What do you get when you put a Great White Shark among the vines of the Hunter Valley? The answer is one hell of a golfing experience. If you’re a travelling golfer in the region, The Vintage is something extra to look forward to besides the food and the wine.
The championship course consistently ranks inside Australia’s 50 best courses due, for the most part, to its striking, sharp-edged bunkers and immaculate couch fairways. However there is more to The Vintage that will make it one of your favourite tracks to play in the country.
THE STORY BEHIND THE VINTAGE
The idea for potential golf development at the site had been in the pipeline since the late 1980s. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the Greg Norman-designed course opened for play as part of a $450 million residential and golf course project.
It took a while for the course to make its mark having been laid out on clay-based soil which was much more suited to grapevines than a golf course. However, just like the renowned wine in the area, it got better with age hosting three NSW Opens from 2007-2009.
THE VINTAGE COURSE
The Vintage is a great and fair track, what you see is what you get. You can stand on the tee and be aware of what you need to do. Whether you can do it is another question…
The opening holes are tight and tree-lined. There’s every chance you won’t need to take out your driver, which is unusual for a Norman-designed course.
The latter half of the front nine plays across more undulating land and includes some of the course’s special holes. One of them is the 7th where golfers are reminded they are playing in one Australia’s most famed wine regions, as Bimbadgen Estate right beside the rolling par 5.
The layout begins to open up and become flatter in the back nine. Water features are prominent from hole 11 to 15, whilst the finish is very strong. The 18th is a great deciding hole demanding two precise shots to have any hope at a birdie or par. Do so, and you’ve earnt the respect of your group.
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
The Vintage’s 8th is one of the best holes in the country, let alone the course. From the back tees it is an intimidating 194 metre par-3 flanked by water. However it is a more gentle test for the less skilled golfers who can aim to the left away from the hazard.
DID YOU KNOW
Befitting the occasion, the first foursome at The Vintage was a grand collection of names. It included course designer Greg Norman, Australian cricket captain (at the time) Steve Waugh, and rugby league immortal, Andrew Johns.
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