Horizons Golf Resort
For those looking for an enjoyable golfing challenge in the Hunter region look no further than Horizons Golf Resort. It is a ‘feel-good’ course that provides a genuine test for golfers of all standards from the social hackers to the skilled amateurs.
The course is the most famed and acclaimed in Port Stephens having been voted NSW’s Top Golf Resort and also ranked as high as 34th in Golf Australia’s Top 100 courses.
THE STORY BEHIND HORIZONS GOLF RESORT
The course was designed by world-renowned architects Ross Watson and Graham Marsh. The duo created the layout from swampland utlising the lakes, bushland and wetland as much as possible in the routing.
Opened in 1992, Horizons Golf Resort arrived on the scene with a bang. It held the award of top golf resort in NSW for 8 years between 1994-2002, and was a regular feature in Golf Australia’s Top 100 courses in the country.
However in the late 2000s, the course declined in standard and in 2010 the course owner, Le Mellieur, went into receivership. It wasn’t until 2015 that Peter Rickard and Selva Saverimuttu took over the club and have since returned the course back to its original state.
THE HORIZONS COURSE
Ross Watson describes the Horizon Golf experience as “full of surprises with most holes, individual by design, separate and well-camouflaged from the others. The overlying memory is the need to be in control of one’s game due to the nature of the ocean breezes.”
Your first nine holes here are very wet. They route through wetlands and two of the main lakes on the site. One of the highlights is the par-3 6th, water takes a big chunk out of the hole giving you a tough angle from the tee. The green is two-tiered and well-protected by bunkers. They say if you make it in three ‘you should go play golf for a living!’
In contrast, the back nine is set in secluded, picturesque Australian bushland. The 18th sets up great theatre as the concluding hole. Golfers and locals watch on from the clubhouse, as you attack the hole with an intimidating lake running down the fairway. With the right wind, you could make it in two however beware the four-tiered green.
The finale reflects the Horizons course well. It is a great test, where the hazards are evident as too the attacking options. Golfers of all abilities will be refreshed to know it is a fair challenge and birdie chances are in abundance.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
Horizons’ 17th has received world recognition as a championship hole. It features alongside some of the world’s greatest golf holes in Jeff Barr’s book ‘1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die’.
The 153m par-3 is deceptively difficult. You can’t hit too far left, too far right, or just too far! Hazards are everywhere, so it might just be safe to lay-up and walk away with par.
DID YOU KNOW
Horizons has become the home of one of the most unusual sports – FootGolf. In 2019, it held the Yamaha Asia Cup Championship and is scheduled to host World Cup Qualifiers as well as the sport’s version of State of Origin.