By Mark Eggleton
When Japan’s Haru Nomura recently captured her first LPGA title at the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide, she did it in style.
She shot the lights out of the course with a final round seven-under 65 at The Grange which put her three strokes clear of World No 1 Lydia Ko.
What she also did was draw attention to Adelaide’s seaside western suburbs courses – all of which rank in Golf Australia’s leading golf courses.
For starters, the scene of Nomura’s victory, The Grange Golf Club sits as part of Adelaide’s very own sand belt of courses.
The beauty of the sand at these courses is the redness which is kind of apt considering the colour of one of the state’s finest exports.
The Grange is actually two courses – east and west. Both recently revamped by Michael Clayton in the west and Greg Norman in the east, it’s a gorgeous setting and a true test of a golfer.
Copperclub on the Yorke Peninsula is also a Greg Norman designed course where players can partake in 9 holes. Hole 8 affords beautiful views over the Spencer Gulf.
Unlike many other courses in Australia, 180,000sqm of grass (rather than seed) was rolled to create the fairways and greens of Copperclub.
Also a wonderful test is Kooyonga Golf Club which has played host to five Australian Opens although the last was back in 1972 when five-time British Open winner and local golfing legend, Peter Thomson triumphed.
The terrain gently rises and falls throughout and unlike Mark Twain’s famous quip about golf, Kooyonga is far from a good walk spoilt.
Also part of the sand belt and another cracking course is Glenelg.
It does display its sandiness rather openly with over 90 bunkers lying like big open, sandy uninviting sores around its testing layout. Be that as it may, it’s a spectacular course and one of the nation’s unheralded gems.
Completing the quartet is Royal Adelaide. Designed by the great Dr Alister Mackenzie, Royal Adelaide has been updated by Peter Thomson and remains a majestic golfing experience especially as the sea breezes whip through the cypress pines guarding the course.
It’s a wonderful challenge and hard to score a round on although golf tour specialists Four Reds offer the opportunity to play all four red sand courses and match each round with a top end South Australian red.
Away from some of the nation’s top courses in Adelaide, South Australia also offers two of the slightly quirkier golfing experiences available on the planet. Actually one of them does start in Western Australia but the Nullarbor Links can lay claim to being the world’s longest golf course.
The 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1365km with one hole in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway, from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia.
Six holes sit in South Australia and (depending from which end you start) it all finishes with a couple of rather pleasant holes in Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula.
Ratcheting up the quirky level is Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club.
It is 18 holes of completely barren, grassless golf.
Voted as one of the world’s top 10 most unique golf courses with its crushed rock fairways and “oiled” sand greens, it’s the only course in the world with reciprocal rights to St Andrews in Scotland.
There is one caveat though – the reciprocal rights don’t extend to the Old Course at St Andrews which truly is the “home of golf”.