Course Tour

“This is the most beautiful course in Australia”
– Gary Player

The Scottish pioneers of golf were said to believe that the only proper courses were ones designed solely by god. By this reckoning, there has been excess of secular intervention in the creation of the Royal Canberra Golf Course.

But, as even the harshest critics of human intervention in nature would have to agree, Royal Canberra is an outstanding example of what good planning and design can achieve.

Westbourne Course: Holes 1-18. Course architects – Commander John Harris (1962), OCCM (2016)

Holes 19-27. Course architects – Thomson, Wolveridge and Perrett (1997)

Yarralumla Course – Holes 10 – 27

Brindabella Course – Holes 19 – 9

Hole by Hole Guide

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

1

5

506m

2

4

355m

3

3

200m

4

4

425m

5

4

364m

6

5

489m

7

4

289m

8

3

149m

9

4

392m

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

10

4

371m

11

4

352m

12

4

358m

13

3

173m

14

4

399m

15

5

449m

16

4

410m

17

3

217m

18

5

502m

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

19

4

380m

20

3

168m

21

4

284m

22

4

362m

23

4

405m

24

5

506m

25

4

361m

26

3

162m

27

5

480m

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

1

5

496m

2

4

325m

3

3

164m

4

5

386m

5

4

344m

6

5

426m

7

4

250m

8

3

116m

9

4

311m

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

10

4

346m

11

4

328m

12

4

292m

13

3

149m

14

4

338m

15

5

426m

16

5

362m

17

3

163m

18

5

426m

Hole

Par

Distance

Image

19

4

344m

20

3

137m

21

4

253m

22

4

322m

23

4

312m

24

5

462m

25

4

297m

26

3

139m

27

5

416m

Stroke Indexes

 

Hole by Hole Description

The 1st hole is an interesting opening hole.

A generous opening tee shot, it’s the blind second here that presents the bigger challenge. When the pin is anywhere in the left half of the green, the best play is to the right of the fairway, over by the bunker, short and right of the green. The further left of the pin, the closer to the bunker you will need to play.

The 2nd hole is an uphill dogleg par 4 to the left.

The tight second rewards the classic combination of a right-to-left tee shot followed by a left-to-right approach. The green is deeper than it appears from the fairway and can play half a club longer than you expect, particularly to a back right pin.

The 3rd hole is the longest par 3 on the course.

A small green awaits at this long par three which is well defended down the left by a series of bunkers.  A right-hander’s draw is well rewarded, with the contours on and around the green helping a running ball curl around the bunkers to the tough left pin.

The 4th Hole is a strong dogleg par 4 to the right.

The tee shot here appears wide open, but anywhere except the middle of the fairway will require some inventive shot-making to avoid the large trees that guard either side of the approach to the green. Longer hitters may gain some advantage of a little extra run if they can shape their tee shot left-to-right and past the top of the hill. Care must be taken with the approach shot as anything sliced or missed right will keep running right across the slope. 

The 5th hole is a downhill dogleg par 4 to the right.

A small mound in the middle of the fairway was placed to help golfers differentiate between the upper (right) and lower (left) sections when standing on the tee. The reward for keeping to the narrow high section of the fairway is a better angle and full view of the putting surface. From low and left the bunker dominates the green and makes it difficult to judge the distance to the pin. 

The 6th hole is one of the more challenging par 5’s on the course.

Like many tee shots on the front nine without a fairway bunker, the challenge here isn’t always obvious. Shorter hitters can play safely down the middle but anyone capable of driving the corner must either hug the tree-line left, or shape their ball right-to-left to avoid running through the fairway. The green opens up from the left and rewards shots played as close to (or over) the short left greenside bunker. 

The 7th hole is a short uphill par 4.

Bunkers alongside the left of the tee shot guard the ideal line to this small green. The fairway is wide, but every metre further right, the more difficult the green is to hold. In true strategic style, you must take on an element of risk by playing near trouble to leave yourself a straightforward pitch shot. 

The 8th hole is a short downhill par 3 with Telstra Tower as its backdrop.

This green is larger than it appears when standing on the tee, and is defended by the bunker left, a steep drop off behind the green, and a hollow right. Anywhere but the putting surface is a difficult par. Avoid going long here at all costs.

The 9th hole is a strong dogleg par 4 to the left.

The large pine through the fairway is the best line for most players. Anything left of this flirts with the trees on the corner but, if long enough, is rewarded with a slightly better angle and shorter shot to the green. The toughest pin here is in the right corner with bunkers both at the front and behind. 

The 10th hole is a straightaway downhill par 4.

Strategic design is perhaps best defined where a player who hits close to a hazard is rewarded with a slightly easier approach shot. This applies here at the split fairway 10th. Those capable of driving over the bunker gain the benefit of a little extra run and a better line to a green defended on the left by bunkers. 

The 11th hole is a straightaway downhill par 4.

A bunker guards the right side of this tee shot but, more often than not, the best play here is down the middle. The original architect designed a ridge through this green, which has been retained and adds to the interest of the hole. It’s best to try and position your ball on the same side of the ridge as the flag, or else face a tricky two-putt. 

The 12th hole is an uphill dogleg par 4 to the left.

Long hitters will need to play close to the corner of the dogleg or shape their ball right-to-left to avoid running through the fairway.  The green is best approached from the left edge of the fairway – particularly when the pin is in the right half – otherwise the large right greenside bunker will almost certainly come into play. 

The 13th hole is a short downhill par 3.

This downhill medium length par three plays a little shorter than it measures. A large bunker short, and another right, defend the green while the left side remains open with contours designed to help gather a running ball closer to the putting surface. 

The 14th hole is a straightaway par 4.

The most dramatic hole on the course, it also requires some clear thinking to avoid the obvious trouble that waits. Short hitters can play well left off the tee, but anyone wishing to hit the green in two will have to take on some element of danger. If the pin is on the right, the left-hand fairway bunkers guard the best line. Conversely a left pin is best approached from the right of the fairway, which requires flirting with the water. For those choosing the most direct route, the central fairway bunker must be negotiated.

The 15th hole is a shortish dogleg par 5 to the left.

The tee shot here is relatively simple and whilst there is a temptation to cut the corner, two blind bunkers await for bombers. The real challenge, and indeed the feature of the hole, is the creek cutting in front of the green.  A small sliver is visible from the base of the hill, lulling the golfer into thinking that a missed shot may not be so bad when in fact a bogey or worse awaits. 

The 16th is the signature par 4 at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

Played over a beautifully undulating piece of ground, the 16th is one of the stronger par fours on the property. From an elevated tee, the drive across the valley to the next hill is made more difficult by the bunker on the right, which guards the best line to the green. The approach plays across another valley to a small green bunkered on the left.

The 17th is a beautiful par 3.

This long par three plays as a mirror image to the 3rd, rewarding a long right-hander’s fade (left-to-right).  From the main tee the hole plays around 185m but there is also a back tee, which stretches the hole to almost 220m – a wonderful test for the close of a major event.

The 18th hole is a long uphill par 5.

The final hole puts a premium on accuracy. The bunker on the left side of the tee shot is beyond the distance that most players can hit the ball, and the more relevant challenge is the bunker short and right of the green.  Whilst the green is heavily undulating, the slopes can be used to advantage for the thinking golfer. 

The 19th hole is a downhill dogleg par 4 to the left.

This hole is a great start to the Brindabella 9. The fairway bunker of the left is reachable off the tee for most golfers. A well-positioned tee to the right half of the fairway is ideal. Bunkers protect the right side of the green. Approaching the green from the left side is ideal.

The 20th hole is a short downhill par 3.

Large pine trees surround this beautiful par 3. Club selection is important on this hole. The green has a steep tier, which can promote the ball in the wrong direction if the club selection is not correct. Always take an extra club for a flag situated on the top tier. When putting up the tier, ensure that the ball has been struck with enough speed – otherwise the ball could easily not make the top of the tier, causing you to putt from further back than where you started.

The 21st hole is a short uphill dogleg par 4 to right.

This is the first hole across the road. It is a short hole, where longer hitters may go for the green, but there are heavy consequences for a miss-hit tee shot. The best play is to aim directly at the fairway bunker on the left. Club selection can vary from a hybrid to a driver. The fairway slopes right to left. The best angle into the green is from the middle- left of the fairway. This green is elevated which requires the player to take an extra club into the green. A front flag position is toughest here; make sure you take enough club to get onto the green.

The 22nd hole is a straightaway downhill par 4.

With a beautiful view of the Brindabella Mountains, an accurate tee shot is required as there are bunkers on either side of the fairway. The longer hitters can fly the bunkers leaving a wedge shot into the green. Most golfers will hit to the fairway bunkers, leaving them with an uphill approach shot into the green, a large bunker protects the left side of the green. Taking an extra club into the green always helps, as the wind normally will be blowing into you. This green can be one of the fastest on the course, especially on the left side.

The 23rd hole is a straightaway par 4.

This hole is a favourite with most. The hole normally plays down wind, which allows golfers to open their shoulders and blast away with their driver. The fairway slopes left to right, with a pot bunker on the right waiting for an errant hit from the longer hitters. It is best to aim for the left of this green as the slope from the left helps the ball onto the green.

The 24th hole is a straightaway par 5.

This is a great par 5! There is a large bunker on the left half of the fairway. The wind normally blows from the right; therefore, a shot slightly left of the right hand bunkers is the ideal line for all golfers. Longer hitters may reach the green in two, but it will require an accurate shot splitting the bunkers situated on both sides of the green. The safest play is to lay-up towards the bunker on the right, which will give you an approximate shot of 110m. Making par here is quite satisfactory as the bunkers can catch you out.

The 25th hole is an uphill dogleg par 4 to right.

This hole requires a solid drive up the middle or even left half of the fairway. The big gum tree may block tee shots that land on the right half of the fairway. The bunker on the left protects this green. Take an extra club into the green, especially if your tee shot is still on the upslope of the fairway. This green breaks right to left. Hitting to the right of the green is the best play when approaching the green.

The 26th hole is a blind uphill par 3.

This green is protected with a bunker on the front right and another to the left of the green. An errant shot to the left can catch the bunker or end up down the hill making for a tough second shot. The green has a heavy slope from the right, which can catch an offline tee shot and propel the ball back onto the green. Par here is a very good score!

The 27th hole is a narrow uphill par 5.

This is a tough finishing hole. The tee shot is to a narrow landing area. The fairway slopes right to left, but be careful not to hit it too far right as the dense pines await your ball. Once you have hit the fairway, lay-up short of the two fairway bunkers with your second shot. The longer hitters can go for the green, but you will need to take an extra club to carry the fairway bunkers and greenside bunkers. The green has a steep slope at the front; shots landing on the front of the green can easily roll back down off. For the golfer who has played short of the cross bunkers, take an extra club for your approach shot into the green. A par on this hole is a great way to end the round.