Golf course architect Bob Harrison is leading a project at the Newcastle Golf Club in New South Wales, Australia, that will see the creation of five new golf holes.
The new holes will be developed on land to the east and north-east of the course. Harrison will also redevelop two existing holes as part of the project.
“By good fortune this land is in sandy, rolling terrain and much superior for golf than the flat land occupied by the holes which are planned to be removed,” Harrison told GCA. “So it really is a win-win-win situation.”
The course’s existing layout runs close to the Nelson Bay Road, and the decision has been made to use a selected part of the course for commercial development. This land is currently occupied by the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.
The benefit to the club of this move is twofold. It nullifies the risk of balls being hit onto the road, which has been problematic in the past, while also helping to secure the club’s financial future.
The five new holes consist of two par threes, two par fours and a par five. The existing tenth hole will become the course’s opener, while the 11th hole will be reversed.
“It’s pleasing that at least one of the new holes – the proposed 15th – is a ‘go for it’ par four,” Harrison said. “These are often the most interesting holes, and there are three or four, for example, at Ardfin, which will occasionally be reachable, depending on wind.”
The course will remain as an 18-hole layout, and Harrison explained that the current first hole would be one of the holes to be removed as part of the plans.
“This is not because it’s flat or adjacent to the road, but simply because the remaining geometry suggested its removal, particularly as it helps to define a sensible commercial plot of land,” he explained.
Harrison added that he is confident the work will further enhance the reputation of the club.
“The Newcastle course is already ranked in Australia’s second ten, and on occasions has made the top ten,” he said. “Prior to producing this new masterplan, we were intending to remodel all of the bunkering and some of the greens. The natural holes at Newcastle are fantastic, and you could argue that the only weakness was in the ‘finishing’ of these vital elements. Given that it is still the club’s intention to pursue this remodelling in parallel with the proposed new holes in better golfing country, our ambition is certainly to move Newcastle into the top ten on a permanent basis.”