Recognised as one of Australia’s premier golfing facilities, Glenelg Golf Club offers a world class challenge. The course complexity is envied by many rival clubs, while its strategic design elements, impeccable turf quality and coastal aspects provide for a truly memorable day of golf. Traditional links characteristics add to the golfing experience and architects have utilised the topography of the site to place a premium on a golfer’s shot making ability. Natural sand dunes and native vegetation abound; indeed, the club has taken great care in restoring much of the golf course back to its original landscape. Glenelg Golf Club sits comfortably in the top echelon of classic Australian courses.
Having originally opened in 1926, a considerable parcel of land became available to the club as part of the Adelaide Airport project in 1946. The club engaged Vern Morcom to design what is essentially todays Glenelg Golf Course.
In 1998, years of unchecked tree and vegetation growth rendered the site grossly overplanted and the club commissioned an extensive restoration program, the end goal to re-establish its predominately pine tree landscape and return the more exposed areas of the course to a links like experience.
Two of Adelaide’s golfing royalty in Neil Crafter and Bob Touhy were engaged to facilitate the removal of excess plant species and to improve the layout to defend it against the advances in golf equipment technology. This was achieved by lengthening several holes, by adding championship tees and by rebuilding all the bunkers with riveted walls. The bunker works were the first of its kind, on such a large scale, and made a very positive aesthetic improvement to the layout.
The standout holes amongst a very strong collection are the 301 metre par 4 1st hole that eases you into the round with its strategic elements, offering multiple ways to attack it. In a similar fashion, the 4th 315 metre par 4 is devilishly bunkered to punish those taking an overly cautious route from the tee.
On the back 9, the 382 metre par 4 10th is a stout start to the inward journey, turning slightly left up a fairly steep rise, the green isn’t visible from the tee but comes into stunning view as you crest the hill. The subtly contoured target is superbly protected by four stunning examples of the riveted bunkers. The very next hole is the pick of the par 3s. 168 metres from the black tees and playing uphill through an avenue of tall pines, the ground falls to the right exposing deep and penal bunkering. The putting surface isn’t particularly wide and only an assured confident tee shot will find the target.
Featuring strategic design elements on every hole, encompassing 93 bunkers and 12 seasonal wetland areas, the restoration of original landforms and characteristics of the site to recreate part of the former coastline were fabulous initiatives of the Crafter Tuohy collaboration. This coupled with superior conditioning in the form of fast rolling fairways and immaculate putting surfaces make the modern Glenelg a must play in any Adelaide itinerary.