Located at the mouth of the Hunter River, a two hour drive from Sydney, Newcastle Golf Club is one of only two courses in NSW given international recognition by the panel of experts rating the World’s Top 100 Courses. Golf Australia Magazine ranks Newcastle Number 12 in Australia (Public Access Courses) (January 2017).
The steady expansion of Newcastle’s industries in the early part of the 20th century forced the local golf clubs to relocate. Newcastle Golf Club moved across the Hunter River to Stockton, then only accessible by ferry. Work on a nine hole golf course began in 1913 and was completed in 1915… The club struggled financially through its early years… It was therefore a decision of great courage to expand the golf course to 18 holes in 1935 when the Hunter Valley area was still in the grip of Depression.
The course at Newcastle Golf Club is a true championship course of 6200 metres (6780 yards), it is based on undulating sand dunes like those of the great historic links of Great Britain and Ireland. However, instead of fairways lined by gorse and heather, Newcastle is carved out of a forest of eucalypts and angophoras abounding in native flora and fauna, including kookaburras, bearded dragons and wallabies, making it a delightful as well as a challenging course to play.
The early holes are played around the clubhouse before golfers play away towards the large sand dunes that frame either side of many of the best holes at Newcastle.
When players reach the spectacular and partially blind tee shot of the par-4, 5th hole they are about to embark on a special collection of golf holes.
The trio including the 5th, 6th and 7th holes at Newcastle is one of the most memorable stretches of golf in Australia and will have players hitting a variety of shots on very different holes. The downhill, 368 metre 5th presents a difficult task from the tee, a narrow fairway that winds left is framed by large trees and sand dunes. Less than driver is the smart play to find the fairway and have the best lie possible for what is a challenging second shot. Not an overly difficult green, the problems start if you miss the green, particularly to the left where the ground falls away and a large bunker seems to have a magnetic force. A par 4 here is always a good result.
Although almost identical in length at 367 metres, everything about the par-4 6th seems in contrast to the previous hole. Played straight uphill, the ball will run to the right when it lands from the tee. The second shot is again key with under clubbing a regular mistake into the elevated green. The left is the side to err on as a miscue to the right might have you packing a cut lunch if you are to find and successfully get your ball back in play.