the shot is a blind one into a saddle.  At the crest, the hole bends right and rolls along another 200 yards uphill some more. It’s only 400 meters and a par 4.  No problem, right?  Convert that to yards by adding a factor of 10%.  

240 yards up to the Saddle

240 yards up to the Saddle

Here is another tough one.  All uphill, a climb of 100′ from tee to green…It is downwind usually, but that doesn’t help with the walk pulling a trolley.  That’s a tanker entering the Bay’s Channel. The Port of Sydney is huge and from the Clubhouse, the view looking West over the Bay with the City Center in the backdrop provides some idea of the extreme size of this modern city. 

Straight Uphill
Straight Uphill
 So this was the first Linksland course we played in Australia.  It is without doubt the most picturesque of all we saw. The views are so grand that in order to play the course well, one must have been there often enough that the views are taken for granted.  Except for a few really hard holes, it was not overly difficult, IF one could concentrate and had the ‘wind’ to climb the dunes. Our Member Host, Lachlan Elmer, took care of that more than once as gasped and wheezed up  some of the paths toward the tee.   

 The 2nd course in Sydney was a private Club, Avondale Golf Club.  A delightful parkland course that host John thinks is the best of Parkland Golf in Australia.  It was in perfect condition. Built around 1927 in dense and very rugged coastal Bush, the genteel Club today is clearly a popular venue for golfers and country club lovers alike.  It was at this Club I got an up close introduction to the Kookaburra.  The large, Kingfisher looking fauna, sat on limb just above head height that allowed me to study him and his carnivore’s beak among the flora. Later on my backswing, a Cockatoo introduced himself.  I acknowledged the greeting with a very personal one of my own, as my shot dribbled off to nestle alongside a giant Red Gum. 


So began the Tour to “Stralia”, and a perfect beginning it was.  John Cornish’s planning was superb.  Above, his long, powerful, confident swing exemplifies his style.  His Mother does love him so. 

 Off to Tazzy we went thereafter.  It was more like home.



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