Royal Queensland Golf Club
From the moment you drive through the white pearly gates of Royal Queensland golf club, you know you are in for a special round.
For over a century, Royal Queensland has welcomed golfers ranging from household names like Palmer and Player to the average social hacker.
It has always been a solid layout, but since its major renovation in 2007 golf critics can’t stop raving about it. So much so it has risen more than 40 places in the national rankings and sits as Queensland’s premier golf course.
THE STORY BEHIND ROYAL QUEENSLAND
Royal Queensland Golf Club was initially designed by a group of keen-Brisbane golfers in 1920 and within a year of being opened achieved ‘Royal’ status. In 1923, they called upon three-time Australian Open winner Carnegie Clark to redesign the course to match a championship layout.
The course was visited by legendary architect Dr Alistair McKenzie, who said that the course “might even compare favourably with some of the British championship courses.” Royal Queensland would go on to host the Australian Open in 1947, ’66 and ’73.
When Brisbane’s gateway bridge was duplicated in 2007, the holes on the other side of the bridge were lost altogether. Michael Clayton was called up to basically build a new course and he has done a remarkable job.
THE ROYAL QUEENSLAND COURSE
You might turn up to Royal Queensland and think “is that it?” But what makes Royal Queensland’s course so special is its uniqueness. The layout will have you on the edge of your golf cart seat from the 1st to the 18th.
We’ll start with the bunkering. Each sand trap is distinct and positioned to challenge your strategic approach particularly around the greens. Speaking of the greens, they are beautifully contoured and are structured in a way that presents a preferred line of play.
The course starts with the dramatic backdrop of the Gateway Bridge before playing along the perimeter of the property for the first nine holes. The par-3s are exceptional and provide plenty of “eye candy” to throw you off. The short par-4s and -5s favour aggressive play but don’t get too overzealous or you’ll be punished.
Another impressive feature of the course is how enjoyable it is for every level of golfer. Those with higher handicaps are offered plenty of opportunities if they play it smart, but of course, Clayton has tempted the low handicappers with an equal amount of risk-and-reward plays.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
Royal Queensland’s 17th hole is regarded as one of the best par-3s in the country. As you close out your round you will pleasantly surprised to spot an elevated green that rises over the wasteland.
There are two challenging elements to beware. First is the wind that can alter the trajectory of your shot. The other is the two-tiered green, which leads to a rather difficult putt out.
DID YOU KNOW
In 1966, seven-time major winner Arnold Palmer played at Royal Queensland in his only Australian Open appearance.
Palmer would go on to hit two eagles and 20 birdies on his way to a five-shot win against a field including Thomson and Player. He also set the course record 66.