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Feature Course

New South Wales Golf Club

Course Review

Description Links style course set amongst the hills and valleys that hug the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline.
Botany Bay National Park 
La Perouse NSW 2036
Club Phone (02) 9661 4455
Club House bar, snacks, meals, dining room, conference room, pro shop.
Green Fees A private club, open to members and invited guests only. Members of Golf Clubs from overseas and interstate may apply to the Manager to establish playing conditions. Introduction from home club required.

Course information sourced from non-current edition of The GOLF Course Guide, Click here for details

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Course Details

Holes 18
Length 6245
Golf Digest Ranking (Private Club – not ranked by The GOLF Course Guide) 6
Designer Dr Alister MacKenzie, Eric Apperly
Back to Sydney & Environs

Course Review



The mighty 5th at NSW Golf Club


by Darius Oliver
from Australia's Finest Golf Courses

Left - The mighty 5th hole at New South Wales
pic by Gary Lisbon

New South Wales Golf Club
Course Opened – 1928
Designer – Dr Alister MacKenzie, Eric Apperly

While the architecture at Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath may be more sophisticated, few courses of any era are as compelling and spectacular as the timeless classic at the New South Wales Golf Club.

Situated on the rugged cliffs at La Perouse, the course overlooks Botany Bay where Captain James Cook first sailed into Australia on the SS Endeavour in 1770. For golfers however it was the visit of another intrepid British pioneer, which gives the site its historical significance.

During his whirlwind 1926 Australian tour legendary designer Dr Alister MacKenzie visited La Perouse and enthused about the potential for building a great golf course. Clearly moved by the surroundings he declared that New South Wales would ‘present more spectacular views than any other golf course in the world, with the possible exception of Cypress Point.’ Today golfers continue to make the pilgrimage to this sacred site to tackle a course built by nature, framed by the Pacific Ocean and shaped by the greatest hand of all.

The 6th at NSW Golf Club The success of the golf course cannot be solely credited to the genius of MacKenzie as the work of Eric Apperly in completing the architect’s plans after he departed was also outstanding. While Mackenzie mapped the routing, the bunkers were left to Apperly, who also made a number of changes to the layout during the subsequent years. Most significant was the building of the world-renowned 6th hole (left) in the 1930’s and the shifting of the 5th tee after the army reclaimed land during World War II. These two holes are individually among Australia’s best and collectively one of the most awe-inspiring double acts in world golf.

The tee on 5 was originally positioned on an elevated sand dune left of its current location with the rugged Cape Banks shoreline visible from the tee. After the War it was moved inland, near MacKenzie’s original 4th tee, making the hole straighter and the tee shot blind over an enormous rise. With a breeze at your back the hill can be cleared and the green often reached with little more than a driver/wedge while into a head wind it can take up to three woods to get home. From the summit of the fairway the hole plunges dramatically almost 100 feet down toward a tiny target and the mighty Pacific Ocean. The vista here of falling fairway and crashing waves is quite simply the most magnificent in Australian golf.

Equally memorable is the fabulous par three 6th, played from a rocky outcrop behind the 5th green over the sea to a small sloping green back on the mainland. Interestingly this was not originally part of MacKenzie’s plan, the oversight possibly due to the land not being available for use when he first saw the site. Considering he left Australia to finish work on Cypress Point, which boasts the most famous Ocean carry par three in the world, it seems doubtful that when looking to thrill he would have missed the opportunity for such an obvious showstopper.

The 15th at NSW Golf ClubCompleting a stunning loop along the coast, the uphill 7th is another wonderful hole and one of the few untouched MacKenzie originals. A second coastal loop on the back nine, 13 through 16, is also world class with a series of difficult par four’s played along and away from the cliffs. The stunning short 14th is a smiling assassin featuring extreme fairway contouring which gets so naturally spectacular that the ocean outlook appears almost insignificant. Offering no respite the 15th (left) is the hardest hole on the course and demands a strong, straight tee shot through a narrow chute of dunes and tea-tree to reach a saddle at the fairway’s crest. Missing the drive usually means reloading while a good tee shot here sets up an uninterrupted view of a beautiful green site shifted almost 100 metres to its present position by Apperly during the 1930’s.

Magnificently wild and exposed the entire course offers tremendous views and a series of stunning holes built around, over and through the hills and valleys that lead toward the coastline. The routing, as much as the setting, makes New South Wales special and despite more than 70 years of change and evolution, twelve holes and the majority of the standout moments remain either Mackenzie originals or variations on a theme he first suggested. Of those altered the most noticeable are the four Apperly par three’s, which form the best set of short holes in Sydney, and the par five 8th which is a combination of MacKenzie’s 7th and 8th.

Given the great man’s enormous reputation for designing bunkers the decision to entrust Apperly with the building of his signature hazards, once patterns of play had been established, was also an exceptional stroke of humility from an otherwise voracious character. The bunkering, though not as brilliant as Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne, is nonetheless strategic and well suited to the landscape. A recently completed restoration program involved rebuilding the more exposed traps with a traditional revetted face and was very successful.

The other significant improvement made to the course in modern times came when, in 1998, wild fires tore through the site destroying trees and seriously threatening the course and clubhouse. Though stressful at the time the clearing of shrubs along the course’s periphery has actually improved the views and enhanced the experience further.

Shortly after its 1928 opening, an edition of the "Golf in Australia" magazine described New South Wales as needing ‘only the improving hand of time to become the acme of perfection‘. The hand of time has indeed improved this masterpiece and though it is unlikely any course is the absolute ‘acme of perfection’, New South Wales Golf Club gets about as close as any in Australia.
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Green Fee access - Access to this private club is restricted to members, guests of members and Golf Club Members from Interstate and Overseas upon payment of the applicable green fee. ausgolf can advise about playing New South Wales, or for travel advice please e-mail