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Classic Holes - Royal Adelaide 3rd

This article courtesy of the Golf Architecture Magazine

The 3rd Hole at Royal Adelaide Golf Club
Par 4, 270 metres

Hole Architects – Dr. Alister Mackenzie

Royal Adelaide Golf Club moved to its present site at Seaton in 1904 and in 1926 the Club invited Dr.Alister Mackenzie to advise on modifications to the course. He removed the need to play across the Adelaide to Grange railway line that bisects the course and featured the natural sand dunes more strongly in the routing.

The short par 4 third hole is the introduction at Seaton to the sand dune country after the relative flatness of the first two holes. The natural dunes land provided all the necessary golfing elements needed for a classic two shotter without the use of a single bunker. All that was required was the building of a tee and a green- the rest was left to nature.

Behind the 3rd Green looking back up the hole

From a tee perched on the side of the railway line, the tee shot calls for a clear decision from the golfer. Prudent players may hit a 3-iron to the top of the ridge that traverses the fairway, leaving a tricky wedge shot into a long and narrow green that is slightly angled across the line of play. The green is guarded at the left by a steep and narrow embankment that is covered by heavy rough ,while at the right a sharp grassy knob intrudes to the edge of the green from the towering dune that extends down the right side of the hole. These dunes are covered by reeds and marram grasses as well as pine trees and are matched by smaller dunes down the left of the fairway that form a fearsome rough.

For the brave golfer who gambles on a driver from the tee the hole is reachable but the tee shot is blind. As the fairway beyond the ridge slopes from right to left down from the dunes, the drive must be precisely threaded down the right edge of the fairway in order to receive a favourable kick towards the green opening. As Norman Von Nida would testify, the hole has real teeth as he once took a 9 here to lose an Australian Open. Will the 3rd again play a decisive role in the 1998 Australian Open to be held at Royal Adelaide in December? Only time will tell. But many a knowledgeable spectator will be gathered atop the dunes alongside this green awaiting any brave competitors who may try to drive the green. The golfer will not see if his tee shot is successful. The response of the crowd on the hill will inform him. Applause will mean success, while silence will indicate his problems have only just begun. Review by Neil Crafter
courtesy of the Golf Architecture Magazine - click for more