Royal Pines Golf Resort
RACV Royal Pines Golf Resort is a 27-hole championship layout located only 10 minutes from Surfers Paradise. It is the perfect play-and-stay option for the travelling golfer as it is consistently ranked in the top 10 resorts in Australia.
It has also hosted some of Australia’s biggest golf tournaments including the Ladies Masters (1992-2017) and most recently, the Australian PGA Championships (2013-2019).
Royal Pines’ tight fairways, undulating greens and ever-present water features challenge even the professionals. However, there are multiple tee boxes to satisfy both the serious and social golfer.
THE STORY BEHIND ROYAL PINES
The 27-hole Royal Pines course was opened in 1990 originally designed by Japanese architect, Tomojiro Maruyama. Two years later, it would go on to host the Ladies Masters until 2017 where Laura Davies, Annika Sörenstam and Karrie Webb were multiple winners.
In 1996, Royal Pines added a fourth nine to their collection, however it only last six years before it closed. Graham Marsh was brought in to redesign a new nine on the opposite side of the road, which opened for play in 2004.
In 2008, Royal Pines was purchased by Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV). Five years later, it would host the first of several Australian PGA Championships. To meet tournament standards, RACV reached out to Graham Marsh to come back and add more character to the course.
Marsh’s second redesign aimed to take away the advantage long hitters had over the precision strikers. The new championship layout, opened in 2015, now features more water in play, the odd bunker in the middle of the fairway and more contouring on the greens.
THE ROYAL PINES COURSE – GREEN/GOLD
The championship course at Royal Pines, aka the course played at the Australian PGA Championships, is made up of the Green/Gold nines.
The 1st hole is a 334-metre par-4 and while not that long there is a bunker placed right in the middle of the fairway that will trouble your club selection. Then there’s the par-5 3rd, the longest hole on the course. 492 metres from the back tees, 453 metres from the ladies, it can be a real slog.
The par-3 5th and par-4 8th bring welcome relief if you’re having a tough round, with wide landing areas available to avoid the water. You will finish the Green nine with an epic par-5 that doglegs right and requires a water carry to the green.
The Gold nine starts right next to the Green nine. The 1st has more water in play this time, and four bunkers protecting the green, but is relatively easy. Similarly, the par-5 3rd also provides ample space for you to let it fly from the tee-box and have a shot at a birdie opportunity.
The closing hole on the Gold nine is the toughest on the course – and of course it has to end in front of the clubhouse. It is the longest par-4 measuring over 400 metres with heavy bunkering to the right of the hole. The green is long, narrow and elevated. If you hit it too far it’s a steep return to the flag.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
One of the more interesting holes at Royal Pines is the 7th on the Green nine. Depending on what tee box you hit off will determine the challenge that lies ahead.
From the back tees, it’s a scary 172-metre carry straight over water to the green. Meanwhile, the social tees can enjoy a much more leisurely 100- to 112-metre shot with the water running down the left.
DID YOU KNOW
At the 2014 Australian PGA Championships at Royal Pines, Adam Scott and Greg Chalmers went head-to-head in the longest playoff in tier-one tournament history in Australia.
It took seven holes for Greg Chalmers to overcome Adam Scott. However, the reigning Masters champion probably should have won it as he failed on four occasions to sink the winning putt.
Hosted golf tournament: