New South Wales Golf Club: Where History Surrounds You
"One of the world's most breathtaking golf courses"
SYDNEY, Australia - Our Australian golf expert and guide, Michael Clisdell, picked us up at the Regent Hotel on Sydney Harbour and asked us if we wanted to take the fast way to the Club. We were in no hurry, but we should have been.
Twenty minutes later we approached the New South Wales Golf Club located at Cape Banks on the northern headland of Botany Bay, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by a national park. Although I had never been here before, I mentioned to Michael that a small peninsula near the course looked very familiar. It was. Tom Cruise filmed one of the scenes from Mission Impossible 2 right there.
Our mission impossible was getting on the course. In Australia, private means private. However, thanks to Golf Wine Australia and our guide, we were taken right into this breathtaking facility and made to feel right at home by our hosts.
History surrounds you. The place oozes famous. In fact the week before we played, former President Bill Clinton had played NSW yet again after originally playing with Greg Norman a few years earlier.
The course reminds you of Cypress Point, on the Monterey Peninsula. In fact, it was designed by the same man, Alastair MacKenzie. One feels as if you are playing a part of history. More accurately you are walking on history. The site of the club goes back to the birthplace of a nation. On 29 April, 1770, Captain Cook dropped anchor just inside the headlands on the southern shore of Botany Bay.
In seeking to replenish his water supply, he was unable to locate fresh water on the south side of the bay, so he dispatched a boat to the northern shores where suitable fresh water was located in " Captain Cook's Waterhole". This soak is about 200 meters below the 17th tee and is still visible more than 200 years later, particularly after a rain.
We were greeted by the Head Professional, and escorted to the first tee. As is true with most great opening holes, it is tight, short, and right in front of the clubhouse where everyone is watching you. Americans (Yanks) are welcome guests, but we still had the first tee jitters. Fortunately, my partner and I both ripped it down the middle, and the look from the local members was: "Welcome to our home. Enjoy your day."
Enjoy it we did! The course is filled with peril, but it's exhilarating peril with equal reward when you get it right. There are numerous blind shots through the natural flora and fauna. If you hit a bad shot, and you will, who cares when you are in heaven. I mean it. Besides, golf is just a byproduct here. The natural setting, awe inspiring, is just the way it was 70 years ago when MacKenzie laid the course through it.
A guide is required and recommended and Michael always steered us in the right direction concerning both the course and club customs.
We finished the day with a cold beverage in the clubhouse. We told lies. We laughed, but most of all we realized that we had been blessed today. Golfers do have dreams and some days they do come true.
http://www.nswgolfclub.com.au/ New South Wales Golf Club
http://www.golfwineaustralia.com/GolfDream.htm Golfer's Dream
July 17, 2002