Course photography: Gary Lisbon
The term ‘hidden gem’ is over-applied in golf-course circles. However, it fits when the discussion turns to Newcastle Golf Club. Even most Novocastrians would be hard-pressed to describe where it is. Yet across the Hunter River from the city in the little-known northern suburb of Fern Bay lies one of the nation’s best golf courses. Like a little slice of the Melbourne Sandbelt, only hundreds of kilometres to the north, Newcastle reveals its full-bodied character with an outstanding collection of holes in a secluded bushland setting within earshot of the Pacific Ocean.
Newcastle is an old-school design with modern touches. Best known for its trilogy of great holes beginning from the par-4 fifth, there is far more substance to the layout than merely three strokes of genius. The third hole, which isn’t really a par 3 or a par 4 but is instead something in between, and the roller-coaster fairway of the par-5 10th hole are features unique to the course.
Subtle tweaks in recent years, including the clearing of some ground-level scrub and the reintroduction of sandy waste areas in places, have enhanced Newcastle’s considerable appeal. Next up for the club is an extensive and exciting redesign – which will include several brand new holes – penned by course architect Bob Harrison. Work is likely to begin in 2024.
Newcastle Golf Club
Ranking in 2020: 28th
Prior rankings: 20th (2018), 19th (2016), 20th (2014), 20th (2012), 18th (2010), 15th (2008), 13th (2006), 10th (2004), 20th (2002), 21st (2000), 22nd (1998), 18th (1996), 20th (1994), 18th (1991)
Where: Vardon Rd, Fern Bay NSW 2295
Phone: (02) 4928 1365