Founded in 1893 The Royal Sydney Golf Club located in Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour is one of Australia’s foremost sporting and social clubs.
Royal Sydney Golf Club is more than just a golf club. With a membership of well over five thousand, it caters for the tennis, bowling and croquet fraternity as well as the golfing community and the majestic harbour-side clubhouse, lawn tennis courts, bowling greens, croquet lawns and championship golf course all give Royal Sydney the well earned reputation of a centre for sporting excellence in New South Wales.
Royal Sydney celebrated its centenary in 1993 and the championship course has evolved over one hundred years into one of the finest in the country. The original 9-hole layout was situated in Concord but within five years, members decamped to Bondi, where the course has remained ever since.
The Australian Open was held here five times in the latter half of the twentieth century, producing a handful of home grown and international champions – Bruce Crampton (1956), Gary Player (1969), Mark Calcaveccia (1988), Rober Allenby (1994) and Aaron Baddeley (1999). Into the new millennium, and John Senden lifted the prized Stonehaven Cup in 2006, Tim Clark won in 2008 and Rory McIlroy prevailed in 2013.
The Club features two superb golf courses; the Championship Course and the Centenary Course.
The Championship Cours at Royal Sydney Golf Club – Measuring a cricket pitch short of 7,000 yards, Royal Sydney once had more than 350 bunkers on the property – that’s an average of one every 20 yards! Is it any wonder the bunkering was considered to be more penal than strategic? Only one in three sand hazards remain so the course is truly a fairer test these days.
Greens were refurbished in the mid 1980s and again between 2001 and 2003 so the club has certainly tried to move with the times and adapt the course to the modern game. One old-fashioned design element has remained though – short par fours at the 1st and 8th holes which often flummox those not used to the finer points of course management.
The Championship Course has been accurately described as follows, ‘it has always been an ‘old-fashioned’, traditional, heavily bunkered, tough test of golf, especially in any wind. There are no gimmicks, no tricks, chasms or watery caverns’. Its undulating fairways and treacherous bunkers ensure that the Championship Course is a challenge, even for the most avid golfer. The Championship Course has undergone many changes over the years, the most recent being a rebuilding of the greens which was completed in 2003.
The toughest hole on the card is considered by many to be the 462-yard par four 11th, where the tee shot must find a landing area between a pond on the left and sand on the right of the fairway. Two bunkers protect the putting surface on the right hand side and a swale runs the length of the shelf green to the left – not many will have the luxury of two putts for par at this hole!
Royal Sydney also offers a short 9 hole course called the Centenary Course. It was completely rebuilt to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Club in 1997. The course was designed to utilise every golf club in the bag for the competent golfer with undulating terrain, featuring tight fairways and small contoured greens. Water comes into play on six of the nine holes, presenting a further challenge for the golfer.