Home' Australian Golf Digest : June 2017 Contents The Golf Life The Future Of Golf by Rohan Clarke
ITH a picture-postcard setting on
the edge of Botany Bay, the par-3
sixth at New South Wales Golf Club
[pictured] is one of the most photogenic
holes in Australia.
It’s a spectacular one-shotter across Little
Bay to a green perched on an embankment.
The championship tee – just a furlong from
Cape Banks – sits on a rocky promontory,
accentuating the 177-metre carry over water.
Cape Banks carries great historical
significance as it’s located on the northern
side of the entrance to Botany Bay, the site of
James Cook’s first landing on the continent
of Australia in 1770.
Now, due to a fortuitous set of
circumstances, this most iconic of golf holes
is poised to become even more distinctive
with a new green complex constructed on
the water’s edge.
Sydney’s Randwick Council plans to carve
out a coastal walk adjacent to the sixth hole
at NSWGC as part of its long-term vision for
a continuous footpath from Botany Bay to
Clovelly. Along with existing walkways from
Bronte to Bondi Beach, this would create an
Eastern Suburbs coastal trek stretching 29
NSWGC was on board from the start of
discussions two years ago when Randwick
Council revealed its intention. Situated on
Crown Land, NSWGC has a commitment
in its lease to create a connection with
For those familiar with golf in Scotland,
they would know the Old Course at
St Andrews is an integral part of the
community with public access the norm on
the perimeters of the course.
“We didn’t want to put our head in the sand.
We had to be realistic about how we can make
it work. That was our view all along,” says
David Burton, NSWGC’s general manager.
“If we owned the land, maybe that would
have changed our positioning. But we’re
cognisant of our responsibilities as a lessee
on Crown Land. It’s also why we commit to
allowing non-members the opportunity to
play. That’s part of our commitment to the
At present, NSWGC has about 190 metres
of pathway on the sixth hole. The walking
path from Cape Banks to the back of the
seventh tee (connecting through national
parkland) forms part of an Eastern Suburbs
However, the club had two concerns
about the proposed pedestrian access given
the financial commitment to make this a
prominent thoroughfare – like the Bondi to
Bronte Coastal Walk.
Firstly, the existing pathway would be
unsafe once the volume of walkers increased
to the point where there is a greater risk of
injury. Secondly, it felt the foot traffic would
impact negatively on the playing experience
of the sixth hole for a member or visitor.
So in order to make the sixth manageable
for walkers and preser ve what is one of the
world’s most photogenic holes, the club and
Randwick Council arrived at a mutually
The sixth’s island tee and its mainland
tee will stay predominantly the same. But a
new pathway would be created from behind
the fifth green and run slightly further away
from the sixth hole up to the back of the
seventh tee. And a new sixth green complex
would be built further southwards and
towards the shoreline of Cruwee Cove.
This would make for a more exhilarating
experience because the water was never
really in play previously for accomplished
golfers. Greg Norman has already designed a
new green site.
Says Burton: “It’s going to allow us to
create a green that is more commensurate
with other holes on the course, the natural
lay of the land and what is already a terrific
panoramic. So we’re not really changing
anything about the hole, except the
There’s a lesson here for all golf clubs. If
the board responsible for maintenance of
a top-five course in Australia is proactively
helping the community, then it stands to
reason every club should be considering
how to provide a multi-purpose usage for its
“I think it’s very dangerous if you
don’t ,” warns Burton. “Many councils are
struggling financially. So if you’re on a piece
of council property and not cooperative
with assisting the community, then this
may lead to a change in property use with
ensuing lease renewals.”
When Cooler Heads Prevail
New South Wales Golf Club turned a potential
fight with Randwick Council over a coastal
walkway into a mutually beneficial solution.
32 australiangolfdigest.com.au | june 2017
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